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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 first European settlers arrived as employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company during the 17th century and were primarily connected with the fur trade. It wasn’t until the Selkirk Settlers arrived in 1812 that the land was taken up for agricultural use.
The area was known as the Red River Settlement or Assiniboia District or Rupert’s Land until entering Confederation in 1870 when the Hudson’s Bay Company sold the land to Canada and the name changed to Manitoba. Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths started in 1882. Some church records prior to 1882 are also available.
The Provincial Archives of Manitoba (PAM) and the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives (HBCA) are the two major repositories of original documents in Manitoba. The PAM houses records of the Manitoba government, as well as other private collections. A limited collection of early church records is found here—Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Unitarian and Jewish.
Hudson’s Bay Company Archives
The HBCA houses the extensive records of the Hudson’s Bay Company (the “Company” was the ‘administrator’ of most of western Canada before 1870).
The Manitoba Genealogy Society tells us that “Many of the documents in the Hudson’s Bay Archives have been indexed. The register of baptisms, marriages and burials (1820-1841, 1841-1851) performed by the chaplain of the Hudson’s Bay Company has an index which includes witnesses to the ceremonies. Further indexed materials are: correspondence with George Simpson; wills of Hudson’s Bay Company’s employees and their relations; and biographies of fur traders.”
Also included in the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives are records of its operations across the northern hemisphere and elsewhere since its establishment in 1670. For those interested in HBC’s records, a guide titled Biographical Resources at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives: Volume one by Briggs and Morton (1996) can be consulted at the Provincial Archives or can be purchased. See their website for research tools.
Legislative Library of Manitoba
The Legislative Library of Manitoba is the provincial government library. It contains a large collection of published works relating to Manitoba, especially local histories, newspapers, (dating back to 1859, the newspaper holdings are available on microfilm for on-site research or for interlibrary loan) and city/provincial directories. The legislative library will make copies for a fee of obituary notices if the exact date of death or date of obituary notice is given.
All three above mentioned facilities are housed at:
Manitoba is another province which allows unrestricted access to certain historic vital records:
- Births more than 100 years ago
- Marriages more than 80 years ago
- Deaths more than 70 years ago
A searchable database has been created as an index or guide at the Vital Statistics Agency website. You are given instructions for then ordering a copy of the complete record. Similar to other provinces, the older records have less information than the modern ones; information collected in the past was not as full as it is more recently. The fee for records ordered electronically from this database is $12 per record (as of January 2013)
Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths started in 1882. (Some church records prior to 1882 are also available at the Vital Statistics Branch below but the denomination of the subject person must be known) After receiving a written application stating the purposes and relationship of the applicant, a five year search is conducted. The search covers the entire region specified and variations for the spelling of names. There is an entitlement restriction for modern records under legislation protecting privacy. Consult the website for details of this restriction.
The fee at the present time is $30 and a Certified Copy is issued if the record is located. A Certified Copy contains all the information appearing on the Original Registration. If the record is not located, a Search Receipt is issued stating there is no record for the years searched. A genealogical application form (PDF format) is available. You will be required to verify that the person sought and all immediate next-of-kin (spouse, children, parents and siblings) are deceased or, if not, written proof of consent from the living people must be attached. Fees may be paid by cheque or money order (payable to Minister of Finance), Visa or MasterCard.
Libraries and Genealogical Societies
Manitoba Genealogical Society
The Manitoba Genealogical Society was founded in 1976 and incorporated in 1982. They will do limited research through its Resource Center, time permitting. Fee schedule for this service is available upon request and with a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.
They also have a lending library for members and will ship books to members who live at a distance. The online catalogue is available. Long distance members should contact the library about availability of books and cost at their email address: email@example.com
A list of independent researchers will be provided but this does not imply recommendation by the Manitoba Genealogical Society.
A useful work, Reference Sources for Researching Family History in Manitoba, is an information booklet produced by the Manitoba Genealogical Society. It outlines the genealogically relevant records held by the Provincial Archives of Manitoba and provides information on genealogical records elsewhere in the province as well.
The Manitoba Genealogical Society has many branches. Please view their webpage or contact the society for listings.
Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives
600 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3P 0M4
Winnipeg Public Library
251 Donald Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 3P5
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.