Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Tuesday’s Tip: Canadian Naturalization Records

Canadian naturalization cards
Canadian naturalization cards [1]

This past January, I sent a form to Citizenship and Immigration Canada requesting a search of the naturalization file of my husband’s grandfather Wasyl Demosky.

It all started when I read about naturalization records on Library and Archives Canada‘s website on its page titled Citizenship and Naturalization Records.

Here, I learned that:

• Citizenship and Immigration Canada (not Library and Archives Canada) has naturalization and citizenship records from 1854 – to present.
• The 1854 – 1917 original records no longer exist (they’ve been destroyed).
• A nominal (by name) card index exists, though, for these years.

I also learned that this card index can be searched. The information that’s on each card was compiled at the time of naturalization, such as:

• present and former place of residence
• former nationality
• occupation
• date of certification
• name and location of the responsible court.

If you are “a Canadian citizen or an individual residing in Canada”, you can request CIC to conduct a search of the 1854 – 1917 card index. The steps to follow are explained on the webpage, but basically you download a copy of “Access to Information Request Form”; fill out this form with “the full name, date and place of birth, and if possible, the Canadian citizenship number or naturalization certificate number” for your target individual; mail the form and the $5.00 fee to Citizenship and Immigration Canada at the stated address.

I sent my completed form and cheque to CIC at the end of January and six weeks later, on 10 March, I received an envelope from them. It included two items: one, a cover letter explaining that the “naturalization file concerning Wasyl Demosky” was searched, that the “requested documents” were “disclosed in their entirety”, and that “these documents only show as a ‘possible’ response to the search”.

Two, a photocopy of two card files, one for Wasily Dimofsky dated 20 November 1913, and the other for Wasily Dimofsky dated 1 May 1914. (The photocopied page is above.)

Interesting… two same-named men who were naturalized in 1913 and 1914. Was one of them my husband’s grandfather? Were neither of them my husband’s grandfather?

Unfortunately, there’s not enough information on the cards to tell which Wasily might be the right one. For example, there’s no date of birth, or place of birth (other than “Russia”). The dates that naturalization were granted do not match or closely match the date given (1907) on Wasyl’s entry on the 1921 census. Both men’s occupation is “farmer”.

The place of residence could have been a helpful clue, but it's not enough on its own. The 1913 Wasily lived in Langham in the Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) court district, while the 1914 Wasily lived in Sunny Isle school district in the Yorkton (Saskatchewan) court district.

My husband’s grandfather Wasyl was living in or near Buchanan (a son was born there in 1908), so, it’s not likely the Wasily who lived in Langham, because that community is located too far to the west past Saskatoon. It might not even be the Wasily living in Sunny Isle school district near Pelly, because it's still some distance from Buchanan.

For now, it looks like neither of these Wasily Dimofsky is the man I’m looking for.


1. Wasily Dimofsky card, 20 November 1913 and Wasily Dimofsky card, 1 May 1914; photocopy; card index to citizenship and naturalization records, 1854-1917; Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Access to Information and Privacy Division, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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