Are you researching ancestors who lived in Alberta? On this page, you will find information about records held at Library and Archives Canada and the provincial archives. There are also links to online resources and to other institutions, societies and government agencies.
On September 1, 1905, Alberta became a Canadian province.
- 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 1900
- stillbirths, 1914 to 1944
- marriages, 1870 to 1945
- deaths, 1870 to 1970
- 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.
- 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
Adoption and divorce
Courts and criminal records
For information about the original land system of Townships, Ranges and Meridians, see our
Land Grants of Western Canada database. See also
Alberta Township Survey System
The province is now divided into ten different types of local governments. For more information, see
Types of Municipalities in Alberta.
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
Collection 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.
Wills and estate records
The administration of wills and estates is a provincial jurisdiction.
Library and Archives Canada information pages and databases
To find out about other types of records for genealogy research, visit our
Genealogy and Family History pages, including
Provincial Archives of Alberta
The provincial archives holds many sources for genealogy research. Consult the following links:
Find a library in Alberta. See the
Directory of Archives to find archives.