An excellent place to begin your search for Manitoba ancestors is the Archives of Manitoba: www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives Manitoba was an important part of Canadian history, not only in the early fur trade, but also in the westward migration of the population.
The archive holds many primary records such as homestead files, public school attendance records, wills and estate files, Hudson’s Bay Company servants’ contracts, Hudson’s Bay Company engagement registers, Hudson’s Bay Company personnel files, Red River Settlement census records and private records of early Manitoba families. Although the holdings of the Archives of Manitoba are vast, they do not hold vital records or land titles. The archive website has some research guides to help you understand and access vast collections such as the probates and the Hudson’s Bay Company Archive.
The Hudson’s Bay Company Archive has its own division within the Archives of Manitoba, and is considered one of Canada’s national treasures. It was founded in 1670 and is the oldest charted trading company in the world.
The Archives of Manitoba holds the probates for the province, and these are being indexed on the website. Current online Judicial Districts include; Winnipeg (187—1984), Brandon (1884-1984), Dauphin (1918-1984) and Morden (1902-1965).
Archive staff will conduct limited research for those who aren’t able to visit in person. They also have an extensive microfilm collection which can be obtained through inter-library loan. Online catalogs, such as their “Keystone Archives Descriptive Database” can help you identify sources. Their microfilm collections through 1904 are also available at the Library and Archives Canada: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca in Ottawa and at The National Archives, Kew, England: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk Also, do not neglect any Mantitoba collections at the Family History Library: www.familysearch.org
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