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Genealogy and Family History

How to Begin


Researching Your Aboriginal Ancestry at Library and Archives Canada

Part II: Using the Library and Archives Canada Web Site

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Reviewing Records

Once you have identified a record that you would like to review for your research, the next step is to determine whether you may have access to it.

Restricted Records

For many of the documents at Library and Archives Canada, access is restricted for a variety of reasons. These restrictions can be reviewed and may be lifted in accordance with the provisions of the Access to Information and Privacy acts.

To find out the access level of a document you wish to review, you can click on the access code in your search result to obtain a definition of the code. For example, following the steps in the previous section to identify the "Wabasca" documents brings you a list of 51 items. Each item includes an access code. Item 18, for instance, titled "Lesser Slave Lake AgencyŚCorrespondence regarding membership in the Bigstone or Wabasca band", shows access code 31. When you click on the access code, you are taken to a page describing what that code means. The definition for code 31 is as follows: "These records were originally restricted by the federal government's former access policy as defined in the Cabinet Access Directive (1977) and must be reviewed in accordance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act before being made available for research."

When access to information in government records at Library and Archives Canada is restricted by the Privacy Act, a review of the files can be performed by Library and Archives Canada's Access to Information and Privacy Division staff upon request. Your request should include the following information:

  • the name of the person and period of interest
  • the subject of interest
  • each reference found, including record group, volume number, file number, file name or description, dates and access code when known (e.g., RG 10, vol 7114, file 777/3 3 17, part 1, Lesser Slave Lake AgencyŚCorrespondence regarding membership in the Bigstone or Wabasca band, 1943-1947, access code 31)
  • the reel number when given

For information on how the Access to Information and Privacy acts apply to Government of Canada records, please consult our Web site at

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