This is a page of resources about the province of Saskatchewan, Canada
For Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba only, three special censuses were taken to measure the impact of settlement and migration. As a result, there are 3 extra census records for genealogists: the 1906, 1916, and the soon-to-be-released 1926.
Begun on 01 Jun 1916, the second Prairie-only census was taken. It was the 9th for Manitoba, and the 3rd for both Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Thanks to the work of Doug Gent, you can find a good quality scan of dozens of towns from Alameda to Workman circa 1927. Doug doesn’t stop with maps – he has pages of detail on each town, including this page on Weyburn, where one of the SK mental health facilities were located.
From Pete Payette comes this site detailing the forts of SK. Did your family work with the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) fur trade outposts or the Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP)?
Also see below for the HBC maps of fur trading posts.
Catholic Church Records in SK, 1846-1957 (Family Search)
Oh, the goodies you find when searching for information. There are over 6500 records in this database, searchable by last name or by parish. Try both. We all know what kinds of problems happen with transcription, illegible records, and old documents.
NOTES ABOUT THESE RECORDS: I looked at the parish of St. Paul’s, Saskatoon. There are 14 databases, containing a variety of records on births, marriages and burials. Some records have an index: a file that lists the last names and page numbers. For extra fun, I noticed that not every year is represented, and there are at least 3 languages to contend with: English, French, and (this is a first for me) Latin. I guess those Catholic priests had to exercise their elite educations somewhere.
Here’s a current map of the Saskatoon area rural parishes.
Can’t find your ancestor?
Is it possible they changed their name because the original was too unpronouncable for the neighbours? This register of name changes from 1917-1993 is a goldmine, listing both the previous and new names, plus dates and locations, of SK residents who opted for a name change. Bonus: the registers are text-searchable.
One of the greatest tools in the genealogist’s toolkit is mapping. The City’s archives house fire insurance maps, city maps, building plans and much more. Unfortunately only available in person, but if you ask nicely, you might be able to talk the City clerks into finding something for you. Here’s the inquiries link.
This site was begun in 2005 and is still fairly bare bones. From the website:
The legislation governing Saskatchewan Vital Statistics allows for the publishing of a genealogical index of historic vital events. A portion of these events have been indexed and are available via the search below.
The search function does not allow for Boolean searching, so keep a notepad handy of all the name variants you’ll need. For example: Giesbrecht, Geesbrecht, Geisbrecht, Giesbrekt, etc. The “Select number of records” to show in results should automatically have been set at 100 or larger, but it defaults to 3.
Copies of records may be ordered from the Government of SK. In Feb, 2018, the charge for a death certificate was $55. Here’s a link for more information.
HINT #1 – Although the site suggests that births older than 100 years are available (~1918), I have yet to find any birth records past 1908.
HINT #2 – See above. It’s a similar situation for death records. The site suggests that records older than 70 years are available (~1948), but I have yet to see records past 1916.
Genealogy – if there was one central repository for all records, what fun would that be? You would think the Provincial Archives would have probate records for the province, wouldn’t you?
If you don’t already have an account with FamilySearch, go ahead and sign up. It’s free.
Saskatchewan had two hospitals for those suffering mental health issues: Weyburn and N. Battleford.
You can find some former patients for either hospital with Find a Grave if you enter the key phrase “Saskatchewan Mental Hospital Cemetery Memorials.”
North Battleford Provincial Mental Hospital
Here are the specifics to help you locate the actual census record: Province of Saskatchewan; District 222 North Battleford; Subdistrict 59. There are only 25 pages in this file. The patients and staff begin on page 4. See below for finding the records.
As well, I found that the 1921 Canada census lists the patients AND staff. If you’re looking for any missing, long lost SK-based relations around this time period, check this census.
HINT #1: 1921 census at Library and Archives Canada, enter the keyword “mental” and choose the province of Saskatchewan.
HINT #2: If you have an Ancestry account, you’ll be able to page through the entire census, which is easier: i) Go to the 1921 Census of Canada; ii) Browse this collection, choose province of Saskatchewan and district of North Battleford. In the drop-down, locate sub-district 59 – Mental Hospital. Try this link.
Weyburn Mental Hospital
The Weyburn Mental Hospital opened in December, 1921, too late for the 1921 Canada census (in June). It wasn’t only for mental health – there was a “TB” (tuberculosis) annex.
I’ll be looking out for it in the 1926 Prairie census, when that’s finally released.
From the Archives of Manitoba come these maps of HBC posts.
If you’re not a farmer, you probably have a little trouble reading the legal land descriptions for the Prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This is my goto lookup – and it’s free for the first 20 searches / day.
From the excellent volunteers at this society, this site features an extensive list of obit names, cemeteries, and other details about Moose Jaw, e.g., schools and local history.
Understandably for the UofA, the newspapers focus on Alberta; however, there are three from Saskatchewan in the collection, AND they are keyword searchable.
- The Moose Jaw Herald Times, 1890-1899 available online
- The Prince Albert Review, aka The Saskatchewan Times, aka The Prince Albert Times and the Saskatchewan Review, 1882-1895 available online; it looks like 1880, 1881, and 1896-1891 may be coming as well
- Qu’Appelle Progress, 1885-1900 available online, with 1880-1884 and 1901-1909 underway
Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
Interestingly, these records don’t show up in Ancestry or Family Search. Check out the homesteading records in Land – I found an elusive ancestor there, because you can seach by name. Hallelujah!
Digital newspapers, free to search, organized by publication. Not every edition of every publication is online, but there’s enough to give a great sense of the life and times of the day.
A wealth of resources, run by dedicated volunteers, and backed by SK Culture, with funding from SK Lotteries. The society offers conferences, field trips to Salt Lake City, books, and more. I discovered it when I was reading the excellent Tracing your Aboriginal Ancestors in the Prairie Provinces. See my review in Books for Genealogists here.
I joined the SK Genealogical Society in January, 2018.
From Eleanor Kennedy, this impressive site is a listing of the Saskatoon obits names and dates. Currently available are the years 1940-1945, but 1939 is on the way.
Are you a resident of Saskatchewan? Did you know you can access many of the digital resources from the comfort of your couch with a library card? It’s true. Find the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, and Prairie Gold: Sports Heroes from Saskatchewan, among others.
The worldwide Ancestry Library Edition, though, can only be accessed at the library. I bring a laptop and download my finds to my hard drive. If you don’t have a laptop, you can still access Ancestry on the library’s computers and send your finds to yourself via email. For free.
Note: The SK budget was released on March 22, 2017, and both the Saskatoon and Regina public libraries lost their funding. It was touch and go, but thanks to a large public outcry, funding was reinstated. Thank goodness.
Just when you think you’re familiar with it, Ancestry coughs up another collection. I don’t fully understand why a general search doesn’t (always) bring up these interesting nuggets, but where would be the fun in that? Here’s the interesting part: I took a spin through the SK homestead records found here, and they are different from the ones held at the provincial archives.