Northwest Territories: Genealogy resources

Are you researching ancestors who lived in the Northwest Territories? On this page, you will find information about records held at Library and Archives Canada and the NWT Archives. There are also links to online resources and to other institutions, societies and government agencies.

On July 15, 1870, the Northwest Territories became an official territory of Canada.

Before that:

  • The first Indigenous peoples were the Dene. They were followed by other First Nations, Inuvialuit and Métis Nation peoples.
  • Centuries of European exploration in the area led to the establishment of fur trade posts in the 1800s.
  • Areas of the Northwest Territories were gradually removed to become parts of other jurisdictions: Saskatchewan and Alberta (1905), Yukon Territory (1898) and Nunavut (1999). Other areas were appended to Manitoba (1880, 1912), Ontario (1912) and Quebec (1912).
  • There were many boundary changes over the years. To learn more and to view the boundary maps, visit Territorial Evolution of the Northwest Territories.

Civil registration (birth, marriage and death records)

Civil registration is a territorial jurisdiction. Records are held at the Registrar General of Vital Statistics of the Government of Northwest Territories. The earliest records are from 1925.

Adoption and divorce:

Courts and criminal records

Courts of the Northwest Territories

The NWT Archives holds the following collection: Canada: Bureau of Northwest Territories and Yukon Affairs fonds, 1921–1953. The fonds includes records of criminal investigations and prosecutions, as well as records of accidents and missing persons.

Land records

The Land Titles Office in the Northwest Territories is responsible for the registration of ownership to privately owned surveyed land. For more information, see Land Titles.

Wills and estate records

The administration of wills and estates is a territorial responsibility.

The Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories has jurisdiction over probate and estate administration.

The NWT Archives holds some files of correspondence on the Administration of Deceaseds' Estates 1926–1948.

See also Public Trustee Office.

Other resources


Date modified: