Doukhobor immigrants to Canada came from Russia between 1899 and 1914, following state persecution in their home country. They are known for their religious pacifism, communal living, and agrarian traditions.

On this page

Before your start

Gather information such as:

  • name(s)
  • approximate year of birth
  • country of birth
  • approximate year of arrival
  • place of residence in Canada

Places to look

There are several ways to approach researching your Doukhobor ancestors.

Census records

Canadian censuses often recorded the ethnicity of individuals and their place of origin. For example, the 1911 Census recorded ethnic origin and the country or province of birth. Starting with the 1901 census, census enumerators asked people who were not born in Canada to provide their year of immigration.

Library and Archives Canada holds the records for all official Canadian censuses.

You can search for your ancestor by name.

  • Select your census of choice
  • Enter your name term in the Surname and/or Given name(s) fields.

Birth, marriage and death records

Provincial and territorial government offices record births, marriages and deaths. These are also known as civil registration records. Those offices regularly transfer older records to the provincial or territorial archives. Information about the records and where to find them is found in researching your ancestors in birth, marriage and death records.

Immigration and citizenship records

Immigration and citizenship records often had information about ethnicity and place of birth. For more information, see:

These records held at LAC are also useful because they include information about individuals:

  • Immigration Branch, Doukhobors, 1899-1947 (RG76, volumes 183 to 186, file 65101, microfilms C-7337 to C-7341)
  • Dominion Lands Branch, Doukhobor villages (RG15, volumes 1164 to 1168, microfilm T-15532 to T-15535) These files date mainly from 1905 to the 1920s. To find the relevant volume, file and microfilm numbers, you can search by the name of the village in Collection Search. Also include the keyword RG15.
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Doukhobor records, 1923-1962 (RG18-F-8, volumes 5569-5732) To see which volumes will help your search, look at the Scope and Content section and the Finding Aid.

Published histories and genealogies

Some Doukhobor Canadian historical societies and communities have published their own histories. These publications can include stories that might help you better understand the experiences of your ancestors. They may also include information about specific individuals. You can search Aurora to find these publications. Try keywords like:

  • Doukhobor genealogy
  • Doukhobor biographies
  • Doukhobor history
  • a place or province

To help you with your research, our genealogy staff have compiled a list of books in our Aurora catalogue. Most of these books include information about individuals.

Each title in this list includes the author and the LAC call number.

  • If the call number includes the word genealogy, that means the book is in the genealogy room at our Ottawa location.
  • Example of a call number: Genealogy Ref. - CS88 A2 A38 2003

You can click on a title in the list to open the full catalogue entry. Then if you scroll down, you will see a list of other libraries that hold copies. You can also check your local library’s online catalogue.

Search tips

  • Consider how Doukhobor Canadians experiences have been shaped by larger historical events:
    • Many Doukhobors were conscientious objectors during the First and Second World Wars
    • The Sons of Freedom protests in the 1950s and 1960s
    • The incarceration of Doukhobor children in New Denver
  • Consider neighbourhoods and communities. It was common for Doukhobor immigrants to settle in the same areas. You may be able to find your ancestors by looking geographically.
  • Spelling was not standardized, and the same names might be written in many different ways.

Access the records

Records that are digitized

If you find a record of interest, there may be a digital image. Some of these are available through Collection Search. Others, particularly digitized microforms, are available through Héritage.

Records that are not digitized

References in Collection Search show if a record is open (access code 90) or restricted (access code 32). To find the access code in an item description, click on Ordering and Viewing Options, then Conditions of access.

If the item is restricted, use the ATIP tool to request a copy.

For records that are not digitized and not restricted, you will need to see them in person. If you cannot visit us in person, you may want to order copies or hire a researcher.