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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I get a copy of my divorce papers?

The Provincial Archives holds divorce records for most Judicial Districts but the records are not more recent than about 1975.

 

Calgary:                       1915-1975

Drumheller:                 1943-1975

Edmonton:                  1924-1971

Fort McMurray:          none at present

Grande Prairie:            1921-1975

Hanna:                         1920-1977

Lethbridge:                 1919-1977

Medicine Hat:             none at present

Peace River:                1922-1976

Red Deer:                    1907-1969

St. Paul:                       none at present

Taber:                          1923-1934

Vegreville:                   1929-1968

Wetaskiwin:                1925-1975

 

For divorces after these dates, you need to contact the Courthouse in the Judicial District in which the divorce occurred. Contact information can be found on the Alberta Court’s website. You can also request a Certificate of Divorce online.

 

If a divorce took place after 1968 and you do not know in which judicial district the divorce occurred, you should contact the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings in Ottawa:

 

Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 2730, Postal Station D
Ottawa ON K1P 5W7
(613) 957-4519

  

  1. How do I get a copy of my son’s/daughter’s baptismal certificate?

The Provincial Archives of Alberta does not have baptismal certificates. It does have registers containing information about a baptism, but only for specific denominations and churches with records in our holdings. Your son or daughter would be able to order a transcript of their own information if we have the register containing the baptism; transcripts are $10. They must know in which church, city and approximate year the baptism occurred. The Provincial Archives can provide transcripts for registers for the United Church of Canada for Alberta and Northwest Conference, the Anglican Church of Canada for the Diocese of Edmonton and the Diocese of Athabasca, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Please note the church would need to have deposited the records at the Provincial Archives for us to access them. Other denominations might possibly have their own archives.

 

For more information about the faith organization records at the Provincial Archives, please check our website.

 

  1. Do you have all your historic photographs in your online database?

The Provincial Archives of Alberta has approximately 1.8 million photographs. Only a portion of these images are searchable on the database. If you cannot find an image in the database, please feel free to call the Provincial Archives at 780-427-1056 or email us at paa@gov.ab.ca and we can search for the image. Alternatively, you are welcome to come to the Provincial Archives in person to search the photographic holdings.

 

  1. Can I access personal medical records?

The Provincial Archives of Alberta does not typically collect individual patient medical files, although there are some sample hospital records in the holdings. These exceptions are for a few provincially-operated facilities (e.g. Alberta Hospital, Michener Centre). Otherwise, no hospitals have transferred patient records to the Provincial Archives of Alberta.The first step is to contact the hospital, and ask where its medical records are now located.

 

  1. I am trying to find marriage and death records for genealogical research. How can I get these records?

The Provincial Archives of Alberta holds thousands of vital statistic records, though there are limitations. According to the Genealogy section of the Vital Statistics Act, the Provincial Archives of Alberta is able to provide access to:


•Birth records (but not adoption records) that are older than 120 years
•Stillbirth records that are older than 75 years
•Marriage records older than 75 years
•Death records older than 50 years

 

If the vital event you need fits within these guidelines, please contact paa@gov.ab.ca with the name, date and location of the event and an archivist will look for a registration.

 

6.      Is there any plan to get the Alberta Vital Statistics into a form which is searchable online?

Check back with us soon.

7.      Do you have copies of Alberta newspapers?

A list of the newspapers Provincial Archives of Alberta has can be found on our website. If we do not have the newspaper you need, please contact the Alberta Legislature Library:

Alberta Legislature Library
216 Legislature Building
10800 - 97th Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T5K 2B6

Phone: 780-427-2473
E-mail: library.requests@assembly.ab.ca

8.      Do you have school records for Alberta?

The Provincial Archives of Alberta has attendance registers for some schools in Alberta, but not all schools and not all time periods. In many cases, we are more likely to have administrative records for the school districts. Not every school district in Alberta has deposited registers or other attendance records with the Provincial Archives. To determine if we have school records for the school you need, type the name of the school into the “Search the Archives” field on HeRMIS. Schools records can often be found in the fonds of counties or the fonds of school divisions, depending on who donated the records. File lists are often available to determine what is held at the Provincial Archives. Some school records are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) and accessible by a FOIP Request.

If it seems that the Provincial Archives does not have the records you need, you may wish to search the provincial archival database, the Alberta on Record, to see if another archives in Alberta has the records. You may wish to contact the school if it still exists, the school division  for the school in question, or even the county, to see if they might have any records or know where they are.

9.      I am looking for copies of old school yearbooks. Do you have any of these?

The Provincial Archives of Alberta holds only a very small quantity of school yearbooks; mainly for post-secondary institutions; these are located in the Provincial Archives’ Library. You may wish to contact the school itself, or a local library.

The Glenbow Museum’s Library has a database of yearbooks you may wish to consult.

For Edmonton schools, you could contact the Edmonton Public School Archives and Museum.

10.  I am currently looking into my family tree and would like to know more. Can someone help?

The Provincial Archives of Alberta has a number of resources that may be of use. Please check our Resources for Genealogists to give you an idea of the sources that may be of use. The Provincial Archives Reference staff are able to assist you in your research, but they are not able to do extensive research for you. If you would like to have the research done for you, you can hire a contract researcher for $40 an hour to conduct research on your behalf. Please contact the Reference Desk at 780-427-1056 or paa@gov.ab.ca to arrange for such research to be done.

 

For any other questions or concerns, please contact the Reference Desk at the Provincial Archives of Alberta at paa@gov.ab.ca or 780-427-1056. The Archives is open Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 4:30pm, and until 9pm on Wednesday evenings.

 



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