It’s Archives Awareness Week and to celebrate, we’re reminding you of a few fun things you can do at the City of Ottawa Archives. As the official record keepers for Ottawa, the Archives has a trove of information to help you discover more about your family, your house and your city.
Research your family
Looking for new roots on your family tree? The Archives can help! With so many municipal records, including land registry records, City directories and more, if you had relatives in Ottawa, there’s a good chance the Archives may have something you’re missing.
The Central Archives houses a variety of published and unpublished items relating to the history and residents of Ottawa including books, reports, maps, plans and newsletters about many of the projects and programs of the City of Ottawa and its former municipalities.
The Archives is also home to several genealogy societies and libraries that could help widen your search for potential relatives including:
- British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO)
- Ontario Genealogical Society – Ottawa Branch
- United Empire Loyalists – Sir Guy Carleton Branch
- C. Robert Craig Memorial Library
- United Church Archives (Ottawa and the Seaway Valley Presbyteries)
There is free WiFi access to AncestryInstitution.com.
Research your house
Ever wonder when exactly your house was built or who may have lived in it before? Maybe you’ve wondered what your home and the neighbourhood used to look like years ago? The Archives is an excellent resource for this historical information and, in some cases, photos of your house. In fact, the Archives has produced a guide called Tracing the History of your Ottawa Property to help in your search. It is available by e-mail.
Search records from City directories to fire insurance plans to find out more about the history of your house. In some cases, the Archives has limited historical building plans but most are kept with the Building Records Department and can be requested online through the Access to Building and Permit Records form.
Come across an old image of your house while researching at the Archives? This would not be surprising considering the Archives have over 3 million photos and maps in its collection. Just contact the Reference Desk for details. Pricing on photo reproductions is available at ottawa.ca.
Research your city
Are you looking to discover more about Ottawa? The Archives is the best place to do so. With municipal records dating back to the 19th century and community records stretching back to the 18th century, you’ll discover the history and growth of Ottawa as a city.
- A photo collection with over 3 million images and maps
- Council meeting minutes and agendas for Ottawa and its 12 former municipalities
- Old by-laws, reports and plans
- History and background on Ottawa’s founding families
Looking to discover more at the Archives? Here are some quick tips:
- Contact the Archives prior to your visit. Not everything is held at the Central Archives. If you e-mail or call ahead, staff will attempt to ensure records you’d like to see are available.
- Bring a USB stick. The Archives has a free scanner and USBs are great for storing these documents.
- Some information may be restricted by privacy laws or donation requests.
- Check out some items online at the Ottawa Museum and Archives Collection, a public access catalogue allowing researchers and residents to browse artefacts online. The site was launched in March 2015 and materials are regularly being added to the catalogue.
The City of Ottawa Central Archives, known as the James K. Bartleman Centre, is located at 100 Tallwood Drive. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. The Central Archives is always closed on Mondays, Sundays, and statutory holidays.
The Archives can be reached via e-mail or by phone at 613-580-2857.