Manitoba vital records are tied to the history of what is now the province of Manitoba.
The Hudson’s Bay Company began fur trading with native Canadians shortly after the first British trading ship sailed into Hudson’s Bay in 1668 – 1669.
Fur Traders trading with Native Canadians - 1777.
Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain
The British granted the company land, known as Rupert’s Territory, in which to conduct its business.
A competing Montreal-based, French-language company, the North West company, also moved into the territory and began trading with the Metis in the 1700s.
The two companies established rival trading stations throughout Rupert’s Land, and competed for control of the land as well as in the fur trade.
The British regained control of the area in 1763 under the Treaty of Paris, following their victory in the Seven Year War.
Map of Canada, showing Rupert's Land. Wikimedia Commons
The Hudson’s Bay Company ceded Rupert’s Land to Canada in 1869. The Canadian government incorporated it into the Northwest Territories.
Manitoba joined Canadian confederation, and thereby became a province, on July 15, 1870.
The original province of Manitoba, known as the "postage stamp province", was much smaller than its current size. It was a small square including the general area of present-day Winnipeg, and was about 1/18 of its present-day size. On the above map, it was located adjacent to Rupert's Land, and just west of Lake Superior (the farthest inland of the five interconnected lakes).
Manitoba continued to grow in size, with its additional land carved out of the Northwest Territories, until it reached its current size in 1912.
See my page Land Grants and Homesteading in the Prairies with respect to Louis Riel and the Red River Rebellion, which resulted, at least in part, from the Metis people’s concerns being ignored during this time period.
Under the 2003 Manitoba Vital Statistics Act, the following access restrictions on Manitoba vital records are in place:
Manitoba Vital Record
Time Period of Restrictions
Records Available: 2013
Up to 1912
Up to 1932
Up to 1942
Up to 1993
Divorce files are not governed by the Vital Statistics Act, but I have included divorce in the table for ease of reference.
With respect to records within the above restricted periods, if you are not the person mentioned in the restricted record, or his or her legal guardian, then you must obtain the written consent of the person mentioned in the document before it will be released to you.
You will receive a certified photocopy of the event’s registration on file at Vital Statistics, stamped "Genealogical Purposes Only".
Otherwise, the procedure is as outlined below.
The Manitoba Vital Statistics office holds complete records from 1882, when civil registration began. Records remain there when they are no longer within the restricted period, and are not transferred to the provincial Archives.
The Vital Statistics Office will do a search for a particular record, so long as the customer provides as many relevant details as possible with respect to the record they are requesting. The fee is $25.00, and is non-refundable, even if the search is not successful.
There is a database available for searching Manitoba vital records, which will provide you with some details of what is in the various certificates.
However, the Vital Statistics Office cautions that not everything in the original record has been transcribed. To get all of the details, it is necessary to order a copy of the original document.
Also, the information which was collected has varied over the years, with more recent records containing more details than those which are older.
The fee for a certified copy of the original record is $12.00.
The database allows you to add items you wish to purchase to your Shopping Cart, but there is not, as yet, an on-line order facility. You must print the order form, fill in your contact details, and mail or fax it in to the Vital Statistics office, along with your credit card number and signed authorization. The Vital Statistics Office also has some incomplete church records prior to that date, which their staff will search only if the applicant knows the denomination of the person whose Manitoba vital records they are seeking.
Contact details for the Vital Statistics Office are as follows:
Vital Statistics Agency
Consumer & Corporate Affairs
254 Portage Avenue
WINNIPEG, Manitoba R3C 0B6
Telephone: (204) 945-3701 (English)
or (204) 945-5500 (French)
Phone Toll Free in Manitoba: 1-800-282-8069 ext. 3701 (English) ext. 5500 (French)
Fax: (204) 948-3128
With respect to Manitoba vital records, the Provincial Archives has only a limited collection of birth, marriage, and burial records. This is because the churches themselves, for the most part, keep their own records, either within each church building, or at their headquarters.
St. Andrew's Church, National Historic Site.
The church was built between 1845 and 1849,
and is the oldest stone church in Western Canada.
The Archives has a Keystone Database to assist in finding any holdings which would be of interest to genealogists. However, the selection of Manitoba vital records is not very extensive, for the reasons outlined above.
The address and contact details for the Provincial Archives are as follows:
Provincial Archives of Manitoba
200 Vaughan Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 1T5
Telephone: (204) 945-3971, Fax number: (204) 948-2672
The following additional resources may be of assistance:
Prior to 1917, when Manitoba enacted its own divorce legislation, individuals resident in Manitoba who wanted a divorce had to obtain it by a private federal statute.
Those statutes were published with the Statutes of Canada, and can be found in the volumes of statutes for those years. (See my page Canadian Divorce Records for more information.)
After 1917, as previously noted, divorces were handled in Manitoba. As each file is a record of a court proceeding, these files are open to the public. There are no restrictions on access to the file’s contents.
The Court of Queen’s Bench holds divorce files for 20 years after the divorce is finalized, and then transfers them to the Archives of Manitoba.
The Courts charge a flat fee up front before providing access to a file. The Manitoba Archives, on the other hand, charges on a per-page basis for photocopies of the individual pages you want copied, after the file has been accessed.
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