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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 ($).


University Libraries

University of Alberta

Rutherford Library, located west of Hub Mall with entrances on the main floor at the east and west and via Hub Mall.

Humanities and Social Sciences Library

Rutherford North, University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E1
Telephone: (780) 492-5791
Hours: Vary depending on term]

The Humanities and Social Services Library in both Rutherford North and Rutherford South contains works of history, geography, languages, biographies, etc. The library is open to the public and borrowing privileges can be obtained through the purchase of a library card. Contact the circulation desk for details.

Rutherford North is entered on the second floor, west, which houses the circulation desk and the reference room.

Reference Resources

  • encyclopedias*
  • periodical index
  • Who’s Who
  • bibliographies
  • Burke’s Peerage
  • archives/libraries and their holdings
  • telephone directories

Rutherford Library South

Telephone: (780) 492-5791 Hours: as listed

The Humanities and Social Services collection from A-BD are housed in Rutherford South. On the second floor are current issues of periodicals and government documents. Earlier periodicals are bound and inter-filed on the shelves of the regular collection.

Periodicals are filed alphabetically: there is a limited collection relating to genealogy.

  • French Canadian & Acadian Genealogical Review (1968-1981) *Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, Bulletin (1970-1988)
  • The Ontario Register (1968-1983)
  • Genealogy (Indiana Historical Society) (1977-1986)

The Government Publication Library contains publications from the federal governments of Canada, Great Britain and the United States, in addition to some publications from provincial governments (particularly Alberta), Alberta cities and major Canadian cities.

Micro-Materials Reading Room Holdings

(Rutherford North, second floor)

Ÿ*Allan Lines shipping records (which brought immigrants from Europe, especially the Balkans Ÿ

  • Canadian city directories Ÿ
  • biographical scrapbook (Toronto Central Library) (1911-1967) Ÿ
  • English parish registers Ÿ
  • Canadian newspapers, some dating to 1800 Ÿ
  • Alberta newspapers Ÿ
  • American newspapers (Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York, etc.) Ÿ
  • microfiche copies of items listed in Bruce Peel’s Bibliography of the Prairies Provinces

Bruce Peel Special Collection Library (Rutherford South basement) Telephone: (780) 492-5998

The Bruce Peel Collection specializes in Western Canadiana and English literature. The history segment, of interest to genealogists, includes private papers, local histories, and photographs.

Ÿ*Alberta Folklore and Local History Collection—first hand accounts of pioneers and older community histories

  • rare books Ÿ
  • all University of Alberta theses, catalogued separately

D.E. Cameron Library

D.E. Cameron Library University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2J8
Telephone: (780) 492-8440
Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:00 am-10:00 pm; Friday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm; Saturday 11:00 am to 6:00 pm & Sunday 11:00 am to 10:00 pm; call for summer hours

The collection of material related to the physical sciences has little interest to genealogists. However, the extensive University Map Collection is located on the main floor. It’s the largest collection of maps in Canada and is worldwide in scope.

historical maps land survey maps large scale maps city maps North American British Isles Continental Europe Russia and former USSR, especially Ukraine

Please note that the staff are willing to assist as time permits. Patrons are requested to have all details of their request on hand and to be prepared to search on their own. University of Calgary

MacKimmie Library 2500 University Drive North West Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4 Telephone: (403) 220-5972 Email: Website:

The MacKimmie Library on the University of Calgary campus is open to the public and contains a wealth of information. To borrow circulating material, it is necessary to have a valid University Library card; check with Circulation for information. For assistance in locating or using material, ask at the Reference desk on the 2nd floor, Library Block. Most usage for genealogical works will be on floors two through six of the Tower and floor two of the Block.

Resources published family histories handbooks and guides for doing genealogy, including bibliographic sources official records information held by local, national, and international institutions specific manuscripts dealing with births, marriages, deaths, passenger listings, etc. associated with specific time periods and world areas printed directories, gazetteers, atlases and indexes for obtaining background information about locations, social events or societies government publications genealogy and family history periodicals an extensive collection of maps, current and historical, for areas around the world

Book Collections There are major collections of local histories relating to Canada located on the 5th and 6th floors of the Library Tower. Other subjects with substantial holdings include the American Revolution, United Empire Loyalists, American Civil War, Germans from Russia, Mennonites and military history. Numerous biographical dictionaries, new and old, by place or profession, are also held in the library.

Map Library (2nd floor Library Block) Ÿ Ordnance Survey maps for countries such as Great Britain (early 19th and later 20th century) Ÿ homestead and county land maps for the Prairies, especially Alberta Ÿ historical maps and atlases showing boundary changes, migration patterns, original churches, post offices and other items of interest Ÿ gazetteers for nearly every country

Periodicals (2nd floor Library Block) Many articles of use to genealogists are published in periodicals such as Alberta History, New York History or Publications of the Dorset Record Society. While some of these magazines have their own indexes, most are indexed in such lists as Canadian Periodical Index, America: History and Life or Historical Abstracts. Often, a careful check of these indexes, will result in the discovery of an article on the history of a family, town, early settlement, former occupation or other information.

Microforms (3rd floor, Library Tower) The library holds numerous titles of interest to the genealogist.

Ÿ Canadian Institute of Historical Micro-reproduction (microfiche) Ÿ Books and serials published in or about Canada prior to 1900 and includes local and family histories, directories, biographies and even such unusual items as printed funeral memorials, annual reports of schools and churches, special items celebrating local events, etc. Ÿ Peel Bibliography (microfiche) Ÿ Collection of books and pamphlets dealing with the three prairie provinces from earliest times to 1950. Many small local histories of towns, schools and churches are in this collections as are settlers’ accounts, immigration literature and directories. Ÿ Victoria History of the Counties of England (5th floor, Library Tower) Ÿ This project began during the reign of Queen Victoria and still continues! Each county in England is discussed in great detail, often in 12 to 15 volumes, covering such topics as archaeology, church history, local history, education, etc. Since the project is not yet complete, some counties are better documented than others, but all the work is scholarly and very helpful to English research. While some volumes are in print, many are on fiche. Ÿ Canadian Newspapers on Microfilm Ÿ Local newspapers, up to the 1900s with some dating back to the 18th century, largely from the Maritime Provinces, Ontario and Québec, with some more recent ones from Alberta. Microforms has a listing of these by geographic region. Films can circulate through interlibrary loan. Library Archives (12th floor Library Tower) The Library Archives’ mandate is to acquire, make accessible for research and preserve archival material documenting Canadian creativity in the personal papers and business records of Canadian writers, publishers, composers, musicians and artists. Holdings also contain collections relating to law, history, journalism and religion. Some fonds such as the Diocesan records of the Anglican Church of Canada Calgary Diocese are on permanent loan. The various fonds include personal and business correspondence, research materials, manuscripts, scrapbooks, photographs, audio-visual materials and artifacts.

Special Collections Rare and special editions as well as individual collections. Many Alberta and prairie local histories and early exploration accounts are held here. This material is non-circulating.

E-mail: Website:

Finding aids: Mapping the Territory: A guide to Archival Holdings, Special Collections, University of Calgary Library. Published inventories to 19 literary collections finding aids to other collections. Holdings are also described in the Archives Network of Alberta Database.

University of Lethbridge Library 4401 University Drive West Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 3M4 Telephone: (403) 329-2263 Email: Website: Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:00 am-11:00 pm; Friday until 6:00 pm; Saturday 11:00 am-6:00 pm; Sunday 1:00 am-9:00 pm; note that hours change during the year depending on students schedules

The library is open for public use and books can be borrowed by purchasing a “community borrower’s card” fora fee. Resources Ÿ biographies Ÿ atlases, maps Ÿ some Lethbridge Directories Ÿ 1948 Ÿ 1970-1977 Ÿ 1979-current Ÿ Bruce Peel Collection on microfiche (original collection at University of Alberta) Ÿ Canadian Institute for Historical Microproductions has over 70,000 books and periodicals of a historical nature including voting registers, directories, biographies, atlases and gazetteers, church histories, genealogies, school registers, regimental histories. Mostly of material published before 1900 so little of Alberta (also available at University of Alberta, University of Calgary) Ÿ Woodworth collection—newspapers on microfilm, mostly from southern Alberta communities, dating back to as early as 1885. Ÿ Calgary Ÿ Cardston Ÿ High River Ÿ Lethbridge Ÿ Macleod Ÿ Medicine Hat Ÿ Nanton Ÿ Pincher Creek Ÿ Standoff Ÿ Also included in the collection are newspapers from: Ÿ Edmonton Bulletin Ÿ Globe and Mail (Toronto) Ÿ Great Falls Ÿ Le Devoir (Montréal) Ÿ New York Times Ÿ Saskatchewan Herald Ÿ The Daily Colonist Ÿ The Times (London) Ÿ Winnipeg Free Press Ÿ local histories


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.