Friday, 25 May 2018

Phone Books for Canadian Prairies Genealogy

Are you having a hard time finding your ancestor in Canada's prairie provinces?

Henderson's Directories are considered the proverbial phone books for genealogists. The copies for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are provided online by Peel's Prairie Provinces (hosted by the University of Alberta). They are a good starting point, especially for pre-WWI and post-WWI research. Coverage is also into the 1970s. Henderson's Directories are similar to Kelly's Directories in England.

Below are the issues that have been digitized for the prairie provinces, but the links at the end of this article point to other resources.

On the main page entering a search will provide
 results across all of the databases in that province.
!TIP! Small rural towns may be covered in the larger city directories.
For example, Brandon Directories may hold a directory for Souris.

Do read the description provided by Peel's Prairie Provinces, as though the title may state a full coverage of 30 years, once you scroll down the page you will see the digital copies vary between those years. For example, they provide this information on the page for Lethbridge:

Henderson Directories. Henderson's Lethbridge city directory. Calgary: 
Henderson Directories Alberta, 1910-1953. (Calgary is the place of publication.)

You can see from the extractions (below), that there are some gaps in the digital issues for Lethbridge, ie: not every year is covered. This is most likely because the collection they were given to digitize had gaps. So definitely search in other places (local libraries) for missing physical issues. Not everything is online and or digitized!

Edmonton   1908-17, 1919, 1920-53; 
Calgary   1910-1940, 1943, 1945, 1948-53; 
Lethbridge   1914, 1917, 1919, 1920/21, 1923, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1932, 1934, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1946, 1948, 1951, 1952, 1953;
Medicine Hat and Redcliff   1913-1960;  and rural locations 1911, 1914, 1924, 1928-29.
Alberta's Gazeteer & Directory : 1911, 1914, 1924, 1928/29

Manitoba :
Winnipeg and incorporated towns of Manitoba; 1920-1956

Brandon 1906, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1913, 1914, 1917, 1919, 1921, 1923, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1950-55

Manitoba and Northwest Territories 1884, 1894, 1897, 1905.

Keep in mind that the print copies of these directories will be held at the local level and may be found in public libraries in large cities as well as small towns. Universities often hold copies on microfilm as their students use them regularly for their research.

Also please note that the title may vary from time to time and the publisher names may change as well. For example, in the Saskatoon directories, there were no less than 5 name changes between 1908 and 1960.
1908-1909 Henderson's city of Saskatoon directory for ...
1910-1919 Henderson's Saskatoon city directory
1920-1925 Henderson's Saskatoon directory
1926-1957 Henderson's Greater Saskatoon directory
1958-1960 Henderson's Saskatoon directory

Saskatchewan : 
Regina : In 2016 I reported that the Regina Directories Digitization Project was underway. Thanks to the loan of the originals from Regina Public Library it is now largely complete.    

Years covered: 1908-1979
Henderson's city of Regina directory for 1908. One year only. Winnipeg is the place of publication.

Henderson's Regina city directory for 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916-17, 1917.  There do not appear to be links to digitized issues for 1918 or 1919.

Henderson's Regina directory for 1920 - this link lands on the digital copy for 1920, on this page please scroll down for the links to:  1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933

Henderson's Greater Regina directory for 1934 - this link lands on the digital copy for 1934, on this page please scroll down for the links to:  1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957

Henderson's Regina directory for 1958 - this link lands on the digital copy for 1958, on this page please scroll down for the links to:  1959, 1960

Henderson's Regina (Saskatchewan) city directory for 1961 -  this link lands on the digital copy for 1961, on this page please scroll down for the links to:  1962, 1963, 1964, 1965
There is a note on the page for 1961 - "Issues for 1963-1979 lack vol. numbering." 
(Would be helpful to have a further explanation as there doesn't seem
 to be digitized copies for 1963-1979.)

Henderson's city of Saskatoon directory 1908-1909
Henderson's Saskatoon directory 1920-1925
Henderson's Saskatoon directory 1958-1960
The links for each issue are further down the page. Note the different names. Content may vary.

These Saskatoon issues  :  [1980-1991], 1993, 1994, 1995-1996, 1997, 1998-2000  appear without links. Perhaps they are still being digitized. I would recommend getting in touch with the public libraries in the cities to see if they have these issues in print.  

discovery of Snelsby and Sneesbys in Winnipeg 
Other Resources: 

Canada Online Historical Directories

Canadian Directories Collection - Library & Archives Canada

Henderson's Directories - contains lists of names and addresses and places of work for residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Enjoy your voyage of discovery!

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