Handy historical and genealogical resources for Albertans

As Albertans we are truly fortunate to have a wealth of free digital resources with which to explore our community or family histories.

A couple of exciting new initiatives have recently debuted which, had they existed in their current form five years ago, would have saved me a few trips up the QEII.

The Provincial Archives of Alberta and the University of Alberta have teamed up to digitize Alberta Homestead Records and place the on the web. Previously only available at the Provincial Archives of Alberta, these microfilm reels contain the documents related to Alberta homestead claims filed between 1870 and 1930. According to the Alberta Genealogical Society, these records normally include:

  • An application for homestead
  • An application for patent
  • A notice that patent has been issued

And may also include other relevant information, including:

  • Inspector’s reports
  • Records of abandonment
  • Handwritten letters
  • Wills
  • Naturalization certificates
  • Scrip,
  • Seed grain liens,
  • Court
  • Proceedings, etc.

When I did a search for my family records about five years ago, I found a veritable treasure trove of information  which provided me with a greater insight into my own family’s history. With these resources coming online, greater numbers of the genealogically curious, or Alberta farm families submitting their Century Farm Award application, will be able to conduct their research from home (dial-up could be iffy) or the local hot spot.

In order to search the Alberta Homestead Files, you will need to know the number of the file you are looking for. Never fear, as the Alberta Genealogical Society has several online databases containing this information, including the following:

Another ongoing U of A initiative, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, has been busy scanning the wealth of Alberta (and some Saskatchewan) newspapers contained within archival collections, and is placing them online. Included within their collections are several long-defunct southeastern Albertan newspapers:

Someone at the U of A deserves a medal for this initiative, which has proven invaluable to much of my research. One of the best things about Peel’s is the extremely user-friendly interface they use, with a tremendous OCR Text search that makes finding specific items a cinch. New issues are being added at a tremendous clip, so keep checking back to see what else is new on Peel’s.

In addition to Peel’s there are other online newspaper collections which contain titles from Alberta’s early days:

Be sure to check out the resources page on this website for links to many other online digital resources

One thought on “Handy historical and genealogical resources for Albertans”

  1. Jon,

    This is an awesome site. I’ve been reading for the past few days now. Very interesting reading.

    Tom

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