Manitoba Provincial Archives (National Institute)
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 Canadian: Archival Centres by Ryan Taylor. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
The Archives of Manitoba welcomes genealogists, and the archivists are prepared to discuss and offer guidance to researchers who come to the reading room. In fact, they will do what they describe as ‘a fair bit of handholding’ with inexperienced researchers. Their online guide to the collections, including private, governmental and Hudson’s Bay Company records, is called the Keystone Archives Descriptive Database. The database is still growing and is updated regularly so, if you cannot find something you are searching for, check back regularly or contact the Archives of Manitoba for further information.
There is little discussion of finding aids on this site. Archives of Manitoba has manuscript collections of probate records, divorces, civil courts, and 20,000 maps and plans including Cummins (plat) and fire insurance maps. The most significant collection at Archives of Manitoba is the Hudson’s Bay Company archives.
In microform they have ships’ passengers lists and border crossings from LAC, as well as census (including Red River census, 1831-1870), land surveyor’s field notes, land registers, township and cadastral plans, homestead files (both federal and provincial) and a variety of church records. Most Manitoba religious institutions take care of their own records, but Archives of Manitoba still have a number for all the large denominations and a synagogue in Winnipeg. A microfiche publication from the lands department is available: the Historic Holders Report, which is an index to crown land patents. (Deeds are at the land titles office.) The website includes a list of microfilm available on interlibrary loan, and much of it is also available for sale and is very inexpensive. There is no charge for the interlibrary loan service.
The Archives of Manitoba do not provide access to birth, marriage, and death records. To access these, you must contact the Vital Statistics Agency. Neither do the Archives of Manitoba provide access to most land titles and survey plans. To access land titles and survey plans contact the Land Titles Office. Links for both these offices are provided from the Archives of Manitoba website’s ‘search’ tab.
Archives of Manitoba will accept queries by mail or email, and will provide search services for a specific question in a limited way. They also provide a list of researchers who work on a fee-for-service basis. While the Archives believes the people on their list to be “competent to search [their] holdings” they do not vouch for the quality of their work.
Archives of Manitoba does not have a library attached, as do the other provincial archives. Those wishing published local histories, family histories, newspapers and directories must refer to the Legislative Library, which is the equivalent of a provincial library (founded 1870). It provides services to the public as well as members of the legislature and civil servants, and some of its holdings, including newspaper microfilm, are available on interlibrary loan. Local histories and directories can also be found here. The library’s collection includes an index to Winnipeg obituaries since 1975 (ongoing) and a series of scrapbooks of Winnipeg newspapers beginning in 1885 (indexed). There are two locations, both in Winnipeg. Contact them at:
The Legislative Library maintains as complete a collection as possible of materials published in Manitoba, about Manitoba, or written by Manitobans. Since 1919, one copy of any material published in Manitoba must be sent to the Legislative Library.
The Legislative Library is located in the same building as the Archives of Manitoba. Queries are accepted by email, letter, telephone or fax. For specific questions, there is an “Ask the Librarian” service available on the website. This service promises a response within two business days. The website includes a list of Manitoba newspapers, and electronic access to their catalogues.
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