Northwest Territories Birth, Marriage, and Death Records (National Institute)

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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 ($).


The Northwest Territories once referred to all the Hudson’s Bay Company land and Rupert’s Land, which were united with Canada in 1870. The Northwest Territories were organized into provisional districts in the following years: Keewatin (1876), Alberta (1882), Assiniboia (1882), Athabaska (1882), Saskatchewan (1882), Franklin (1895), Mackenzie (1895), Ungava (1895) and Yukon (1895).

In 1880 the Territories were augmented by the addition of all the North American Arctic Island claimed by Great Britain. In 1898 the Yukon District was made a separate territory. In 1905 the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were created.

An Order in Council, effective 1 January 1920, defined the boundaries of the districts of Mackenzie, Keewatin and Franklin. Since that time there has been a more recent change in the Northwest Territories. Namely, the Territory of Nunavut has been established. It encompasses the central and eastern Arctic regions and is nearly one-fifth of Canada’s land mass. The balance remaining is now the Northwest Territories.

S.M. Hodgson, Commissioner has indicated that on 18 September 1968 the transfer of the Northwest Territories administration from Ottawa to Yellowknife to place; i.e. ‘self-government.’

Location of Records

Depending on the date of the event you are trying to establish and confirm you will have to focus your search in the area that would have housed the records at the time, or, may have transferred their records to the most recent governmental agency. According to Eric Jonasson’s The Canadian Genealogical Handbook regarding Vital Records, all civil vital records for the Northwest Territories are available from:

Northwest Territories, Health and Social Services
Vital Statistics
Bag #9
Inuvik, Northwest Territories X0E 0T0
Telephone: 867-777-7440
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0830

Most records do not go back much further than the 1940s.

Initially, the R.C.M.P. was charged with the task of maintaining ‘Disc Lists’ for all Inuit residents in the Arctic Districts. Disc Lists provided names, date of birth, family relationships, and the all-important ‘Disc Number’. This number was tattooed onto old members. Because they were nomadic and they often changed their names, this was the only way the Inuit could be traced.

Church Records

United Church Records

The United Church of Canada Archives holds the local church records of the United Church and its uniting denominations (Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian (1925 union); and Evangelical United Brethren—joined in 1968).

Alberta and Northwest Conference Archives
Provincial Archives of Alberta
8555 Roper Road
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5W1
Telephone: 780-427-8687

The Alberta and Northwest Conference area encompasses the province of Alberta and the northeastern section of the province of British Columbia, all of the Yukon Territories, and all of the Northwest Territories. Congregations outside the bounds of the province of Alberta are included within the Conference’s Northern Lights Presbytery, specifically Grace Church in Hay River and Yellowknife Church in Yellowknife.

Holdings include those records created by local congregations such as registers of baptisms, marriages and burials and numerous other records.

Presbyterian Church in Canada

The records of the churches which did not join at union but remained part of the continuing Presbyterian Church in Canada after 1925 are held at:

Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives and Record Office
50 Wynford Drive
Toronto, Ontario M3C 1J7
Telephone: (416) 441-1111

Heritage Centre

The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre is the museum for the Northwest Territory government.

Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
4750 48 Street
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Mailing Address:
Government of the NWT
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories X1A 2L9
Telephone: 867-873-7551


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

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.