Alberta Land and Property Records

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

Hudson’s Bay Company[edit | edit source]

After the British arrival in Canada, approximately half of the province of Alberta, south of the Athabasca River drainage, became part of Rupert's Land which consisted of all land drained by rivers flowing into Hudson Bay. This area was granted by Charles II of England to the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) in 1670, and rival fur trading companies were not allowed to trade in it. In 1870, the newly formed Canadian Government purchased Rupert's Land. Lands were sold by the HBC prior to 1870.[1]

Hudson’s Bay Company Archives
130 - 200 Vaughan Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 1T5
Telephone: 204-945-4949

Dominion Lands Act: Homestead Records[edit | edit source]

The Dominion Land Act of 1871 provided for the surveying of the Canadian Prairies in an orderly and precise manner, thereby making the land available for settlement. Using the U.S. Homestead Act of 1862 as a guide, the federal government proposed that settlers could homestead a quarter-section of land, 160 acres, for the sum of $10. The requirements for gaining ownership of this land were three years residency, construction of a dwelling and clearing of a stipulated amount of land (usually 15 acres).

"Homestead records are useful in genealogical research because they contain both land and biographical information about the applicant. While marital status is noted, the spouse is not usually named. If the applicant was not a Canadian citizen, there may be a copy of his/her naturalization record, as only Canadian citizens could receive title to a homestead.

These application files provide some of the following information:

  • Age
  • Place of birth
  • Former place of residence
  • Date of entry on the land
  • Marital status is noted but the spouse is not usually named
  • Naturalization record if available (only Canadian citizens could receive title to a homestead)"[2]

Provincial Archives of Alberta Homestead Records[edit | edit source]

Provincial Archives of Alberta
8555 Roper Road
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5W1
Telephone: 780-427-1750

Alberta Genealogical Society[edit | edit source]

  • Alberta Homestead Index The Alberta Homestead Database was compiled by AGS volunteers transcribing the Applications for Alberta Land Patents, 1885‒1897, Alberta Homestead Records, 1870‒1930 and Alberta Homestead records, post-1930.

Métis Scrip[edit | edit source]

"In 1870 under the Manitoba Act, all Métis families were promised grants of land meant to extinguish any aboriginal rights to the landscape that they might hold as an indigenous culture. Basically, the grants allowed and required them to relocate from lands formerly owned by the Métis to a new homestead of their choosing.

Scrip was a special certificate or warrant issued by the Department of the Interior which entitled the bearer to receive homestead lands, at a later date, upon presentation of the document to the proper authorities. Scrip allowed the Department to issue a land grant without specifying the actual parcel involved. For individual claimants, it had the advantage of allowing them to choose any western lands which were open for settlement without having to restrict their selection to specific reserves, as was the case with some immigrant groups from eastern Europe.

The scrip notes issued by the Department resembled government bonds and were printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company in denominations of $20, $80, $160, and $240; and in 80, 160 and 240 acres. When lands in western Canada were first made available to homesteaders under the Dominion Lands Act of 1872, the federal government arbitrarily valued farm land at $1.00 per acre.6 Therefore, money scrip in the value of $160 or $240 entitled the bearer to the equivalent number of acres in land.

Money and land scrip could only be redeemed at face value in the purchase of homestead lands through a Dominion lands office."[3]

Glenbow Museum - Library and Archives[edit | edit source]

The Glenbow Museum’s Library and Archives are the one of Canada’s largest non-governmental repositories and house a great collection of Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) land records. There is a searchable database online for both CPR records and Métis research. The Métis database is for surname searching in order to obtain the call number needed to order the microfilmed records. Your librarian can order these for you but you must pay fee per request directly to the librarian.

Land Title Offices[edit | edit source]

  • Land Titles Find, change, register and learn about land titles in Alberta.

More recent records are held in land title offices.

Edmonton Land Title Office
John E. Brownlee Building
10365 - 97 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3W7
Telephone: 780-427-2742

Calgary Land Title Office
Service Alberta Building
710 - 4 Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta T2P 0K3
Telephone: 403-297-6511

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

For greater detail on how land was divided, identified, obtained, and granted, see:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Alberta", in Wikipedia,, accessed 7 December 2020.
  2. "Homestead Records", Provincial Archives of Alberta,, accessed 7 December 2020.
  3. "Essay: Métis Scrip - "The Foundation for a New Beginning", Library and Archives Canada,, accessed 7 December 2020.