Alberta Birth, Marriage, and Death Records (National Institute)Edit This Page

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in April 2013. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian: Vital Statistic Records - Part 1  by Sharon L. Murphy. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Contents

Brief History of Alberta

The province of Alberta was originally part of Hudson’s Bay Company’s holdings from 1670. According to the Alberta Historical Timeline of the Alberta Family Histories Society, the first North West Company post was built in the Peace River district in 1788. The first Methodist mission was established in Edmonton in 1840. This land was acquired by the Canadian Government in 1870. In 1882 the North West Territories divided into four districts:

  • Alberta
  • Assiniboia East, Assiniboia West
  • Saskatchewan
  • Unorganized Territories

In 1905 the Province of Alberta was created.

Provincial Archives of Alberta

Although the Provincial Archives of Alberta is the primary repository for Alberta’s documentary heritage, it is not the primary repository for birth, marriage and death registrations. Its holdings relate to the history of Alberta. Records from both government offices and the private sector, such as business, labour, religious and other organizations, as well as noteworthy individuals are included. Some records in the Archives’ holdings were created as early as 1795, though most holdings date from 1841.

Research guides exist for some collections and staff will conduct some research on behalf of the individuals.

Provincial Archives of Alberta
8555 Roper Road
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5W1
Telephone for general enquiries: (780) 427-1750
Telephone for Reference Room: (780) 427-1056
Email: paa@gov.ab.ca

Vital Statistics Records of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Alberta

First System of Registration - 1888

Keith Stotyn, Chief Archivist, Manuscripts and Reference Services, Provincial Archives of Alberta published an article in the November 1995 issue of Relatively Speaking, in which he explains the first system of registration as follows:

“An ordinance respecting the registration of births, marriages and deaths (NWT Gazette, No. 6, 1888) established the first system of civil registration in Alberta, then part of the North West Territories. It created a Registrar General and divisional Registrars. The clerk of the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly was appointed Registrar General and the following Divisional Registrars were appointed for what is now Alberta (NWT Gazette, No. 6, 15 May 1889, unless otherwise indicated):

Banff
Richard BC O’Donoughue
Calgary
William Leigh Bernard
MacLeod
Alfred F. Grady
Medicine Hat*
William Cousins Hugh McWhirter (NWT Gazette, No. 23, 1 December 1890)
Edmonton
Colin F. Strong (NWT Gazette, No. 10, 15 July 1889)


“Lethbridge, Red Deer and St. Albert also became registration divisions, ca. 1892. In 1896, division boundaries were changed to match the electoral districts and the following registrars were appointed. (NWT Gazette, No. 24, 16 Dec. 1895):

Banff John Peacock
Calgary W.L. Bernard
Edmonton St. George Jellett
High River Alexander McCrae
Lethbridge C.B. Bowman
MacLeod A.F. Grady
Medicine Hat* H. McWhirter
Red Deer C. Grosvenor Ross
St.Albert Rev. Michael Merir
Victoria F. Greenwood


*Medicine Hat Division also registered births, marriages and deaths in what is now southwestern Saskatchewan, mostly in the Maple Creek area.

“Each registrar maintained registrations of births, marriages and deaths in bound registers. At intervals a copy was probably sent to the Registrar-General in Regina, the Territorial capital. All of these volumes are in poor physical condition; the pages were cut from the binding by Alberta Vital Statistic prior to microfilming.”

Second System of Registration - 1897

“The Vital Statistics Ordinance (NWT, Ch. 34, 1897) created a central registry. Each registrar submitted registration certificates to the registry. Each registrar may have retained a duplicate of the registration; no registrar copies have been received.




  • Early Birth Registers
    Birth registrations include registration number, birth date, name, sex, father’s name, mother’s maiden name, father’s profession, informant’s name and address, registration date, name of attending physician or midwife, registrar’s name and remarks.
  • Early Marriage Registers
    Marriage registrations include registration number, groom’s name, age, address, birthplace, status (bachelor or widower), profession, parents’ names, bride’s name, age, address, birthplace, status (spinster or widow), parents’ names, names and address of the witnesses, date and place of marriage, religion of bride and groom, minister’s name, by license or banns and remarks.
  • Early Death Registers
    Death registrations include registration number, name, death date, sex, age, profession, birthplace, cause of death, physician’s name, name and address of informant, registration date, religion of deceased, registrar’s name and remarks.

This list of the records is available for the indicated divisions and dates:

Division Births Marriages Deaths
Alberta 1893-1897 1889-1897 1889-1897
Banff 1889-1892 1889-1892 1889-1892
Banff 1893-1899 1893-1899 1893-1899
Calgary 1889-1895 missing 1889-1897
Calgary 1895-1897

Edmonton 1889-1897
1889-1898
Lethbridge 1893-1897 1892-1899 1893-1896
MacLeod 1889-1898 1889-1898 1889-1898
Medicine Hat 1889-1898 1889-1898 1889-1898
Red Deer 1893-1898 1893-1899 1893-1899
St. Albert 1892-1897 1893 1893

Original Name Indexes

  • for Births:
  • Alberta 1889-1905
  • Alberta 1889-1918
  • Alberta 1918-1953
  • Alberta 1914-1943 (stillbirths)
  • Calgary 1889-1906
  • Calgary 1922-1937
  • for Marriages
  • Alberta 1946-1959
  • Alberta 1952-1957 (brides)
  • Alberta 1952-1968 (grooms)
  • Calgary 1889-1906
  • Calgary 1922-1945
  • for Deaths
  • Alberta 1889-1905
  • Alberta 1925-1968
  • Calgary 1889-1906
  • Calgary 1922-1945

Certificates

Birth Registrations (certificates)

Alberta 1898-1904:
Birth certificates include registration number and division, birth date, sometimes birthplace, name, sex, father’s name, mother’s maiden name, father’s profession, informant’s name and address, registration date, name of attending physician, remarks, registrar’s name and registration date.

Marriage Registrations (certificates)

Alberta 1898-1905:
Marriage certificates include registration number and division, groom’s name, age, address, birthplace, status (bachelor or widower), profession, parents’ names, bride’s name, age, address, birthplace, status (spinster or widow), parents’ names, names and addresses of witnesses, date and place of marriage, religion of bride and groom, by license or banns, remarks, minister’s name, registration date and registrar’s name.

Death Registrations (certificates)

Alberta 1898-1905:
Death certificates include registration number and division, name, death date, sex, age, profession, birthplace, cause of death, physician’s name, religion of deceased, name and address of informant, remarks, registration date and registrar’s name. The physician’s cause of death form is often attached and includes name, sex, address, profession, duration of illness, cause of death, date and physician’s name.

Registrations (certificates) Alberta

Division
Births
Marriages
Deaths
Alberta localities
1907-1986
1907-1986
1907-1986
Alberta localities
1912-1988
1912-1988
1912-1988
Calgary
1947-1981
1947-1982
1947-1979
Alberta localities
1914-1981
1914-1981
1914-1981

Birth after 1904:
Held by Alberta Vital Statistics. Registers of Births: may contain name, sex, parents’ names (or father and informant), father’s profession, date and place of birth, date of registration or date and place of baptism, remarks.

Marriage after 1905:
Held by Alberta Vital Statistics. Registers of Marriages: may contain names, date and place of marriage, officiating minister and remarks.

Death after 1905:
Held by Alberta Vital Statistics. Registers of Deaths: may contain name, sex, date and place of death, date of birth or age, name of informant, cause of death, place of interment and remarks.

Location of Records

Registers available:

  • The first Banff registers for births, marriages, and deaths were transferred to Red Deer in 1893.
  • No registers for High River and Victoria divisions have been received.

Before 1889 there were no civil registrations of births, marriages and deaths in Alberta. Some early births were registered much later. The Provincial Archives of Alberta has a copy of the ‘Index to the Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths 1870 to 1905’ prepared by the Edmonton Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society. These are not the original registrations, but are an index compiled of all three types of events.

Alberta Index Birth Marriage and Death Registrations 1870-1905 - Sample Page

Alberta Index BMD Registrations.jpg

Alberta Genealogical Society Vital Statistics, Alberta Registries, Alberta Municipal Affairs, holds birth records created as early as 1893 and marriage and death records created as early as 1898. Birth records created after 1971 and marriage and death records created after 1975 exist in computerized format. Records created before 1946 are also held by the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

Access Restrictions

Access to vital statistics records is subject to the permission of the Director of Vital Statistics. The Director has provided a blanket permission to all Archives researchers, once they have read and signed an agreement. The agreement specifies how the researchers will use the records and limits what they may do with the information obtained.

According to the Research: Alberta Ancestors course by Arlene Borgstede, “The agreement reads in part: The Researcher shall not contact next-of-kin or personal representatives of persons named in the Registers, unless the Researcher is a family member. The Researcher agrees that information from the registers is for research purposes and may not be released to any other person without further written consent of the Director of Vital Statistics. The Researcher agrees that information from the registers shall not be published or released which might make possible the identification of an individual, either directly or as may be implied through a course of events without specific written consent of the Director of Vital Statistics.”

Obtaining Certificates

Vital Statistics will provide certified photocopies of birth, marriage and death registrations to any family member for the purpose of genealogical research. These photographic prints may contain more information than a birth, marriage or death certificate.

Alberta Residents

If you are an Alberta resident you must apply in person to a Registry Agent. See below if you are not a resident of Alberta.

The fee for each three-year search or certificate ordered is $20 Canadian. Registry Agents are authorized to add a service fee in addition to the $20 government fee per certificate or search. For information on Registry Agents available in your area, call 780-422-7013 from Edmonton. Other areas (Alberta only) call 310-0000 then enter 433-7330. You can also check in the Yellow pages under Licensing and Registry Services or on the Service Alberta website.

Non-Alberta Residents

Non-Alberta residents who wish to make application for a genealogical search or certificate may apply by mail to Registry Connect. For an application form and further instructions, go to the Service Alberta website. Send the application and applicable fees (Visa, Mastercard, or cheque/money order payable to Registry Connect) to:

Registry Connect
Suite 202, 1003 Ellwood Road SW
Ellwood Office Park South
Edmonton, Alberta T6X 0B3

Provincial Archives of Alberta

The Provincial Archives of Alberta also hold some vital event records for some communities from 1870 on. However it does not hold records for every year or for every community. There is an alphabetical index of names up to about 1905. Provincial Archives of Alberta
8555 Roper Road
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5W1
Telephone: 780-427-1750
Email: paa@gov.ab.ca

An individual requesting a genealogical search is usually asking for a certified photographic print of a registration. This document carries the most information of any document that is produced through Vital Statistics.

Individuals applying for genealogical searches must show they are eligible to apply for someone else’s birth, marriage, death or stillbirth documentation.

Many times when application is made for genealogical documents, full information and exact dates will not be known. To increase the likelihood of Vital Statistics locating the record, the applicant is encouraged to provide as much information as is possible such as:

  1. what event is being searched
  2. full name of the person(s)
  3. date of the event
  4. age of the individual(s) at the time of the event

The more information provided, the better the chance of locating a record. If the exact date of the event is unknown, give a range of dates to search as all Vital Statistics events are filed in chronological order. A fee will be calculated for each three-year period or portion thereof searched.

When the exact date of an event is unknown, it is important to at least provide the year. Searches will include the year before and the year after a given date when necessary.

Important Note

  • After 120 years have passed since the birth, or fifty years since the death of a person, anyone can apply for any birth registration.
  • After 75 years have passed anyone can apply for any marriage registration.
  • After 50 years have passed anyone can apply for any death or stillbirth registration.

Eligibility to Receive Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates

To receive a certificate, you must meet strict guidelines of eligibility. The list of who can and who can’t apply is quite lengthy. Also, how you are related to the person whose certificate you are requesting, will determine what supporting documents you will require when requesting that certificate. We recommend that you review the guidelines for eligibility at this website before applying for a certificate.

You can also obtain a certified photographic print of a Medical Certificate of Death, Stillbirth Registrations and Medical Certificate of Stillbirth.

What information will this certificate provide?

Certified Photographic Prints of Registrations

The certified photographic print is an actual photocopy of the registration of birth, marriage or death completed at the time of the event. The certified photographic print size is 21.5 x 28 cm (8½ x 11 in.). There is always a red stamp on the back stating it is a certified true copy of the original registration. The information contained on the photographic print depends greatly upon the year the event occurred as Vital Statistics has changed the form and the data it collects. It will always contain the following information, quite often more:

Birth
This information was usually completed by the mother:

  • Full name of the individual
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Gender of child
  • Parents’ names and places of birth
  • Registration number
  • Registration date


Marriage
This information was usually completed by the marriage official and the bride and groom:

  • Full name of the groom
  • Full name of the bride
  • Date of marriage
  • Place of marriage
  • Birthplace of the bride and groom
  • Registration number
  • Registration date


Death
This information was usually completed by the spouse, next-of-kin or close relative:

  • Full name of the deceased
  • Gender of deceased
  • Age of deceased at time of death
  • Date of death
  • Place of death
  • Marital status of the deceased at the time of death
  • Usual place of residence of the deceased
  • Registration number
  • Registration date

Definition of Next-of-kin

Mother, father, brother, sister, children, spouse or common-law spouse. This definition can be found in the Fatality Inquiries Act. This definition does not include in-laws, grandchildren, grandparents, step-relatives, aunts, uncles, nieces or nephews. Persons who have been adopted or who have placed their child for adoption are not “next-of-kin” to biological relations.

Due to the complexity of completing searches, allow up to six weeks processing time.

Additional Information

For additional information on Alberta Birth, Marriage, and Death Records see: Alberta Archives and Libraries

See: Canada Archives and Libraries

See: Alberta Online Genealogy Records


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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian: Vital Statistic Records - Part 1 offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.


 

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  • This page was last modified on 15 September 2014, at 18:52.
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