Friday, 6 October 2017

Finding Your Ancestors in Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Moving west, this article in the series will look at genealogy sources in central Canada, where many farming communities are located. The prairies are often referred to as fields of golden wheat and barley with beards blowing in the wind. They forgot to mention the sod-houses, the prairie fires and the ever disappearing horizon that greeted the settlers when they arrived to start new lives.

The link at the bottom of this article leads to my other 
genealogy articles in the 'Finding Your Ancestors in Canada' series.
credit: British Library / Picturing Canada Collection

Brief History

The Chipewyan, Cree, Saulteaux, Assiniboine, Atsina and Sioux are six First Nations bands who lived in Saskatchewan before the arrival of the Europeans. The early 1700s saw an influx of Europeans who traded with the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company. The province was earlier known as RupertsLand and then the Northwest Territories and finally obtained provincial status in 1905. The name Saskatchewan comes from the Saskatchewan River, named Kisiskatchewani Sipi by the Cree, which means 'the swiftly flowing river'. Regina, the capital city was once called 'Pile O Bones'.

My Saskatchewan born friend refers to her province as 'God's country' and He must have indeed found areas of beautiful oases, but although the province has many hidden treasures, from the TransCanada Highway it looks terribly flat! For those trivia enthusiasts, 10 things you might not know about Saskatchewan

For Genealogists

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

Aboriginal Ancestry - 36 pages of information and resources provided by Library and Archives Canada

Doukhobor pilgrims entering Yorkton
Eastern European Genealogical Society

Suggested List of Sources for Ukrainian Genealogy by Myron Momryk (applicable in Saskatchewan and Manitoba).

Links to Archives in Saskatchewan

Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan

Métis Nation of Saskatchewan Genealogical and Archive Centre
-this is linked to the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan GenWeb page - links to libraries and archives and internet resources. The Canadian GenWeb pages are always worthwhile to look at for unique items. Provided by volunteers.

Saskatchewan Settlement Experience   This website was published in 2005 but has a lot of very interesting and helpful articles for the genealogist about homesteading in the province. Provided by the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan.

Saskatoon and Area Rootsweb Genealogy Page 

Saskatchewan E-Resources:

Fabulous database available on Saskatoon Public Library webpage. Saskatoon Obituary Index 1946 to present transcribed from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.  Also available is a Local History Database page.

Humboldt Marriages  Oct.1905 to Dec.1921 This blog author provides a history of the transcription of these marriages.

City of North Battleford has an online gallery of photographs of the city from the 1900s. Any use of these require permission from the archivist.

In the City of Regina Archives, you can research the history of a house that your ancestor lived in using the Building Permit Registers. It's also possible to search all of the collections in the Archives at one time, includes: Architectural Drawings, AudioVisual, Photographs and Textual Files.

28,000+ Online digital collection of photographs are available on the Saskatchewan Archival Information Network. These photos of Rosetown, Prince Albert and Melfort amongst others are provided by archives and libraries around the province. Many depict provinces across Canada, for example, Alberta and Nova Scotia, as well as from Worcestershire, England, the Rhine "Sonnige Wochen am schonen Rhein" and other European countries.

Saskatchewan GenWeb

Archives Canada Virtual Exhibits  2004-2008 There is an amazing amount of information on this page, most of the links are still active. Really worthwhile for genealogy and contextual information of areas where our ancestors lived.

Print Resources

The information in these 7 pages of references for Metis Genealogical Research in Saskatchewan outlines Bibliographies, Archives and local histories - keeping in mind these are resources. Some of the items are at the Gabriel Dumont Institute Library or can be cross-referenced to your local library.

The SGS (Saskatchewan Genealogical Society) Publications page lists numerous books for sale. Women Pioneers of Saskatchewan, Book 1 and 2. Edited by Celeste Rider, Published 2009 by Saskatchewan Genealogical Society. To access the list hover your mouse over the Resources, then SGS Marketplace. Book 2 lists names of women who came with their families from the United States, from other areas in Canada and Europe. 1903-1917 One woman was born on board the ship that brought her family to Canada.

Tracing Your Saskatchewan Ancestors: A Guide to the Records and How to Find Them by Laura Hanowski. 2000, 2003, 2006.

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Library in the Regina Armoury is a military specialist library with unique items such as: original Canadian Army General Orders before World War One; personal memoirs and unit histories.

Prairie History Room at the Regina Public Library - contact the librarians for help accessing this collection. A list of genealogy resources available at the Regina Public Library - Resources List. 

These searches are from the Regina Public Library catalogue - so many interesting accounts of Local History. Worth finding out if your local library has a copy or can request a copy!

Dust and laughter : memories of a prairie family by Margaret Dutli. pub.2003 (love the title!)

Horizon and beyond : genealogy history of the Michael Sr. and Theresia Klemenz family who immigrated to Canada from Austria-Hungary in 1905-6. by MaryAnn Young.

One of the family : Metis culture in nineteenth-century northwestern Saskatchewan by Brenda Macdougall  pub.2010

Our towns : Saskatchewan communities from Abbey to Zenon Park by David McLennan pub.2008.

Raw prairie to grain elevators : the chronicles of a pioneer community, Duff, Saskatchewan by Len Sumner.   pub.1980

Women pioneers of Saskatchewan vol. 1 & 2 by Celeste Rider. pub2009

Saskatchewan  Genealogists' Blogs

Batoche Saskatchewan Metis -

Bibliography for Steamships  -   There are a few broken hyperlinks on this page, providing teasers but if you are a diligent researcher, there is some good material here. Note that some of the resources refer to the Saskatchewan River and can cover areas in Alberta as well.

Pat Ryan's Genealogy   Regina Sask. - although Pat's posts are very brief, there appears to be a tip practically every day of the month!

Researchers Located in Saskatchewan

MNA Research Particularly does heir research, but also provides genealogical research services. is a professional company that hires genealogists around the world. Saskatchewan page - each of these pages requires you to submit your contact details before providing more information.

Tammy Vallee located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - specializes in Fur Trade and First Nations research.

Another recommendation is to ask the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society if they have a research service or know of researchers you can contact. 

Brief History

The people of the Assiniboine, Dakota, Cree, Dene, Anishinaabeg and Oji-Cree are the original citizens of what is now known as Manitoba. Henry Hudson, explorer, 'discovers' Hudson's Bay. Other European explorers: Jens Munck, Radisson, Groseilliers, La Verendrye & Henry Kelsey.
In 1870 Manitoba joined the confederation of Canada, acquiring provincial status. Winnipeg, which is the capital of Manitoba, was incorporated in 1873. An interesting note: the corner where Portage and Main intersect in Winnipeg's downtown, is said to be the most central point of Canada.

My ancestors were Red River colonists who emigrated to Manitoba in 1815 as part of Lord Selkirk's efforts to encourage settlement as well as to provide a new life to those who lost their livelihood in The Clearances of the Scotland Highlands.
More Manitoba History

For Genealogists
credit: British Library, Picturing Canada Collection

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

Winnipeg, Manitoba is renowned for the Hudson's Bay Company collection. Incorporated 1670. Did you know their archives were once housed in London, England?

An Inventory of John Newlove's papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Manitoba E-Resources:

Digital Collections - University of Manitoba  A more detailed list of digital archives at the University of Manitoba. Includes numerous family fonds. For example: Dixon, Baker family fonds; Frederick Philip Grove fonds and Irene Knysh fonds.

Digitized Library Collections at the University of Manitoba Library - covers topics such as University History; Women's Studies; Rare Books; Winnipeg Tribune; Arts and Culture; Indigenous People; Human Rights; Northern Studies; Prairie History and World History. In the Prairie History folder is a peek at Red River Cartes de Visite acquired with a unique provenance.

Manitoba Historical Societymany very good transcription projects, as well as podcasts about the history of Manitoba.

If your ancestor achieved a significant accomplishment, he/she may have been included in the Memorable Manitobans list provided by the Manitoba Historical Society. 

Manitobia - in English and French - links includes Newspapers, Maps, Books, Photographs and resources for schools.

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba - includes podcasts |

Archives of the University of Winnipeg/

Western Canada Pictorial Index - keeping in mind that this is an index to over 70,000 photographs, there is a lot of information available on this website. Searchable by subject, you can request copies of these images, however on the About Page in the Moving Forward paragraphs, they do note that other institutions have made many of these images available online. Great food for thought though! The collecting of these photographs began in 1970 by Winnipeg's journalists Eric Wells and Thora Cooke.

Manitoba Archival Information Network Digital Objects Category has 4,687 results of which there are 5,572 photographs, 135 text, 2 audio and 4 other. There are quite a few school registers and records of attendance. Included are lists of records held in family collections.

The Manitoba and North-West Monthly - only 2 issues Feb.1885 and Mar.1885 - it's objective to promote an honest account of the resources of the country.

Société historique de Saint-Boniface - specialists in French-Canadian genealogy from Western Canada and  Québec. Also provide assistance regarding the genealogy of the Métis of Western Canada. Saint-Boniface, Manitoba

Newdale Manitoba - a personal blog written by Diane Rogers of  Canada Genealogy Jane's Your Aunt. Her mother and grandmother were born there and she encourages anyone with connections to get in touch.

Print Resources

[History of Fredensthal and surrounding areas], Manitoba Centennial Committee of Ward I of the Franklin Municipality. 1970

Criddle-de-diddle-ensis : a biographical history of the Criddles of Aweme, Manitoba, pioneers of the 1880's by Alma Criddle. c1973

Historical atlas of the East Reserve : illustrated. Ernest N. Braun, editor. Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society. 2015

Imperial Plots: Women, Land, and the Spadework of British Colonialism on the Canadian Prairies by Sarah Carter published 2016 University of Manitoba Press

Pioneers of Manitoba. Robert Harvey. pub. c1970 Prairie Publications.

Suggested List of Sources for Ukrainian Genealogy by Myron Momryk (applicable in Saskatchewan and Manitoba).

The romantic settlement of Lord Selkirk's colonists : the pioneers of Manitoba. George Bryce.

Three women pioneers in Manitoba : evidence of servant-leadership. Carolyn L. Crippen. 2004.

Ukrainian -  very brief document of resources

Where money grew on trees : a history of the Romanian pioneers of Lennard, Manitoba. John Goodes. c2003.

Manitoba Genealogists' Blogs

Diane Nolin has written an article about her ancestors in Manitoba. Includes links to 'The Story of Manitoba' which provides great material for the brief history section'.

News about Genealogy in Manitoba - not so much a blog but a listing of events 

Manitoba Genealogy Society   MGS Facebook   MGS Twitter

Manitoba Historical Society    MHS Facebook     MHS Twitter 

Researchers Located in Manitoba

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