Thursday, 14 December 2017

Manitoba Ancestors: Hudson's Bay Company Archives

If you have an ancestor who worked in the Hudson's Bay Company or the Northwest Company, then you need to check out the Hudson's Bay Company Archives. This is a fantastic resource that can take you back to the early years of the company. Even if you don't have an ancestor, the resources will thrill a history buff. As part of the Archives of Manitoba, it is funded in part by the Hudson's Bay Company History Foundation. The Archive holdings 1670-1920 have been declared as part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, such is the importance of the Archive material about the early European history of the continent and the fur trade.

What my post focuses on is the online databases specific to the HBC Archives.

Biographical Sheets
This collection contains sheets that look like cue cards. They are listed alphabetically by surname. The details of of each employee's occupation(s) and time with the company is listed, with reference numbers to the Archive document where the information was found. You may also find birth and death dates, family members, where they immigrated from, and where they went when they retired. Not all employees have a sheet, and not all sheets have the same information. There's a link to explain the terms and coding here. I have a friend who we suspect his immigrating ancestor, John Ferguson, was an HBC employee. There is only one John Ferguson in the biographical sheets, and this is what is looks like:

As you can see, he worked for the HBC from 1829-1836. In 1836 he retired to the Red River Settlement, and between 1836 and 1843 he had two children. This corresponds to information we had gleaned from census records about our particular John Ferguson. By 1851 John had moved down to Port Credit, Ontario. Two of his children had listed their birthplace as Hudson's Bay. It will take further investigation to confirm that this is the John Ferguson we are looking for, but at first glance this looks promising.

Post Maps
Clicking on the link will take you to a general map that shows 494 of the 501 posts in Canada and parts of the United States. You can further narrow things down to province, territory, or the United States. Or, if you know the name of the post, you can search by the post name. Did you know that there was a post in Hawaii? I didn't, until I looked at this map. Continuing with our John Ferguson, you'll notice on our biographical sheet that he didn't have a specific post he was assigned to. However, it said that he worked in the Swan River district, which is in modern day Manitoba. When I entered "Swan River" in the search box, I got 3 possibilities, two in central Manitoba and one in Southern Saskatchewan. Now while you cannot access details of a particular post, it does give you its location on the map. This can give you an idea of where your ancestor would have been located, and where to search locally for records.

Name Indexes
This one is further divided into three categories: Hudson's Bay Company Records, Northwest Company Records, and Red River Settlement Records.

  • Hudson Bay Company Records
This is a set of three indexes regarding HBC employees. The first is Servant's Contracts (1780-c1926). This index contains over 9,000 names, and can tell you the year their contract started, age, posting, occupation, and the location number of the file. There is a heading called Origin that could be misleading. It is actually where the person signed up, and not necessarily their home country. The heading Miscellaneous has monetary notes for the most part. Even though the index has some information, the Archives does say that looking at the file itself can give you a lot more. Within the files you can also see reference letters, applications, photos, and academic certificates. There is a John Ferguson listed in the index:

Now if you look at the location code, it is a different code than the ones listed on his biographical sheet. This might be a different John Ferguson than the one in the biographical sheets, but much of the information matches.

The next index is Northern Department Servant's Engagement Registers (1823-1895). Set up the same way as the index above, you'll find the same sort of information. Looking at the file itself will give you additional information of wages, reaons for leaving the employ of the HBC, and terms of service. I found a John Ferguson that had location codes that match the biographical sheets.

The third index is Register Books of Wills and Administrations of Proprietors (1717-1903). This index has the names and dates of shareholders' wills. If you've looked at an ancestor's will before, then you know that they can give you information on family and friends, assets, and biographical information. Not to mention that in some cases, the deceased was rather free with their opinions on their extended family. It can be entertaining reading. There were no Fergusons in this index, but I did find 2 McDonald entries. It gave me the year range of the book, and the location code.

Original records can be viewed onsite. Some have been microfilmed, and can be ordered through inter library loan.

  • Northwest Company Records
There are 2 indexes here. The first is the Northwest Company Account Books (1795-1827). The index does not give you a lot of information. There's name, sometimes a date, and a location code. Looking at the original records though can give you the location they worked out of, and monetary information such as pay and cash advances.

The second index is Northwest Company Servants' Contracts (1787-1822). This one is set up similar to the previous index. You will need to look at the original record to glean information such as terms of service, equipment supplied, and winter posts.

One thing you should note though is that the majority of the names I looked at in both indexes French names. Those of us who have French ancestry in Canada know that you should always look for variations in spelling. This is especially true if the person writing the record was not French.

Like the HBC records, you can view these either on site, or if microfilmed, through inter library loan.

  • Red River Settlement Records
There is only one index for the Red River Settlement, but it's a good one. Extracts from registers of baptisms, marriages and burials in Rupert's Land sent to the Govenor and Committee (1821-1851) has over 6,000 pre civil registration records for the people who were part of the Red River Settlement. The index itself will give you the event date, type of event, parties involved and relatives, place of residence, place of burial, and/or ages. The original record can be found using the corresponding location codes. In the original record you can also get information such as occupations, location of the event, witnesses, and the names of the clergy.

As a bonus, these records have been digitized and can be viewed on line. Strangely enough, I found no Ferguson entries in the index. But here's a page from 1821:

The link to the complete set of registers is here. Scroll down the page to get the individual page images.

Other Information

If you'd like more general information on the Hudson's Bay Company and its employees, the Archives has some good reading on its Common Research Topics Page. Here you can learn more about artifacts, land sales done by the HBC, and even about the iconic HBC point blankets.

Lastly, by clicking here you can access the HBC Library Catalogue. It can only be accessed in the Research Room at the Archives of Manitoba, but I think it's worth making the trip for. It contains books, periodicals and articles relating to not only the HBC, but Indigenous Peoples as well. It also has items covering history of the US, the Arctic, and Western Canada. 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017


My apologies on having no posts for the last two weeks. Sometimes as much as one would like to devote time to genealogy, life outside of it gets in the way. A lot of tying up loose ends at my house in Ontario had to be done in a very short time frame. It made for a very intense couple of weeks that left little time for sleeping, let alone time for anything fun like genealogy!

Next week I start a new "job that pays for genealogy". Along with a new location, I'll be starting a new career path in insurance. It's going to be a crazy few months learning a new job and a new career.

There will definitely be a blog post this week, and even with the new changes on the job front, the weekly posts should continue on schedule. Until my next post though, be sure to check out my tab on blogs to follow to get your genealogy and history fix.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Home Children: The British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association

One of the more controversial chapters in Canada's history is that of the Home Children. Between the late 1860's and the late 1930's, over 100,000 children from the UK were sent to Canada. It was part of an emigration scheme to combat the horrible poverty and conditions children were living in at the time.

It was started with I'm sure was the best of intentions, but through the years it became more of a profitable venture for a chosen few, and less about the welfare of these children. The official plan was to send orphaned or abandoned children to Canada. Unfortunately, due to Victorian attitudes of the time regarding the poor, children in poor houses whose parents had neither died nor abandoned them were also sent. It was believed that the farms and great homes of Canada would give these children a better life than they otherwise would have had. In many cases it was true. Some children ended up living much better lives than they would have on the streets and/or in the poor houses. Remember this was a time before the social welfare system that we know today was put in place. Sadly though, most of these children were abused, and were basically indentured servants. The lure of free labour brought just as many unscrupulous farmers and wealthy house holders as it did people who were honestly trying to give these children a better life. Though only children between 8 and 16 years of age were supposed to be sent, some records show they sent children as young as 4 years old.

Children were sent from any of the UK countries. I have 2 great uncles that were sent from the Quarriers home in Scotland in 1919. In a strange twist of fate that I'm still trying to figure out, they ended up being reunited with their mother in Canada by the 1921 census.

Children arrived in large groups from the UK, and then sent to one of several receiving homes. It was from these receiving homes that the children were placed onto farms or into wealthy houses. Boys were almost always farm labourers. Girls were mainly sent to service positions in large homes, but some girls were also sent to farms.

If you suspect you have a BHC ancestor, then you should check out the British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association. It is a one-stop site to help you research and learn the history of the Home Children.

Park Lawn Monument
There is sadly not one, but two mass graves of Home Children at Park Lawn Cemetery in Etobicoke, Ontario. A monument to them was built just this year, and by clicking on the link you can find out about it. Also included is as much information as they could find on the 75 children buried here. There's short biographical sketches, as well as photos. Some children also have snippets from the Bernardo Home's quarterly publication Ups and Downs. Have tissues handy looking at these, for it is sad reading.

BHCARA Research Site
This link will take you to the British Home Children in Canada research page. Here you can look at videos, photos, and text guiding you through anything and everything to do with Home Children. They even have a page detailing the trunks that were sent with each child. I have a friend whose grandfather was a Home Child. Incredibly, we realized after looking at this page that the little trunk they have in their house was the trunk her grandfather was sent to Canada with. That trunk is now over 100 years old.

Fact Sheet
Here you can get quick answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Teachers Packages
If you are a teacher, especially for grades 6, 8, or 10, then you'll want to look at this. They give you links to videos and books, and activity ideas to help you bring the BHC experience to your class.

Here you can find links to both videos and articles from both sides of the Atlantic.

Here you can look at the Events calendar for the Association. I've never attended one of their presentations myself, but I hear they are very good. Check to see if they are coming near you. Just about all the ones listed take place around Ontario. However, they do say that they are willing to travel.

This amazing database is a work in progress, entering information on over 60,000 known home children. According to the registry home page, the site will be updated at least weekly, and they are entering the children in alphabetically. As of today (24 Nov/17), they presently have surnames from AA to HASK entered in and avaialable to view online.

They have set up each child's sheet with thought to the future. Since they are still in the initial phase of the database, the only information you can get from the registry at the moment is:

  • Name
  • Adopted Name (if applicable)
  • Birth date  (some of these entries will be an approximation)
  • Birth place
  • Gender
  • Sending Organization (i.e. Bernardo's)
  • Name and location of the Receiving Home in Canada
  • Age at emigration
  • Ship's name
  • Departure Port and Date
  • Arrival Port and Date

Information that they plan to add in the future include:

  • Death information (including cemetery and Find A Grave information)
  • Placement information
  • Census documentation
  • Marriage information (spouse's name, birth and death, and details of the marriage)
  • Birth, Marriage and Death Information of the biological parents 
  • Names of siblings and half siblings
  • Military Service 

At the top right of each child's page is the child's BHC registry number, and whether this child has been "claimed". By that they means that at least one person (who is most likely a relative) has provided their name and email for other researchers to contact them. They are not actively looking for people to claim a BHC as of yet. If you come across your ancestor and would like to claim them though, you can contact the registry with the form here.

Here you can track the Association's progress on getting an official apology from the federal Government of Canada to the Home Children. Apologies have come from Australia (another BHC destination) and Britain. The House of Commons has issued an apology. At the bottom of the page you can sign the open letter urging Prime Minister Trudeau to make an official apology. They are also urging that September 28th be recognized across Canada as British Home Child Day. The governments of Ontario and Nova Scotia have already recognized it in their respective provinces.

BHC Film
You can watch a You Tube video called British Home Children in Canada: Born of Good Intentions. Posted by Lori Oschefski (the CEO of the Association), it runs about 40 minutes.

Research Tips
This page is an absolute goldmine. Among the different links are:

  • Sending Organizations Websites
  • Facebook Groups
  • Links to records that can help you follow your Home Child in Canada (directories, land grants, miltary, etc.)
  • Contact information for some of the top researchers of Home Children 
  • Issues of Bernardo's Ups and Downs magazine
  • Mailing Lists and Socieites
  • Inspection Reports of Children once they were placed in their new homes. Sadly this wasn't done with any regularity if at all.
  • Receiving Homes in Canada indexes

You can find out more about Home Children at these sites:

The Canadian Encyclopedia

Library and Archives Canada

Canada's History Magazine

Friday, 17 November 2017

Ontario Ancestors: Toronto Trust Cemeteries Collection

All the various cemetery sites online are great for finding inscriptions and pictures of your ancestors' tombstones. But one resource that many people overlook are the registers for the cemetery. The reason for this is because it involves a little more of the old fashioned leg work and persistence. You are not going to find these online. You have to track down where the registers are kept, and then find out if you'll even have access to them. This will involve letters, emails, and/or phone calls. You may even have to make a personal visit, depending on the policy of the register holders. In our digital age of instant gratification, this may seem like too much trouble. You may think that since you have the tombstone information, then there's no point in trying to track down the register. You would be wrong though. The registers can hold any or all of the following information:
  • Full Name of the deceased
  • Birth date
  • Age at death
  • Death date
  • Death Place
  • Cause of death
  • Name of nearest relative
  • Marital status
  • Burial date
  • Owner of the plot. This could lead you to more family members.
If you have Toronto ancestors, you're in luck though. Thanks to the Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society and Family Search, you can look at the registers of the Toronto Trust Cemeteries Collection online, for free. This was a massive indexing project that took from 2009-2015 to complete. In all, over 360,000 names were indexed. Thanks to their efforts, researchers can look at the records of four major Toronto cemeteries:
  • York Burying Ground (Potter's Field) 1826-1855
  • Necropolis Cemetery 1849-1989
  • Mount Pleasant 1876-1988
  • Prospect Cemetery 1890-1985
Now take note that not all the images contain the burial register itself. From what I can see, more recent burials are index books only. Also note that not all years are on here. In the Mount Peasant Cemetery for instance, the volumes skip from 1933-1949. 

You can find links to this collection on Ancestry, but your best bet is to actually go to Family Search itself. The images on Ancestry takes you to Family Search anyway, so why not just go the source.

You can go to the search page of the collection here.
You have two options. You can search for a specific name, or you can browse by cemetery. 

Searching by Name
I have a great uncle named Garfield DOUGLAS. The poor little guy died just shy of three years old in 1923, of whooping cough. According to his death registration, he was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. So I entered his name and right at the top of the search results was his entry. Clicking on it gave me this information:

Now did you notice on the right underneath the image, it says that the information may contain more information than was indexed. So by clicking on the image it also had this extra information:
  • He died at the Hospital for Sick Children
  • His death date was 8 February 1923
  • Also listed on the grave location was "north grave" in brackets
  • The Medical Attendant's name was Stanley Copp
  • Rev. Broughall officiated the burial
  • B.D. Humphrey was the undertaker
Some of this information I knew from the death certificate. But if I did not have a death certificate, then I would now have information that would help me to seek one out. I found the "north grave" information interesting. I'm not sure if this means there are more than one internment here belonging to the Douglas family. It bears looking into. Also, there's the name of the reverend. By finding which church he belonged to, I could possibly be able to find church records for the family.

As a side note, I also noticed in the image an entry a few above him, for a Grant MACDONALD. This little guy was only 5 years old when he died of bronchial pneumonia. I do not think he belongs to my particular McDonald line. That wasn't what interested me. It was the fact that according to the register, he died 8 February 1923, "put into the vault" 10 February, and wasn't buried until 26 April. If you were looking for a church burial record for him, you would have to look not in February, but April in the church registers to find it. A little tidbit of information you wouldn't have gotten from his tombstone. 

Browse by Cemetery
Now let's look at a later burial. My great grandfather John McDonald died in 1964. I used the browse function for him because it's actually faster than wading through all the John McDonalds I know are going to come up using the search function. I knew he was buried in Prospect Cemetery. But, I've never been able to find him on any of the cemetery sites online. So, I clicked on Browse through 7,234 images, then Prospect Cemetery. I then clicked on Volume 5, 1963-1972. This particular volume is an index book. It is indexed by first letter of surname, and then by year. In a rare stroke of luck for me, there is only one John McDonald buried in prospect in 1964.

The index says that John is buried in 13-768B, and his entry is listed on page 106414. What's also interesting is that what looks like "acg" is written before the location. I used this information to email the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries, of which Prospect is now a part of. They were very prompt and helpful, replying back the next day. The information I was given was:

  • He was 69 years old and 7 months when he died
  • His next of kin listed was my great grandmother Edna
  • His birth place is listed as Kingston, ON
  • His death place was Newmarket, ON
  • He died of Myocardial Infarction
  • The "acg" stood for Adult Common Grave
I emailed the lady asking about the Adult Common Grave part, and she replied back explaining that it was a Social Services burial. This did not really surprise me, as the family had always been quite poor. One of the streets they lived on in the 1930's actually no longer exists, and was part of the "Toronto slums" in the first part of the twentieth century. There are actually 5 people buried in the plot, and unfortunately, there is no marker. She attached a couple of maps for the cemetery to the email, showing on them where his location is. I thought this was really kind of her to go the extra step that way. The fact that there was no marker explains why I have never been able to find him on Find-A-Grave, or any of the other sites. 

I've never seen a digital collection like this one. Hopefully, this will start a trend into bringing cemetery registers online. I have seen the odd transcription or compiled database put up here and there, but human error can always come into play with a transcription. Even with this collection, the indexing doesn't give you all the information that's available. 

If you know of any similar other digitized register collections in Canada, then let me know, and I'll feature them in a future post. 

Friday, 10 November 2017

Military Ancestors: Boer War Ancestors

Remembrance Day this year coincides with the centenary of the WWI battles of Vimy and Passchendale. There are some great blog posts from other bloggers showing you ways to search your WWI ancestors' details.

What I'd like to do this week is highlight a lesser known set of veterans, those who fought in the Boer War. Also called the South African War, this was the first time that Canadian troops were sent overseas. The War ran from 1899-1902, with Britain and her allies fighting against the Afrikaner republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The Afrikaners were of German, Swiss and Dutch descent. They were staunchly against becoming part of the British Empire. Compared to the World Wars, the Canadian contingent sent was small. Just over 7,000 troops went, and 12 nursing sisters. What should be noted is that the entire force volunteered to go. There was no conscription. Of the over 60,000 military and civilian lives lost, 270 were Canadian.

The issue of whether to not send troops was one of many in our country's history that have divided people along French and English lines. The French, never a proponent of British Imperialism to begin with, were very much against sending troops. English Canadians, on the other hand, were very much for sending troops. Loyalty to Britain was very strong. Don't forget that we only officially became a country 30 years or so before the war began.

Now to the records. Library and Archives Canada has a database online called South African War, 1899- 1902 - Service Files, Medals and Land Applications. You can search by name, regimental number, and/or by regiment.

I typed in "McDonald". Sometimes it's good having a common last name. You're sure to get hits. I also entered "John" in the given name box, just to narrow it down at least a little. This gave me 18 hits. The way that the results are set up, you'll get land applications results first, then services files, then medals. So make sure you flip through all the results, because your particular ancestor may be listed 3 separate times. So for John McDonald there were 10 under land applications, and 8 under the heading of service files.

Land Grants
I clicked on the first one under land grants, for a Daniel John McDonald, and this is what came up:

Now, these particular records are not digitized yet. Using the information on this index you can order a reproduction through the website here. The applications were two pages and includes name, place of residence, and a summary of their service.

If you have an Ancestry subscription though, then you're in luck. They have digitized some of the records in their database Canada, South African War Land Grants, 1908-1910. By putting in Daniel John McDonald into the search, I was able to see his application. Just remember that these are 2 page applications. Don't forget to flip to the next page in the images, so you get a look at both pages.

Service Files
Now for the service records. I clicked on Daniel John McDonald under the service file section. If he's an ancestor of yours, then good for you because it's 29 pages. Within it I found attestation papers, physical descriptions, and letters of reference. I also found notation of his application to the War Allowances Board.

One thing I should mention though is that these service files are extremely cumbersome to work with. This is especially true compared to working with the WWI services files that the LAC is digitizing. You cannot download the whole file at once. What you do is look at each image. Click on the image to enlarge it. Then right click on the image to save to your computer.

There were no John McDonalds listed as getting a medal, so I took away the "John" and just went with "McDonald". I skimmed through the 117 results until I found the medals section. It appears that there are no given names, just first initials. So I found a D. J. McDonald that had the same regiment number as our Daniel John above. The image is a chart of several names, detailing what medals each soldier was qualified for, where presented and by whom.

South African Constabulary
In 1901, around 1,200 Canadians traveled to South Africa to become part of the South African Constabulary to keep order in the area. If you cannot find your ancestor among the service files, then perhaps they were part of the Constabulary. Since they were not financed by the Canadian government, there is very little on this side of the Atlantic pertaining to them. According to the LAC, the service files of these individuals are held by the National Archives of South Africa. Contact information for both locations is listed on the main page of the collection (see link at the beginning of this post).

They also say that FamilySearch has microfilmed the service files. When I clicked on the link provided, it brought me to the Family History Library's catalog page. They have 32 rolls of microfilm pertaining to the Constabulary. Good news is that they have been digitized. Bad news is that they are not indexed.

So, click on the camera at the far right of the microfilm listing. This will take you to the images on the microfilm. They all show up at once as little thumbnails, but you can fix it so it only looks at one image at a time. Just look to the right under the + and - and you'll see what looks like a box within a box. Click on that and you'll be able to browse image by image. With 32 microfilms to browse through, this looks like a rainy day project.

British Units
If you cannot find your ancestor in the Canadian contingent, then perhaps they fought with a British unit. Both the National Archives in England and Find My Past have records relating to British Boer War soldiers.

Book of Remembrance
If your ancestor was one of the 270 Canadians who died in the war, there is a Book of Remembrance dedicated to them in Ottawa. You can search for their entry on Veteran's Affairs' website here.

For a more detailed history of the Boer War and Canada's involvement you can look at the following sites:

Wednesday, 1 November 2017



Today marks one year since I started this blog. It's a little hard to believe I've been doing this for an entire year! It's been a learning experience in more ways than one.

It had been years since I did any kind of writing other than filling out weekly reports for work. To say I was a bit rusty was an understatement. But, as the weeks went by, my writing has improved, and I've been more comfortable with it. I don't think I'm up to submitting anything to the NEHGS Register yet, but practice makes perfect.

A year ago, I was well versed in Maritime record sources. My knowledge of Ontario and Quebec records were good. My knowledge of anything west of Ontario though was rather lacking. But over the course of the past year, I've learned quite a bit about Western Canada resources. It's amazing what a little focused research can teach you. If any one is looking for a research goal, let FOCUS be your catchword. I'm all for a little "down the rabbit hole" research. You can stumble upon some great information that way. But sometimes you just have to sit down and not let the bright and shiny things distract you.

By the Numbers

Now for some numbers. Thanks to the Blogger platform, I've been able to look at some stats for my blog:

  • Top 10 Page Views by Country

  1. United States 11,815
  2. Canada 7,401
  3. Germany 464
  4. United Kingdom 312
  5. Poland 192
  6. Ireland 179
  7. France 148
  8. Ukraine 126
  9. Armenia 78
  10. Australia 60
I didn't find it strange that Americans and Canadians would be at the top of the list. The flow back and forth of our ancestors across the border would guarantee that many American researchers would be looking for Canadian resources. Since the provinces govern their own rules about privacy and access to most of the records a genealogist would look at, they tend to vary widely. Both an American and a Canadian researcher would find my posts helpful in trying to navigate the waters. What I did find surprising was the huge difference in the numbers between #1 and #2. I expected the numbers to be much closer.

  • Top 10 Blog Posts

It's nice to see a cross section of Canada as far as the top posts go. I have lots of ideas in the works for future posts. But if any of you have suggestions for future posts, then by all means drop me a line through the contact information on my contact page.

I'd Like to Thank the Academy....

Now here's where I get mushy. One of the reasons that I've had a great first year in my blog has been due to the support of other bloggers. The genealogy blogging community is very supportive of each other in general. I've been able to reach out to other bloggers with questions and they've been very kind in offering support. A few of my fellow bloggers have been kind enough to direct people to some of my blog posts, and I thank you all for mention. There's two bloggers who have been my biggest mentors and cheerleaders though. They have highlighted my blog regularly in their own blogs, and given me wonderful encouragement. I can't thank them enough. So a special thank you goes to Gail Dever of Genealogy a la carte and Penny Allen of UK to Canada Genealogy.

There's also another thank you I'd like to give to the Ontario Genealogical Society. They have also featured a few of my blog posts in their OGS eWeekly Update. One in particular they highlighted was my post on finding city directories. Thanks to the mention from them, the descendants of one of my grandmother's brothers contacted me. I've been able to take that branch of my tree 2 more generations back, and gain new cousins I never knew I had. So thank you OGS!

Last but certainly not least, I'd like to thank you the reader. As much as I enjoy blogging, it's because of the people reading this that I've had such a successful first year. So it's not only my blogiversary, but yours as well. Cheers and here's to a great first year of helping you find your Canadian story!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Quebec Ancestors: La Societe des Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan, Inc.

Those of us with French Canadian heritage most likely descend from either a Filles du Roi and/or a Soldat du Carignan. Even more likely is that you will descend from more than one of them.

The Filles du Roi, or King's daughters, were women of marriageable age that were sent from France to help colonize and grow the population of New France. Almost 800 women were sent between 1663 and 1673, with their passage paid for by King Louis XIV of France. A dowry of 50 livres was given to many upon their marriage to one of the unmarried male colonists.

The Soldats du Carignan were of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment. The Regiment were the first regular troops from France, arriving in the summer of 1665. Their presence in the colony was to mainly counter the Iroquois and Mohawk. The second part of the plan was to have the soldiers and officers settle in New France. Of the around 1200 soldiers and officers that came, over 450 decided to stay and make New France their home. Many of the married Filles du Roi.

If you think you have a Filles du Roi or a Soldat du Carignan, a good place to start your research is La Societe du Filles du roi et soldats du Carignan, Inc. You can become a member of the Society, but it is not necessary to view some of their online resources. If you are not a fluent French speaker, don't worry. As you can see in the screenshot above, there is an English version and a French version of the site.

Filles du Roi (King's Daughters)

Clicking under this tab gives you a brief history of of the Filles du Roi. At the bottom are two databases.

The first is an alphabetical listing of the Filles du Roi. Beside each name is their husband(s) and marriage date. The information was obtained through Yves Landry's  Les Filles du roi au xvii'eme siecle, and Rene Jette's Dictionnaires geneologiques des Familles du Quebec.

The second is an alphabetical listing of the Soldats du Carignan who married a Fille du Roi. Set up the same way as the first database, it lists the bride and marriage date. it also lists in brackets alternate spellings of the soldier's surname.


This section also has a brief history of the soldiers and officers of the Regiment. It also clarifies that this database concerns the military men who settled in the St' Lawrence region of New France. It does not include those who settled in Acadia. Among the quick links at the top of the page is a link to the database listing soldiers who married Filles du Roi.

Another quick link takes you to a page that gives information on the ships that brought the soldiers and officers. Set up in chart form, you get the following information on the ships:

  • Ship's Name
  • Tonnage
  • Captain's Name
  • Origin Port
  • Arrival date
  • Company

There is another quick link that takes to a page listing soldiers who married, but did not marry one of the Filles. It is set up the same as the two above, with bride's name and marriage date.

The first database is those who are confirmed soldiers and officers of the regiment. It is set up alphabetically in chart form. The headings are:

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Dit/ De Name
  • Surname variations
  • Rank
  • What Company they belonged to
At the end of the confirmed soldiers is the list of unconfirmed soldiers. These are ones that no definitive proof has been found so far to confirm the fact they were part of the Carignan Regiment.
The chart has the same headings as for the confirmed soldiers.

The last database is an alphabetical listing of those soldiers and officers who never married. Besde each name is a description of any information found on the soldier. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. Flotard, unknown, dit de Lescure, lieutenant-unknown, Witnessed 7 baptisms, 3 marriages in Montreal in 1669-70, probably returned to France after August 1670
  2. Ménard, Gilles, soldier-Saint-Ours, listed as servant to Jesuits in 1667 and 1681 censuses, d. 2 April 1690-occupation frère donné (monk)
  3. Vincent, Jean, soldier-Monteil, confirmed 8 April 1670, contract of marriage on 31 Aug 1670 w/ Anne Riviere but they never married


This section is filled with links to Societies, web pages, and web sites to help you further your research. Please note though that not all the links are active. At the bottom of the page is a listing of books and book stores.


There are two types of membership in the Society. The first is a direct descendant's membership. It costs a one time fee of $20US for verification of your lineage, and then a $15US annual fee, for a total of $35US. Membership includes access to data and records, voting rights, and a certificate honoring your ancestry.  You also get their biannual newsletter.

The second is an associate membership, for those who do not have an ancestor who was either a Fille or Soldat, but have an interest in them. It is also good for those who are researching, but not have yet confirmed their lineage. Cost is $15US annually. An associate membership includes the biannual newsletter and the ability to exchange information with other members.

If you would like more information on the Filles du Roi check out these sites:

You can find more information on the Soldats du Carignan-Salieres here:

Friday, 20 October 2017

Prince Edward Island Ancestors: Island Newspapers

If you have been researching Prince Edward Island ancestors for a while, then you probably know about this site. But for those just starting out, you should bookmark Island Newspapers. The site is a partnership between the University of Prince Edward Island Robertson Library, the Guardian Newspaper, Island Archives, and Islandora.


On the home screen you can see that first there's a link to purchase 125 Years Through Our Eyes, a publication by the Guardian newspaper. Clinking on the image brought me to the dreaded 404 Not Found screen.

Next is the This Day in History link. here they feature a past issue of a newspaper. Today's issue is the 20 October 1917 issue of The Charlottetown Guardian. You will be able to see each individual page of the issue. Clicking on a particular page will take you to a new screen where you can zoom in and out. You also have the option of saving your zoomed in image by right clicking with the mouse. Most of the front page in this particular issue deals with war news of course, but there are some local news as well:

Next link is the Directory of Island Newspapers. Here you can access individual newspaper histories. I clicked on the Advertiser, and found out that it ran from 1946 to 1854. It was published by John T. Pippy, and was the amalgamation of the Semi-Weekly Advertiser and the Morning News. It was published semi weekly.

The rest of the home page right now is a feature on electoral coverage from 1900-1962. It shows the issues of the Guardian published the day after the general election. The banners above the top of each issue showing the year is either red for a Liberal win that election, or blue for a Conservative win. The front page is showing, but click on that issue, and you'll have the ability to look at each individual page of that particular issue.


Here you can browse individual newspapers. They are listed according to publication start year. In all there are 10 newspapers available for browsing. Some are actually two newspapers grouped together:

  • Royal Gazette (1830- )
  • British American (1832-1833)
  • Colonial Herald and Price Edward Island Advertiser (1837-1844)
  • Morning News and Semi Weekly Advertiser (1843-1846)
  • Haszard's Gazette (1851-1851)
  • Charlottetown Herald (1864-1923)
  • Summerside Journal  (1865-1951)
  • Guardian (1890- )
  • Cadre (1969-1977)
  • Gem (1983-1990)


Here you can search all available newspapers for specific terms. I typed "Aylward", which is surname in my family tree. Now my Aylwards left PEI in the early 1800's, so I did not expect to get anything actually relevant to my own research. I got 1,379 hits. On the left side of the results screen, I had the ability to narrow my results down. You can narrow by century, decade, year, month, date issued, and finally by page number. clicking on an individual result will let you zoom in and out and highlights your search term on the page. 


This handy feature shows the start dates on individual newspapers. A handy tool if you want to see which newspapers were around in a specific time period.


This is the same page that you are able to access from the link on the home page. The directory lists all newspapers. There are about 100 newspapers listed. If the newspaper is one of the ones digitized, there will be links to take you to it. If it is not digitized on the site, try contacting the Robertson Library or the Public Archives and Record Office to see if they are available on microfilm. Contact information for the Robertson Library is at the end of the post.


Because this site is a work in progress, they do not have anything to view in this tab.

Partners Tab

Another blank section.

User Guide

A blank page, like the above two tabs.


This will take you to section to provide feedback and donate to the project. If you have copies of old newspapers they would love to be able to digitize them. You can also provide a monentary donation.

If you would like to contact the Robertson Library of the University of Prince Edward Island, here is the contact information:

Robertson Library
University of Prince Edward Island
550 University Avenue
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 4P3

Specific phone numbers and email addresses are listed here.

Library hours change throughout the year. You can see the hours here.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Newfoundland and Labrador Ancestors: The Maritime History Archive Part 2

In Part 1, we looking at the catalog of the Maritime History Archive's holdings. In Part 2 we're looking at what else they have to offer.

Research Services

Staff can be hired to do research and provide scans of documents for a fee. Considering all they have in their holdings, the fees are not unreasonable. Research is done for $40/hour Canadian dollars, with a minimum charge of one hour's research time. Scans are an extra fee, the cost depending on what you are requesting. If you choose to go the snail mail route, there is a shipping charge. Depending on the size of the file, charges range from $2-$5 for shipping within Canada. Contact the Archive for shipping outside of Canada. Also note that a 15% HST tax is on top of the stated fees. A detailed breakdown of fees and how to make payment is on their website here. The page was last updated February 2017, so there should be no surprises.


The Archive has a few publications available for sale:

2018 Heritage Calendar:

Using images from the Archives, the calendar is $20.00 if you're local, or $25.75 if they're shipping it to you. Taxes are included.

Births, Deaths & Marriages in Newfoundland Newspapers 1810-1890:

This can be purchased as either a downloadable database, or as a CD. Cost for either is $57.44 with tax. Please note that neither is compatible with Mac operating systems.

Ships and Seafarers of Atlantic Canada:

This is also a downloadable database that can be purchased as a CD. It is actually three databases. There's one of Certificates of Registry for ships from major ports in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI. It covers years from 1787-1936.

The second database contains crew agreements from St. John (NB), Yarmouth (NS), Windsor (NS), and Halifax (NS). Years covered are 1863-1914. The database has information on over 200,000 names.

The third database contains crew agreements from non Canadian vessels, and contains over 100,000 names. They state that this database is a sampling, and by no means a complete database.

Cost is $57.44 taxes included. This product is also not compatible with Mac systems.

Canadian Fisherman

This is a set of 9 reels of microfilm. The Canadian Fisherman was a monthly journal that dealt with the commercial fishing industry. You'll not only find articles on the Atlantic Canada fishing industry, but also the Pacific, the Great Lakes, and the Prairies. It ran from 1914-1970. Cost is $290. It does not say but I would assume taxes are extra, since they do not specifically say taxes are included.

To see more details of the publications and place an order, look here.

Virtual Exhibits

This section can give you an insight into everyday life of Newfoundland and Labrador. There's exhibits on the ferries (called the Alphabet Fleet), Coastal Women, and the Titanic. You'll also find links to some of the collections we discussed in Part 1. They also provide links to virtual exhibits on other sites. Among the more than 20 exhibits I found:

  • 6 different collections of digitized diaries
  • Photographs from the Grenfell Mission hospital
  • The Twillingate Sun, a newspaper that ran from 1880-1953
  • The Mercantile Navy List and Maritime Directory. Digitized are various years from 1868 to 1938
  • An exhibit detailing the sinking of the USS Pollox and the USS Truxtun in 1942

NL Heritage Web Site

This will take you to the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage website. Here you can browse articles relating to the history of the province. You can also access photos, sound recordings and videos. The sub categories on the main page include Aboriginal Peoples, the First World War, and Government, among others. As of writing this, their featured article right now is on the 1892 fire of St. John's. While there, check out the other resources on the main navigation bar. 

Photo Catalogue

Here you can search their photograph collection. A handy tool when you're looking for something specific. I typed in "Grenfell Mission" and got 426 photos. 

Crew Agreements

This is the gem of their collections. From this link you can access three different databases.

1881 Crew Lists Database

The database has names of over 300,000 seamen from British registered vessels. You can search in any of four ways: Last Name, First Name, Vessel Name, or Official Number. I typed "Greening" in the last name field and got four hits. Each hit took me to a digitized image of the crew lists. This is a work in progress, so if your ancestor is not showing up, then keep checking. As, well search with variations on the last name. My 2x great grandfather, Dougald McArthur, was a ship's steward from Glasgow. I tried both MCARTHUR and MACARTHUR, and got different results each time. Also try searching with an initial as opposed to a complete first name. You'll get more possible hits that way.

Newfoundland and Labrador Crew Lists Database

Set up the same way as the 1881 database, this one deals with only crew lists from Newfoundland and Labrador. Along with search terms above, you can also search by Voyage Year. There are lists from 1863-1942. The initial project is complete, but as they come across more of the documents, they will add to the database. 

Merchant Seamen - Commissioned Fleet Auxiliary, 1914-1920

This database deals solely with the crew agreements of the Sunhill. You can search by either Last Name or First Name. As with the other databases, your results page will include links to the digitized image. This one is also a work in progress, so keep checking back if you don't find anything at first.

Contact information for the Maritime History Archive is:

Maritime History Archive
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's NL
A1C 5S7


If you want to visit the Archive in person:

230 Elizabeth Avenue
St. John's NL
Henrietta Harvey (Mathematics) Building

Hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The contact page was last updated in July of 2017. The first rule of visiting an archive is to always call to confirm hours though. I broke this rule last spring when I tried to visit an Museum/Archive in Alberta. We drove 3 hours only to find out that they were closed that day because they were changing their exhibits in the Museum. It was a nice drive, but not how I would have picked to spend the day!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Newfoundland and Labrador Ancestors: The Maritime History Archive Part 1

Researching family history in Newfoundland presents unique challenges. Though European colonization of "The Rock" goes back farther than even Quebec City, Newfoundland did not become a province of Canada until 1949. For a complete history and overview of the province, you can check out the Canadian Encyclopedia's entry on Newfoundland and Labrador here. Because they are a comparatively recent addition to Canada the normal avenues of Canadian research don't apply to Newfoundland. You have to be a little more creative in your research.

The province has always had strong ties to Maritime industries. One great resource for searching for your ancestor is the Maritime History Archive. As part of the Memorial University campus in St. John's, their mandate is to preserve the maritime history of not only Newfoundland and Labrador, but the north Atlantic as a whole.

This site has a wealth of information. You can spend a lot of time just on the site itself, and only a tiny part of what they have is online. I'm actually diving this post into two parts, because there's so much to look at. Click on the Holdings and Collections tab and prepare to lose yourself in the collections. I don't have Newfoundland ancestors but I'm wishing I did after looking at what they have.

Business Collections

This shows you the fonds from over 60 businesses. There are mercantile companies, shipping companies, as well as ones involved in ship building. Clicking on a company name gives you a description of what's available, ownership, copyright, as well as a history of the company. In some cases you can even find biographies of the families involved. Among the individual collections you'll find ledgers, payroll, diaries and journals. I also found in some collections wills and correspondence.

William Button Diaries

William Button was the son of Moses Button. M. Button and Sons started out as a general store. Through the years they diversified to include a lobster canning factory, a cod liver oil factory, ownership of wharves, and saw mills. The diaries of William Button include the years 1908, 1911-1913, and 1918-1925. Clicking on a year will give you a transcription of the diary. Though it mostly deals with the running of their businesses, you will find mention of the local community as well. For example, on 15 March 1922 he wrote how Dr. Templeton visited him. The doctor had earlier treated Wesley Goodwin's wife and child, who had fallen down some stairs.

Haystack Photographic Collection

Here you can find a history of the community of Haystack. As well, there are over 200 photos showing the people and culture of the area. The photos range from the 1920's to the 1960's. Photographs of people are captioned with names when known. I saw last names of Gilbert, Allen, and Halfyard, just to name a few.

Job Photograph Collection

The Job Family business empire lasted for 300 years, under various business names. Their photograph collection offers an insight into maritime life through the years. the photos are grouped under the headings of Property, Fishing, Events, Local Scenes, and Recreation. Clicking on the Larger Image link under each picture will give you a description and year.

Keith Matthews Collection

Dr. Keith Matthews amassed an extensive collection on the early surnames of the province. The files involve over 7,000 different surnames from 1500-1850. By clicking on the "Name Files" link, you can check if your surname of interest has a file. I looked up the surname of a friend with Newfoundland heritage (GREENING), and found that it is file G217. Using this I can order a PDF scan of the file sent me by email. Cost is .25 per page. They will only send you the complete file, not just certain pages. Among the pages, you will find Dr. Matthews' notes on the surnames. Among the sources he collected are religious records and court records.

Among the collection are also three other groups of documents. There's a collection of early Newfoundland history from British sources, and one on Newfoundland fisheries. The third deals with his research for his doctoral thesis.


Here you can use the search function to look for manuscripts relating to a specific topic you're interested in.

Maps, Plans and Hydrographic Charts

No link here to anything more specific, but it does state that their collection is "mostly relating to areas around Newfoundland and Labrador".

Newspapers and Periodicals

Here they list the over 50 titles in their collection. There are originals and microfilm copies. What's interesting about this collection is that the newspapers and broadsheets are not just from Newfoundland and Labrador. You'll find them from all over England, from Ireland, and from New York. There's even a French language one from Jersey.

Phillip Templeton Ltd. Diary 1914

Here you'll find a transcription of the 1914 diary of Phillip Templeton Ltd. What's unique about this diary is that it is a company diary, as opposed to a personal one. Entries were made by several staff. Though it mainly relates to company matters, you will also find items about the local area of Catalina. It has mentions of World War I and the S.S. Newfoundland sealing disaster. You'll also find mention of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland. You can find my own blog post about the sinking here.

Photograph Collections

This section allows you to search for photographs by keyword. I put in "catalina" and got 19 photographs of scenery and boats from the area.

Researching Genealogy and Family History

This section gives you a listing of different collections to help with your genealogy research. Clicking on a record set gives you details and access of that particular set. There's family histories, and collections on indexes for vital statistics. You can find English and Irish parish records, and census records. There's also Captain's registers and crew agreements.

Resettlement Photo Collection

From the 1950's to 1970's, the Provincial government sponsored a resettlement of over 200 isolated communities. The controversial plan affected around 50,000 people. The government would financially help families to relocate to more accessible areas. The kicker was that everyone in a community had to agree before any money would be paid. As you can imagine, this caused some friction. Later, the stipulation was that 90% of the community had to agree. This section gives an overview of the "Resettlement", as it became known as. There are documents (both images and transcriptions) relating to it. You can also look at individual communities affected. Here you'll get a history of the community, and photos. People are named, so you might even find a picture of your family in there.

Shipping Records

Here are links to the different collections in their holdings. Among the overview of each collection set, you'll also get links to other helpful websites, and how go about ordering records. The record sets are:

  • Crew Lists and Log Books
  • Vessel Registers
  • Shipping Lists
  • Ships Captains
  • Voyages
  • Shipwrecks
  • Atlantic Canada Shipping Project
  • More Than a List of Crew

Student Research Papers

Here they describe their collection of student papers relating to the history, geography, and anthropology of Newfoundland and Labrador. There are thousands of papers, written between 1969 and 1986.

Young Men and the Sea Database Collection 

This section details the information used for the book Young Men and the Sea: Yankee seafarers in the Age of Sail. The three databases are Voyages, Salem Tax Lists, and Salem Tax Valuation Lists.

In Part 2 we'll look at what else is available on the website, including virtual exhibits, research services, and publications. 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Saskatchewan Ancestors: Saskatchewan Historic Newspapers Online

Newspapers are one of the more entertaining avenues of research. The obvious reason for using them is to find birth, marriage, and death notices. You can learn so much more from them though. If your ancestor did something newsworthy (good or bad) you can find them among the pages that we seem to forget about in our rush to the announcements section. Newspapers can also be useful in giving you a feel for the times your ancestor lived in.

One of the problems with researching Canadian ancestors as opposed to other countries is that there isn't one main repository for Canadian newspapers. There's no Chronicling America or British Newspaper Archive. Perhaps Library and Archives Canada could look into this someday. Until that happens though, you're going to have to look more locally to find newspapers online.

If you have Saskatchewan ancestors, then you should add to your browser's bookmarks Saskatchewan Historic Newspapers Online (SHNO). This collaboration between the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan History Online is a work in progress. They state on their website that when completed, they will have digitized Saskatchewan newspapers that cover communities across the province. Right now they have available from 1914-1918, but when done, they plan to have from 1878 to the 1960's.
Under the Navigating the Collection tab, you can find instructions on how to use this resource. You can either use the search bar at the top of the page or browse by community.

Search Bar

By the search bar you can search by newspaper title, city, or date. I decided to try by newspaper title, and typed in "Chronicle". I got 564 results. On the left side of the results, it shows how you can narrow your results down. You can narrow down by particular issue, by town, by name of newspaper, or by date. I did notice that under "By Issue" most had two sets of digitized images. I'm wondering if one is a morning edition, and one an evening edition. They looked exactly alike to me, and it does not say one way or the other.

I also noticed that under "Town" Foam Lake is listed twice. It is listed as "Foam Lake, SK" and "Foam Lake". You might want to keep this in mind for your own searches that place names might be indexed under more than one heading.

Next I searched by City. Under the first search under "Newspaper Title" Foam Lake got 252 issues of the Foam Lake Chronicle. So I entered Foam Lake in the "City" search to see if I got different results. This time I got 253 hits, so off by 1 from the first search.

Lastly I tried by date. Here you will have to put in the date numerically, by year-month-day. So, for 12 April 1917 (how diligent genealogists are supposed to write dates), you will need to put 1917 04 12 in to the search box. This date gave me 36 community newspapers that had an issue digitized with this date. Each newspaper had 2 digital editions. Again, I am wondering if this is a morning and evening edition.

Browse the Collection Tab

Hitting this tab shows 96 communities listed alphabetically. Keep in mind that some communities are listed twice, like Foam Lake which I discussed above. Whitewood is listed as "Whitewood, SK" and Whitewood, Sk.". The other thing I noticed was there isn't just Saskatchewan communities listed. Also listed is:

  • Calgary AB (26 issues)
  • Jersey City, NJ (247 issues)
  • Lloydminster, ALTA (196 issues). Under it is Lloydminster, SK (104 issues)
  • Manitou, MB (12 issues)
  • Toronto, ON (2 issues)
  • Winnipeg MAN (52 issues). Under it is Winnipeg MB (624 issues)
Clicking on a community will take you the results page, where each digitized paper is listed. It has the same setup as you get from searching with the search bar. On the left you can narrow your results further. I clicked on Battleford, which had 728 issues. On the left, I can narrow down further to issues of either the Saskatchewan Herald, or The Battleford Press. Now here's a bonus: When I clicked on Saskatchewan Herald, I looked at the dates available and realized that they actually have issues not just from the 1914-1918 stated on the main page of the website, but they have also digitized issues from 1878 to 1887. Just a lesson that when you're looking at projects that are still works in progress, it never hurts to not just go by what the main page says, and explore a little bit to see what's been added since the website started up.

The Images

So, you've found an issue you want to look at. Click on the particular issue, and it brings it up. You can zoom in and out, and download it to your computer if you wish. It is also here that you can search for key words within the issue by clicking on the magnifying glass icon. It will highlight the first instance, but a click of a box will let you highlight everywhere in the issue the word appears. I looked at the 20 December 1886 issue of the Saskatchewan Herald. Seeing as how this is a December issue, I typed "Christmas" in the search box. From the highlighted text, I found out:
  • St. George's Church will be having church services at 11 am Christmas morning
  • Bremner, Sayer, and Sandon, freighters, were at the reserve on Sunday. "...Good things for Christmas..."
  • Mahaffy and Clinkskill advertised that you can get a wide assortment of Christmas Groceries, and items suitable for gifts at their establishment
  • H. H. Millie had a wide assortment of watches, clocks and jewelry that would be would be suitable for Christmas presents. 
  • The Montreal Star is putting out a special Christmas "paper" filled with poems, stories, articles and "magnificent illustrations". You can send away for this keepsake for the cost of a 25 cent postage stamp. The publishers are also holding a contest giving away $300 in prizes to children who write to them a letter about the paper.

The SHNO has credited the following organizations for their help with this project:

  • Saskatchewan Archives Board
  • Saskatchewan History Online
  • The Ministry of Education
  • Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association
  • Young Canada Works
  • Conseil de la corporation de la Saskatchewan
  • The Institute Francais, University of Regina

If you would like to contact the site with any questions or comments, you can fill out an online inquiry with the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan here.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Alberta Ancestors: The Alberta Heritage Digitization Project

If you have Alberta ancestors, then you'll want to check out the website Our Future, Our Past: The Alberta Heritage Digitization Project. The non profit project ran from 1999 to 2010, digitizing various media relating to Alberta's history and culture. It's the impressive collaboration between:

  •  University of Calgary
  •  University of Alberta
  •  Glenbow Museum
  •  Nickle Arts Museum
  •  Provincial Archives of Alberta
  •  Galileo Educational Network Association
  •  Historical Society of Alberta

From the main page, you can see they sorted their collection into 12 categories:


This is a collection of art from the Nickle Museum and the University of Calgary. Unfortunately, when I tried both the browse and search functions. I could not access anything. It kept asking for login credentials.

Calgary Stampede History

Clicking on this one will take you to the University of Calgary's webpage on the Calgary Stampede. By looking to the right of the page you'll see the link to access the Calgary Stampede Archives.

Now, if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll see you can browse by topic. There's thousands of photos, posters, postcards, Alberta Cattle Breeders catalogues, corporate records, dinner menus, prize lists, programs, and media guides. On a whim I looked at the Alberta Cattle Breeders Catalogues. On the inside cover of the 1902 cover was a list of officers for the Association 1901-1902:

If your ancestor was a part of running the Stampede, you might find their names in the corporate reports. For instance, in 1932 the secretary was Miss. A. E. Hall, and Robert Spencer was the Grounds Superintendent. 

Early Alberta Newspapers

Now this is a must see collection. You can browse by year or by place. There are 41 communities listed, and papers run from 1885 to 2001. Not all places have all years. For example, Banff had the Craig and Canyon newspaper, which ran from 1900 to 1959. Everything is easy to navigate, and narrow down to specific issues. You'll be rewarded with digital images of the newspaper. I found out that in the 8 May 1902 edition, Mr. W. Rather of the Bow River Boathouse had just received a consignment of Peterborough Canoes, and that both Miss Galletly and Miss S. Bell Irving had come down with "la grippe".

Educational Modules

This will take you to some educational resources for teachers relating to Alberta history and culture.

Grande Prairie Photographs

This one is kind of a misnomer. It has the Isabel Campbell Photographic Collection, which is a collection of over 1000 historic photographs of the Grande Prairie area and its citizens. But it also has a link to the Grande Prairie Newspaper Collection. Here you will be able to access digital images of The Frontier Signal (1914-1916), the Grande Prairie Herald (1913-1938), the Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune (1939-1942), the Herald Tribune (1939-1948), and the Northern Tribune (1932-1939).

Southern Alberta Folklore

Here you'll find a collection of over 1000 items relating to Alberta local history and stories. Included are biographies, photos, obituaries, diaries, government documents, periodicals, and personal memories. There's also works of fiction, essays and speeches. You can browse by author, genre, place name, subject, contributor, source publication, or by title. I clicked under biographies the interesting title "Jack DuBois: cattle thief or good neighbour?". It is actually a newspaper clipping detailing how in 1907 Mr. DuBois, a well known and respected rancher, was under investigation for stealing other ranchers' cattle.

Do you know the poem, The Cremation of Sam McGee? Well, the obituary for the real Sam McGee is in the obituaries section!

Local Histories

A sections of books dealing with both provincial and local history. The search function is not available at this time but you can still browse. Browsing is done alphabetically by either title, author, or subject. Click on a letter, narrow further by letter combination, and then a list of publications will appear. I tried browsing for books on Lethbridge. I used "title", letter "L", combination "LE", and got 10 results. Six of these had lethbridge in the title. When I used "subject", "L", and "LE", I got 5 different results. I tried some other combinations for places. I kept running into "run time errors" for some of the links to take me to the digitized images of the books. Some worked though. You'll have to play around with it to see what works for you.

Medical History

This sections allows you to explore the medical history of Alberta through photos, journals, periodicals, and biographies of those involved with medicine. It doesn't only cover Alberta either. I found titles involving Ontario and British Columbia as well. It is set up the same way as the Local Histories section above. Also like above, the search capability has been disabled, and I ran into a lot of "run time errors".

Multicultural Alberta

This section lets you look at media relating to the different cultural groups of the province. You can search for specific items, or browse by ethnicity. You can also browse by media type: books, periodicals, or videos. Under Cultural Group there is:
  • Chinese
  • Finnish
  • German
  • Hungarian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Jewish
  • Macedonian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Ruthenian
  • Slovenian
  • South Asian
  • Ukranian
  • Other
Browsing through the book titles, I found books covering Ontario, and Canada as a whole, as well as Alberta. Also, while the majority are written in English, I did find books and periodicals written in German. I also found many Ukranian periodicals.

Historical Airphotos

Here is collection of over 30,000 digitized air photos covering the years 1922-1956. These are actual aerial photos, not maps. If you know a location where your ancestor lived, you could then see what the land looked like when they lived there.

Nitsitapiisinni: Kainai Plants and Culture

This section deals with resources relating to the Nitsitapiisinni, or Blackfoot. You can look at digitized books, pictures, and videos of their history and culture. There's also a really interesting map of the Blackfoot Confederacy Territory.

Alberta's Legislative History

This last section is actually divided into two parts: Alberta Law Collection, and Municipal Bylaws.

The Alberta Law Collection has documents relating to the Alberta Legislature. The Search function is disabled, but you can browse. Unlike the other sections above, all the links I tried worked. The documents you can view are: 
  • Alberta Gazette (1905-1990)
  • Bills of the Alberta Legislature (1906-1990)
  • Debates of the Alberta Legislature (Hansards) (1972-1993)
  • Journals of the Alberta Legislature (1906-1989)
  • Ordinances of the Northwest Territories (1877-1905)
  • Revised Statutes of Alberta (1922, 1942, 1955, 1970, 1980)
  • Statutes of Alberta (1906-1990)

Municipal Bylaws have digitized bylaws for communities across the province and for various years. You cannot search (it's been disabled) but you can browse either by year or by community. I tried Canmore and they have the bylaws and rescinded bylaws covering from 1965 to 2009. This section may not have direct genealogical significance, unless your ancestor was involved with the town council in some way. But if you were looking for background information on something like property taxation, then you might make use of these. Most of us know that sometimes research will take you down some pretty strange avenues.

Funding for "Our Future, Our Past" came through a variety of sources. If you find information on your ancestors here, you can thank:

  • Alberta Community Development, Community Initiatives Program
  • The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation
  • The Alberta Knowledge Network
  • The Alberta Library
  • The Alberta Law Foundation
  • The Alberta Medical Foundation
  • Canada's Digital Collections
  • The Calgary Foundation
  • Calgary Exhibition & Stampede
  • Industry Canada
  • Information Resources, University of Calgary