Announcing Saskatchewan Catholic Church Records on Family Search

March 4, 2013  - by 

Family Search has recently released online Saskatchewan Catholic Church Records which include baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials, and other records between 1846-1957.  Pioneer missionaries trained at the Diocese of St. Boniface located at Fort Garry, Manitoba.  (Following the Red River Rebellion 1869-1870 the name Fort Garry or Upper Fort Garry was no longer in use, and the rapidly growing settlement became known as Winnipeg.) By 1840 the Roman Catholic Church began expanding westward across the prairies then known as Rupert’s Land.  The St Philip mission at Fort Pelly (near Kamsack) along with the Crooked Lake mission in the Qu’Appelle Valley were two initial missions in the Swan River area (now this area is a part of south central Saskatchewan and spans lands on both sides of the Saskatchewan – Manitoba border).  The Saint-Jean-Baptiste mission at Île-à-la-Crosse became established in 1846 as a base for the northern fur trading posts (serving northern First Nation and Métis people in northern Saskatchewan, northeastern Alberta and northwestern Manitoba).

By the end of the 1800s church work shifted from mission work with the First Nations to also establishing parishes in the early pioneer agricultural communities of the newly formed Northwest Territories.  In the early 1900s missionaries were needed by the Roman Catholic church in Western Canada for the rapidly growing population and villages which sprung up like wild fires along the rails in the fledgling province of Saskatchewan.

This parish register collection contains records from selected Roman Catholic parishes across the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. The time span coverage varies from parish to parish, however there are records between 1846 when the area now called Saskatchewan was part of Rupert’s Land and the Northwest Territories.  Due to the changes in boundaries, as well as the distance covered by parishioners and missionaries, ancestral records for residents residing in locations now classified as the provinces of Alberta and Manitoba may also be found in the records. Parish records released online extend through to 1957 in some cases.

These records are now available online for free for the first time at FamilySearch.org. Find them by clicking on Link 1. For further details, click Link 2 or see general information in Link 3. To become familiar with the parish or church name, click Link 4. It is a related website covering church histories and their locations, the Oblate Missionary Immaculate fathers (OMI) who served the parishes historically and an introduction to the parish register information as listed by Family Search.

The majority of the records are written in Latin, whilst some parish books were inscribed in French, and a few in English.  An invitation is extended to you to check in Link 5 and Link 6  to garner genealogical information about your Saskatchewan ancestors from these primary source documents.

This blog post was contributed by Julia Adamson at saskgenweb@yahoo.com

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