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SS/NS logo based upon artwork by FSD student Roberta Ballantyne, Grand Rapids School, 1995.
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SSNS Home > Home & Community > Aboriginal Roots > Research Tips

Research Tips for
finding Aboriginal Ancestors


Maybe you want to prove your aboriginal lineage for legal purposes, like a Bill C-31 claim. Maybe you want to know if that family legend about your grandmother is true. Or, perhaps you are just curious about who you are. Whatever the reason, many people want to know more about their ancestors, but they don’t know where to begin.

We may be able to help. Here are some pointers that can help you to get started.

      1. First of all, get organized.
        For assistance see familytreemagazine.com, which will allow you to download a variety of forms. Two essential forms to keep you organised are the “Family Group Sheet” and the “Five-Generation Ancestor Chart.”

      2. Consult oldest relatives.
        Find out as much as you can about your ancestors from your oldest relatives: names of relatives, including maiden surnames; dates and places of birth, baptism/confirmation, marriage, death, burial, etc.; church membership; places of residence; treaty status etc. These will provide vital clues as you research church, provincial, and national records to find out more.

      3. Collect copies of documents/photographs
        Make copies of original documents – certificates of birth, baptism, marriage, death, newspaper clippings. Don’t forget photographs. Collecting statistical information is important, but pictures bring out ancestors to life. They enhance family histories. Caution: If you borrow old photographs, always return them to their owners! Once trust is established, you may find out even more information!

      4. Research church and civil records for documentation on your ancestors.
        Research can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but it can take us beyond the memories of our elders. For many aboriginal people in Western Canada, it can reveal information on ancestors as far back as 1800, and in some instances even earlier. Here are some useful sources that aboriginal researchers have found helpful.


      Check the following pages for more useful information:

      • Frontier Sources: This is genealogical data that has been collected on aboriginal families in the course of developing curricula and preparing community histories within Frontier School Division. It pertains for the most part to aboriginal families that originated in Northern Manitoba.

      • External Sources: This is a list of Aboriginal genealogical sources in Manitoba and Western Canada



      Last updated: July 27, 2009


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