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Two Useful Research and Reference Sources

Library and Archives Canada and Statistics Canada hold two useful databases to research Slavic soldiers who returned to Canada.

Canadian Naturalization 1915-1932

The Canadian Naturalization database contains references to about 200,000 people who applied for and received status as naturalized Canadians from 1915 to 1932. During that period, the Government of Canada published the lists of names of those naturalized subjects in the annual reports of the Secretary of State (Sessional Papers) and in the Canada Gazette. This database, produced by the Jewish Genealogical Societies of Montreal and Ottawa, makes it possible to search those annual lists by name.

In 1901, there were 5.3 million Canadians, of which only one in 20 were not "British-born," a term that was used for Canada, England and other countries of the British Commonwealth. By 1911, due to a wave of immigration from continental Europe and the United States, one in 10 Canadian residents were from non-Commonwealth countries.

Many of these non-British immigrants did not speak English, and often had names that English speaking people had never before encountered. As well, they often had no firm plans as to where they would make their new homes in Canada. These factors pose major problems for today's genealogical researchers trying to trace the movements of their direct ancestors and other relatives. We may know whence they came, but it's not always known what names they used, and where they went.

The database is one of the few Canadian genealogical resources specifically designed to benefit those researchers with roots outside of the British Commonwealth. References located in the database can be used to request copies of the actual naturalization records, which are held by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

1940 National Registration

The 1940 National Registration resulted from the compulsory registration of all adults in Canada from 1940 to 1946. This information was originally obtained under the authority of the National Resources Mobilization Act and the War Measures Act to permit the mobilization of all the human and material resources of the nation for the purpose of the defence and security of Canada. The records are in the custody of Statistics Canada.

The registration included all persons who were 16 years of age or older, except for members of the armed forces and religious orders, or those confined to an institution. If a person died between 1940 and 1946, it might be possible that their questionnaire was destroyed.

The questionnaires include the following details:

name; address; age; date of birth; marital status; number of dependents; place and country of birth of individual and his or her parents; nationality; year of entry into Canada (if an immigrant); racial origin; languages; education; general health; occupation, employment status, farming or mechanical skills; and previous military service.

There was a different form for males and females regarding questions about occupation, work history and military service. The records are arranged by electoral district; however, a soundex-format index exists.