Family History Sources in the University of Calgary Library
There is a HELP DESK located in the Information Commons (2nd floor of MacKimmie
Library Block). Staff there can help you:
- Determine where to start your search
- Search the library catalogue
- Locate materials in the library
- Search article indexes / periodical databases
- Search the internet
- Deal with basic software and program queries
To find books search the online catalogue using the search grid for author, keyword or specific
subject. Examples include:
- Germans Russia
- Canada genealogy
- Irish Immigration
- Essex history
You can also search by an ancestors name in the full text of digital primary resource and
newspaper collections, you never know when someone might be mentioned .
Primary Sources: http://library.ucalgary.ca/rdd?s=95
Newspapers: http://library.ucalgary.ca/resources/news (check date coverage in descriptions)
Maps and Atlases
The MADGIC Collection is located on the 2nd floor of the Library Tower. This area includes sheet
maps and atlases from all different time periods, including the 18th and 19th century. Many of the
atlases trace the movement of ethnic populations. Among the most useful sets of maps in this
collection are those of the British Ordnance Survey county maps; the homestead and county land
maps for the Canadian Prairies, especially Alberta; and historical maps and atlases showing
boundary changes, migration patterns, original churches or post offices, etc.
Many articles on genealogy and local or family history have been published in periodicals such as
Alberta History or Heritage Review. These articles can be located through the use of indexes, the
most useful being America: History & Life and, specifically for Canadian research, Canadian
Periodical Index. Paper copies of these are located in the Reference Collection on the 2nd floor of
the Library Block and online versions can be searched from a University of Calgary Library
computer. This search will produce articles such as:
- Dewald, Heinrich. HISTORY OF THE HEILBRONN SETTLEMENT, DAKOTA TERRITORY. Heritage Review 1996 26(4): 27-30.
These indexes will also cite book reviews and theses such as:
- Loewen, Royden. Family, Church and Market: A History of a Mennonite Community Transplanted from Russia to Canada and the United States, 1850-1930. University of Manitoba thesis. 1990.552 pp.
Periodicals or magazines have been published on a regular basis since the late 1700’s and many of these
carried useful information on family and local history as well as biographical articles, birth, death and
marriage notices and other information of use and interest to the family historian. Many of these have never
been indexed but it is always a good idea to check to see if the geographical area in which you are
searching had a newspaper or periodical published during the 18th, 19th or early 20th century. These can be
searched in the online catalogue under the subject, for example:
- Haldimand County Newspapers
Articles in periodicals (or theses) not held at the University of Calgary Library or in other local libraries can
be ordered on Interlibrary Loan through your local library.
The MacKimmie Library holds thousands of titles in microfilm or microfiche (all on 3LT), many of which are
of interest to the family historian. For instance, The Canadian Institute of Historical Microreproduction is a
collection of microfiche reproducing books and serials published in or about Canada prior to
1920. It includes local and privately published histories, directories, biographies and even items
such as militia orders, nominal rolls and various forms of printed memorials, annual reports of
government agencies, special items celebrating local events, etc. The general call number is FC
51 C3496 No.—.
The Peel Bibliography on Microfiche is another fiche collection of books and
pamphlets published within or about the three prairie provinces from earliest times to 1950. Many
small local histories of towns, schools and churches are in this collection (FC 3237 P42 No.—).
The Library also holds a number of local Canadian newspapers, some dating back to the 18th
century, which have been microfilmed. These are largely from the Maritime Provinces, Ontario
and Quebec, with some more recent ones from Alberta.
- Journal Article indexes will help you find and search periodical articles in databases
- Campus Databases, such as the Alberta Heritage Digitization Project, allow you to access actual books and newspapers http://library.ucalgary.ca/rdd?s=95
- Search the Internet tells you how to construct a search and links you to many different search engines
Other Research Tips
If the ancestor whom you are researching had a profession, it is useful to check for information on
that specific topic. For instance, there are numerous histories, directories and biographical
dictionaries held in the University of Calgary Library on every kind of trade and skill from
silversmiths in New England to merchant navy sailors in Great Britain.
As well, it is often a good idea to check to see if there was any requirement for military service in
the area, especially militia units. Many histories and nominal rolls of such units are available and
can be found under the name of the unit.
The resources of the University of Calgary Library are open to the public during regular hours;
however, you cannot borrow without a valid card from either the University of Calgary Library or
TAL (The Alberta Library). Photocopiers are located on each floor and copies are $0.15 per
page, as are the microfilm/fiche printers. Copy cards can be purchased at the Circulation Desk
on the ground floor of the Tower.
If you have difficulties please check with the HELP DESK, check out the website at:
Note – A special thank you to Jerremie Clyde, the history librarian at the University of Calgary who kindly provided the above information for a genealogy 101 type presentation I recently gave at the Faculty Women’s Club at the U of Calgary. He gave permission to share this information.