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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.’
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
Inuvik, Northwest Territories X0E 0T0
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.
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). 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
Alberta and Northwest Conference Archives
Provincial Archives of Alberta
8555 Roper Road
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5W1
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.
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage
4750 48 Street
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Government of the NWT
P.O. BOS 1320 PWNHC
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories X1A 2L9
The background of the Northwest Territories is included here to set the stage for the history of Nunavut. 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.
A territory now known as Nunavut was established under the Statutes of Canada 1993, Bill C-132, assented to on 10 June 1993. This Act was effective on or before 1 April 1999. Nunavut consists of all of Canada north of 60 degrees north and east of the Northwest Territories (i.e. includes the old Keewatin District to Hudson’s Bay) which is not within Québec or Newfoundland; the islands of Hudson Bay, James Bay and Ungava Bay that are not within Manitoba, Ontario or Québec.
Records for events in what is now Nunavut prior to 1 April 1999 are held by Vital Statistics, Department of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories, Bag # 9, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, X0E 0T0. See Northwest Territories for more information.
Events that occurred outside the territory are often registered in the jurisdiction in which they took place. Many births and deaths occurred elsewhere because people were often sent south for medical or other reasons. The primary connections are directly north and south— Baffin/Montreal and Ottawa, Kivalliq/Churchill and Winnipeg and Kitikmeot and Kughoktuk (formerly Coppermine)/Edmonton and Yellowknife, but people have been sent elsewhere as well.
Tuberculosis patients ended their lives in a variety of locations, some of which still remain unknown to their families. This information was kindly shared with me by Carol Orr.
Although genealogical information with regards to vital statistics is not available yet, other general and genealogical information can be found at Nunavut.com and Nunavut Public Library Services websites.
The most northwesterly part of Canada, bounded by Alaska on the west, the 60th parallel on the south, the Northwest Territories on the east and the Beaufort Sea on the north is known as the Yukon Territory. This former Hudson’s Bay Company territory was acquired by Canada in 1870 and incorporated in the Northwest Territories then. It was made a provisional district in 1895 and a separate territory in 1896 after gold deposits were discovered.
Vital Statistics from 1898 are in the care of the Deputy Registrar. There are no special genealogical certificates issued. Record searches are undertaken and regular certificates are issued. Contact the office for current costs. At the time of printing, the charges were $10 to activate a search plus $1 for each year you want searched up to 10 years.
If a certificate is not specifically requested then the information found is included in letter form. All search requests must be in writing. Full information and application forms are online.
A finding aid to available resources at the Yukon Archives, Genealogical Research at the Yukon Archives, is available in PDF format.
Yukon Health and Social Services - Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6
The Yukon Archives have some church records. See their website for more information.
Yukon Public Libraries
Government of Yukon, Public Libraries (C-23)
P.O. Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6
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 email@example.com
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.