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Canadian Birth, Marriage and Death Records
Article updated: 15 April 2008
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai Biography & Archived Articles
Intro | Alberta | British Columbia | Manitoba | New Brunswick | Newfoundland & Labrador | Northwest Territories | Nova Scotia | Nunavut | Ontario | Prince Edward Island | Quebec | Saskatchewan | Yukon
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.
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
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:
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:
For records after September 1, 1905 information can be obtained from: Vital Statistics
Government Services, Alberta Registries
EDMONTON, Alberta T5J 4W7
Telephone: (780) 427-7013 (recording)
For a complete listing of Alberta Registry Agents refer to:
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:
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 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
BOOK - Place Names of Alberta
By Geographic Board of Canada
Originally published by the Department of the Interior - Canada, 1928
This edition by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2006
Place Names of Alberta includes the names of all cities, towns, villages and municipal districts, all post offices, all railway stations and the names of many of the rivers, streams, lakes and mountains as they were known in 1928. This resource is especially helpful to those who are researching Alberta families or history for the period of early setlement of the province. Many names of placs have changed in the years since 1928. Other places have ceased to exist since the printing of this record in 1928, while others have flourished to assimilate their nieghboring towns and villages.
ISBN 1-894571-73-8 More information
BOOK - Finding Your Ancestors in Alberta
By: A. Borstede
This book lists over 800 sources of information found in archives, libraries and societies. Also included are over 200 Alberta genealogical addresses. This book is used as a text by the National Institute of Genealogical Studies.
Softcover, 5-1/2 x 8-1/2, 222 pgs,
ISBN 1-894018-97-4 More information
BOOK - South Albertas: A Canadian Regiment at War
By Donald E. Graves
The 29th Canadiand Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (South Alberta Regiment) was formed in 1940 from five Alberta militia units, and most of its arogiinal members came from western Canada. More Information
BOOK - The Western Canada Photographers List (1860-1925)
By Glen C. Phillips
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton 2002, 2010
An invaluable guide to help you identify the place and date when a photograph was taken. Many family history researchers have boxes of photographs, but do not know who is depicted in the photo nor when or where it was taken. This book lists individual photographers, where they worked and when. That means that if you have a photograph that includes a photographer's stamp or other identification you can easily find out when and where that picture was taken. Oftentimes that will help you to identify who is in the picture.
ISBN 1-894378-56-3 More information
BOOK - Starting Out in Genealogy - Second Edition
By Ruth Burkholder
Building a family tree looks like a daunting taste to the unititiated, however it's easier than you think! Family history research is not complicated as long as you know which records are available, where to find those records, and how to organize the information that you gather. Though this guide is designed for beginners, it will also be of considerable help to those who have already started researching and recording family history, but want to improve their skills and results.
ISBN 9781926797441 More information
BOOK - Canadian Records of Birth, Marriage and Death: A Guide
By Fawne Stratford-Devai
This popular guide provides a province-by-province description of where to access provincial vital records, complete with contact information including postal addresses, telephone numbers (most are toll-free), fax, email addresses and websites. The categories addressed for each province and territory include: Modern Records; Historic Records; Additional Links and Sources. Several helpful maps are included.
ISBN 1894571894 More information
BOOKS - Notices of Births, Marriages, Conversions, Deaths & Obituaries From Methodist Newspapers 1830-1900 [Canada]
Compiled by Donald A. McKenzie
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2005-2013
This series of 12 volumes contains transcriptions of births, marriages, conversions, deaths, and obituaries as they were published in Methodist Newspapers between 1830 and 1900. You can buy individual volumes or save by buying the entire 12 volume set. The alphabetical format [alphabetical by surname] of these volumes will enable you to quickly find any of your ancestors whose vital events were reported in the Canadian Methodist newspapers from 1830 to 1900. Many of the entries are from Ontario and Quebec, however there are a significant number of entries from coast to coast across Canada, including Newfoundland. Of note is that some volumes also contain vital events records for people of faiths other than Methodist. Mr McKenzie's detailed and informative introduction to this work provides the reader with all the information necessary to understand and use the material.
Now available on CD too! More information
BOOK - Routes To Routes
By Ryan Taylor
A wide range of genealogical and research topics assist family historians with their quest to uncover their roots. Included is an essay describing how to effectively use libraries for family history research and how to best utilize the skills and training of professional librarians. The book is an entertaining read, however, before you know it, you will accumulate many sound research ideas from the vast experience of Mr. Taylor.
ISBN 0-9682524-0-0 More information
BOOK - The Scotch-Irish. Two Volumes in One
By Charles A. Hanna. This is the basic sourcebook on the Scotch-Irish in North America, a massive compilation of source records pertaining to the Scots who settled in the north of Ireland and their descendants in North America. The Scotch-Irish left Ulster as a result of neo-mercantilist British economic policy in the region, requirements that they pay 10% of their income to the Anglican Church, ongoing friction with their Catholic Irish neighbors, and greater economic opportunity in the New World.
BOOK - The Sash Canada Wore - A Historical Geography of The Orange Order in Canada
By Cecil J. Houston and William J. Smith
Originally published by Universtiy of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1980
This edition by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 1999 [CD 2011]
Significant migration of Protestant Irish to Canada in the early 19th century brought with it the establishment of the Orange Order in Canada. This work explores the role of the Orange Order in the unfolding settlement geography of Canada. Protestant Irish soldiers and emigrants, largely Ulster-born, introduced the organization into New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario within the first decade of the nineteenth century. At its zenith, he movement had a membership of as many as one in three Canadians.
ISBN 978-1-894378-31-4 (Hardcover Edition) More information
BOOK - The First Century of Methodism in Canada, 1775-1883. Two Volumes In One
By J. E. Sanderson
Originally published by William Briggs, 1908 (vol. 1) & 1910 (vol. 2)
This edition published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2008 (CD 2011)
Sanderson's fine history of the early years of Methodism in Canada has served as an essential resource for more than a century. Being out of print for over one hundred years, this new edition has been pubished to provide access for today's researchers. This editon is a facsimile reprint of both of the original volumes, bound into a single book.
ISBN 978-1-897446-34-8 (Hardcover) More information
BOOK - Getting From Here To There, Identifying the Origins of Immigrants to Canada Revised and Expanded Edition
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton 2005
One of the more difficult things to do in a family history research project is to identify where your original immigrant ancestor came from. Sometimes we know the country they came from, but not the specific place within that country. In order to find records in the "old-country" it is very helpful to know which town, parish, county etc that the person came from. This book identifies a long list of potential sources in Canada, where you may find that critical piece of information.
ISBN 1-897210-80-9 More information
BOOK - Canadian Family History in the 21st Century, Lessons, Links & ResourcesSecond Edition 2005
By Fawne Stratford-Devai
This newly updated and expanded second edition offers readers valuable lessons, links and recommended resources that will help you keep you family history research project on-track, saving time, effort and expense. The author is a popular genealogical lecturer, educator and author/co-author of more than 50 important genealogical and historical books.
ISBN 1-897210-68-X More information
BOOK - Lovell's 1873 Gazetteer of British North America
By John Lovell and Son, Montreal, 1873
Originally published by John Lovell and Son, Montreal, 1873
This facsimile reprint by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 1998 (CD 2010)
This facsimile reprint of The volume contains over six thousand descriptions and historical facts about cities, towns and villages across Canada, as they were known in 1873. Also included is a listing of over fifteen hundred lakes and rivers with their location, size and general information. A table showing the railway and steamboat routes within British North America in 1873, which will assist researchers in understanding the routes that their ancestors may have migrated over. The table lists the distance that each place in British North America is to the nearest railway station or port.
ISBN 0-9682524-5-1 (Hardcover) More information
BOOK - True Stories of New England Captives Carried to Canada During the Old French and Indian Wars
By C. Alice Baker
Originally published by E. A. Hall & Co., Cambridge, 1897
This edition by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2006 (CD 2010)
This thoughtfully written book provides the reader with the gripping history of Indian attacks in Maine; New Hampshire; and Massachusetts. Events leading up to the attacks and the attacks themselves are described in considerable detail with an emphasis on how those engagements affected specific people, especially those who were captured and removed to Canada.
ISBN 1-897210-98-1 (Hardcover) More information
BOOK - The Canadian Almanac of 1862
Originally published by W. C. Chewett & Co. 1862.
Many family historians value a carefully compiled almanac. Almanac's assist genealogists, historians, social historians and geographers locate information and records that affected the inhabitants of the area being researched.
ISBN 1-897210-98-1 More information
BOOK - Using Maps in Family History Research, Revised and Updated
By Fawne Stratford-Devai
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2005
his book provides insights into the use of maps for genealogical and historical research. The visual representation of the land and communities on a map can offer evidence in its own right. It is the task of the researcher to carefully evaluate every piece of the puzzle in order to identify and understand individuals, families, migration routes, and even settlement patterns. Examples used include Canada, USA, UK, world. Every family historian can benefit from this valuable booklet.
ISBN 1-894378-85-1 More information
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