Alberta Provincial Archives (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 ($).

Provincial Archives of Alberta[edit | edit source]

Provincial Archives of Alberta
8555 Roper Road
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5W1
Telephone: (780) 427-1750
Hours:Full service from Tuesday to Saturday 9:00 am-4:30 pm; Reference Room only
Wednesday 4:30 pm-9:00 pm; limited service with no retrievals after 4:00 pm

A must for genealogical research! The Provincial Archives of Alberta acquires, preserves and makes available for research, records generated by the Government of Alberta as well as the private sector relating to the history of Alberta. This includes manuscripts, photographs, tape recordings, maps, microfilm, and moving images. Some private sector records include personal papers of noteworthy Albertans, business records, church records, labour records, and records of various organizations. Although some records date back to 1795, most are predominantly from 1841 to the present.

  • microfilmed copies of Canadian census (1666-1901)
  • homestead records (1885-1930)
  • ships passenger lists (microfilmed copies) to ports of Québec, Halifax and St. John (1865-1919)
  • ship’s manifest lists on microfilm (1906-1920)
  • border crossings for persons into Canada from U.S. (1908-1918)
  • Métis land claims
  • Historical Resources Library—many Local Histories
  • directories
  • Henderson’s Gazetteer and Directory on microfilm (1881-1908)
  • Cummins Rural Directory
  • Alberta newspapers (on microfilm) from 1883
  • some telephone directories
  • Hudson’s Bay Company Archives finding aids (can be ordered through interlibrary loan)
  • oral history recordings
  • photograph collections
  • ‘proof of age’ collection
  • (birth certificates, military records, family bibles, etc.)

Guides to Holdings/Inventories[edit | edit source]

Sources for Women’s History at the Provincial Archives of Alberta

A Guide to the Archives of the United Church of Canada

A Guide to the Archives of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate: Province of Alberta - Saskatchewan

Alberta: Index to Registrations of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1897-1905. Vol. 1

Alberta’s Local Histories in the Historical Resources Divisional Library

The Letters of Louisa McDougall, 1878-1887

Voices of Alberta: A Survey of Oral History Completed in Alberta to 1980

Voix Albertaines (supplement to Voices of Alberta)

Government Records Collections held in the Provincial Archives of Alberta

Services[edit | edit source]

  • Ÿphotocopying
  • copies of photographs
  • Ÿcommercial use of photographs
  • brand searches
  • certification
  • church registry
  • information translation
  • research on behalf of clients
  • special services for archival/museum institutions

Records of Genealogical Interest[edit | edit source]

Provincial Government Records[edit | edit source]
1. Health and Social Service Records[edit | edit source]

a. inquest files (1885-1928)
b. Alberta employment relief files (1920-1940)
c. disability pension records (1870-1974)
d. provincial coroner’s files (1885-1928)

2. Land Records[edit | edit source]

a. land transaction day books (1884-1912)
b. grazing leases (1916-1988)
c. local government records (1905-1991) for some counties and municipal districts
d. Municipal Affairs records (1905-1991)
e. surveyor’s records (1883-1991)
f. school land records (1890-1930)

3. Legal Records[edit | edit source]

a. Justice of the Peace and magistrate case files (1897-1995)
b. bailiff’s files (1940-1972)
c. notary public files (1882-1956)
d. civil law case files (1910-1975)
e. criminal court records (1881-1971)
f. Edmonton divorces (1924-1936 and 1958-1968)
g. Alberta divorces (1926-1971)

Association and Union Records[edit | edit source]

  • United Farmers of Alberta records (1914-1954)
  • Women’s Institute records (1915-1956)
  • Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire records (1913-1979)

School Records[edit | edit source]

  • attendance returns (1913-1919)
  • school superintendent’s and inspector’s files (1905-1968)

Church Records[edit | edit source]


  • Diocese of Edmonton records (1889-1989)
  • Diocese of Athabasca records (1874-1989)


  • Alberta Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada records (1898-1989)


  • The Alberta Synod of the Presbyterian Church records (1950-1983)

Roman Catholic

  • Les Oblats de Marie Immaculée records (1842-1986)
  • Les Soeurs de l’Assomption de la Sainte Vierge records (1868-1987)
  • Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer records (1849-1990)
  • Sisters of Providence records (1886-1978)
  • Soeurs Grises/Grey Nuns records (1891-1895)
  • St. Joachim Parish, Edmonton records (1891-1985)
  • Unitarian Church of Edmonton records (1912-1980)
  • Westwood Unitarian Society records (1982-1986)

United Church of Canada

  • The Alberta and Northwest Conference records (1853-1990)
  • Includes the records of the three denominations which joined to form the United Church in 1925
  • Presbyterian (1887-1925)
  • Methodist (1863-1925)
  • Congregational (1910-1912)

Passenger Lists[edit | edit source]

Original passenger lists were destroyed about 1950; they are now available on microfilm only. Records exist for the following immigration ports of entry, arranged by port, by month and chronologically by arrival date.

  • Québec City and Montréal - 01 May 1865 to 11 June 1919 (port is frozen November to April)
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia - January 1881 to 12 January 1919
  • St. John, New Brunswick - 4 January 1900 to 01 December 1918
  • North Sydney, Nova Scotia - 22 November 1906 to 22 July 1919
  • Vancouver, British Columbia - 4 January 1905 to 30 May 1919
  • Victoria, British Columbia - 18 April 1905 to 22 July 1919

Passenger list records give names, ages, relationships, countries of origin, destinations, ports of departure, dates and ports of arrival.

Mementoes to Residents[edit | edit source]

Archives hold material not normally obvious, but of value to genealogists. In 1955 and 1980 the Provincial Government issued mementoes to residents in the province for 50 and 75 years. The application shown not only confirms the applicant was in Alberta in 1905 but also shows legal land description.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Research: Alberta Ancestors

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.