Alberta

On September 1, 1905, Alberta became a Canadian province.

Before that:

  • The first peoples were Indigenous, including Blackfoot, Cree, Dene (Chipewyan), Assiniboine, Sarcee and Stoney.
  • It was part of the territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670, called Rupert's Land.
  • The expansion of the fur trade and European settlement saw the growth of another group of peoples called Métis, who were the descendants of mixed Indigenous European families.
  • In 1869, the Government of Canada acquired all the land belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company.
  • From 1870 until 1905, the area was part of the Northwest Territories.
  • In 1882, the southern region became the District of Alberta and the northern region became the District of Athabaska.
  • The arrival of the railway in the mid-1880s opened the area to immigrants from the United States, Great Britain and Europe, as well as migrants from eastern Canada.
  • In 1885, the grievances of the Métis people led to the North-West Resistance, also known as the North-West Rebellion.

Civil registration (birth, marriage and death records)

Civil registration is a provincial jurisdiction. In Alberta, it began in 1870. The Provincial Archives of Alberta holds the following records:

  • births, 1870 to 1898
  • stillbirths, 1914 to 1943
  • marriages, 1870 to 1943
  • deaths, 1870 to 1968
  • overseas deaths 1940 to 1948

The indexes for those records are digitized.  See Find Birth, Marriage and Death Records to access the indexes and order copies of records.

Information about how and where to apply for records after those years can be found on Service Alberta's Family and Life Events page.

Published indexes:

  • Alberta, formerly the Northwest Territories: index to registration of births, marriages and deaths, 1870 to 1905, by the Edmonton Branch, Alberta Genealogical Society
  • Alberta, formerly a part of the North-West Territories: an index to birth, marriage and death registrations prior to 1900, by the Documentary Heritage Society of Alberta

You might also be interested in:

Criminal records

Land  records

For information about the original land system of Townships, Ranges and Meridians, see our Land Grants of Western Canada database.

The province is now divided into ten different types of local governments. For more information, see Types of Municipalities in Alberta.

  • Land grants

    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 to 1930. Those records can be searched in our database: Land Grants of Western Canada, 1870-1930.

  • Métis Scrip Records

    Library and Archives Canada holds records relating to Métis scrip applications, affidavits, files and registers (Department of the Interior, Dominion Lands Branch, Record Group 15). Search for documents using Archives Search.  Enter the keywords RG15 and a name.

    For records that are not digitized, find out how to access the records.

    Read more about Métis Scrip Records.

  • Homestead files

    The Provincial Archives of Alberta holds the Homestead records.  Search the Alberta Genealogical Society's Alberta Homestead Index.

    The files are indexed and digitized on Ancestry (subscription required; free at many public libraries).

  • Other land records

    Records of subsequent land transactions are in the custody of the Land Titles Office.  

    Sales of agricultural land by the Canadian Pacific Railway to settlers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, 1881 to 1927, can be searched in the Glenbow Archives' CPR Land Sales database.

Wills

The administration of wills and estates is a provincial jurisdiction.

Other resources

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