Canada Not a Counry until 1 Jul 1867

+9 votes
Are we getting locations done better?  After getting some G2G help to find and review location policy, I wish to point out to members and supervisors that a location matter may be being overlooked. Simply put, Canada dates it's history as a country to the British North American Acts 1867, which came into effect 1 Jul 1867.  Like the incorrect pre 1776 use of USA, the pre 1 Jul 1867 use of Canada for Nova Scotia & / New Brunswick is also incorrect.  

WikiTree utilizes Family Search Place Research database to make suggestions, if used you will see the year 1867 is used.  I believe it took months (hundreds of hours) to purge unwanted USA from pre 1776 locations so maybe a little awareness could go a long way.  If guided to the proper WikiTree area maybe a friendly "Did you know" statement in the Activity Daily Report would be a high visibility way to cover this general subject: Canada Not a Country till 1 Jul 1867. Lots of eyes and fingers could make quick work of the thousand plus incorrect locations in just Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There are other dates sensitive changes in other, now Canadian places ...but this is the bigger dividing.point.   Google "Our Country Our Parliament"  Comments / suggestions     thanks for input and your considerations   GW
in The Tree House by Gregory Wood G2G6 (7.5k points)
retagged by Doug McCallum

4 Answers

+11 votes
This is a definite problem and comes up from time to time. There are other timeframe problems that frequently occur in Canada such as colony names but a "Canada too early" error  might help.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (448k points)
Thank you, agree and understand not a new issue. Liked your answer.  Getting this issue into view is a start for some kind of attention. My guess is, until WikiTree inside managers brainstorm this a little the general membership will have to work on this one profile at a time, like "USA to early"  Don;t know when or how a busy WikiTree management sees concerns we deal with. In business someone is marked for action, others get info copies. Awareness is the beginning progress.   Thanks  GW
That Canada Project is aware of the problem so thank you for the reminder. Wikitree management sees issues when posted here in G2G.
A perfect answer for me. thank you.  Will leave open for others to read but knowing the Canada Project is involved is the action area maybe I was looking for. With a little advertisement maybe members can do the bulk of smoothing this out what is already in the data base.  Thank you again.  My best experience with G2G.  GW
Canada too early would create huge problems, so definitely not a solution.
+3 votes

This is a good reference: North American Place Names.

by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (513k points)
Yes it is, thank you for the link. Genealogy makes us learn all sorts of things about the world of our past relatives. Old but still learning.   thanks  GW
+6 votes

Canada is the St-Lawrence valley French colony of New France.  Predates the use of Canada for our country by a very long time.

FamilySearch place names are totally useless as suggestions for this area of the country, since they generally use only parish names hyphenated with location names, for instance they give Sainte-Anne-de-Varennes, when in fact the location name is Varennes only, Ste-Anne was the name of the church.

by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (481k points)

As a military aircraft quality supervisor we worked tirelessly to make technical manuals and local instruction clear and consist leaving no room for misunderstanding or missing needed information about aircraft or personal safety. This name subject does not rise to the level safety concerns but the process of fixing things is desired by many but getting a fix takes on another whole effort. No one person can fix this .....WikiTree volunteers fix 'stuff' everyday but there are things we can do. I have to stop and learn when I see profiles that are better than mine or when they use a location names different from what have used ....that is where lots of my learning has come from.  I was glad to be told WikiTree management reads G2G stuff ...especially on big ticket items the names of places.  "Names" are the glue that make genealogy things stick where they belong. ( just made that up wow)   very best thanks  GW

It doesn't matter how clearly written the guidelines are, it doesn't help if they aren't read. I had forgotten about the Canada colony problem. I do think we can partially solve the problem but will need to think about all the issues.

Anyway, Danielle is correct and the problems for Québec are well described in that Project's page. I do regularly have to remove parish names and fix dit/dite names and all of that is clearly described.
+3 votes

Some of the confusion about the name Canada is caused by 'when'. The country of Canada did not exist until 1867. Prior to 1867 the name was commonly used to include large parts of North America, many of these areas are not now part of the country of Canada. If we are talking about pre 1867 we should be careful to use the name that was in use at the time. I don't know how most residents of the area referred to the larger area at that time. I do know that most of my husband's ancestors list their birthplace as Canada on the 1851 census.

In fact, when my husband's ancestor emigrated to what is now upper New York State in 1768 he was actually moving to the Province of Quebec. He probably thought he was going to 'the colonies'.

The province of Quebec, name use from 1763-1776 included many parts of the now northern United States including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania  and Maryland.

 The name “Canada” likely comes from the Huron-Iroquois word “Kanata,” meaning “village” or “settlement.” In 1535, two Aboriginal youths told French explorer Jacques Cartier about the route to Kanata; they were actually referring to the village of Stadacona, the site of the present-day City of Québec. For lack of another name, Cartier used the word “Canada” to describe not only the village, but the entire area controlled by its chief, Donnacona.

The name was soon applied to a much larger area; maps in 1547 designated everything north of the St. Lawrence River as Canada. Cartier also called the St. Lawrence River the “rivière du Canada,” a name used until the early 1600s. By 1616, although the entire region was known as New France, the area along the great river of Canada and the Gulf of St. Lawrence was still called Canada.

Soon explorers and fur traders opened up territory to the west and to the south, and the area known as Canada grew. In the early 1700s, the name referred to all French lands in what is now the American Midwest and as far south as present-day Louisiana.

The first use of Canada as an official name came in 1791, when the Province of Quebec was divided into the colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. In 1841, the two colonies were united under one name, the Province of Canada, from 1841 to 1867.

The British settlers had originally called the land that covered Quebec, Ontario, and part of the United States all as Quebec. It wasn’t until the British enacted the Constitutional Act in 1791 that Ontario would be known as the land upstream from the St. Lawrence River, or Upper Canada, and Quebec considered the land downstream from the St. Lawrence River, known as Lower Canada. In 1867, Ontario and Quebec officially became separate provinces.

One term commonly used by Family Search that I would like to see disappear is British North America, it's use seems to have originated from the name of the act that created the country of Canada. It was called The British North America Act but it did not mean that was what the area was called except perhaps by bureaucrats.

by M Ross G2G6 Pilot (398k points)
Gregory, Thanks for the best answer, my first one!

oups!  No, the first use of the name Canada officially dates back to the 1666 census, you can clearly see it on the first page of the census.  shows picture of the document, top left bears the name Canada

Oops! I didn't say the name Canada was not in use or that people did not refer to Canada as a place what I said was that Canada was not a country before 1867. 

As previously stated the question is related to 'When' in 1666 the area referred to by many as Canada was a French colony not a country. 

I too have relatives that came to New France very early, one was born in France circa 1648, Pierre Hudon dit Beaulieu, in 1661 he was living on the Ile D'Orleans and is also on the 1666 census. He was living in New France not the country of Canada.

lol, colony and country are the terms creating this conundrum I see.  Define ''country''.  You say The first use of Canada as an official name came in 1791, when the Province of Quebec was divided into the colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. In 1841, the two colonies were united under one name, the Province of Canada, from 1841 to 1867.

It was still considered a colony.  If one wants to be downright technical, Canada did not become a truly independent country until the repatriation of the constitution in 1982.

Above is link to Chronicles of New France.  Note that Canada was the colony in the St-Lawrence valley, parts such as modern-day Ontario and points west were called ''Pays d'en Haut''.  (upcountry),  South found the Pays des Illinois and Louisiane.  East was Acadie.

I agree it was a colony in 1791, actually 2 colonies named Upper and Lower Canada. It became a country in 1867.

The issue is what names are appropriate to use at which times and whether we like it or not the use of Canada as a country name as opposed to a name for a region is inaccurate before 1867.

The problem being addressed is not so much when Canada became a country but the use of Canada in different time frames.  For instance, Acadie was in New France but was not part of Canada, New France.  Nova Scotia and New Brunswick often get Canada added after them pre-1867, which is incorrect.  They were separate English colonies, only incorporated into Canada in 1867.  

It's basically a question of correcting mega-profiles in various parts of the country to get their proper location name entered, just as our southern neighbours are correcting their end to ensure that USA (which should be in long form and not abbreviated) only shows up on profiles that have dates after 4 July 1776.

Before 1784, the area where New Brunswick and Nova Scotia currently sit (and where they were before Canada was formed) is either Nova Scotia or Acadia (Acadie).  In 1784, the two separate colonies were formed.  The final border between the US and New Brunswick was not settled till around 1842.  And at that time Maine did not exist (except as a district).  I think as long as the community can be identified, the name of the Country or colony is unimportant.

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