read the Herald article as well - and suspect that it's essentially
correct. It would be a great surprise if divorce details - filled with
emotional and embarrassing potential would be subject to public access to a
greater extent than marriage details (which are considered
Whenever records are donated, loaned, or transferred to an archives, the
person or body that puts it there can place restrictions on the conditions
under which the materals may be viewed and/or there may be legislation that
restricts access to certain conditions.
conditions might be the amount of years that must pass before anyone can access
the documents, it could be time elapsed since the event identified in the
record, or could even indicate that only the archivist can view the
records. I read a book not long ago about some literary communication that
had a condition of 100 years placed on the donation such that even the archivist
was not allowed to read the items for 100 years - any inventorying had to be
done based on the file folder labels - and not by viewing the
Conditions can also be placed on who may be able to view the documents -
such as direct descendants or those parties identified in the
archivist's premier mandates is to *preserve* records so as to preserve
knowledge about the body that created them. The second mandate is to
provide *access* to the records. Most archiviests would actively counsel
depositors to make the records unrestricted (meets the second mandate and makes
their lives much easier administratively if they don't have to monitor
restriction requirements). Some archives may even refuse to receive
records if any viewing conditions are placed on them. But - you can see
that the preservationist mandate might get the best of them.
an archival accession is inventoried and housed in archival safe
conditions, archival description which has many required fields ("Rules for
Archival Description, aka "RAD") must be prepared. A really simple
example can be found at: http://www.mennonites.ca/mhsa/archives/coaldale_cheese_factory.html for
the wee holdings we have at the MHSA of the Coaldale Cheese Factory. The
red headings are all standardized fields that are understood to be part of
RAD. (One of the fields that must be completed is "Access
Restrictions".) I believe "closed would suggest that the records do
become open at some point in time.
the above based on my amateur status as an archivist and reading whatever
literature I've been able to get my hands on in the past 18 months of being the
archivst for Mennonites in Alberta.
now some premature news, since Hugh's name has been mentioned.
Armstrong managed to do a lot of important indexing and transcribing work,
but about 6 months ago his website went offline and e-mails to him fail as
well. I've been doing some work to uncover his files and now have
succeeded in uncoverring most of the files that I was aware of. These are
in the process of being placed on the AFHS website to be known as the "Hugh
Armstrong Collection" - with a wee logo to be associated with all those
files.. The files pertain to divorces, early Quebec censuses, and PEI
cemetery records and will be released and announced here over the next two
Judith Rempel, Webster
note new personal
e-mail address: judith@...
[mailto:owner-dist-gen@...]On Behalf Of Carol
Sent: Sunday, November 02, 2003 12:43 PM
Subject: Re: Canadian Divorce
I checked the National Archives site - Government Records and checked
>> Divorce Act
0.1 m of textual records.
Series consists of material relating to various divorce
Volume 10 is closed. >>
I am not sure what they mean Volume 10 is closed never having looked at
that page before I don't know if that phrase is new or if it means something
Maybe they are just sealing the records of 'important people' as
apparently it was reporters trying to find information of Mike Harris' lady
friend that brought this to light.
Hopefully the Herald got it wrong otherwise that is another avenue closed
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, November 02, 2003 1:28
Subject: Re: Canadian Divorce
astounded. These divorces were published in the Canada Gazette, so
hardly private. Try the Calgary Court House library on the 7th
Carol Lylyk wrote:
Earlier this summer I was trying to find the link to Hugh Armstrong's
Canadian Divorce site which had been on the National Archives site.
Reading in the Calgary Herald this morning I see that Parliament has
decided divorces past and ongoing fall under the Privacy Act and have
frozen those records. This was done this spring without any
notification so likely why that site is no longer available.
"Although divorce records will remain public in the locations they
were filed, it will be difficult to determine whether someone has ever
been divorced without checking with every courthouse in the
country" to quote the Herald.
So it sounds like another avenue of research is closed to
genealogists and family historians.