Chinese Canadian Resources

This is a page containing resources I’ve found helpful when searching for information on the Chinese in Canada. My main area of interest is Chinese Canadian immigration ~1880-1960 in Western Canada, but I will post anything I find valuable here.

Unless otherwise stated, the information will be in English.

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Asian-Canadian History, Vancouver Public Library

A great source of information on Chinese Canadian history, including the library’s Chinese Canadian Genealogy section. If the search functions fail you, a call to the librarian might do the trick.

China Collection of Genealogies, Family Search

Digitized records from the 13th century to present day, organized by province. The records are in Chinese, but the anglicized names paired with their Chinese characters may be helpful in identifying family names.

Chinese Canadian National Council “Our Stories”

A labour of love of a whole host of CCNC volunteers, with some good links.

Chinese Family Tree, Off the Great Wall

A must see. Explains the complicated rules governing Chinese family relations, and helped me understand – finally – why my cousins and I were supposed to be using different names to address our aunts and uncles.

The Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection, UBC

In 1999, Drs. Wallace and Madeline Chung bequeathed their vast collection of CPR and Chinese Canadian memorabilia to the University of British Columbia. Today, the Chung Collection is a rare find of digitized artifacts, an excellent search engine, and a rich trove of artifacts that are free for public viewing. The site hosts thousands of digitized records, but there is much more available for the serious researcher.

Here are the hours if you’re in Vancouver and have time to spend. Book ahead to access the collection.

Historical Chinese Language Materials, UBC

For those interested in high-quality, downloadable scans of the original records relating to Chinese immigration in BC. These records are in Chinese.

Immigrants from China, 1885-1949 – Library and Archives Canada

A searchable database of records concerning Chinese immigration. From the site: “This database provides access to references to Chinese immigrants who arrived in Canada between 1885 and 1949.” Try starting out your search with the least amount of information, and bear in mind that there may be errors in the indexing or the spelling of names.

Understanding Chinese Names

A good explanation of Chinese surnames, generational names, married names, and nicknames. Ever wondered why so many Chinese women have the middle name “Shi” or “Shee“? I know I did. (Shi means “married to,” so Wong Shi = Mrs. Wong.)