Alberta was originally part of a vast territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670. Over the next two centuries, Native Peoples, fur traders and missionaries lived there.
On November 19, 1869, the Government of Canada acquired all of the land belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, commonly called Rupert's Land.
In 1870, the region between the province of Manitoba and the Canadian Rockies was made into a territory henceforth known as the Northwest Territories. The arrival of the railway in the mid-1880s opened these territories to massive settlement.
Between 1896 and 1914, many immigrants from eastern Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Europe settled here. Alberta became a province on September 1, 1905.
Researchers interested in ancestors who lived in Alberta use the main types of genealogical sources. Among other sources, land records, especially "homestead" records, provide much information about these ancestors.
Civil Registration (Birth, Death, and Marriage Records)
In Alberta, records from 1898 to 1905 are in the custody of the Provincial Archives of Alberta. Transcripts of records can be obtained for a small fee. That office also holds incomplete indexes and registers for the period from 1898 to 1983, which can be viewed onsite.
For certificates from 1906 on, provincial residents should apply at their local Registry Agent. Out-of-province requests can be forwarded to a Registry Agent or directly to:
Alberta Registries, Vital Statistics
PO Box 2023
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 records are deposited with the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
The Alberta Genealogical Society has created a name index to a collection of land files held on microfilm and the Provincial Archives of Alberta. Many of these files relate to homestead lands granted in Alberta between 1870 and 1930.
Subsequent transactions are in the custody of the Land Registration Districts in Edmonton or Calgary.
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).
Inquiries should be addressed to the:
Succession Duty Department
Public Trustee's Office