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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 Research: Alberta Ancestors  by Arlene Borgstede. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).


Public Libraries

Calgary Public Library– W.R. Castell Central Branch
616 Macleod Trail South East
Calgary, Alberta T2G 2M2
Telephone: (403) 260-2600
Hours: Monday to Thursday 10:00 am-9:00 pm; Friday and Saturday 10:00 am-5:00 pm;
Sunday 1:30 pm-5:00 pm
Local History Collection
Telephone: (403) 260-2695
Hours: Monday to Thursday 10:00 am-9:00 pm;Friday and Saturday 10:00 am-5:00 pm

The Main Branch of Calgary Public Library’s contains a wealth of information generally not held by other local institutions.

The Humanities Section (fourth floor) holds the majority of material of interest to the genealogist.

  • Ÿ microfilm reels of all Canadian census returns for the years 1842, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891
  • Ÿ microfilm reels of all ships passenger lists (1865-1920) of vessels entering Canadian ports and Filby’s Passenger and Immigration Lists Index for immigrants to North America
  • Ÿ microfilm reels of border entry lists Ÿ
  • a microfilm index to the Alberta Homestead Records (held by the Provincial Archives) and the Ontario Land Records (held by the Ontario Archives) Ÿ
  • handbooks and guides for doing genealogy and heraldry Ÿ
  • small collection of bibliographic sources in the area Ÿ
  • documents dealing with specific births, marriages, and deaths, etc. associated with specific time periods and world areas Ÿ
  • gazetteers, historical county atlases of Eastern Canada and indexes Ÿ
  • Cummins Rural Maps for Alberta and Manitoba (1923) (on microfilm) for obtaining background information about locations, social events, societies and individuals Ÿ
  • genealogy and family history periodicals Ÿ
  • local atlases Ÿ
  • inter-library loans can be arranged from institutions across North America

Local History Collection– Canadiana Room (non-circulating)

  • published family and local histories
  • Henderson/Peel directories for Western Canada from mid-1950s
  • pamphlets and magazines
  • directories
  • catalogues
  • school yearbooks
  • maps
  • clippings files

Directories/Government Publications (third floor)

  • the current telephone directories for most locations in the world as well as the current Peel Directories for major Canadian cities and the current Reverse Telephone Directory for Calgary
  • numerous publications printed by the Canadian government for public access and interpretation.

Newspapers (basement)

  • Ÿ for major cities around the world (including Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto) in hard copy
  • Ÿ microfilm reels of historical newspapers for larger Canadian cities back as far as 15-20 years
Edmonton Public Library– Stanley A. Milner Branch
7 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2V4
Telephone: (780) 496-7000
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 am-9:00 pm Saturday 9:00 am-6:00 pm; Sunday 1:00 pm-5:00 pm


  • Genealogical Periodical Annual Index from 1976
  • current and historical atlases
  • gazetteers
  • bibliographies
  • passenger and immigration lists index
  • “how-to” books local history index
  • reference and research materials
  • publications from municipal, provincial and federal governments
  • federal, provincial and municipal government documents
  • On-line and CD-ROM information
  • magazines on-line
  • Who’s Who
  • interlibrary loan

Canadiana Collection (non-lending)

The newly renovated library now features a Heritage Room which houses the Canadiana Collection—a special historical collection aimed at filling the particular informational needs and interests of the people of Edmonton. It has been developed as a popular history and local research collection as opposed to a scholarly and archival collection.

materials relating to the history and development of Edmonton and Northern Alberta, early exploration and subsequent developments local histories (community, school and church) of Northern Alberta i.e. north of Ponoka material on the history of the people and ethnic groups of Edmonton and Northern Alberta old gazetteers of Alberta old city directories for selected Alberta cities and old phone books for Edmonton and Calgary guidebooks of the province genealogies and family histories of Albertans basic materials on Canada or the Prairies having a significant amount of information on the history and development of Alberta material of a rare nature or unusual value such as limited edition and signed copies newspapers on microfilm Edmonton Bulletin (1880-1951) Edmonton Capital (1910-1914) Edmonton Journal (1903- ) Edmonton Sun (1978- ) Strathcona Plaindealer (1901-1903; 1903-1906; 1907-1910)

Grande Prairie Public Library
101, 9839- 103 AvenueGrande
Prairie, Alberta T8V 6M7
Telephone: (780) 532-3580
Hours: Monday to Thursday 10:00 am-9:00 pm; Friday 10:00 am-6:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am -5:00 pm; Sunday 1:00 pm-5:00 pm; see Grande Prairie Branch Alberta Genealogical Society for resources.
Lethbridge Public Library
810 - 5th Avenue South
Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 4C4
Telephone: (403) 380-7310
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:30 am-9:00 pm; Saturday 9:30 am-5:30 pm; Sunday 1:30 pm-5:30 pm; hours change slightly in summer

Resources Ÿ

  • online public access catalogue (OPAC) Ÿ
  • periodicals, micromaterials, government publications, genealogy vertical files, reference books and local history photos, files, publications and clippings Ÿ
  • Henderson Directories
  • telephone directories Ÿ
  • local histories Ÿ
  • newspapers Ÿ
  • Lethbridge Herald Ÿ
  • Macleod Gazette Ÿ
  • atlases, gazetteer Ÿ
  • Senator Buchanan Collection Ÿ
  • clippings of local interest from about 1882 to the present (not indexed) Ÿ
  • CD-ROM searching

Services reference assistance photocopying service listening centres for in-house use inter-library loans

Red Deer Public Library
4818 - 49 Street
Red Deer, Alberta T4N 1T9
Telephone: (403) 346-4576
Hours: Monday to Thursday 9:30 am-8:30 pm; Friday and Saturday 9:30am-5:30 pm; Sunday 1:30 pm-5:00 pm

Reference Material how-to books periodicals oral histories passenger lists (3 small volumes) heraldry international vital records handbooks catalogues of national census returns from 1666-1891 and 1901 on microfilm interlibrary loans microfilm reader/printer

Smaller Local Libraries

Local libraries in smaller communities may be of value. Although their collections may be limited, many are affiliated with other libraries and share their resources. Some carry local newspapers and administration records. Many can order books through inter-library loans.

Other Resources

  • reference materials
  • networking through the Alberta Library Services, connecting you to libraries across the country
  • business community materials
  • phone books from around the province
  • internet access
Fort Saskatchewan Public Library
10011 - 102 Street Fort Saskatchewan,
Alberta T8L 2C5
Telephone: (780) 998-4275
Hours: Monday to Thursday 10:00 pm-9:00 pm; Friday 10:00 am-6:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am-5:00 pm; Sunday 1:00 pm-5:00 pm; closed Sundays in June-August

Resources Ÿ

  • interlibrary loan Ÿ
  • newspapers Fort Saskatchewan The Record (early 1900s to 1984 on microfilm. Originals from 1984)
  • local cemetery records Ÿ
  • local histories Ÿ
  • microfilm/microfiche readers
County of Strathcona Municipal Library & Archives
Sherwood Park, Alberta T8A 5P7
Telephone: (780) 449-5801
Hours: Monday to Thursday 10:00 am-9:00 pm; Friday and; Saturday 10:00 am-5:00 pm; Sunday 1:00 pm-5:00 pm

The mandate of the Archives is to collect material related to the people, places and historical events within the county.

  • oral history tapes and transcripts
  • local histories of the county
  • diaries and letters from early settlers
  • local newspapers on microfilm
  • county record, council and board minutes, bylaws and department records
  • photographs

The library has material and resources of interest to genealogists:

  • local histories related to the County of Strathcona
  • atlases and gazetteers
  • telephone books
  • Sherwood Park from 1983
  • many Canadian and U.S. cities
  • partial collection of County Cadestral maps giving descriptions, pipeline, road and railways
  • interlibrary loan
  • microfilm reader
  • dial-in catalogue
  • internet access

A subject index is available. Archives material is accessed through the library


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Research: Alberta 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 

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.