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© 2002-07 AFHS
4 Jun 2007



Calgary Public Library's Genealogical Collection


Library TreeGensoft - March 2001
by Cathy Mayhood, Calgary Public Library

The genealogy collection is located in the Humanities Department on the fourth floor of the W.R. Castell (Central) Library. The materials are mainly reference (i.e., to be used in the library only). This is an introduction to the genealogy collection. Further information can be found through the online public catalogue (OPAC) or through the catalogue on the library's home page.

The web sites mentioned below can be found through the Genealogy Links in the Recommended Links on the library's homepage. The focus is mainly on Canadian web sites.

Self-Help Handbooks

The Public Library has many guide books for helping with family history research. These are useful for those just starting out in genealogy or for those needing "how-to's" of a more specific or advanced nature. See the 'Genealogy Guide Books' handout for some suggestions. These may be borrowed from the library (unless indicated as reference with an R).

The genealogy links on the library's homepage also has a beginner's section.

Atlases, Maps, Gazetteers

  • Post Offices of Canada 1755-1895 (R 917.11 CAM)
  • Smith's Canadian Gazetteer, 1846 (R 917.13003 SMI)
  • Place Names of Ontario (R 917.13 CAR)
  • Historical County Atlases (R 911)
  • Cummins Rural Directory Maps, 1923 (Microfilm 61)

Biographical/ Heraldic Dictionaries

The library has both national and international biographical dictionaries.


  • Who's Who in Canada (R 920.071 WHO)
  • Canadian Who's Who (R 920.071 CAN)
  • Dictionary of Canadian Biography (R 920.071 DIC)

United States

  • Who's Who in America (R 920.073 WHO)
  • Who Was Who in America (R 920.073 WHO)

Great Britain

  • Who's Who (R 920.041 WHO)
  • Dictionary of National Biography (R 920.041 DIC)


  • Debrett's (R 929.72 DEB)
  • Burke's (R 929.72 BUR
  • Riestap's Armorial General (R 929.82 RIE)


CPL carries bibliographies specific to genealogy.

Some are for family histories:

  • Genealogies in the Library of Congress (R 929.1016 LIB)
  • The Annotated Bibliography of Genealogical Works in Canada (R 929.371 MEN)

Some are for local histories:

  • Local Histories of Alberta: an Annotated Bibliography (R 971.230016 ALB)
  • Alberta's Local Histories in the Historical Resources Library (R 971.23 PRO 1986)
  • Bibliography of Ontario History (R 971.30016 BIS)
  • Local Histories of Ontario Municipalities, 1951-1977: a Bibliography (R 971.30016 AIT)

Many library catalogues (for example, The National Library of Canada or The Library of Congress) can now be checked via the Internet for local or family histories. The Alberta GenWeb site has a link to an Alberta Local History Book Project; as well the Alberta Family Histories Society has compiled a place-name index to local histories that is available through their homepage.

We have local histories for Alberta and county histories for the eastern provinces.

  • Botha Memories (R 971.233 BOT)
  • History of the County of Lennox & Addington (971.359 HER)
  • History of the County of Guysborough, Nova Scotia (971.621 HAR)


The Directories section of the Business, Science & Social Sciences Department has current phone books from around the world and current city directories for most of the major Canadian cities. Many phone lists can also be searched through the Internet.

As well, each subject department has a variety of useful directories, such as those listing association or government addresses.

The Local History Room has older city directories and phone books. The collection also has many corporate directories, for example Key Contacts Directory.

A specific genealogical directory called the Genealogical Research Directory (R 929.1025 JOH) is available in Humanities. Similar information can be found on the Internet through surname links offered by many genealogy web sites.


The Canadian Census is available on microfilm in the Humanities Department. The latest release is 1901. We have only the Canadian census. Calgary Public Library does not borrow through Interlibrary Loans for the census returns for other countries but refers the customer to the LDS (Mormon) Family History Centre.

A few Canadian census indexes may be found on the Internet, for example, the Index to the 1871 Census of Ontario, the PEI 1891 Census, and some Alberta census information found through Alberta GenWeb site. For others, check the various provincial web sites as new information is constantly being added. [Webster's note: don't be shy to use the AFHS's Canadian Genealogical Projects Registry to find census materials for all provinces]

Land Records

CPL has the index to the Alberta Homestead Records (Micro film 62), Cummins Alberta Rural Directory Maps 1923 (Microfilm 61), and the Ontario Archives Land Records Index (Microfiche R 929.3713 ARC).

Some indexes are available via the Internet, for example, the Upper and Lower Canada Land Petitions, and the New Brunswick original land grants (Cadastral Database).

Ships' Passenger Lists

Canadian Ships' passenger lists covering the years 1865 to 1920 are available on microfilm in the Humanities Department. This series of microfilms also includes the Border Entry Records from the United States into Canada and The Board of Guardians Register covering child immigration.

Passenger lists, 1920-1935, can be borrowed through Interlibrary Loans from the National Archives. A list of available microfilms can be found on the National Archives web site or in the Ships' List binder in Humanities.

Information on passenger arrivals after 1935 must be obtained through the Department of Immigration.

Check out the InGeneas and Marje's Place web sites on the genealogy link for useful Canadian immigration information.

Humanities also has Filby's Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (R 929.373 PAS) as well as many other books on passenger lists both for Canada and the United States.

Vital Statistics/Compiled Lists

Humanities has many published lists of births, marriages and deaths records that are often compiled from a prior source, most often newspapers.

  • Death Notices of Ontario (R 929.3713 REI)
  • Central Canadians, 1600 - 1900, 3 Vol. (R 929.371 ELL)
  • The French Canadians, 1600-1900, 3 Vol. (R 929.3714 FRE)
  • Index of English Immigrants Based on Obituaries and Death Notices in Prince Edward Island Newspapers, 1835-1910 (R 929.3717 GAL)
  • Index of Marriage & Death Notices from Manitoba (929.37127 IND)
  • Loyalist Lineages of Canada, 1783-1983, 3 Vol. (R 929.20971 LOY)
  • Nova Scotia Vital Statistics from Newspapers (R 929.3716 HOL)
  • Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers (R 929.3715 JOH)

Vital records are also starting to appear on the internet, for example the British Columbia birth, marriage and death records are searchable through the BC Vital Statistics web site.

Many cemetery lists can be found through the Internet, either through one of the genealogy associations or one of the web sites, such as Cyndi's. As well, newspapers are now starting to list their obituaries online. These can also be found through genealogical associations' links.

Periodicals and Newspapers

The Public Library subscribes to various genealogical magazines. We keep the current four issues in the Humanities Department with all back issues in the Magazines and Newspapers Department in the basement. Humanities is now lending out back copies of Everton's Genealogical Helper. Newspapers not subscribed to by the library can be borrowed from another library though it is necessary to check the Union List of Canadian Newspapers (R 071.10016 NAT 1991).

Local History Collection

The Local History Room is located in the Humanities Department. It is a special reference collection in which you will find material relating to all aspects of the history of Calgary, Alberta and Western Canada. Of particular interest to genealogists are Alberta local histories (971.233), Calgary city directories (917.123 HEN) and phone books (384.60971 CAL), Index to the Alberta Homestead Records (Microfilm 62), and Alberta cemetery listings (929.509712). To assist in locating this material, a binder Local History: Genealogy Sources can be checked and as well, a more detailed handout on genealogy sources in this collection is available.

Genealogical Collections

There are several other organizations in Calgary and Alberta that have collections to assist you in your further research.

The genealogy reference collection is located in the Humanities Department of the W.R. Castell (Central) Library (403.260.2785).

Handbooks - basic "how-to's" and specific or advanced ones for country or source

  • In Search of Your Canadian Roots
  • Sleuth Book for Genealogists
  • Your English Ancestry: A guide for North Americans
  • American Passenger Arrival Records


  • Canadian Census microfilm reels to 1901
  • Selected indexes to the census

Ships' Passenger Lists

  • Canadian official ports of entry, 1865 - 1919
  • Border entry lists, 1908 - 1919
  • Child Immigration Indexes
  • Filby's Immigration and Passenger Lists Index

Land Records

  • Alberta Homestead Records Index
  • Ontario Archives Land Records Index
  • Ontario Historical Atlases

Vital Records/Compiled Lists - Calgary Public Library specializes in Canadian materials

  • Loyalists lists
  • Series: Atlantic, Central, French and Western Canadians.
  • Ontario county marriage registers indexes
  • Quebec records: Jette and Tanquay
  • Vital Statistics from newspapers
  • Alberta Cemetery Recordings

Directories/Phone Books

  • Calgary Phone Books , 1903 -
  • Calgary City Directories, 1902 - 1991
  • Prairie City Directories to 1950's (Peel Bibliography)