Getting Started
.......Genealogy: Saskatchewan Parents/teachers

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 EasternCanada via inland routes. The British (in 1670) had given Rupert's Land to the Hudson Bay Company whichgave 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 1774the 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 duringearly 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 NorthWest 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. AndAthabaska was the provisional district of the North West Territories for the northern portionof 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'teconomically feasible. The demand for furs declined, the buffalo population declined, Saskatchewanstarted 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!

If your ancestor's weren't not homesteaders, they may have indeed been employed in a city store or trade. The Henderson's Directories gathered information annually about residents, their names, occupations, and residential and occupational addresses. The Saskatoon Henderson's Directory starts online by Peel's Prairie Provinces at 1908, and the Regina Henderson's directories begin in 1911. A Moose Jaw Directory was compiled for the year 1890 by Times Printing House, and a McPhillip's business and settler directory was compiled for Prince Albert, Battleford, and other settlements of the Provisional District of Saskatchewan in the Northwest Territories for 1888. Unlike the census, the information was submitted by residents voluntarily. Additionally the directories were funded by advertisements of the era.

The first Canadian censuswas taken in 1666, however census taking every 10 years began in 1851. As the growth of the western provinces was so rapid, the governement began taking census every five years to track the immigration and sttlement of the "Last Best West" settlement frontier. 1881, 1901, 1906, 1911, 1916 and 1921 are the online censeii. Please check with yourlocal LDS family history center or check library holdings for microfilm copies.

On the 50th anniversary and subsequently on the 75th anniversary celebration of Saskatchewan in 1980, many communities compiledfamily biography - local history books. These havebiographical stories submitted by families in the area and write ups about the early history of thecommunity.

To find the book for your community, locate the town name on a map. Using the Canadian Geographical Locator, the National Archives Post Office locatoror a historical map.for smaller communities or towns which no longer exist. Early towns generally had a post officeand 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 thecurrent 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 thename 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. 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
  1. Searching a Dominion Land Grant Patent record above from National Archives
  2. Locating this homestead on a Historical Map or Saskatchewan Map
  3. Finding the local family history book on an online library database search engine
  4. Contacting a look up volunteer
  5. Searching Censeii records
  6. Posting a query on Gen Web Region mailing lists and Gen Web Region posting boards.
For those families with migrant families:
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 plethora of genealogical information here on the Ethnic and Cultural Genealogy resource pages as well. As the province of Saskatchewan reached its 100th anniversary in 2005, many documents have entered into the public domain. Museums, Public and University Libraries as well as National, Provincial, City and University Archives are rapidly placing a wealth of historical information online.

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 fromNational 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)SGSoffers 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. Additionally are coming onlineby a variety of sources.

Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS family historycenter) 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 theDepartment 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 wellIf 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 becomeaware of them I try to place them on this website. For Saskatchewan, this should help you tostart out via this internet site, and branch off into areas for your particular family historyand your family's local interests as one link connects you to yetanother. 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 onlineas the internet grows and expands. If you find a site, or contact which has helped you withyour research, help other researchers, by e-mailingit 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 onthe 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 attendinga 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 ofSaskatchewan. 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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