History 103: Pre-Confederation Canadian History

This guide will provide you with a starting point for research in your subject area.

Step 1: Define Your Topic

To help you in this process, use specialized encyclopedias and handbooks located in the reference collection, or chapters from a current textbook to give you a short overview of your research subject. These articles are written by experts on the topic and they often include other references listed at the end of the article. You can be assured that the references listed there are authoritative sources and well worth obtaining for your paper. Some reference books that may be useful:

Ref FC 23 .C36

Canadian Encyclopedia

Ref FC 23 .H67

Horizon Canada (10 volumes)

Ref FC 23 .O94

Oxford Companion to Canadian History

Ref FC 25 .D53

Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Ref E 77 .H25

Handbook of North American Indians

Ref E 76.2 .G74

Encyclopedia of the First Peoples of North America

Ref E 98 .E2 E52

Encyclopedia of Native American Economic History

Ref E 77 .G15

Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes

Ref D 25 .A2 I58

International Encyclopedia of Military History

Ref E 77 .P89

Native Americans: an Encyclopedia of History, Cultures and Peoples

Ref G 1116 .S1 H582

Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples


Step 2: Look for Books

Begin your research by checking for your topic in the library catalogue. Remember to click the item record to display the description for an item and then examine the Subject terms at the bottom of the record. Click on appropriate relevant Subject terms to see if there are any other items available on your topic. Some useful Canadian history Subject Terms include:

  • Canada - History - To 1763 (New France)
  • Canada - History - War of 1812
  • Canada - Social life and customs
  • Fur trade - Canada - History
  • Maritime Provinces - History - to 1867

If you don't find enough appropriate material on your topic in the CNC Library, contact the CNC reference librarian. If necessary the librarian can be contacted by phone or email. Additional services include the virtual reference AskAway which operates during the semesters. Students can contact AskAway 7 days a week including evenings and weekends for assistance.

Other local libraries like UNBC can also be utilized for research and books can be taken out, and the UNBC databases can be accessed on-site at UNBC for material. Material not found in Prince George can be requested through Interlibrary Loan service. Obtaining books via Interlibrary Loan can take up to two weeks, and journal articles up to a week, so do your research early. Some very useful bibliographies are:

Ref FC 104 .E56

Introducing Canada: an Annotated Bibliography of Canadian History

Ref FC 500 .R4

Reader's Guide to Canadian History, vol. 1

If your topic is about the history of women in Canada, First Nations history, etc. some specialized bibliographies are:

Ref HQ 1150 .C52

Changing Women, Changing History

Ref HQ 1453 .Z953

True Daughters of the North

Ref HQ 792 .C2 S97

History of Canadian Childhood and Youth: a Bibliography

Ref FC 3822 .J6

B.C. Bibliography 1849-1899

Ref F 591 .S64

The American and Canadian West: a Bibliography

Ref KE 8813 .A1 S62

Canadian Criminal Justice History

Ref E 78 .B9 S728 Native Indians in British Columbia

Ref E 92 .S7

Canadian Indian Policy

Ref E 99 .A86 M33

Indians of the Subarctic: a Critical Bibliography

Ref FC 179 .C66

A Scholar's Guide to Geographical Writing on the American and Canadian Past


Other Reference Sources

Ref FC 23 .G69

Historical Dictionary of Canada

Ref HQ 1416 .M395

Women in Early America: Struggle, Survival and Freedom in a New World

Ref FC 26 .W6 F67

100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces

Ref G 1106 .S12 H3

America Discovered: a Historical Atlas of North American Exploration

Ref FC 226 .C32

Canada at War and Peace: a Millennium of Military Heritage

Ref FC 24 .F58

Fitzhenry & Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates

Ref FC 24 .H55

Canada 875-1973: a Chronology and Fact Book

Ref FC 18 .R43

A Source-book of Canadian History

Ref FC 3212.1 .F73 H85

Simon Fraser, the birth of modern British Columbia: Vancouver Sun special report series 2006

Ref FC 36 .A7

Origin and Meaning of Place Names in Canada

Ref FC 226 .C32

Canada at War and Peace

Ref G 1116 .S1 T7

Atlas of New France

Ref G 1116 .S1 H58

Historical Atlas of Canada: from the Beginning to 1800

Ref G 1116 .S1 H582

Concise Historical Atlas of Canada

Ref F 851 .H38

Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest

Ref G 1174 .V3 H39

Historical Atlas of Vancouver and the lower Fraser Valley

Ref G 1116 .S1 H39

Historical Atlas of Canada

Ref G 2862 .N6 S12 H3

Historical Atlas of the North Pacific Ocean

Ref G 1122.51 .S1 H57

Historical Atlas of the Maritime Provinces 1878


Step 3: Use Periodical Articles

Periodicals offer excellent information. To locate articles in your subject area, use the online indexes - Canadian Reference Centre and Academic Search Complete. Once you have located article citations, if the article is not in fulltext online, click on the Request This Item button to request the material through Interlibrary Loan. Don't forget that you have access to the UNBC library for both catalogued books as well as their Library Databases (UNBC Databases must be used in the UNBC library to be properly accessed). Remember to order Interlibrary Loan items early!

Have fun! If you have comments or suggestions, email me at lovittj@cnc.bc.ca