Ontario Naturalization and Citizenship

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

British Immigrants[edit | edit source]

Until 1947, British immigrants from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland automatically became citizens of Canada. They did not need naturalization. Non-British immigrants, however, were required to make oaths of allegiance before receiving land grants. The oaths and petitions for citizenship for 1817-1846 are in files at the Provincial Archives.

Before 1828[edit | edit source]

All individuals wishing to obtain land from the Crown were required to swear an oath of allegiance before a Magistrate or Justice of the Peace. These oaths can usually be found with the Crown land petitions or among the Township papers. See Research Guide 215, A Guide to Early Land Settlement Records, ca.1790 to ca.1850 for information about these records.

1828-1850[edit | edit source]

Ontario did not have a naturalization process until 1828. The Act to Secure and Confer Upon Certain Inhabitants of this Province (Upper Canada) the Civil and Political Rights of Natural Born British Subjects (1828) mandated that a naturalization register be kept for each county in Upper Canada; this practice continued until 1850. The surviving naturalization registers are available on self-service microfilm reels C15692 and C-15693 in the Reading Room of the Archives of Ontario online at Naturalization Records, 1828-1850 - Upper Canada and Canada West (Library and Archives Canada database)

  • These registers are indexed in Donald A. McKenzie’s series of articles entitled Upper Canada naturalization records 1828-1850 (published in Families, vol. 18, no. 3 to vol. 20, no. 1; 1979-1981). This index lists about 3,000 names. A copy can be consulted in the Archives of Ontario’s Reading Room or at the Family History Library or at other libraries listed in WorldCat.

Court Records, ca. 1850-ca. 1975[edit | edit source]

For the court records found in the following two collections, records can be searched at the Archives of Ontario, requested in interlibrary loan for use in your local library, or you can hire a researcher from the provided list of individuals who are certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists or who are members of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Naturalization could occur by swearing an oath of allegiance before a judge, usually at the Court of General Sessions of the Peace in each county or district. Records include registers, oaths, case files, correspondence and copies of certificates for some counties and districts.

  • To identify a series of court records documenting naturalization, click the Archives Descriptive Database.
  • Click on "Advanced Search Options".
  • Click on "Search for Groups of Archival Records".
  • Enter the keywords "naturalization", the name of the "district or county (as a keyword). Click Search.


A record of appearance before the court can sometimes be found in the minute books of the court. To identify series of minute books from the Court of General Sessions of the Peace: click the Archives Descriptive Database.

  • Click on "Advanced Search Options".
  • Click on "Search for Groups of Archival Records".
  • Enter the keywords "minute", "Peace", and the name of the "county or district".

Naturalization Records, 1915–1951 Database[edit | edit source]

  • This database is one of the few Canadian genealogical resources specifically designed to benefit those researchers with roots outside of the British Commonwealth.
  • References located on the digitized lists can be used to request copies of the actual naturalization records, which are held by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
  • The database provides access to two sets of records.
  • The first set covers the years 1915 to 1946 and contains 491,849 references to names that occurred in 1915 to 1946 lists that were published in order of certificate number; and in all supplementary lists of special cases that were added at the end of the normal annual lists for all years from 1915 to 1946. Information on these people has been entered and is searchable by name, given name and country.
  • The second set covers the years 1947 to 1951 and contains the digital images of the lists published in the Canada Gazette during those years. Information has not been entered and is not searchable by name, given name and country. It is searchable only by month and year of publication in the Canada Gazette.

Naturalization Records Held by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada[edit | edit source]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada holds records of naturalization and citizenship from 1854 to the present.

1854-1917 Card Index[edit | edit source]

The originals of records dated between 1854 and 1917 have been destroyed. However, a card index by name has survived, which provides information compiled at the time of naturalization, such as:

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

The index rarely contains any other genealogical information. Please note that Library and Archives Canada does not hold a copy of that card index.

After 1917[edit | edit source]

Records created after 1917 are more detailed, indicating:

  • surname;
  • given name;
  • date and place of birth;
  • entry into Canada; and
  • names of spouses and children.
  • The file will typically include the original petition for naturalization, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police report on the person, the oath of allegiance, and any other documents.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Requests for searches of naturalization/citizenship indexes and records from 1854 to the present should be signed and mailed to:

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
    Access to Information and Privacy Division
    Ottawa, ON K1A 1L1
    Canada


Please note that the following conditions apply:

The application for copies of records should indicate that it is being requested under Access to Information. It must be submitted by a Canadian citizen or an individual residing in Canada. For non-citizens, you can hire a freelance researcher to make the request on your behalf. Fee: $5.00, payable to the Receiver General for Canada. The request must be accompanied by a signed consent from the person concerned or proof that he/she has been deceased 20 years. Proof of death can be a copy of a death record, a newspaper obituary or a photograph of the gravestone showing name and death date.

  • Please note that IRCC requires proof of death regardless of the person’s year of birth.
  • Your request should include the full name, date and place of birth, and if possible, the Canadian citizenship number or naturalization certificate number.
  • Only Canadian citizens and permanent residents can make a request for information under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. However, you may ask a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident to submit an Access to Information request on your behalf. Keep in mind that the records will be mailed to the requester within Canada. It is also important to note that we require written consent (signed and dated) or proof of executorship, if the individual whose personal information is being sought has been deceased for less than 20 years.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

Information in this article from

  1. "Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Help Centre", https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=469&top=1, accessed 10 October 2020.