I developed a real interest in genealogy a few years ago after seeing Ancestry.com’s commercials on repeat (what great advertising!). I’ve always known a few basic things about my family’s history; one of them being that my great grandparents immigrated to Canada from England. After doing more research, I was able to put together the story. They left on a boat from Liverpool in 1913 and docked at Pier 21 in Halifax (the city I currently called home). The Canadian Museum of Immigration is located where Pier 21 once stood and offers an extensive range of research resources, along with their exhibits about the history of immigration in Canada. When I heard about their research resources, I knew that I needed to stop by for a visit – especially when I’m only living a few blocks away.
After I paid admission to the museum, the first place I headed was the Scotiabank Family History Centre. There was a historian on-call that was ready to help me with my research requests. She had access to a computer and plugged my great-grandparents’ names into Ancestry.ca, which generated a lot of the basic information that I already knew. She was obviously an expert in immigration history, so it was interesting to hear her interpretation. She told me about the ship about The Virginian (the ship they arrived on), and printed out some information for me to take home. She also printed out their immigration records for me, which are available on the paid version of Ancestry.ca.
I was hoping that I would be able to see the original copies of the records, but I understand why that would be an enormous amount of work for each visiter. I definitely learned some new information during my visit, but think it would be even more beneficial for those that haven’t done much research into their family history. On their website, it says you can also make specific research requests. Although, the volume of requests is so large that it may take them 8-10 weeks to fulfill the request. I also enjoyed all of the exhibits, especially the one about immigration in the present day.
Do you want to read more blog posts about my family research? Let me know in the comments below.