Monday, 1 December 2014

Sessional Papers of Dominion of Canada

The Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada are an often overlooked source for research in Canada. Probably because they are not indexed by names.  But it is not difficult to search through them. I found the easiest want to search is at Internet Archive in search box write "Sessional Papers of Dominion of Canada" + the year. Pick any one and look in the  "Contents" (after the index) at the beginning of each year. No 1 is usually the Auditor General Report, and that contains names and wages of civil employees by department, including post office employees. Note that each Content number will tell you if it is printed or not. Some university libraries hold copies of unprinted reports. Do the same for the Provincial Papers. At Internet Archive there are also some in French.
There are plenty of lists of names throughout - including various Military lists. This one for the year 1887 the Military section starts at Appendix 15.  The next page gives the Index, and you will see lists of men who received certificates, professors and graduates at the Royal Military College, medical officers, retired officers...etc 

There are not just names for military. The "Expenditures" section gives salaries of various people. Keep turning pages, they note payments to individuals or companies for goods and services (furniture, candles, carpentry work, etc). In different years you see there are a reports to do with canals and railroads including goods carried, earnings and summary of accidents. Remember some department reports were not printed.

Here are some other examples of what you will find:

Steamboat Engineers Certificates and Examinations (Names + lots info) 1874

CPR Railroad accidents - lists name, place and cause.

Names of lessees of grazing land in Manitoba and Northwest Territories.

Persons issued Timber Licenses. (and turn pages)

Shareholders of Chartered Banks

Letters that never arrived that contained money that were mailed in Canada - 1874.  Lists name of sender, addressee and place. FRENCH

Dominion Steamers expenditures (names of crew, service people) - 1874


Using keywords "sessional papers" you get various years of the English editions.

Using keywords "Canada. Parliament" you get various years of the English editions.

Using keywords "Canada.Parlement" you get various years of mostly the French editions

Following are some Provinces that have some of their sessional papers online.

Sessional Papers for the Province of Ontario (Also try Legislative Assembly)

Sessional Papers of the Quebec Legislature

Sessional Papers of Manitoba Legislature

Sessional Papers of British Columbia Legislature 

It doesn't take long to look through for mention of your ancestor, you can flip pages until you come to lists of names that are often in alphabetical order.

Check your country archives to see what is available regarding their Parliamentary Papers.

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