Much like in the United States, early European settlements in Canada happened on the east and west coasts with Ontario as one of the target areas for settlement in mid-eighteen-hundreds. And like in the United States, when new areas were opened for settlement, people moved further west into the prairie provinces of Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Let’s look at what is available for genealogical research in those areas.
Perhaps you have a story like mine…a great uncle decided to try his luck at homesteading in Saskatchewan in 1910. His father had traveled from Ireland, worked in Canada for several years before becoming a homesteader in the early Dakota Territory in 1881. Was he inspired by the since of adventure? Or the lure of free land like his father had been? While we don’t know, it obviously worked out well for this young North Dakota born bachelor. He settled on his homestead and lived his entire adult life in Canada. When I first started to research his life, there weren’t many records for these provinces online. The good news is that there are many more records available.
Saskatchewan Genealogy & Saskatchewan Family History Resources - Ancestry.com Great page summary of the records available on Ancestry for Saskatchewan.
Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada, Homestead Grant Registers, 1872-1930 | Ancestry® Useful for researching Homestead Grant Registers across all three provinces.
Saskatchewan: Genealogy resources - Library and Archives Canada (bac-lac.gc.ca) The Library and Archives of Canada provides key information across all provinces, and this landing page will give you a jump start on Saskatchewan resources.
Saskatchewan Genealogical Society | (saskgenealogy.com)
Saskatchewan Online Genealogy Records • FamilySearch FamilySearch wiki page for Saskatchewan.
SHIP Search (saskhomesteads.com)
Manitoba: Genealogy resources - Library and Archives Canada (bac-lac.gc.ca) The Library and Archives of Canada provides key information across all provinces, and this landing page will give you a jump start on Manitoba resources.
Manitoba, Canada Genealogy • FamilySearch This wiki page is a great place to see what records are available at FamilySearch as well as other sites.
Home - The Manitoba Genealogical Society Inc. (MGS) (mbgenealogy.com) (Note: This site requires a membership fee. It does look like you can purchase books and other Manitoba related items in their store.)
Manitoba Genealogy & Manitoba Family History Resources - Ancestry.com Great page summary of the records available on Ancestry for Manitoba.
Alberta Genealogy & Alberta Family History Resources - Ancestry.com Great page summary of the records available on Ancestry for Alberta.
Search Your Genealogy | Provincial Archives of Alberta
Alberta Genealogical Society (abgenealogy.ca) Most societies like these require membership but it is worth checking out to see what they have available.
Alberta: Genealogy resources - Library and Archives Canada (bac-lac.gc.ca) Again, no better place to start than the Library and Archives of Canada.
Alberta, Canada Genealogy • FamilySearch
If you haven’t researched your Prairie Province ancestor, take some time to explore. The links I’ve provided are by no means all the resources and you’ll likely find more as you delve into your ancestor’s past. Enjoy checking out these provinces that share commonalities with our prairie regions. Happy exploring!
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.