Getting Started in Saskatchewan - Genealogy Research
As Saskatchewan Gen Web For Kids grows and develops historical and genealogical puzzles and games, and research clues which are online will be added. Research hints, tips and information can be found at the Saskatchewan Gen Web Region Resource Project. Obituaries, cemetery transcriptions, book transcriptions, historical photographs are a portion of what is comprised at the Saskatchewan Gen Web Region Resource Project and this page provides an introduction to these resources.
Start with the family tree, research and information or facts completed thus far from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Genealogy primary source databases provide three main pieces of information: Name, Time frame and Place. This is a genealogy website which brings together names and timeframes in relation to the region or placename. The placenames located within Saskatchewan can be found at Search Saskatchewan Place Names, the Online Historical Map Digitization Project or in these map resources.
After reading this guide and initializing your research, you may e-mail the Sask Gen Webmaster stating which avenues you have explored, and what information you are still seeking and they may be able to guide you to where the information can be obtained and give some guidance on how to further your research.
Sask Gen Web Getting Started in Genealogy for Saskatchewan is provided in a different layout to access genealogy resources for getting started in genealogy for this province.
If you are trying to trace adoption records use these resources
When doing research in the USA, perhaps the SSDI is a popular place to try to find some genealogical "clews", and in the various counties of England the 1881 census is fairly readily available through the Church of Latter Day Saints, LDS Family Research Centers. And, similarly for many places, there are records which most easily and most readily used by genealogists in their research. So this is a note about where to find records to help your genealogical research in Saskatchewan, both online and offline. Getting started, also, presents some helpful hints about using the complete Saskatchewan Gen website.
Present-day Saskatchewan named Rupert's Land
Many of the early settlers in the 1800's came as traders or hunters. The North West Company was of French-Canadian extraction and traders arrived out west in Saskatchewan from Eastern Canada via inland routes. The British (in 1670) had given Rupert's Land to the Hudson Bay Company which gave the company dominion over lands where there was water passageway from the Hudson Bay. These traders arrived to the Saskatchewan area via Hudson Bay and then travelling westward. In 1774 the first inland trading post (Cumberland House) was built in Saskatchewan. At this time northern Saskatchewan was settled as southern Saskatchewan had experienced drought like conditions during early explorer expeditions, and was considered a part of the US desert. This area is north of the tree line in the geo-physical shield area.
Saskatchewan part of the North West Territories
Canada became a nation in 1867. Saskatchewan didn't become a province of Canada until 1905, before this it was a part of the North West Territories. The North West Territories was divided into provisional territories on May 8, 1882. The south provisional district was named Assiniboia (currently south Saskatchewan), The provisional district in central present-day Saskatchewan was named Saskatchewan. And Athabaska was the provisional district of the North West Territories for the northern portion of present day Saskatchewan. Maps
In the late 1800's and early 1900's the railway and the Dominion Government of Canada wanted more settlers out west to unite Upper and Lower Canada -the eastern provinces of Canada with British Columbia. The rail lines didn't want to lay track over land with no settlement as it wasn't economically feasible. The demand for furs declined, the buffalo population declined, Saskatchewan started noticing the agricultural land capabilies in the middle and southern portions of the province, the drought was over. The population in Saskatchewan evolved from a trapping community a farming community. Settlement, towns and rail lines developed the plains, or prairies, south of the tree line. Transportation
Immigrants were attracted to Saskatchewan by the Homestead Act of 1872 which granted a quarter section or 160 acres to homesteaders if they could 'prove' the land in three years. These homesteads are indexed by legal land description. The Dominion Land Grant Patent records are searchable online at National Archives. The Saskatchewan Homestead Index Project (SHIP) is a transcription of homestead record holdings of the Provincial Archvies. Homestead records (correspondence and applications between Saskatchewan Land Titles office and the Homesteader) can be ordered from Provincial archives or on microfilm at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (These records may have a file on the homesteader even if the land was not proved successfully and title not granted, or if the land was a pre-emption. This is a difference between the National Archive Dominion Land Grant Patent database.) Another searchable database for land holdings is at the Glenbow Archives CPR database which shows the "Sales of agricultural land by the Canadian Pacific Railway to settlers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, 1881-1906. " Another source are the Cummins maps searchable at the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society (SGS) by name of settler.
To find the homestead for your family, locate the section, township, range and meridian on a historical map which shows township, range and meridian markings. Observe the nearby towns to this location for cemetery and local history/ family biography book references. Another aid to help to find those land locations west of the first, second or third meridians respectively; Sask Wheat Pool 1924-1984 map site. Saskatchewan Townships & Ranges in a tutorial quiz!
The first Canadian census was taken in 1666, however census taking every 10 years began in 1851. 1881, 1901, 1906, 1911, and 1916 are the online censeii. Please check with your local LDS family history center or check library holdings for microfilm copies.
On the 75th anniversary celebration of Saskatchewan in 1980, many communities compiled family biography - local history books. These have biographical stories submitted by families in the area and write ups about the early history of the community.
To find the book for your community, locate the town name on a map. Using the Canadian Geographical Locator, the National Archives Post Office locator or a historical map. for smaller communities or towns which no longer exist. Early towns generally had a post office and the location given by township and range can be located on the Sask Wheat Pool 1924-1984 map site. In this way, if you cannot find the town of your ancestor on present day maps, you can find the current day community and larger centres (neighboring towns or cities) and know in which regional gen web region to search.
Secondly, you may want to search one of the many online library catalogues by town to find the name of the book for your ancestral research. This book may be available by inter-library loan, through the LDS family history centre, or by purchase from the local community or online. Some volunteers who own the book may have offered their time to do a look up in the book, and you may wish to contact them via e-mail. A regional posting board or mailing list member may also own the book and offer the services of a look up in their personal book or their local library. The libraries also have an "Ask us" service which may assist this look up quest for a small fee. Bookfinder.com accesses several book store databases. Our roots Nos Racines has digitised a considerable number of these books online.
So far the above steps have begun with
This information gives an approximate date of arrival to Saskatchewan, Canada. Passenger list resources are available to help trace the route your ancestors took to immigrate to Canada. As well Ethnic and Cultural Genealogy resource pages are made available to assist in researching your Saskatchewan roots in their country of origin.
For those families with First Nation roots:
There is a wealth of genealogical information here on the Ethnic and Cultural Genealogy resource pages as well.
The World War I (1914-1918) expeditionary force can also be searched online at National Archives. Many early homesteaders born between 1885-1899 served in WW1. If you find an ancestor in this searchable database the file can be ordered from National Archives. Other Military Resources
Many cemetery records are online and searchable, and some are in the process of being transcribed. If you know the town name or rural municipality where the family lived, the cemetery locations and cemetery names are indexed by the the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society (SGS) SGS offers many research services, one of which is the Saskatchewan Cemetery (transcription) search as well as the Saskatchewan Residents Index - SRI. The Saskatchewan - Canada Gen Web CEMETERY Project (SGW or CGW) has indexes of photographed and indexed cemeteries online and is searchable by name.
The Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS family history center) has its International Genealogical Index (IGI) as well as its Ancestral File Records. They also have a multitude of "Family Search" resources available on Saskatchewan.
Birth, death, marriage certificates can be obtained from the Department of Vital Statistics, and some are now searchable online. Sometimes information can be obtained from the local churches, libraries, community town offices, or rural municipality offices however they have limited research services available.
To request assistance from others or place a query online use the Gen Web Region mailing list or the Gen Web Region posting board (also called a query board). Query Board Posting Hints and Mailing List Netiquette are two sources for those new to posting boards or mailing lists. Use the Saskatchewan Gen Web surname posting board or Boards > Localities > North America > Canada > Special > Forkids to reach out to others for information as well If you are not sure which region of Saskatchewan your family research is rooted in, use the provincial Saskatchewan Gen Web and the Saskatchewan Gen Web Genealogy Resources. Saskatchewan Gen Web has a provincial getting started page. To assist in determining location the land patents and legal land desciptions for homesteaders can help. For homesteaders who came to farm in Saskatchewan check out homestead records for databases, and to explain how to use information from these database sources. Read the Homestead Section, Range, Township, Meridian numbering in tandem with map resources to help locate the town which was near the original homestead, then the Sask Gen Web regional resources can be utilized . The town name will also provide a clue as to which local history/family biography book may also contain familial information. A look up volunteer who currently owns a copy of this book can provide information if your ancestor is recorded in one of these local history/family biography book commemorating the 75th anniversary of Saskatchewan.
Resources which are common to all provincial regions are found at Saskatchewan Gen Web 'Resources' and introduced on the provincial getting started page. Examples of provincial resources would be information from the provincial government such as Birth marriage or death certificates from the Department of Vital Statistics. Archival records from Saskatchewan provincial archives or Canadian National Archives would be another resource common to all regions. Provincial archives holds provincial or provincial government information such as applications and correspondence between homesteader and the provincial Government Land Titles Office, Biographies, Family Histories, Directories, Government Publications,Local Histories, Private Records, Oral History, Pioneer Questionnaires, Maps,Photographs, and Military Records. National Archives holds Government of Canada documents and has placed many of these online such as the Census of the Northwest Provinces, 1906,Census of Canada, 1901, Dominion Land Grant Patents,.Soldiers of the First World War — Canadian Expeditionary Force, Post offices, Immigration Records, Home children, Arrivals at American Ports,Immigration Records - (1925-1935) Aboriginal Peoples Métis Scrip Records, British Home Children 1900 arrivals, and a website called Living Memory amongst others. Saskatchewan Gen Web Resources also encompasses: database projects, ethnic bloc settlements and immigration information, Saskatchewan societies, war and military resources, Church of Latter Day Saints Research, Library Resources, schools, Cemetery or obituary information and much more.
The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society, SGS has just offered a new website featuring hints, research tools, programs, events and supplies to help you in your genealogical research
There are many sources being placed online, and as they are submitted to me, or as I become aware of them I try to place them on this website. For Saskatchewan, this should help you to start out via this internet site, and branch off into areas for your particular family history and your family's local interests as one link connects you to yet another. I have had much success with the Google search engine when locating Saskatchewan resources.
This is just a very very tiny introduction to some of the many online sites listed on the Saskatchewan Genealogy Resources site. There are also many more online as the internet grows and expands. If you find a site, or contact which has helped you with your research, help other researchers, by e-mailing it in to this Gen Web Project so we can add it to the Genealogy Resources page. Also if you find a dead link or 404 link as you use the pages, e-mail the webmaster as many sites not maintained off this site do not email in with every web page change they make to their sites - a few internet sits change very regularly, and we try to keep up with these once identified. Check also the genealogy resource web pages available individually at the Archives, libraries, Church of Latter Day Saints, LDS Family Research Centers, Rootsweband Cyndi's list. These sites also offer resources helpful to Saskatchewan genealogy.
You may wish to combine your online research at this site, and the various internet sites with a posting on the various Saskatchewan posting boards, and query boards As well, post your research surname interests on the Saskatchewan surname boards and Region surname boards. Use the services provided by the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society, SGS by attending a meeting, taking out a membership and receiving their excellent publication, or using their online resources. There are now 23 branches of the SGS serving the various regions of Saskatchewan. Another online resource is to join a mailing list group to connect with other researchers doing Saskatchewan! Go ahead, be bold, just ask!
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