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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian: Archival Centres  by Ryan Taylor. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Provincial Archives (cont.)


Provincial Archives of Alberta
8555 Roper Road
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5W1
Telephone: (780) 427-1750

The Alberta archives was founded in 1963, although collecting of documents had begun in 1908. Its focus is on records of enduring value regarding the history of Alberta. There are references at the website to archival guides to women’s history, the Archives of the United Church of Canada, the archives of the Oblates Immaculate of Mary (who founded many of the Roman Catholic churches in the province), government records, and the pre-1980 oral history collections in both French and English. There are published volumes of vital records 1897-1905 with some records held up to 1980.

There are microfiche copies of local histories from Bruce Peel’s Bibliography of the Prairie Provinces to 1953 and telephone directories, and microfilm of passenger lists from Library and Archives Canada. They have homestead records from the federal government, which have a nominal index and digitized documents to 1930.

The Alberta archives has microfilm of Métis land claims 1870-1906 and the Department of Indian Affairs RG10 (The Black Series).

In the manuscripts area there are municipal records, church records, school records. There is a name index for the Oblate registers, although copies of the entries must be obtained either from the parish involved, or the diocese. The archives has an address list for the churches. There are also parish censuses kept by the Oblates, a very useful source for genealogists, and little-used.

The book collection includes school, church and community histories. The archives has a checklist of local histories which will help beginning researchers determine if their place of interest has a history. Much of the access to records at the archives is through card catalogues, including the Main Entry Catalogue which accesses government records and other collections. There are special card indexes for court and coroners’ records and school districts.

Consultations with the archivists are restricted to ten minutes. The archives does provide a paid research service for brand and homestead searches, in church records and translation of documents. The website is developing online finding aids and databases. Check back regularly to see what has been added.

There are two handbooks for Alberta research. The first, Tracing your ancestors in Alberta: a guide to sources of genealogical interest in Alberta’s archives and research centres, by Victoria Lemieux and David Leonard (1992) is written by people with connections to the provincial archives. The other is somewhat newer, Finding your ancestors in Alberta  by Arlene Borgstede (1999). The Cloverdale Library in Surry B.C. has also produced a research guide, A guide to researching genealogy at the Cloverdale library: Alberta (2011)  which includes online, print and microfilm resources for researching family history in Alberta.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses

offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at 

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