Manitoba was originally part of a vast territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670.
From 1682, when York Factory was established, to 1812, which saw the arrival of the first settlers on the Red River, the only settlements were fur trading posts built by the French and the English. Both entered interracial marriages with the Native Peoples, thereby creating a large Métis population.
On November 19, 1869, the Government of Canada acquired all the land belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, commonly called Rupert's Land.
On July 15, 1870, Manitoba became a province in the Canadian Confederation, though consisting only of the small region called the Red River Settlement. Manitoba's current borders were established in 1912.
The arrival of the railway in 1870 had a major effect on the population, which doubled in 20 years with the arrival of immigrants from eastern Canada, the United States and Europe.
Genealogists interested in ancestors who lived in Manitoba use the main kinds of genealogical sources. However, a large amount of information on ancestors can be found in land records, particularly "homestead" records.
In addition, researchers interested in Métis ancestors have a number of resources available on Native genealogy in Manitoba.
Civil Registration (Birth, Death, and Marriage Records)
In Manitoba, the Vital Statistics Agency holds birth, marriage and death records from 1882, together with some incomplete church records prior to that date (searched when the denomination is known). Some databases are available on their Web site.
Vital Statistics Agency
254 Portage Avenue
The Archives of Manitoba also hold a small collection of church records.
Library and Archives Canada holds the Letters Patent issued by the Lands Patent Branch of the Department of the Interior. The records refer to grants issued in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the railway belt of British Columbia, 1870-1930. Those records can be searched in the following database:
The land system in the western provinces was arranged by sections, townships and ranges. Detailed information is provided on the online help of the above database.
Homestead registers, files, plans and fiats are in the custody of the Archives of Manitoba. A computer-generated list of all homesteaders, by name and land description, is available on microfiche.
Subsequent transfers of title are recorded in the district Land Titles offices.
Sales of agricultural land by the Canadian Pacific Railway to settlers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, 1881-1906, can be searched in the Glenbow Archives CPR database.
Many libraries hold reference books, local histories, family histories and other books on genealogy. Library and Archives Canada allows you to browse lists of Canadian library Web sites and catalogues by province (Archived).
Estate files are transferred to the Archives of Manitoba after 20 years from rural courts and after 60 years from the Winnipeg court. Records that have not been transferred to the Provincial Archives are available at the appropriate court office.