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Alberta Genealogical Society

Index to Alberta Homestead Records - post 1930
(work in progress)

Dedicated to our forefathers whose determination, sacrifices, hardships
and pioneering spirit have provided us with a prosperous
and progressive province, rich in heritage and diverse in cultures

 The Project  How to View a Homestead File
 Alberta Homestead Records  How to Order a Copy of a Homestead File
 The Database  Ask a Question / Forward a Correction

Search the Index

The Project

In 2005 the Alberta Genealogical Society - Edmonton Branch endorsed a proposal to produce a comprehensive, integrated, all-name index to the microfilmed Alberta land records in Provincial Archives of Alberta (PAA) Accession 1974.048.

Members of the Branch have volunteered many hours to create this index making information on Alberta land settlement accessible to everyone.

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Alberta Homestead Records

Prior to 1930, records of land settlement in Alberta were handled by the Dominion Lands Branch of the Federal Government. Control of natural resources was transferred in 1930 and all active land files were turned over to the Province. These files were then re-numbered into a series designation using the prefixes GL (General Lands, mainly homesteads), SL (School Lands) and GR (Grazing Leases, mainly ranches). After 1954 the files were organized by land description and the series designation discontinued (Land Description).

Documents in these files may date from early 1900 to late 1950's. Files were stamped closed, stored and then microfilmed during the 1950's and 1960's as sections of land were disposed of, patented, or sold. The microfilms in this collection were deposited in the Provincial Archives of Alberta in 1974 and accessioned as 1974.048. The original files were mainly destroyed.

The files in this collection may contain homestead applications, sale of land documents, lease agreements, as well as many other documents, such as inspector's reports, records of abandonment, handwritten letters, wills, naturalization certificates, scrip, seed grain liens, court proceedings, etc. Researching these files for family history purposes can be very rewarding.

NOTE: Names often appeared only once in a file making transcription difficult. Use the Advanced Search facility on the search screen to find spelling variations.

General Lands (GL) Series
These files pertain mainly to homesteading activity in Alberta and were active Dominion Land Branch files when transferred by the Federal Government to the Alberta Provincial Government in 1930. The files were renumbered into the provincial "GL" series and transaction documentation added after 1930. Closed files were microfilmed 1939-1954 and most original files were destroyed.
(1183 microfilm reels)

School Lands (SL) Series
Sections 11 and 29 of each township were set aside and disposed of to finance school construction and purchase of school supplies. The files in this collection document the disposal of these lands and were created by the School Lands Branch, Department of Interior and still active in 1930 when transferred to the Alberta Provincial Government. The Branch Registry used its own file numbering system and case files were prefixed with the letters "SL".
(280 microfilm reels)

Grazing Files (GR) Series
The files in this collection were created by the Dominion Lands Branch, Department of Interior, and were still active in 1930 when transferred to the Alberta Provincial Government. The collection documents the granting of ranching leases and all case files were prefixed with the letters "GR". Documentation of land transactions occurring after 1930 was added to the files by the Alberta Provincial Government. Closed files were microfilmed in the 1950's.
(307 microfilm reels)

Land Description Files
All series distinctions in land transactions were abandoned ca1954; after this date files were organized by legal land description rather than purpose. These files were microfilmed 1960-1970 and original files mainly destroyed.
(567 microfilm reels)

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The Database

The following information was extracted from the land transaction files:

  • Film number in PAA Accession 1974.048
  • File number
  • Legal Land Description (Section, Township, Range, Meridian)
  • Place name (when no legal land description listed)
  • Surname
  • Given name(s)

The database also includes organizations extracted from the records. To search for these, include any of the following in the surname field: Cemetery, Churches, Company, Municipality, Ranch, School District, Organization, and Society.

Although every effort has been made to achieve accuracy in the data, there may be errors due to legibility, variations in spelling of surnames, recording of file numbers, etc. If, in your research, you discover a mistake, please let us know and it will be corrected.

NOTE: Names often appeared only once in a file making transcription difficult. Use the Advanced Search facility on the search screen to find spelling variations.

Please note that variations of spelling in given names and surnames within a file have been listed as separate records in the data.

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How to View a Homestead File

The microfilmed files, in Provincial Archives of Alberta (PAA) Accession 1974.048, can be viewed in the Reading Room at the PAA. With the film and file numbers from the online index the researcher now has easy access to all records of interest. Microfilm readers and printers are available.

Provincial Archives of Alberta (PAA)
8555 Roper Road
Edmonton Alberta
Phone: 780-427-1750

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday - 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Wednesday - 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
The PAA is closed to the public on Sunday and Monday.

NOTE: In most cases the files on a reel are in numerical order. However the researcher should be aware that this is not always the case and it may take a little searching to find the correct file. Consulting the list of file numbers inserted in each reel box can often help locate out of order files.

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How to Order a Copy of a Homestead File

Contact the Alberta Genealogical Society if you are interested in obtaining a copy of a file.

Send your request by e-mail to:

homestead8@abgensoc.ca

Or by regular mail to:

Research Services Committee
Alberta Genealogical Society

162, 14315 - 118 Avenue

Edmonton, Alberta

T5H 4S6 Canada

Note: There is a fee for copies.

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Ask a Question / Forward a Correction

If you have questions about the project, database or have found errors in the data please contact the Alberta Genealogical Society.

Send an e-mail to:

homestead8@abgensoc.ca

Or regular mail to:

Research Services Committee
Alberta Genealogical Society
162, 14315 - 118 Avenue

Edmonton, Alberta

T5H 4S6 Canada

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Last Updated: November 16, 2010