Now that Historic Calgary Week is over, it seemed an appropriate time to delve into some genealogical questions and post a few entries on the subject. The summer brings lots of visitors to the city and we see many people from out of the province coming in to the library to research family members who came to the Calgary region. What we have noticed over the years, is that there aren’t too many really good guides to doing genealogy in Alberta, so I decided I would write my own cheat sheet, so to speak, for my colleagues so, why not post it as a blog entry (or three)?
For anyone just getting started in Alberta genealogy it helps to have a few facts in hand. Until 1905, Alberta was a part of what was called the Northwest Territories. It was 1905 that saw the formation of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. That is an important fact to keep in mind as you search the census records of Canada. There was a district called “Alberta” but it was not the entire province.
I am going to start with how one goes about finding vital events registrations in the province. I will cover other records and other sources for information in subsequent postings.
So, first thing to know about doing genealogy in Alberta is that there is no index to vital records after 1905. For events prior to that date, there are two indexes that can be consulted:
Index to registrations of births, marriages and deaths: Alberta, formerly the Northwest Territories, 1870-1905 by the Alberta Genealogical Society (929. 37123 IND v.1)
Alberta: formerly a part of the North-West Territories: an index to birth, marriage and death registrations prior to 1900 by the Documentary Heritage Society of Alberta and the Provincial Archives of Alberta. (929. 37123 ALB)
After 1905, there is no indexing available.
The Provincial Archives of Alberta does hold some vital statistics registers dating up to 1980 for some locations. After 1905, these are arranged by place so you need to know where the event took place in order to search this collection. Here is the link to the Provincial Archives page that outlines the major genealogical sources available at the PAA:
Not all years or communities are included, so you may still need to contact Vital Statistics for some records.
Here is a link to the Service Alberta site for ordering genealogical records of vital events.
There is legislation in place governing the accessibility of vital events registrations. The guidelines are given at the site mentioned above.
Remember, as well, that we offer Family History Coaching on the last Saturday of the month from September to November and January to June. Drop in and enjoy a one-on-one consultation with a genealogy expert.