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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in December 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Research: Canadian Ancestors by Doris Bourrie, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Manitoba Provincial Records
Great Britain granted the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) its Charter in 1670, which gave the company control of the territory that is now the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Company set up fur trading posts across its lands, and kept extensive records of its various operations. These records are now housed at the Archives of Manitoba. The earliest white residents were mainly employees of the Company, engaged in the fur trade. The first agricultural settlers were the Selkirk Settlers brought from Scotland to the Red River area under the sponsorship of Lord Selkirk in 1812.
Heads of Family census records exist for 1831-1849. The first nominal census records were created in 1870, when Manitoba became a province. Federal census records after 1870 are for 1881, 1891 and 1901.
Early records of baptisms, marriages and burials performed by the chaplain of the Hudson’s Bay Company are part of the HBC records. Early church records for Manitoba include Anglican records from 1820; Wesleyan Methodist records from 1840 and Presbyterian records from 1851. Civil registration by the Province began in 1882 and are held by the Vital Statistics Branch of the provincial government. This branch also has some church records prior to 1881.
To obtain copies of registration the applicant must complete a written application and provide the appropriate fee. For current information contact:
The earliest land records will be found in the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. In 1870 the jurisdiction of Crown lands was transferred to the Dominion of Canada and land records became the responsibility of the Government. Before land could be alienated from the Crown and Letters Patent issued to a homesteader, the land had to be accurately surveyed and a legal description assigned. Also, under the Dominion Lands Act a homesteader had to provide proof that the land had been improved in some manner before he could apply for his Letters Patent from the Crown. In 1871 a governmental order-in-council provided for a land survey covering Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as the railway belt of British Columbia. This survey produced a comprehensive listing of the legal land descriptions known as the Dominion Land Grants database. Individual names were included in the database where available. This database, refers only to Letters Patent issued as a result of the first alienation of a piece of land from the Crown to an individual owner.
The Canadian Government offered script for $160 or 160 acres to all residents of Manitoba on 15 July, 1870. Application for land script began in June 1875 and continued until the early 1880s. An alphabetical index by surname to applications has been published in Manitoba Script, by Gail Morin, Quinton Publications, 1996, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Other guides to patentees exist, most arranged by the legal description of the land. Land transactions after the initial alienation of the land from the Crown were handled by the various district offices of the Land Titles Office. Contact the:
Wills and Estate Records
Manitoba assumed jurisdiction over wills and estate records in 1871. The Surrogate Court began in 1881. Estate Files are available from 1871-1988. For a complete list of Court divisions and dates of files transferred to the Archives, check the Provincial Archives website, Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, Probate Division.
Some divorce files are available for the years 1917-1977. Check the Archives website for the years for each court district.
Civil Court Files
Civil files are available from 1883-1988, and the dates available for each County Court is listed on the Archives website.
Manitoba Genealogical Society
Unit E, 1045 St. James Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3H 1B1
Telephone: (204) 783-9139 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This site provides general information on beginning genealogy, and information on branch addresses and/or websites. There is also a link to an active researchers list, and a list of cemetery transcriptions available, and ordering information. The group will accept research requests which are handled by volunteers. There is a fee for this service.
This organization is dedicated to the preservation of records concerning the Francophone presence in Western Canada and Manitoba in particular.
There is general information provided regarding genealogy, and hours of operation for their Heritage Centre-Centre du Patrimoine, which is the archival facility. The Virtual Archives button provides a history of Louis Riel and the Riel Rebellion, and also a History of the Oblate Province of Manitoba. The Oblate order established Missions and Schools, at first for the Métis population, and later for the many emigrants to Manitoba, Ukrainians, Germans, Polish and Italian.
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Research: Canadian Ancestors 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 email@example.com
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