AVITUS - The Directory of Canadian Genealogical Resources

Search: Database


Genealogists and people interested in family history want access to a large amount of information. In order to meet these needs, Library and Archives Canada is making available online The Directory of Canadian Genealogical Resources - AVITUS that allows you to access databases, catalogues and Web sites regarding genealogical resources and collections all over Canada.


The Latin word Avitus means "from ancestors", which today may be rendered as "ancestral". The name was used by a Roman emperor and in the fifth century by an archbishop of Vienne, in the Dauphiné region of France; he was one of the most distinguished prelates of his time, known for his wisdom and virtue.

The Database

The directory points to resources (institutions, online databases, etc.) but does not access their contents. In other words, the directory links to databases described as resources but does not actually search the databases themselves. You can conduct a search by title, subject or keywords including names and/or dates.

The directory includes descriptions for:

  • Institutions: family associations, libraries, university research centres, archives, museums, genealogical societies, historical societies.
  • Information resources: databases, catalogues, PDF files, alphabetical lists, and pages of links that are available online.

The directory contains resources that meet the following criteria:

  • They are of interest to genealogists and people interested in family history.
  • They are duly constituted institutions and organizations interested in genealogy or family history or maintain Canadian genealogical resources or resources of interest to Canadians.
  • Information resources were created by a Government of Canada department or agency, a Canadian provincial or local government, a society, an association, a consortium, a foundation or other duly constituted, not-for-profit Canadian organization or a network of Canadian organizations composed of genealogists or people interested in family history that has an interest in or holds Canadian genealogical resources.
  • Information resources refer to a nominative result, i.e., pertain to a person or to a document about a person. Resources referring only to a place name are therefore excluded.
  • The resources comply with copyright or content distribution rights pursuant to the Copyright Act.
  • The content complies with the Privacy Act.

Search Screen

The search screen enables you to search by:

  • Keyword
  • Title
  • Subject

Names of organizations and titles of resources are spelled as they appear. You can try spelling variations or use the wildcard character (*).

When you have entered your search terms, slick on 'Search'. The number of hits found will be shown at the top of the search screen.

How to Interpret the Results

Your search results will be posted as a results summary list from which you will be able to obtain an item description.

Search Results Page

The search results page displays the following fields:

  • Item Number
  • Title (of the resource or of the Website)
  • Organization (who created the resource or the owner of the Website)

Click on the underlined Item Number of a record to access the Item page, which contains additional information specific to that record.

Item Page

The item page might contain the following information divided into three blocks. The first block contains a description of the resource, which includes:

Title: Official name of the resource, the organization or of the Website.

Organization: Name of the organization being described, or name of the organization that created the resource.

Description: Description of the resource.

Subject: Subject headings associated to the resource.

Period: Exact date or range of dates indicating the scope of the resource.

Scope: Geographical entity (municipality, township, county, province, country) referred to by the resource.

The second block, entitled Contact Info, indicates the various ways to contact the resource. These include the resource's electronic or physical addresses, telephone and fax numbers and email addresses.

The third block of the item provides supplemental information on the resource, such as conditions for consultation, restrictions, language, format etc.

How to Consult the Resource or Order a Copy

In order to consult the resource, just click on the links. Otherwise, the directory gives you all the information you need to organize an onsite visit to one of the selected institutions.

If you wish to receive a copy of documents described in these resources, you must contact the creator of the resource identified in the directory or contact the institution that holds the actual records.

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