How to Find Alberta Vital Records

Alberta has a bad rap for genealogical records, but it isn’t the black hole of the West as most people think. Well maybe isn’t as easy as its counterparts like Saskatchewan Vital Records or Manitoba but the records are there.

Vital records are available at the Provincial Archives (PAA) for

  • Births that are over 120 years (not adoptions
  • Stillbirths over 75 years
  • Marriage over 75 years
  • Deaths over 50 years

If you are looking for more recent records here is the link for more information on the Service Alberta web page.

Here is the process I used to get a record for a relative who was married in Edmonton in 1908.  The first thing I did was go to the Provincial Archives of Edmonton webpage and located the Genealogy tab.

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Once I selected the Genealogy tab I scrolled down to the b/m/d pdfs on the page to determine if there was a specific number I should be locating. I have to admit I did find this process a little tedious and confusing. In the end, I contacted PAA via email explaining what I was searching for, the names of the people, the date (I only knew the year) and the location.

I received an email from them stating that they had received my request and they would be in touch. A follow-up e-mail told me they had located the marriage record and asked if I would like them to mail it or come in and view it in their reading room. I replied that they should mail it, a digital copy was not given as an option.

Another email followed that included a link to pay for the record and they

accept Visa, Visa debit, MasterCard and AMEX. We are also not able to accept credit card information over the phone to make payments.

The cost for the record is minimal – $3.00 ($6.00 if outside of Canada) and photocopying fee of $.35-$.50 cents! Not bad Alberta, not bad at all.

If you have relatives in Alberta and have been putting off ordering Vital Records, I would like to encourage you to go for it. Overall the process to access the records is not difficult and as you can see full of information! Well, they call them VITAL records for a reason!

young-marriage045

Marriage record of William Lewis Young and Emily Mays at The Manse in Edmonton, Alberta 26 August 1908.

Working Woman – Fearless Female

March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation. Blog prompt from Lisa Alzo.

My mother Mary Stewart was one of my first female ancestors to work outside of the home. She grew up on a farm by Albright, Alberta, and the closest town was Beaverlodge. She decided nursing would be the career for her, the closest training school was the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton which was 540 km away. This was not a small distance for someone who had experienced a very small school and hadn’t done much traveling. I asked her about it, this is what she told me

I trained for three years at the Misericordia School  of Nursing. We all lived in residence which was right beside the hospital. Across the alley directly behind us was the interns residence and beside that residence was the Crèche, where unwed mothers were lived and were cared for. Many of these girls were very young.  After their deliveries, some of the girls gave up their babies for adoption.

Sister St, Delphina was in charge of the student nurses. I think she was a very smart  nice person, but we had our regulations. During our first year we had to be in residence by 9:30 every night.

We were allowed a few 10:30 pm and something like  four 12:30 passes each month, the number of passes increased slightly each year as we got older.

After three years, we wrote our government exams and I went with my roommate Collette to work at the Blairmore hospital in the Crows Nest Pass in southern Alberta. It took what seemed a long time before our marks from our exams reached and for us to find out that we had both passed .

We returned to Edmonton in September (I think) for our graduation ceremonies. My mother came out to Edmonton to attend. It was all so impressive to me. The graduation ceremony was at the McDonald Hotel.

A few years ago while I was in Edmonton my friend and classmate, Terri Ellis and I went there to have lunch and catch up. It is a very grand place.

I do know that my mom went on to nurse in Detroit, Michigan after she was married. Later the family moved back to Montreal (1971) and she taught at the preschool I attended.

In Rosemere Quebec, I worked with Binny Goldman at the Rosemere Cooperative Nursery School  Which I think she started and was very sought after place for people to enroll their preschoolers.  I initiated a little gym program for the children which seemed to go over quite well. I believe I worked there for three years before moving out to Alberta.

In 1981, we moved back to Alberta, very close to the place where my mom had grown up. Mom had to go back to school, redoing some courses so she could again nurse in Alberta. She returned to nursing as a VON and later worked at the Hythe Hospital, retiring a few years ago.