Alberta Vital Records (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Research: Alberta Ancestors  by Arlene Borgstede. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Documents: Vital Statistics (Births, Marriages and Deaths)[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration in the Prairie Provinces[edit | edit source]

Genealogists recognize the value of civil registration records as primary sources of information. Civil registration began in 1897 in the prairie provinces (Northwest Territories) with the Vital Statistics Ordinance, but sporadic recording of births, marriages and deaths was undertaken as early as 1870. With the formation of the province in 1905, registration was pursued with more vigilance, however, for the first decade or so, records are often incomplete. Although the obligation was made easier to fulfill by having the secretary-treasurer of each school district record the births, marriages and deaths within their district (1919-1942), some people were not favourably inclined to have government meddle in their lives. Non-English speaking immigrant settlers often did not realize their obligations and, in other cases, travel distances made registration inconvenient. And, of course, there was always the odd secretary-treasurer who was not always meticulous in his recording.

In 1905 certificates issued by the Northwest Territories government were turned over to the Provincial Archives of Alberta. They have been indexed and the Edmonton Branch, Alberta Genealogical Society, has published that index: Alberta: Index to Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths 1870 to 1905.

Civil Registers at the Provincial Archives of Alberta[edit | edit source]

Many early district civil registers are also at the Provincial Archives of Alberta. A name index for birth, marriage and death registers (1886-1982) is arranged chronologically, then alphabetically. District Registrar’s registers for birth, marriage and death (1895-1987) are arranged alphabetically by place. As these records fall under the same regulations as all vital statistics, clients must read and sign a research agreement form stipulating that the information is for research purposes only. The registers cannot be photocopied, however, a transcript can be obtained for a small fee.

Registry Offices[edit | edit source]

Since the formation of private registry offices in Alberta in 1994, obtaining official copies of certificates through the government department can only be done by non-Albertans. It is necessary to make the request on an ‘official’ form, available from:

Alberta Registries
Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 2023
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4W7
Telephone: (780) 427-7013

Residents of Alberta must obtain certificates from 1906 through private registry offices in their community. Check the local yellow pages under License & Registry Service for locations. Costs will vary.

Registration of Birth

Used with permission of the family.

Alberta Birth Registration.jpg

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Wills and Estates[edit | edit source]

There is no central registry for wills in Alberta; wills are kept at the Court House in the judicial district where probate was granted. The information held is Grants of Probate, Letters of Administration, and Wills. To determine in which judicial district an ancestor died, write to:

Succession Duties Department
Public Trustees’ Office
10365 - 97 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3Z8
Telephone: (780) 427-2744
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:15 am-12:00 pm, 1:00 pm-4:30 pm
There is a search fee.
For Wills Probated in Edmonton[edit | edit source]
The Clerk of the Surrogate Court
Main Floor, Law Courts Building
1A Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 0R2
Telephone: (780) 422-2434
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:15 am-4:30 pm
For Wills Probated in Calgary[edit | edit source]
Calgary Court Centre
601 - 5th Street South West
Calgary, Alberta T2P 5P7
Other Judicials Districts[edit | edit source]

Other Judicials Districts and their Court Houses in the province are:

Drumheller Court House
511 - 3rd Avenue West
P.O. Box 759
Drumheller, Alberta T0J OYO
Fort McMurray Court House
9700 Franklin Avenue
Fort McMurray, Alberta T9H 4W3
Grande Prairie Court House
10260 - 99 Street
Grande Prairie, Alberta T8V 2H4
Lethbridge Court House
320 - 4th Street South
Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 1Z8
Medicine Hat Law Courts
460 First Street South East
Medicine Hat, Alberta T1A 0A8
Peace River Court House
9905 - 97 Avenue
Bag 900-34
Peace River, Alberta T8S 1T4
Red Deer Court House
4909 48th Avenue
Red Deer, Alberta T4N 3T5
St. Paul Court House
4704 - 50 Street
P.O. Box 1900
St. Paul, Alberta T0A 3A0[1]
Wetaskiwin Law Courts
4605 - 51 Street
Wetaskiwin, Alberta T9A 1K7

The cost of obtaining copies of wills are the costs of copying. The Provincial Archives of Alberta holds surrogate case files. (Accession Number 95.399)

  • Edmonton (1898-1969)
  • Athabasca (1909-1969)
  • Northwest Territories (1922-1969)
  • Files include probates, affidavits, oaths of Executers, copies of wills, applications for Letters of Administration

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The St. Paul Judicial District was formed 1 January 1998.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course "Research Alberta Ancestors Course" offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.