Friday, 15 March 2019

Finding Your Ancestors in Alberta

ALBERTA
Brief History

Some information about the history of Alberta taken from Britannica.com - For hundreds of centuries, the area in western Canada now known as Alberta was inhabited by numerous First Nations peoples. They include: Blackfoot, Cree; Chipewyan, Dene; Sarcee; and Stoney. The Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Company, competitors for control in the west, opened the area by building forts or trading posts along the three largest rivers, the Athabasca, North Saskatchewan and the Peace Rivers. Eventually named the North West Territories, the area formed with the Dominion of Canada in 1870. 

After this process the area began to be inhabited by ranchers, some of whom immigrated from the United States. This influx of settlers harmed the First Nations very seriously first by disease then by decimating the thousands of buffalo which were their livelihood. Soon after, the North West Mounted Police (the N.W.M.P.) arrived to manage the ongoing relationships between the residents of this vast area. (Later renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.) The province was formerly introduced as the province of Alberta in 1905.

Alberta is well known for mining, oil production and farming or agricultural industry. There are many forests in the northern portion of the province and a good number of communities are situated along the border with the United States. Banff and Jasper are in Alberta, as are most of the Rocky Mountain ranges. Dinosaur remains are abundantly found in the Drumheller to Red Deer area also known as the Badlands. The Royal Tyrrell Museum is a well known repository of original dinosaur fossils of many types. Capital City: Edmonton. 


For Genealogists

These free websites should be your first stopping ground for Alberta genealogy.
Cangenealogy Alberta is a website created by Dave Obee with links to explore Canadian genealogy.
Library & Archives Canada - Alberta is the
Government of Canada's Genealogy page.
Family Search Alberta is the Family Search wiki.
Births, Marriages and Deaths in Alberta.

Search Your Ancestors at the Provincial Archives of Alberta

Cyndis List - loads of links for Alberta genealogy

Alberta Family History Society - resources available: Calgary Heritage; National Society Daughters of the American Revolution; Historical Society of Alberta; Calgary Branch United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada.
     I thought this was an interesting service offered by the AFHS: 'An overhead scanner and a scanner that can scan slides and negatives are also available at the library for member use. 
Contact - equipment@afhs.ab.ca to set up an appointment.'

Alberta Genealogical Society
Branches of the AGS: The Grande Prairie Branch are a very pro-active group of genealogists. They have a large collection of resources for Central and Northern Alberta resources.  The Lethbridge Branch is very helpful and knowledgeable about Southern Alberta genealogy resources. New website for Fort McMurray branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society

Genealogy at Edmonton Public Library

First Nations Genealogy

Banff Centre - Library and Archives - Digitized Photo Collection

The Heritage Triangle - resources available in Calgary - a partnership between The City of Calgary Archives, The Glenbow Library & Archives and The Calgary Public Library

Alberta E-Resources

Our Future Our Past  - Local History Books, Art, Calgary Stampede, Kainai Plants & Culture amongst many topics.    Candice Macdonald reviews Our Future Our Past quite thoroughly.

Alberta Family History Society - WWI Returned Soldier database from the Calgary Herald. Nov 1918 – Jun 1919, over 13,000 records

Edmonton Public Library - Search Edmonton Obituaries  Years covered - 1950 -1982

Edmonton Public Library - interviews conducted by EPL staff with old-timers and residents of Edmonton - EPL Canada150: Edmonton Stories -  includes: From Ukraine to Canada; Rutherford Seniors compilation and Gray's B&B. These are short videos/interviews posted on Vimeo.
Well done EPL!

Glenbow Archives, Calgary Alberta holds fabulous resources on Alberta history and genealogy, but especially on Metis genealogy, my personal favourite -the Charles Denney collection (41.3 m of textual records; approx. 3,800 photographs; 61 microfilm reels). This is a collection I have used numerous times to research my Red River ancestors - also particularly rich in Metis records.

University of Calgary Archives       Library - University of Calgary

Print Resources

Alberta Local History Books! The best genealogy resource ever! An alphabetical list/index can be found on this Lethbridge Genealogy Society page. The digitized books are found on the Our Future Our Past website. Print copies often found in libraries, especially copies written about the area. See Candice's article about Our Future Our Past under Alberta E-Resources on this page.

Alberta (formerly the Northwest Territories) : Index to registration of births, marriages & deaths 1870-1905, vol. 1 : Author Alberta Genealogical Society, Edmonton Branch. Published Edmonton, AB (Canada) 1985.

Peel's Bibliography of the Canadian Prairie to 1953 - http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/bibliography/10408.html

Pioneer Albertans 1912 : an index to the biographies of over 500 pioneer Albertans with cross references to 950 spouses & mothers. Compiled from "History of Alberta" by Archibald Oswald MacRae, Ph.D Published Nanaimo British Columbia : Nanaimo FHS, 1988

Town Life: Main Street and the Evolution of Small Town Alberta, 1880-1947 By Donald Grant Wetherell, Irene Kmet

Alberta Genealogists' Blogs


Wayne Shepheard - his blog - Discover Genealogy

Sir Leprechaun Rabbit His blog of the same name - particularly about cemeteries and gravestones - contains an interesting article about the Innisfail Cemetery in Alberta @leprchaunrabbit This is his genealogy blog Your Roots Are Showing Dearie

Researchers Located in Alberta

Wendy M. Anctil  Who's Your Grandaddy  Contact Wendy

Shannon Cherkowski - Alberta Genealogy Research   alberta.research2@gmail.com
An article about the service   that Shannon offers to genealogists.

Patricia Greber   My Genealogy Life   @treesrch

Lyn Meehan - has a genealogy research business, but I also met her at the Edmonton Public Library

Colleen Murray Alberta Researcher  - -  'Everyone has a story'- - Edmonton genealogist unearths hidden histories - 'If you just dig deep enough, you'll find something'

I hope you have been making use of the various resources in these articles. I have enjoyed compiling these pages and it has been interesting trying to ferret out information from a variety of sources. Information is often buried a little deeper in webpages on library and society websites.

The last in this series is a review of Canada's North, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut.


If you have any comments or would like to see a vital 
resource added to this page, please do let me know. 


Many thanks for your endurance - getting to the bottom of this page!