Origins of my Romanian grandfather (born Montreal, Canada in 1914). His family had emigrated to Canada, where he was born, but returned to Romania after a few years. Later he joined the British Army around the outbreak of the 2nd World War and never saw his family again. He survived the war and settled in the UK raising a family there, but never spoke of his past.

I know few facts about his origins. I obviously know his first and surname, in addition to (possibly misspelt) first names of his parents, plus the (possibly misspelt) maiden name of his mother. We believe he was from a rural area. He was involved in folk dancing and we have a few photographs of him in costume. We obviously know that the family had moved to Canada for a number of years around 1914 when he was born, and had returned to Romania some time later (likely after the end of the First World War).

Every so often, I find myself trying to find information or records online, but to no avail. Can anyone help with the Romanian records or perhaps the Canadian records (I have also tried to search these but not sure I'm doing it right as never seemed to find anything).

  • 2
    Welcome to Genealogy & Family History SE! Many records won't be online because they were created too recently. As close family member, you may be able to access them other ways. Check other questions here on Romania, British Military records and Canada. Do you know the village or county or region where your grandfather grew up? (The costume photos may help, if you don't know). Do you know why, when or how he joined the British Army? (Romania was a German ally until almost the end).
    – bgwiehle
    Apr 2, 2017 at 3:13
  • Click genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/Romania to see other Romanian Q&As.
    – PolyGeo
    Apr 2, 2017 at 3:21
  • Do you have a birth record/certificate for his birth in Canada?
    – PolyGeo
    Apr 2, 2017 at 3:25
  • There are people who can identify folk costumes (if they're not too stage-y) down to the village, sometimes. Those costumed photographs should certainly be able to answer "Romanian or Transylvanian", at any rate.
    – JPmiaou
    May 21, 2020 at 15:43

2 Answers 2


It seems to me your question is telling us what you don't know and in doing so, answering your own question as to what you need to find out:

  1. Your grandfather was born in Montreal in 1914. His birth record should be available. Track that down and see what it says.

  2. His family emigrated to Canada and returned to Romania a few years later. There should then be two ship crossings. They likely arrived and left from Montreal or Halifax. Look up those records and you may get a list of family members and the location in Romania they were from. You may or may not be able to find these online and may have to research these the old fashioned way: at an archives.

  3. He returned to Romania and later joined the British Army. You should be able to track down his British army records. Those should say where in Romania he was from and may even give information about his parents.

  4. After the war he settled in UK and raised a family there. Thus he likely married. Get his UK marriage record. That may have listed where he was born and his parents names even if his parents didn't attend his wedding.

If you could do even one or two of those 4 things, I'm sure that you'll get enough clues about your grandfather's heritage that you'll be likely to solve some the puzzle of your Romanian line. There are enough records available for you to do this. Just remember that not all of them are online and/or available for free.

  • 3
    Two things to add: 1) Don't get hung up on "Romania" as the originating country. After WW1, Romania gained a lot of territory where ethnic Romanians had lived as citizens of Hungary, Austria or Russia. 2) For older records, ancestry.com has "Romania, Vital Records from Selected Regions, 1607-1914," but so far only Transylvanian counties are represented.
    – bgwiehle
    Apr 23, 2017 at 22:45
  • If the asker needs help on any of 1-4 then they should feel free to ask new separate questions for each.
    – PolyGeo
    Apr 24, 2017 at 2:15

If you have a bit more details about Romania, it might be an idea to join Banat List at https://banat.groups.io/ as there are a lot of people with experience on the area and access to family books and other data.

If your "Romania" turns out to be another area of the country, the group https://donauschwaben-villages.groups.io/g/main might fit better.

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