Links & Suggestions

Researching your Alberta ancestors can sometimes seem like a challenging task. The province is relatively young, and records reside in any number of repositories. This page will provide a list of sites that can help you find the best places to look and links to libraries and archives that can help you when the records are not online. Please note: This page is a work in progress. Additional categories (such as cemeteries) are being compiled to add to this resource.

Resources available at the Alberta Family Histories Society Library

If you live in Calgary, the AFHS Library is a great place to start. Our online catalogue allows you to search by keyword, title, author or subject. https://afhs.ab.ca/library

The Basics

Library and Archives Canada has put together a brief introduction to doing genealogy in Alberta: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/genealogy/places/Pages/alberta.aspx

The FamilySearch Wiki also has information specific to Alberta research: https://www.familysearch.org/en/wiki/Alberta,_Canada_Genealogy

The CanGenealogy website also has a page about Alberta: http://www.cangenealogy.com/alberta.html

Organizations
Be sure to check the websites of these organizations for resources and links to other helpful sites.

Alberta Family Histories Society https://afhs.ab.ca

Alberta Genealogical Society (has branches for many locations within the province – see Branches menu on the website) https://www.abgenealogy.ca/

Peace River Genealogical Society http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abprdgs/

American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Calgary Chapter http://calgarychapterahsgr.ca/

La Société Généalogique du Nord-Ouest: a resource for people exploring their Francophone roots in Alberta https://www.sgno.ca/

Société Historique et Généalogique de Smoky River https://shgsr.org/

Genealogical Institute of the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada https://www.jhcwc.org/about/genealogical-institute/

Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta http://jhssa.org/

Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta http://mennonitehistory.org/

Southern Alberta Pioneers and their Descendants http://pioneersalberta.org/

Calgary Branch UELAC (United Empire Loyalists) http://uelac.org/calgary/

Alberta Ukraine Genealogical Project https://sites.ualberta.ca/~ukrville/Family_History_Portal/fhp.htm

Burtonsville Historical Society http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abbhs/

Libraries and Archives

Provincial Archives of Alberta https://provincialarchives.alberta.ca/how-to/search-your-genealogy

Alberta Family Histories Society Library: https://afhs.ab.ca/library/

Calgary Public Library: Calgary’s Story: https://calgarylibrary.ca/connect/calgary-story

Edmonton Public Library https://www.epl.ca/genealogy/

Libraries in smaller communities are usually a part of a regional system. You can find most libraries and library systems through this link: https://thealbertalibrary.ca/members

University of Calgary Library : Sources for Metis Genealogy https://library.ucalgary.ca/c.php?g=702954&p=4997985

University of Calgary Digital Collections https://digitalcollections.ucalgary.ca/

Vital Records
Information regarding how to find official birth, marriage and death registrations is on the Provincial Archives of Alberta website https://provincialarchives.alberta.ca/how-to/find-birth-marriage-and-death-records

Announcements are sometimes found in newspapers. See our Newspaper category for a list of links.

Census
In addition to the decennial censuses of the whole country, the Prairie Provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) were enumerated every 5 years (1906, 1916, 1926) to monitor their growth and settlement)

Automated genealogy – An ongoing project to index Canadian census records and link them to selected resources. Includes the 1906 Census of the Prairie Provinces. http://www.automatedgenealogy.com/index.html

Library and Archives Canada – digitized census records including the special censuses of the Prairie Provinces (1906, 1916 and 1926) https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/Pages/census.aspx

Land Records
Land in Alberta was made available for homesteading. Homestead records can contain valuable genealogical information as well as information about the land itself.

Alberta Genealogical Society Homestead Index https://www.abgenealogy.ca/alberta-homestead-index

Provincial Archives of Alberta Homestead information: https://provincialarchives.alberta.ca/how-to/explore-paa-research-resources/homestead-records

Western Canada Land Grants Database – if the homestead was improved a patent could be applied for. This site also has a very good description of the Western Canadian Land System.https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/land/land-grants-western-canada-1870-1930/Pages/land-grants-western-canada.aspx

Not all land was homesteaded. Land was set aside for the Hudson’s Bay Company and the railway. Sometimes this land was sold to settlers.

Canadian Pacific Railway land sales database: https://glenbow.ucalgary.ca/archives-cpr-land-sales/

Hudson’s Bay Company land sales https://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/common_research_topics.html?farm3=open#farm

Maps
Public Library Williams and Harris Shared History Centre: https://library.biblioboard.com/anthology/ccf669c9-44e5-4efc-9cb8-768499ef861c

Digital Historical Maps – University of Calgary: <https://digitalcollections.ucalgary.ca/Browse/Collections/Historical-Maps/

Peel’s Prairie Provinces Maps: http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/maps/

Provincial Archives of Alberta, Cartographic Collection: https://hermis.alberta.ca/paa/Default.aspx?DeptID=15

Canadian Sessional Papers Maps (1901 – 1925) University of Toronto: https://maps.library.utoronto.ca/datapub/digital/sess_papers/index.html

Hudson’s Bay Company Fur Trade Post Maps: https://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/post_maps/index.html

The Canadian West (archived site from Collections Canada): https://web.archive.org/web/20191126043212/http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/canadian-west/052941_e.html

Historical Atlas of Canada Online Learning Project (maps of exploration): https://maps.library.utoronto.ca/datapub/digital/sess_papers/index.html

Online Historical Map Digitization Project: http://sites.rootsweb.com/~canmaps/index.html

Electoral Atlas of Canada 1895 – Library and Archives Canada: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/CollectionSearch/Pages/record.aspx?app=fonandcol&IdNumber=191594

Fire Insurance Plans – Library and Archives Canada: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/collectionsearch/Pages/collectionsearch.aspx?DataSource=Archives&q=fire+insurance&start=0&num=10&OnlineCode=1&TypeOfMaterialCode=600

Air Photos – University of Calgary: https://library.ucalgary.ca/guides//findairphotos

(Internet Archive https://archive.org) also has maps (use “maps” and a place name or subject to see what they have).

Newspapers
A good first step in newspaper research is to find what papers were available in the area in which your ancestors settled. An excellent resource is Alberta Newspapers, 1880-1982: An Historical Directory by Gloria M. Strathern. This is available at the AFHS Library (call number 971.23 *BMD STRA) and in many research libraries in Alberta.

If you are looking for newspaper notices from early Calgary newspapers, please see our searchable database of birth, marriage and death notices on our Data Projects page. This is an ongoing project.

Grand Prairie Tribune (AGS) https://www.abgenealogy.ca/grande-prairie-daily-tribune?mid=956

Miscellaneous Websites
Alberta’s Italian Community http://www.coalking.ca/people/ethnocultural/italian.html

The Alberta Online Encyclopedia – a web portal developed by the Heritage Community Foundation http://www.albertasource.ca/aoe/ui/index.aspx

Alberta Genweb Projects

Banff-Kananaskis-Bighorn GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abbanff/
Big Lakes County of Alberta GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abbiglak/biglakes.html
Calgary Municipal District GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abcalgar/
Camrose County GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abcamros/
Clearwater Municipal District GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abclearw/
East Peace GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abepeace/eastpeacehome.html
Flagstaff County GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abflagst/default.htm
Grande Prairie County GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abgrande/
[Municipal District of] Mackenzie GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abmacken/mackenzie/mackenzie.html
Parkland County GenWeb https://ukrainiangenealogist.tripod.com/parkland/
[Municipal District of] Peace GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abpeace/peacehome.html
County of Ponoka GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abponoka/
Red Deer County GenWeb http://sites.rootsweb.com/~abreddee/

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