Tracing Your First Nations Ancestry


Numerous requests have been received for information on how to trace family descent to prove Algonquin, Ojibwa or Nipissing descent. The following has been developed by the Algonquins of Golden Lake First Nation Negotiation Department, to assist you in your search. If you are trying to trace your Aboriginal family history, the following are suggestions to accomplish this sometimes difficult task.

Where to Start

Write down any vital statistics you know about your parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, great grandparents etc. who are in your Aboriginal line of descent.

Organize your knowledge on a chart, a family tree.

Try to fill in approximate dates and probable places for births, marriages and deaths. Think back on how old you were the last time you saw you grandmother, and did she die soon or long after that.

Family History

Think of your extended family, and who might be able to add information or who would have pictures to show. Write, phone and/or visit them.

Tell them you are building a family tree. Come with a list of detailed questions, or with your chart, and ask if they can fill in some of the blanks. If they say they can’t remember, ask what the person was like, or what work they did. From general recollections, many people may gradually begin to remember. Ask to see some old pictures. You will learn a lot while someone describes who is in the pictures and when they were taken.

Take brief written notes while you are there and fill them in immediately before you leave or run a cassette recorder during the visit. Ask them if they know of anyone else who might help you fill in blanks. Ask them for any papers that you could copy to help you document your family tree. Find out where the families lived, the town or township, and the time frame that they lived there.

When you have names and places, you can then begin to start your research for documented proof. Start with yourself, with proof of who your parents are. The following documents may be used as proof:

  • Extended (long) Form Birth Certificate
  • Baptismal Certificate
  • Marriage License
  • Death Certificate
  • Statutory Declaration
  • Affidavits (written declaration made “under oath” before a Notary Public or other authorized officer.)
  • Census Records
  • Military Records
  • Adoption Records
  • Divorce Decree
  • Separation Papers
  • Hospital Records
  • Other Documents

Then do the same for each of your parents, your grandparents, etc. that are of Algonquin, Ojibwa or Nipissing descent.

Sources for Census Lists

Archives of Ontario
77 Grenville St. Unit #300
Toronto, ON
M5S 1B3
National Archives of Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0N3
The Archivist
Inter-Repository Loan Program
Hudson’s Bay Company Archives
Provincial Archives of Manitoba
200 Vaughan Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3C 1T5
Tel: 204-945-4949
Indian Affairs & Northern Development
Genealogical Research Unit
10 Wellington St
Hull, P.Z.
K1A 0H4

These records can also be obtained through your local libraries for your viewing. You must know the Township, County name and year you are looking for. Census records are available from 1861 to 1911. These records were taken every 10 years.  [Note that as of 2013, 1852 and 1921 census information is also available]

Other Sources

Quebec RecordsArchives Nationales du Quebec
Centre d´Archives de l”Outauais
170, rue Hotel de ville
Bureau s-120 (sou-sol)
Hull, P.Q.
T8X 4C2
(Bilingual services offered)
River Desert First Nation
P.O. Box 309
Maniwaki, P.Q.
J9E 3C9
Tel: 1-819-449-5170
Archives Nationales du Quebec
Centre D´Archives de L´Abitibi/Temiscamingue
27, Rue Du Terminus Quest
Rouyn_Noranda, Quebec
J9X 2P3
(Bilingual service offered)
Military Records/Personnel Records Unit
Researcher’s Services Division
National Archives of Canada
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0N3
Fax: 1-613-992-7458
Management of Inquiries
Reference Services
Genealogy Unit
395 Welllington Street
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0N3
Genealogy GroupsUpper Ottawa Valley
Genealogical Group
P.O. Box 972
Pembroke, ON
K8A 7M5
The Ontario Genealogical Society
Kingston Branch OGS
P.O. Box 1394
Kingston, ON
K7L 5C6
The Ontario Genealogical Society
Nipissing and District Branch
P.O. Box 93
North Bay, ON
P1B 8G8
The Ontario Genealogical Society
Ottawa Branch
K1G 3H8
Sharon Murphy –OGS277 Victoria Street S
Kincardine, ON
N2Z 2V9
All of Ontario research
Email: [email protected]

Adoption of Aboriginal Children

Ministry of Community & Social Services
Adoption Disclosure Registrar
Child Welfare Branch
Lucliff Place, 2nd Floor
700 Bay Street
Toronto, ON
M7A 1E9
Algonquin & Nipissing Genealogy/Algonquins of Golden Lake
First Nation
Membership, Lands & Estates
Mrs. Jan Leroux
P.O. Box 100
Golden Lake, ON
K0J 1X0 (613-625-2800)
Algonquins of Golden Lake
First Nation
Enrolment Clerk & Genealogy
Ms. Helen Aubrey
P.O. Box 300
Golden Lake, ON
K0J 1X0 (613-625-2397)
Email: [email protected]
Indian Affairs & Northern Development Adoption Disclosure
10 Wellington St., 18th Floor
Hull, Quebec
K1A 0H4 (613-593-9176)

Most Churches may have a record of a Baptism, Confirmation of a Marriage or Burial of the person you are looking for. Your local Church of Latter Day Saints is a very good place to start. A lot of times parents’ names will be listed which will help you to prove your descent.

Hospital records will show births, where at least the mother’s name is listed, but you need to know the hospital and the date of birth of the child.