Are you researching ancestors who lived in Nunavut? On this page, you will find information about records held at Library and Archives Canada. There are also links to online resources and to other institutions, societies and territorial government agencies.
On April 1, 1999, Nunavut became an official territory of Canada. Nunavut means "Our Land" in Inuktitut.
- The first peoples in what is now Nunavut were Indigenous. The earliest-known groups were the Pre-Dorset and Dorset cultures, followed by the Thule culture and diverse groups of Inuit.
- Centuries of European exploration in the Arctic led to the establishment of whaling stations and fur-trade posts in the 1800s.
- When the Northwest Territories were created in 1870, the area included what is now southern Nunavut.
- In 1880, Britain transferred its authority over the Arctic islands to Canada, and they were added to the Northwest Territories.
- The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement of 1992 led Inuit in the Northwest Territories to vote in favour of the creation of a new territory, which became Nunavut in 1999.
Civil registration (birth, marriage and death records)
Civil registration is a territorial jurisdiction.
Starting on April 1, 1999:
The records are held by the Nunavut Department of Health.
Before April 1, 1999:
What is now Nunavut was previously part of the Northwest Territories. 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
Land Titles Office
Wills and estate records
The administration of wills and estates is a territorial jurisdiction. Nunavut courts handle civil matters such as the probate of wills and estates. The Public Trustee Office handles cases where a person has died without a will.
Library and Archives Canada
Library and Archives Canada sources about Inuit are mostly found in the records of the Northern Affairs Program sous-fonds (Record Group 85) and in the records of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police fonds (Record Group 18). You can search for references in RG85 and RG18 by using Collection Search. See also how to access the records.
To find out about other types of records for genealogy research, visit our Genealogy and Family History pages, including topics.
See also resources for the Northwest Territories