Work of the Canadian Archives, 1908 - 1913


Cat No.:   CA0358-A:

Full titles: Report of the Work of the (Public) Archives (Branch) for the year [1908, 1909, 1010, 1912 & 1913] by Arthur G. Doughty, Dominion Archivist.

Each year the Archives branch sent a written report to the Minister of Agriculture (and later to the Secretary of State) listing the documents they had received and processed into the archives. This book is a collection of five of these reports for the years 1908 through 1913 - with the exception of the 1911 report (no explanation given).

These reports provide no Introduction or Preface to explain their content or the principals governing the purpose of the recording, but from a little simple research and an examination of the content, we can conclude that:

• In addition to the responsibility for collecting and storing important Canadian documents (assigned to the Department of Agriculture in 1872), the responsibility for "selecting and preserving valuable records" was added 1903, which probably lead to the creation of a separate department of Public Archives of Canada in 1912, by an act of parliament.

• Many documents important to the recording of Canada's past were archived in the countries who had been the protagonists in the early conflicts over its ownership. These records needed to be transfered (or at the very least copied) into the Canadian archives.

• The records selected for preservation dealt with all manner of topics ranging from the formal agreements between Nations to the settling of local disputes between citizens in the towns and countryside of Canada.

• Some of these records originated during the earliest expeditions exploring and attempting settlement, in the 1600's for example. The originals of such records were handwritten in the language chosen by the reporter, so to assist with their preservation and to make them more accessible the Archives staff undertook to provide transcriptions, and many of these, apparently quite literal, transcriptions are published as a part of the reports.

This collection of facts and observations reveals what a remarkable document this apparently ordinary Government report actually is. Within it lie records of the lives of ordinary Canadians as they go about their everyday business, the reports of military commanders at the front line of the battle to establish a foothold in the Americas, copies of the letter books of established "governors" as they go about their duties, and the journals of church leaders as they "tend their flocks." Even if this report does not contain a transcription of a particular document it does provide its exact title and sufficient information to allow it to be found in the Archive of Canada.

Ordinarily this would be a very difficult book in which to find particular facts - simply because it is a listing of relatively unrelated articles in no particular order. This randomness is further compounded by there being five separate annual reports whose content is governed only by what information happened to reach the fledgling Archives in that particular year. Our full computer search-ability, enhanced by our FastFind technology, opens the door to this treasure trove and allows you to instantly access the secrets locked within.

We are pleased to be working with the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFSHGO), and particularly with Betty Warburton (librarian) and her staff, to digitize some of the older and more fragile documents in their library.  This will allow them to extend the life of these valuable old documents and, at the same time, make them more available to family historians everywhere.  Please join with us to thank them for their generosity of spirit and to congratulate them on their foresight.

No. of CDs is:  1 ;   Format is:  PDF ;   Searchable?:  YES;

FastFind:  Yes;  ISBN No.:   978-1-897405-67-3 ;