Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Celebrates Black History Month

"In honour of Black History Month, historical records allow almost 800,000 black Canadians enhanced opportunity to uncover their heritage," says the first sentence of their press release, which was issued the 4th of February.

One of the interesting things to note is the First World War's Second Construction Battalion, the first and only all-black military battalion in Canada's history.

When the First World War began, black men who tried to enlist were turned away from recruiting stations. After lobbying the government, 605 men from across Canada formed the first segregated unit in Canada, at Pictou, Nova Scotia, on July 5, 1916. Their attestation papers can be found in the Canadian Soldiers of World war I Collection.

Karen Peterson, Marketing Director of, says that "Historical records such as attestation papers, censuses and marriage records, to name a few, are surviving documents that paint a picture of accomplishments of black Canadians and the important role they played in this country." reminds researchers that records through the African American Research Center,, are available for the Freedman's Bank Records (1865-1874); Slave Schedules (1850 & 1860); Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy (1718-1820); and Slave Narratives.

Ancestry is also offering visitors a free 14-day trial at