Monday, 18 June 2018

Probate Records Part 4: Quebec and Ontario

The past few posts we've been travelling across Canada looking at sources for Probate Records. Part 1 gave a brief overview of the records, Part 2 talked about Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, and in Part 3 we talked about Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This post we're looking at Quebec and Ontario. Both provinces are unique compared to other provinces.

Unlike the rest of Canada, Quebec has never strictly followed the rules of English Common Law. Wills and the records you would find in Probate Court files were historically instead done through Notaries.

Notaries played a very important role in the lives of people in Quebec. They were the ones who registered and kept records on all those events that we as genealogists crave. They handled the transactions for:

  • marriage contracts
  • deeds
  • indentures
  • wills
  • inventories of estates
  • guardianship records
Finding Notarial Records can be a little tricky. First you will need to have a good working knowledge of the French language. There were some English notaries, but the majority were French. The second thing you need to find out is what notaries were working in your ancestor's area. This is very important, because these are cataloged as a group of records in the repositories under the Notary's name. There are two books that you will want to get a hold of:
  • Laliberte, J.M. Index des greffes des notaries decide, 1645-1948. Quebec, Canada:B. Pontbriand, 1967.
  • Qunitin, Robert J. The Notaries of French Canada, 1626-1900: Alphabetical, Chronilogically, by Area Served. Pawtucket, Rhode Island, U.S.A.: R. J. Qintin, 1994.
These books can help you locate which notaries were in practice both in the area and the time period your ancestor lived.

Now, once you have the names of notaries you're interested in, you can now check out these various sources:

1.More recent records are kept by the judicial district office of where your ancestor lived. A list of the offices and contact information can be accessed here. I kept finding conflicting information for both year range and access rules, so your best bet is to contact them directly.

2. Ancestry has 2 collections on Notarial Records: Quebec, Canada, Notarial Records, 1637-1935 and Quebec Notarial Records (Drouin Collection), 1647-1942. Both are collections of the indexes to the records. Some will also link to the record it self, but not all.

3. Family Search has a browse only collection called Quebec Notarial Records, 1800-1920. First you narrow down by judicial district, then by notary, then by year range.

4. The Drouin Institute has an index of Notaries here. They also have a collection of notarial records here.

5. The Superior Court of Quebec does and has handled some Probate cases. These are called "Successions". You can see how the process is handled on their webpage.

6. BAnQ has a large collection of notary records. Click here and scroll down to the notaries section.

Searching for Probate in Ontario is unique. Unlike some of the other provinces, early Ontario settlers did not care a lot about probate. Unless there were significant assets, large amounts of land and/or minor children involved, a larger percentage of people than normal didn't go through the process. It was often much cheaper for them to register the will at the local land registry to make sure title passed to the heir.

Before 1793, the court only got involved if the deceased had no will. Wills were left with a notary, similar to Quebec. From 1793 to 1858, a central provincial Probate Court handled cases that involved property in more than one district. Those with assets in one district were handled at the County or District level Surrogate Court that the property was located in. After 1858, the Surrogate Courts handled all cases. These are called Estate Files.

Sources for wills and estates:

1. Records are routinely transferred to the Archives of Ontario (AO). They have a great information sheet on everything you need to know about wills and estate files here. This was just updated this month, so the information it contains is completely up to date. The AO also participates in inter library loan, if the file has been microfilmed. Not all of them are. I've used the service for other types of microfilm, and it is usually very quick.

2. Family Search has many microfilms pertaining to Probate. You can see a list of them here. They haven't been digitized yet, but you can order and view them at any Family History Center.

3. If you've determined that the AO does not have your ancestor's files in their possession yet, then you must go through the court house that handled the case. You can find all the contact information for the courthouses here,

4. Various branches of the Ontario Genealogical Society have microfilms and indexes of the AO's records for their particular branch's area. Contacting the branch can give you  a good leg up.

Next post we're going to keep travelling west and look at Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Probate Records Part 3 - Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

This is the third in a series of posts about Probate Records. In Part 1 I gave an quick overview of Probate Records and what information they can give us. In Part 2 we looked at Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. Now we're going to look at Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Nova Scotia
From what I could find, there was or is no law in Nova Scotia requiring the Probate Process. However, if your ancestor had any kind of assets, they could not be distributed or settled legally without going through the courts. The process is done was done through the provincial Supreme Court's Probate Court. A complete overhaul of the Probate Process was done and came into effect on 1 October 2001. You can find the differences in the General Information section on the Supreme Court's web site. According to the rules on public access, Probate files have no restrictions on access once settled, unless ordered by a judge.

Here's where you can access wills and probate records:

1. Nova Scotia Archives has wills and probate records microfilmed and available to view onsite only. Thee records go from the 1700's to the mid twentieth century. From some quick searchs of their holdings, these can be found not only in Court Record sets, but in Family fonds as well. I also saw at least one record collection that belonged to a lawyer, and involved his case files. Talking to Archives staff looks to be the best course of action when you visit. A brief description of what they carry is here.

2. Originals of all proceedings are kept by the Registrar's office of the Probate Court. The Nova Scotia Courts website has an online database of their decisions from 2002 on wards here. This only gives you the final decision of the court, but from there you can get the information you need to find the actual files. There are several Probate Court locations around the province. To locate which courthouse would possibly hold your ancestor's records, use the interactive map here.

3. Family Search has a browse only collection on their website called Nova Scotia Probate Records 1760-1993. They are divided by County, then by year range. It will take some time but it will be worth it.

4. Check out local genealogical and historical societies from your ancestor's area. Many of them have transcribed records. Some are available freely, while some may require a membership. Fees for membership can be well worth your while if you have many ancestors in a particular area.

New Brunswick
Probate was not mandatory in New Brunswick. Like Nova Scotia, there is a special Probate Division of the Supreme Court, and records are held there. You can access contact information of the Probate Courts in the province here.

Other resources for records are the following:

1. The New Brunswick Courts web site has a searchable index. You will need to input a last name, then click on advanced options to narrow it down to probate and the area your ancestor's file will be in. This is a work in progress. All cases from 2010 to now are indexed. They are continually adding earlier years. Clicking on the results will give you a brief description of the particulars, and where to access the complete file.

2. The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick has wills and probate files in their holdings. These are not online. You will need to access the County Guides to see your area of interest's holdings. Some records have been microfilmed, and the PANB participates in inter library loan. Remember that county boundaries were quite fluid for a lot of years. You may have to look at a different County to get the information you need.

3. The PANB also has an online database of brief abstracts for over 2,000 files here. It is indexed several different ways. It is nowhere near as good as having a look at the complete record, but can give you a good starting point on further research.

4. If your ancestor was a New Brunswick Loyalist, check out the UNB's Loyalist Collection. The microfilms can be accessed through inter library loan, and they also do some research for others.

5. As with Nova Scotia, there are many local genealogical and historical societies in the province. Do a Google search to see which ones pertain to your area of interest. You never know if one of their volunteers has put together a collection.

Next post we're going to continue west and look at Quebec and Ontario.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Probate Records Part 2: Newfoundland and PEI

Last post we talked about the information you can get from.a probate file. Most of Canada follows English Common Law's process of probate and administration. The FamilySearch Wiki has a good tutorial of the process here.This post, we're going to look at how to get probate/administration records in Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.

It was not mandatory that a will go through the probate process in Newfoundland. However, for the heirs to liquidate an estate, then they must have legal right to do so through the courts. If your ancestor was what we would consider middle to upper class, then they would probably have had a probate or administration process after their death. The same would hold true if there were minor children left behind.

Probate and Administration cases are handled by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland. There are 6 locations in the province:

  • Corner Brook
  • Gander
  • Grand Bank
  • Grand Falls-Windsor
  • Happy Valley-Goosebay
  • St. John's

There are several different ways to look for probate files in the province.

1. Registry of Deeds: If your ancestor had property before 1832, you might want to contact the Regsitry of Deeds Office. They have land registry books available to view on site that go back to 1825. If land passed between family members, there might be probate related records there.

2. The Rooms: This Provincial Archive had probate records from 1825- 1900. They are available to view on site. They do handle research requests for those searching at a distance, but they do follow certain guidelines. Your best bet would be to contact them directly to see if they can handle your request.

3. If you are researching from a distance, and have deep Newfoundland roots, you might want to consider a membership to the Family History Society of Newfoundland. Among other records, they have digitized collections of Probate and Administration records from the Supreme Court. These are available in their members only area. Membership is only $42/year.

4. Post 1900 files are still held in custody of the Supreme Court. The link to their information on Wills, Estates and Guardianship is here. About half way down the page is a request for a search form. The search is $20.00 in advance. Photocopies are $0.25 each.

5. If you're not sure where to find a file, check out the indexes at the Newfoundland Grand Banks.

6. FamilySearch has microfilms of various probate record sets. These are not digitized, but can be viewed at a Family History Centre.

Prince Edward Island
According to Family Search, estates in PEI were required by law to be probated. It did not matter if there was a will. The Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island Estates Division handles the probate process. There are 3 locations in the province:

  • Charlottetown
  • Summerside
  • Georgetown
Here are some resources for finding Probate Court Records:

1. FamilySearch has several microfilms on PEI probate. You can access their list here.

2.The Provincial Archives Record Office (PARO) holds the records for the province before 1930. These are not online, but can be viewed onsite. Some of the PARO's holdings are microfilmed and available through inter library loan, but I do not know if the collection of probate and Estate records are part of the microfilms. Scroll to the bottom on this link to find out what's available for researching from a distance.

3. Post 1930 records are held at Estates Section, Sir Louis Henry Davies Law Courts in Charlottetown.

4. The Island Register has a transcription database of early PEI wills. You can view what they have here.

5. Don't forget to contact the provincial Registrar of Deeds if your ancestor owned land. Probate related records could be on file there.

Next post we'll be looking at Nova Scotia and New Bunswick. This post, we're going to look at how to get probate/administration records in Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Probate Records Part 1: A Forgotten Resource

When we do searches for our ancestors, we tend to concentrate mainly on their birth, death, and the years in between. What we sometimes forget about, is the record set that comes after death: probate records.

Simply put, probate records are the court records that have to do with the distribution of your ancestor's effects after their death. These fall into two categories:
  • testate: when the deceased had a will
  • intestate: when no will was made or found
The probate process could be a long one. There are many steps to it. Family dynamics and the size of the estate a person left could make the process last years. Family Search has a great wiki on the Canadian probate process here.

Probate records in Canada can sometimes predate civil registration in some provinces. It may be one of the only clues you have as to when someone died. They can contain a wealth of information. Along with the date and place of death, you can also find:
  • Spousal information
  • The deceased's will if there was one
  • Inventory of assets : This could be goods, land, and/or money
  • Details of debts
  • Names of heirs: Could be the deceased's children,but not necessarily. They could also be favourite extended family members, or no relation at all. 
  • Family relationships
  • Names of guardians for underage children
  • Names of witnesses: They could be family or friends.
  • Residences: If they had land in several jurisdictions, you can follow where they moved. 
  • Birth information: An especially handy tidbit if they were your immigrant ancestor.
Not all probate records will have a lot of information. Others can contain a genealogical gold mine. For example I came across a Manitoba probate record for a Elizabeth McDonald that was probated in 1910. Among the first few pages, I found the following information:
  • Elizabeth died 20 January 1903
  • Elizabeth was a resident and died in Michpicton, Ontario, but had property in the Eastern Judicial District of Manitoba
  • Elizabeth was the wife of Ewan McDonald, who died 4 September 1909 in Michpicton, Ontario
  • She had estate and assets "...within Manitoba worth no more than $3600.00 to the best of your Petitioner's knowledge and belief..."
  • Elizabeth died without a will
  • When she died, there were eight living children
  • Son Alexander A. McDonald lived in Winnipegosis Manitoba and was an accountant
  • Daughter Mary Helen McDonald resided in Winnipeg and was the petitioner to become Administratrix. She was unmarried.
  • Daughter Annie Catherine Lauder lived in Elphinstone, Manitoba. She was married.
  • Son Robert Campbell McDonald lived in Prince Rupert, British Columbia
  • Son Samuel Lawrence McDonald lived in Helen Mine P.O., Ontario and was a storekeeper
  • Daughter Gertrude Elizabeth Ewing lived in Prince Rupert, Bristish Columbia. She was married.
  • Son Kenneth McDonald lived in Isle a la Crosse, Saskatchewan and was a clerk
  • Son Hunter McDonald worked as a surveyor in Northern Ontario.
  • All Mary Helen's siblings gave written consent for her to be Administratrix, except Hunter, who "...was engaged in a survey in Northern Ontario, out of reach by communication by mail..."
  • Elizabeth had interest in property in Manitoba from the estate of a deceased Abt[?] Murray of the Parish of St. Clements in Manitoba. 

That's a lot of information in just half a dozen pages or so. Along with the whereabouts of the children, you get the added bonus of their signatures on the documents. They are many avenues one can follow. For instance, who is the mysterious Murray that Elizabeth was bequeathed land from?

Some points to consider:

Don't assume that all family members named in the records are the only ones. Children who died before their parents would obviously not have an interest in the Estate.

The majority of women will not have probate files, unless they died unmarried or a widow.

Quebec differs from the rest of Canada, as they did not follow English Common Law. Even among the English speaking provinces, the laws dictating how an estate was settled can differ between provinces.

Remember that our definitions of relationships now does not always apply to relationships back then. For instance, niece and nephew once also meant grandchildren. Also, the term "in-law" didn't used to mean just the spouse's family. It also referred to step relationships. For instance, a "son in-law" could also have been a stepson. Conversely, your sister in-law Ruth today could also have just been called a sister in the past. Or, she could have been referred to as your "good sister" Ruth.

Next post we're going to travel across Canada and look at each province's unique way of dealing with a deceased's estate.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Immigrant Ancestors: Border Entry Records at the LAC

We all know that ship's lists to Canada are one of the best resources for finding our immigrant ancestors. but what if your ancestor isn't listed? What if your ancestor came from the United States? Not only American citizens moved up into Canada. There were others that took ship across the ocean to an American port, and then traveled north to Canada.

An often overlooked resource are border crossing records. From 1908 on, those travelling between the Canada and US were required to go through a designated entry point. Before then, people moved freely across the border between us and our neighbours to the south. 

If you have access to Ancestry, you can access their collection Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935. This collection is fully indexed. However, Ancestry's indexing is notorious for not always being great. So make sure you use as many name variations as you can think of when using it. You can also use the browse function to the right of the search fields.

If you don't have Ancestry access, you can still turn to Library and Archives Canada for their digitized collection on Border Entries. This method is little more cumbersome to use, but it's worth the effort. There are some highlighted text that you'll want to click on to help your search. Unfortunately, the links are a little jumbled and don't quite take you where you need to be. However, I've figured out where you should be clicking, and I've included instructions below to get the most out of this collection without pulling your hair out.

First you'll want to pick which time frame your ancestor came over: 1908 to 1918, 1919 to 1924, or 1925 to 1935.

1908 to 1919 
During these years, people crossing into Canada were put onto lists. These lists have been put on microfilm and digitized. Your first step is to look at the page Digitized Microforms(Archived) highlighted in the text. 

Now, when you click on this, make sure you press Ctrl as you left click on the mouse so that the screen opens in a new window. Then follow these steps:
  • Scroll down the page to their chart of microfilms from 1908 to 1918. 
  • Pick a possible location for your ancestor to have crossed. Some locations have more than one microfilm so look to the right for the year range for each. 
  • Take note of the microfilm number to the left of the location
  • Now go back to the main page, and this time press Ctrl and left click on the other highlighted text: Border Entry Lists for 1908 to 1918 (Archived).
  • Find your microfilm number and click on it. This will take you to the digitized images that you can browse through page by page.
  • When you find an image you want to keep, right click on the image and click on "Save Image as..." to save the image to your computer.
The information in these lists can include the following information:
  • Arrival date
  • Name
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Country of Birth
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Means of transportation. 
  • State travelling from
  • Final destination
  • Value of cash and belongings
  • Additional remarks

1919 to 1924
During these years, those entering Canada filled out what is called a Form 30. The forms have been digitized in more or less alphabetical order. Follow these steps:
  • Ctrl + left click on he highlighted text Form 30 records(Archived) to open the page in a new window.
  • Scroll down the page to the listing of microfilms. You can either browse through the lists, or you can type your surname in the Filter Box located at the start of the lists.
  • Click on your desired microfilm and it will take you right to the images. These can be downloaded as PDFs, or you can look at the image right on the page.
  • Once you have found your entry, right click and click on "Save Image as..." to save to your computer.
The Form 30s can contain a huge amount of information:
  • Port and date of entry
  • Name
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Birthplace
  • Citizenship
  • Previous Adress
  • Final destination
  • Religion
  • Additional family members
  • Physical description
  • Money on Hand
  • Mental and physical condition
Take note that these forms were 2 sided, so make sure you are looking at the next page as well to get as much information as you can.

You can also take note of the microfilm number, 

1925 to 1935
During these years, Form 30s were no longer filled out, and border crossings went back to the list format. Here's where it'll be cumbersome.Now for this one, you're going to:

  • Go to the Digitized Microforms (Archived) link in the 1908 to 1919 section NOT in the 1925 to 1935 section. Ctrl + left click to open it in a new window. 
  • Scroll almost to the bottom to the chart of microfilms for 1925-1935.
  • Locate the microfilm you need and make note of the number.
  • Go back to the main page and go to the 1925 to 1935 section and Ctrl + left click on this section's Digitized Microforms (Archived) link.
  • Click on your microfilm number and look through the images to find your ancestors' entry.
  • Right click and click on "Save image as...." to save to your computer
Unlike in the first section, these books are arranged by month and year, rather than by entry port. From what I could see, each book is arranged more or less alphabetically by port of entry. Here's some of the information you'll find, depending on the year:
  • Date of entry
  • Name
  • Age
  • Man/Woman/Child
  • Country of Birth
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Occupation, both in old residence and their intended occupation in Canada
  • Mode of transportation to Canada
  • Train No.
  • Travelling from what State
  • Travelling to what Province
  • Value of Cash and Effects
  • Race
  • If they've been in Canada before. If yes, when and where
  • What language they can read in
  • Nearest relative's name and address in previous country
  • How they are travelling to their final destination (i.e. car or train)
  • Whether they were admitted or rejected
  • Medical certificate and/or passport details

Finally, keep a few things in mind when looking through the entries for all three sections:
  • If your ancestor was born in or previously lived in Canada, they may or may not be listed.
  • People still passed through these entry points even if the border office was closed, so there may be no record.
  • This collection only lists people coming into Canada, not those leaving.
  • At the start of 1925, there was a transition period switching from the lists to the Form 30. If your ancestor falls into that time period, check both sections.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Railway Ancestors: Railways Employees (Employees Provident Fund) at the LAC

Railways are an important part of the Canadian Heritage. They were what connected our country. It was the promise of a railroad that convinced British Columbia to join Confederation. The Canadian National Railway was the first Crown Corporation in Canada. There are few family trees that do not have a railway connection somewhere. Your ancestor could have worked on the railroad, or it was the railroad that brought your immigrant ancestor to their new home from their port of arrival. Some towns prospered and grew because of being on one of the rail routes. I have a friend from Lindsay Ontario whose grandfather, father and uncles all worked for the railroad, and that's how they came to settle in Lindsay from another part of Ontario. There have been many different companies over the years. Some disappeared, while others combined or were bought out by larger companies.

The Intercolonial Railway of Canada (IRC) began in 1858. It was combined with the Prince Edward Island Railway (PEIR) in 1873 (when PEI joined Confederation). They became known as the Canadian Government Railways (CGR), then the Canadian Northern Railway took over management. Canadian Northern Railway eventually became the Canadian National Railway.

If your ancestor worked for the IRC or the PEIR, then you will want to check out the Railways Employees (Employees Provident Fund) on Library and Archives Canada's website. Started by an Act of the Canadian Government in 1907, the fund was created to help supply a pension for employees who retired after long service. It also provided for those who suffered a disability due to injury on the job. Now remember, this is a time before the Canada had the Old Age Security Act (1927) and the Canada Pension Plan (1965). There were some employer pension plans at this time, but it was not the norm.

This database is fully digitized. It consists of 31 boxes of index cards, as the original files from the Fund were destroyed. In all, there are over 27,000 index cards. On each card you will find information such as, but not necessarily all of the following:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Occupation
  • Rate of Pay
  • Department
  • Location
  • Changes in Occupation and Pay
  • Dates of Service
  • Religious Denomination
  • Name of person who recommended them for employment
  • Date and Cause of Death
  • Beneficiary upon Death
  • Details of Disciplinary Actions
  • Details of Merits and Rewards 
  • Absences
The cards are not filed alphabetically, but rather numerically by Provident Fund File Number. You can search by Surname and/or Given Name. They do state however, that a lot of the cards give only an initial for Given Name. I decided to go the easy route and use the surname of my friend, FERGUSON. I typed in FERG* so that I could get all possible variations. Of the 38 results I clicked on Daniel Hugh Fergusson. There are 5 digitized cards for Daniel.


Not all people will have this many cards attached to them. According to the LAC, the average is 2. Here's what I gleaned about Daniel:
  • Born 6 March 1894 in Front Lake N.S.
  • Seems to have recommended by a Family Member
  • Started work on 15 November 1916 in Sydney N.S.
  • He worked as a Locomotive Wiper, and was also a Locomotive Fireman
  • He started out making .20 cents per hour
  • He missed a lot of work due to injury, illness and being laid off
  • He was reprimanded on several occasions for making the trains late, and "not presenting his watch for comparison"
  • He also received praise for good service
  • He worked until at least 1945
  • He died 7 July 1953
Here's another one for a Robert Art Douglas:

Robert only has one index card, but you can still get a lot of information from his:

  • Born 14 August 1844 in St. John's N.B.
  • He began working for the railroad in March 1873
  • He was a machinist working in Halifax
  • He made $1.80 per day
  • He retired 1 March 1909
  • His allowance from the Fund was $41.91
  • He died 8 November 1909
  • He was Episcopalian

Here's a third employee, Frederick Bowles Tripp:

Frederick only has one card as well, but look at the information for him:
  • Born 18 February 1865 in Ottawa Ontario
  • Started with the railroad 15 April 1919
  • He worked as a Harbour Engineer in Moncton N.B.
  • His pay was $250 per month
  • He also worked for the Department of Railways and Canals before he became a Harbour Engineer
  • He retired 1 June 1932 with a pension allowance of $1471.17 per annum
  • He died 14 April 1941
  • He was 5' 8" in height, and weighed 129? lbs
  • He had a light complexion, light coloured hair and blue eyes

As you can see, the information on these cards can vary widely from person to person. You never know what you might find. 

If you would like a more complete history of rail in Canada, check out these links:

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Saskatchewan Ancestors: The Name Change Index of the SGS

I'm sure most of us have found an ancestor who changed their name. Unfortunately, we don't always get a paper trail showing it. If you have an ancestor who lived in Saskatchewan though, you're in luck.

In 1933 the Saskatchewan government passed legislation formalizing the process of changing one's name. First an application would be made to the Provincial Secretary. Then the application would be published in the Saskatchewan Gazette, and the applicant's local newspaper. Once approved, the certificate was also published in the Gazette and local newspaper. The rules for application were as follows:

  • Applicant must be at least 21
  • Married women could only change from their married surname if their husband was deceased
  • Married men could not change his name, his wife's, or their unmarried children's names under 21 without his wife's consent

In 1941, The Change of Name Act was amended so that people who changed their name before entering the province could formally register their name. In 1947 the following changes were made:

  • Any one over the age of 18 could change their name, even if married or widowed
  • The applicant could only change the name of a child 14 or older with the written consent that child
  • The certificates would no longer be published in the Saskatchewan Gazette

Even though the process was finalized in 1933, there are applications that go back to 1917. Included in the application would be the full name of the applicant, their wife, and their residence. It also included the names and ages of any minor children. Lastly, it included the proposed name change.

The Saskatchewan Genealogical Society has given researchers a huge leg up with their research by compiling a series of indexes

Compiled by D'Arcy Hande, Debbie Moyer, and Rae Chamberlain, they cover the years from 1917-1993. The first index, 1917-1950 is set up with the following headings:

  • Original Surname
  • Original Name
  • Address (town or jurisdiction)
  • New Surname
  • New Name
  • Notice (when the application appeared in the Gazette)
  • Certificate (when the approval was published)
The subsequent indexes are set up a little differently:
  • Original Surname
  • Original Name
  • Address
  • New Surname
  • New Name
  • Application Date
  • Publication Date
Because of the amendments in 1947, there is no publication of the certificate. So unlike the first index, you will not be able to know when/if the application was approved. The indexes are PDF files, which is awesome. By hitting "Ctrl" "F" on your keyboard, a search box will appear and you can type in your desired surname. This will then highlight every time it appears. 

If you have an Ancestry subscription, they have indexed the collection on their site here. It has been indexed by both original name and new name. However, you will not always get that crucial information of when it happened. A lot of the results I got looking at the various names did not have dates attached of either the application or the certificate.

How to Get Application Information
The indexes will let you know what edition of the Saskatchewan Gazette the application was published in. Using this information you can consult that particular edition of the Gazette at the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan. Looking here will give you the application information that is not included in the index.These are not online, but if you are in the area, you can visit the Archives. If you are researching from a distance, you can access their inquiry form here.