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Canadian Birth, Marriage and Death Records
Article updated: 15 April 2008
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai   Biography & Archived Articles




ALBERTA

Civil Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Alberta actually pre-dates the formation of the Province. The earliest records date from 1870 when Alberta was part of the Northwest Territories (there are apparently a few records which note birth dates as early as the 1850s). The Province of Alberta as we know it today did not come into being until 1905.

HISTORIC RECORDS
Original vital records issued between 1870 and August 31, 1905 are held by the Provincial Archives. The Provincial Archives of Alberta is responsible for acquiring, preserving and making available records of enduring value created by the Government of Alberta. The Archives can be contacted as follows:

Provincial Archives of Alberta
12845 - 102 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5N 0M6
Telephone: (780) 427-1750
Fax: (780) 427-4646
Email: paa@gov.ab.ca
Website: Front page; Genealogy section

Vital Statistics' civil registers (1870 - 1983) can be examined after reading and signing an agreement covering use. A file list organized by locality is available at the Archives. Some name indexes are also available. No photocopying is permitted. Transcripts can be provided for a small fee. The Provincial Archives of Alberta holds original vital statistics certificates issued up to and including August 31, 1905. Transcripts of historic vital records certificates can be obtained for a fee. To learn more about vital records held by the Archives and other important collections of value to family historians, check out the Archives' Genealogy Services web page at:

http://www.cd.gov.ab.ca/preserving/provincial_archives/family_roots
/genealogical_services/index.asp


Religious denominations were often the first groups in a region to maintain any records. In Alberta the main groups were the Anglicans, Roman Catholics (principally the Oblate Order) and the Methodists. The Archives holds some original church records such as:

  • Anglican Church: Those records of prime interest to Alberta genealogists are parish registers showing baptisms, confirmations, marriages and burials from the Dioceses of Athabasca, Edmonton, and Mackenzie River. Records of the Diocese of Mackenzie River have many Inuit and Dene names and date back to 1859. Those from Athabasca and Edmonton date back to 1875 and 1893 respectively. The records of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary are held in the special collections Library of the University of Calgary.


  • Roman Catholic Church The Collection of the Missionary Oblates, Grandin Province (les Oblates de Marie Immaculée o.m.i.) contains records from Parishes and missions in which they served though most of central and southern Alberta. Types of records of interest to genealogists will vary from location to location, but the Liber Anima rum (Book of Souls) and the Codex Historicus, a journal kept by the Priest of the day-to-day activities of the Mission or Parish may be available. Since a significant portion of the collection is in French, a reading knowledge of the language is extremely useful. There may be access restrictions on some records, so the Oblates Archivist on the site should be consulted in advance.


  • United Church of Canada The administrative and congregational records of the Alberta and Northwest Conference of the United Church of Canada (including those of the Methodist, Congregational and some Presbyterian churches, prior to 1925) are in the Archives. Of particular interest to genealogists are the baptism, marriage and burial registers for each church. An inventory indexed by church locality is available at the Archives.


  • Lutheran Church The Alberta Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has deposited records of congregations in Alberta which have disbanded. Certain active congregations within the Synod have also deposited records. Most congregations were established by German and Scandinavian immigrants. Their records may include information about births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths. Some Scandinavian registers also include information about place of origin, arrival in North America and local parish.


  • MODERN RECORDS
    For records after September 1, 1905 information can be obtained from: Vital Statistics
    Government Services, Alberta Registries
    Box 2023
    EDMONTON, Alberta T5J 4W7
    Telephone: (780) 427-7013 (recording)
    Website: http://www3.gov.ab.ca/gs/services/vpe/index.cfm
    E-mail: vs@gov.ab.ca
    For a complete listing of Alberta Registry Agents refer to:
    http://www3.gov.ab.ca/gs/information/registries/ran.cfm

    When searching for information on family events in Alberta, applications for genealogical searches may be made through Registry Agents. Recorded events are births, stillbirths, marriages, deaths and legal change of names that have occurred in Alberta. When making an application, provide as much information surrounding the event as is possible. Such as:

  • Type of event being searched (birth, marriage, death, etc.)
  • full name of the person(s)
  • date of the event
  • place of the event
  • age of the individual(s) at the time of the event


  • The more information you are able to provide, the better the chance of locating a record. If the exact date of the event is unknown, give a range of dates to search as all Vital Statistics events are filed in chronological order. Alberta residents applying for a registration which occurred in Alberta must apply through a Registry Agent. Non Alberta residents applying for a registration which occurred in Alberta can be made through a Registry Agent or the Vital Statistics Office (see contact information above).

    IMPORTANT NOTE The registration of vital events in Alberta was privatized in January 1999. At that time, the government of Alberta announced that Vital Statistics services will be provided solely by private registry agents.

    ADDITIONAL LINKS & SOURCES For additional information about Alberta vital records and family history information visit the following helpful websites:
      Alberta Genweb: http://users.rootsweb.com/~canab/index.html

      Alberta Genealogical Society: http://www.compusmart.ab.ca/abgensoc/

      Archives Society of Alberta: Visit the website to learn more about the Society and use their online searchable database of thousands of collection-level descriptions of records held in Alberta's archival institutions. http://www.glenbow.org/asa/home.htm

      Glenbow Museum and Archives The Glenbow Archives is one of Canada's largest non-governmental repositories and a major research centre for historians, writers, students, and the media. It houses an extensive collection of unpublished archival records of individuals, families, organizations and businesses. http://www.glenbow.org/

      Museums Alberta http://www.museumsalberta.ab.ca/ Includes an online directory of Alberta Museums.

      Hudson's Bay Company Archives: http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/index.html Founded in 1670, the Hudson's Bay Company's (HBC) chief interests for its first two centuries were the fur trade, exploration and settlement. After 1870, when its territory of Rupert's Land was incorporated into the Dominion of Canada, its interests became more varied. The area once known as Rupert's Land encompassed most of Northern Ontario and Northern Québec, all of Manitoba, most of Saskatchewan, the southern half of Alberta and a large part of the Northwest Territories.

      Alberta Family History Society - Cemetery Index: Includes index of burials in the region that surrounds Calgary and information about cemetery transcripts available from the Alberta Family History Society. http://www.afhs.ab.ca/data/cemeteries/index.html

      Edmonton Parks and Recreation Municipal Cemeteries: Information and a searchable listing of those interred in municipal cemeteries serving Edmonton. http://www.gov.edmonton.ab.ca/comm_services/rec_facilities/cemeteries/

      Alberta Family Histories Society: http://www.afhs.ab.ca/ Note: The Alberta Family Histories Society has established the Canadian Genealogical Projects Registry with many useful links for genealogy research in Canada.

    More Alberta Resources - from Global Genealogy


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