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Chinese-Canadian Genealogy

Resources for Canadians of Chinese origin who wish to learn more about their personal connection to Chinese-Canadian history.

Heritage Projects


A number of initiatives indicate the growing level of interest in reclaiming Chinese-Canadian heritage. Some projects include genealogical components. See below for information on each project.

Chinese Canadian Artifacts Project

The Chinese Canadian Artifacts Project (CCAP) for the first time brings together and makes accessible in a single, searchable database over 6000 Chinese Canadian artefacts held by 16 local and regional museums throughout British Columbia. Anyone with Internet access can virtually enter these participating museums and discover much about the everyday lives of early Chinese Canadians – their resilience in the face of over a century of racist exclusions, their work and family life from decades past, and their ongoing community contributions. Whether searching family genealogies, investigating Chinese Canadian history, or looking for Qing-era pottery, CCAP opens new pathways into the past and present.

Chinese-Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia

The Chinese-Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia (CCHSBC) was registered in May 2004. The Society's main objective is "to bring out the untold history of ethnic Chinese within the history of British Columbia. We will do this through sustained efforts at document preservation, research, family and oral history promotion, public education programs, an active web site, and many other initiatives." CCHSBC's inaugural event, "Routes to Our Roots: Finding Chinese in Canada" was held in November 2004. Sponsored by the Vancouver Public Library, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the Association of Chinese Canadian Professionals, the workshop had a largely genealogical focus. It was followed in January 2005 by "A Free Taste of Chinese-Canadian History: The Inaugural Chinese-Canadian History Fair", which received extensive pre-event media coverage, including an hour-long open line radio program on a popular local radio show. Numerous callers from around the province phoned to share their own stories and personal histories. A number of future projects have been suggested, such as the creation of an inventory of existing Chinese-Canadian genealogies. Meanwhile, the Society facilitates the exchange of information between members by providing space on its website for members to informally post their research interests.

More information:
Mailing address:

Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC
c/o David Lam Centre
SFU Harbour Centre, Room 2600
515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6B 5K3


Chinese-Canadian Military Museum - Oral History Project

The Chinese-Canadian Military Museum is engaged in an oral history project funded by Canadian Heritage, to record the stories of Chinese-Canadian war veterans.

More information:
Mailing address:

Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society
555 Columbia Street
Vancouver, B.C.
V6A 4H5

Telephone: 604-658-8880

Fax: 604-687-0368

Chinese Canadian Stories

Chinese Canadian Stories
This website has gathered the work of universities and community groups from across Canada with a vision of giving Canadians, young and old, the tools to discover and make their own history, using the latest advances in digital technology to access, recover, and record their ancestor's past. Scholars and family researchers can use the searchable databases to access digital collections with over 20,000 photos, videos, newspapers, and historical documents. You can also search for Chinese Canadian ancestors who came to Canada before 1949 in the Head Tax database which contains over 97,000 entries.

Chinese Community History Room

The Chinese Community History Room is one of several services offered by the Chinese Community Library Services Association. The purpose of the room is to collect, organize and preserve material documenting the history of the Chinese community in Vancouver. Collection highlights include historical photographs and a complete set of Chinatown Today.

More information:
Mailing address:

Chinese Community Library Services Association
591 East Pender Street
Vancouver, B.C.
V6A 1V3


Telephone: 604-254-2107

Fax: 604-254-3012

The Chinese Experience in British Columbia: 1850-1950

The Chinese Experience in British Columbia: 1850-1950 website offers a rich portrait of the history of the Chinese community in B.C., exploring themes of immigration, work, and social/cultural life. Key features include a searchable database that provides access to the digitized holdings of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection and the City of Vancouver Archives' Yip Sang Collection.

Heroes of Confederation

The Heroes of Confederation heritage initiative is being developed by the Kamloops Chinese Cultural Association. It focuses on the sacrifices and contributions of Chinese railway workers during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s. The goal of the Heroes of Confederation Project is to build a Kamloops Chinese Heritage Railway Museum, which will also store the records of Chinese railway workers so that family members can trace their roots.

More information:
Mailing address:

952 Linthorpe Road
Kamloops, B.C.
V2B 7S2


Telephone: 250-554-1082

Fax: 250-554-1082

Historical Chinese-Language Materials in British Columbia: An Electronic Inventory

The Historical Chinese-Language Materials in British Columbia project is a collaborative initiative of the Asian Library and the Centre for Chinese Research, both at the University of British Columbia, and the David See-Chai Lam Centre for International Communication at Simon Fraser University. The database created by the project comprises over 11,000 records of Chinese-language items such as manuscripts, newspapers, correspondence, genealogical and family records, business transaction records, association records, certificates, receipts, textbooks, and photographs. These items were documented throughout the province, and represent contributions from seventeen resource centres, seven pioneer families, and a number of individuals. The resulting database is searchable in Chinese, English, and Pinyin. In order to improve the hit rate on searches, an English-Chinese dictionary is incorporated into the index file. The dictionary automatically converts searches from vernacular Chinese to Pinyin and vice versa. The database incorporates more than 500 images of archival materials. The next stage of the project will focus on digitizing major collections. A downloadable template is available, allowing remote users to contribute records and images for items in their possession.

The Multicultural Canada Project

The Multicultural Canada Project is a collaborative effort involving the Simon Fraser University Library, the University of Calgary, and several other organizations, including the Sien Lok Society, a Chinese-Canadian heritage organization in Calgary. The vision of the Project is to work with community-based organizations to gather Canadian multicultural print, oral and visual heritage materials and preserve them online, in order to correct the imbalance that exists in relation to similar English and French-language materials. The scope of the project encompasses Chinese, Doukhobour, Ukrainian, Indic, Japanese and Persian materials. One of the initial Chinese-language projects, for which a prototype has been developed, will be the digitization of the Chinese Times, complete with a corresponding index in both Chinese and English. The Multicultural Canada Project, although not primarily aimed at genealogists, could ultimately encompass a wide-range of resources, including genealogically-useful materials.

Nanaimo Chinatowns Project

The Nanaimo Chinatowns Project is based at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, B.C. The project entails an exploration of the history of the city's Chinese community, which began with the arrival of the first Chinese in the 1860s. The project website provides a variety of resources related to this theme, including historical photographs, images of artifacts, maps, documents, and interviews.

More information: