Saskatchewan Evolutionary Changes

27 May

Saskatchewan Evolutionary Changes

1900 Map of Manitoba and the North-West Territories

Manitoba and the North West Territories in 1900

In many instances, the boundaries and names of current place names have changed from historical accounts, correspondences and census enumeration regions. In fact, the province of Saskatchewan established the current provincial boundaries on September 1, 1905. Even though the provisional districts of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan and Athabaska of the North-west Territories were amalgamated to form the new province, the boundaries of these early provisional districts were similar to the new provincial boundaries, the boundaries were not concurrent with each other.

Genealogical research centers around discovering ancestral lines by delving into research focusing on the ancestral family name, the time period, momentous occasions, birth and death dates and thirdly the location where the family lived. These three, name, date and place names can help to draw a picture of the history of the family. From the place names, the education and occupation can be sought after. The region also will uncover documents such as newspaper obituaries, birth, christening and marriage announcements, wills, land patent titles and scrip to name just a few. Census enumerators canvassed the population by region as well, so if an historical census is released for online viewing which covers the time period of the ancestral family, it can be perused by region. Neighbouring family members can be ascertained from the census along with occupation and residence.

The province’s boundaries are:

1. The 4th Meridian of the Dominion Land Survey or 110°W longitude at the western demarkation between the province of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

2. The 49th parallel US-Canada international boundary line makes the southern provincial border.

3. Upon breaking apart from the North-west Territories into a separate province, the North-west Territories continued on north of 60th parallel, the province’s northern boundary.

4. The eastern boundary does not lie upon the 2nd Meridian, but is rather east of the 102nd meridian west (the 2nd Meridian of the Dominion Land Survey) thus forming the division between the province of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Some confusion has arisen regarding historical and current place names. For example if one possesses historical letters which may provide an address say of Cannington Manor, Assa, NWT. Assa was a common abbreviation for the provisional district of Assiniboia in the North-West Territories (1882-1905). (The hyphen in North-west Territories was removed in 1906 becoming Northwest Territories) The District of Assiniboia is described as the 33rd township (about 51.97 degrees north) southward to the U.S.A.- Canada border. The eastern border of Assiniboia abutted the western boundary of the province of Manitoba which was between 101 and 102 line of longitude. Assiniboia’s western border likewise extended past the fourth meridian, the current westerly provincial border to meet with the provisional district of Alberta. The provisional district of Assiniboia extended westward to the further than the fourth meridian to about 112 °W meridian longitude between about range 10 and 11, past the fourth meridian (110°W longitude).

For example, historical maps show Medicine Hat section 31, township 12, range 5, west of the fourth meridian as being within the boundaries of the District of Assiniboia, NWT. Medicine Hat is within the province of Alberta boundaries after 1905.

 

Likewise, Brandon located at section 23, township 10, range 19 west of the prime meridian or latitude longitude 49º 50′ 49” N, 99º 57′ 8” W was outside of the boundaries of the original :postage stamp” province of Manitoba which had a western boundary at the 99th line of longitude. However, Brandon was not within the boundaries of Assiniboia, NWT whose eastern boundary was between the 101 and 102 line of longitude. Currently Brandon is within the province of Manitoba.

Fort Pelly and Fort Ellice were both close to the Provisional District of Assiniboia – Province of Manitoba boundary. Fort Ellice within Manitoba, and Fort Pelly within the Provisional District of Assiniboia. It is interesting to note that Fort Livingstone, headquarters for the North-West Mounted Police was the first capital of the North-West Territories 1876-1877. Fort Pelly is the closest settlement to Fort Livingstone. The current village of Fort Pelly is close to the Hudson Bay Company post of Fort Pelly existing between 1824-1912.

The provisional district of Assiniboia in the North-west Territories can be seen to encompass a sizeable district, quite distinct from the current place name of Assiniboia which is a town in the province of Saskatchewan located at section 10 township 8 range 30 west of the 2nd meridian or latitude, longitude 49º 37′ 45” N, 105º 59′ 19” W.*

It is of note that this provisional district of Assiniboia was created as a regional administrative district in 1882 by the North-West Territories. The first district of Assiniboia (1812-1869) referred to the Red River Colony as created from the 1811 Selkirk Concession with the United States.

Similarly, Athabaska (also spelled Athabasca) was the provisional district of the North West Territories for the northern portion of present day Saskatchewan (Township 71 and northward to the District of MacKenzie NWT at the present border between Saskatchewan and the NWT). In 1882, the eastern boundary of the provisional district followed the routes taken by the Athabasca and Slave rivers to an area south of the Clearwater River fork. The eastern boundary then separated from following natural features and was a straight line between the 111th and 112th meridian longitude. By 1895, the eastern border of Athabasca extended easterly absorbing area from the North-west Territories. The eastern border became now the 100th meridian longitude. The western boundary followed along the 120th meridian abutting the province of British Columbia which had been formed on July 20, 1871. The southerly edge of the Athabasca provisional district ran along the provisional districts of Alberta and Saskatchewan along the 18th correction line just north of 54 degrees latitude north. The provisional district of Athabasca lost land to the province of Alberta, and the NWT Keewatin district in 1905 when the province was created. (As an aside, Manitoba’s borders were extended northward absorbing land from the NWT Keewatin District in 1912.)

Within the provisional district of Athabasca was a post office located at north west section 20, township 66, range 22, west of the 4 meridian which opened in 1901 under the name of Athabaska Landing, changing names in 1914 to Athabaska, and again seeing a name change in 1950 to Athabasca. Athabasca is currently located within the province of Alberta boundaries.

Of note is the provisional district of Saskatchewan, NWT, which possessed boundaries very different from the current province of Saskatchewan. In 1882, the eastern boundary of the provisional district was the 100th meridian longitude alongside the District of Keewatin. These borders were modified in 1898, when the provisional district of Saskatchewan did in fact make use of natural geographical features in its boundary, extending eastward to Lake Winnipeg (now wholly within the province of Manitoba) and the Nelson River. Between the 111th and the 112th meridian longitude was a straight line border which formed the border with the provisional district of Alberta. The northern reach extended as far as the Dominion Survey of township 70 about 54 degrees north, and the southern boundary was township 35 located at about 51.97 degrees north. The provisional district of Saskatchewan lost land to the province of Alberta, and the NWT Keewatin district in 1905 when the province was created.

The post office named Saskatchewan operated between 1884 and 1891 at the eastern half of section 35 township 38 range 4 west of the third meridian placing it in the provisional district of Saskatchewan NWT. However Fort Saskatchewan (former name Edmonton) located at Section 32, Township 54, Range 22, West of the fourth meridian, was located in the provisional District of Alberta, NWT. Fort Saskatchewan currently locates in the province of Alberta.

The settlement of Saskatoon (which changed names to Nutana in 1902) was located at section 28 township 36 range 5 west of the third meridian and is usually shown on maps as being within the Provisional District of Saskatchewan, NWT. Nutana, Riversdale and West Saskatoon (change of names in 1902 to Saskatoon) were three villages which amalgamated to form the city of Saskatoon in 1903 latitude longitude 52º 8′ 23” N, 106º 41′ 10” W.

Saskatchewan is commonly abbreviated Sask, and Saskatoon may sometimes be seen as S’toon. The current abbreviation for the province of Saskatchewan adopted by Postal Canada is SK.

By watching the dates of historic documents, it is easier to ascertain correctly the placenames of Saskatchewan ancestors. Oral history may recollect that an ancestor lived in a certain district, which may indeed refer to one of the three provisional districts, Assiniboia, Saskatchewan or Athabasca or it may refer to a One Room Schoolhouse District. Canada became a nation in 1867. Saskatchewan didn’t become a province of Canada until 1905, before this it was a part of the NorthWest Territories (1868-1905). The Rupert’s Land Act 1868 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, authorized the transfer of Rupert’s Land from the control of the Hudson’s Bay Company to the Dominion of Canada. The North West Territories was divided into districts in 1870. The British (in 1670) had given Rupert’s Land to the Hudson Bay Company which gave the company dominion over lands where there was water passageway from the Hudson Bay.

~Article written by Julia Adamson

For further information:

Adamson, Julia. Placenames of Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Gen Web. 03-May-2012. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Placenames of Saskatchewan Comments Saskatchewan Gen Web. 05-Jun-2005. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. An analysis of Saskatchewan placenames Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Maps. 30-Apr-2005. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse project. Saskatchewan Gen Web. 31-May-2013. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Saskatchewan History Saskatchewan Gen Web. 25-Mar-2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia Maps of Saskatchewan 15-May-2014 Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Rural Municipalities of Sakatchewan Saskatchewan Gen Web E-magazine. May 15, 2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia 1921 Canada Census: Place of Habitation :: Rural Municipalities Saskatchewan Gen Web E-magazine. March 24, 2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. How do I locate my Ancestors Home Town in Saskatchewan? February 23, 2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Where were Saskatchewan Homesteads Located? February 10, 2012. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created? February 7, 2012. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. When Were Saskatchewan Homestead Applications Available? February 16, 2012. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Maps of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Gen Web Project 15-May-2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adopted by Saskatchewan Gen Web and Julia Adamson. Saskatchewan Historical Geography May 25, 2014. Family Search. org Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adopted by Saskatchewan Gen Web and Julia Adamson. Saskatchewan May 25, 2014. Family Search. org 24 October 2013. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adopted by Saskatchewan Gen Web and Julia Adamson. Saskatchewan History. 31 July 2013. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Barry, Bill. Geographic Names of Saskatchewan. 2005. People Places Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-897021-19-2

Comprehensive Atlas of Canada and the World. George Philip. London. 1985.

Daly, Ronald C. The Macmillan School Atlas Revised Metric Edition. Gage Educational Publishing Company. Toronto, ON. 1982. ISBN 0-7715-8268-4.

Evolution Boundaries 1882 Atlas of Saskatchewan. Page 10
RICHARDS, J. Howard & FUNG, K.I. (1969). Atlas of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon: Modern Press. republish date online Saskatchewan Gen Web Saturday, 11-Mar-2000. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Evolution Boundaries 195 Map Atlas of Saskatchewan. Page 10
RICHARDS, J. Howard & FUNG, K.I. (1969). Atlas of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon: Modern Press. republish date online Saskatchewan Gen Web Saturday, 11-Mar-2000. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

File:Manitoba and Northwest Territories (1900).jpg Date accessed May 26, 2014

The First Boundary Extension The Association of Manitoba Land Surveyors Date accessed May 26, 2014

Fort Esperance, Fort Pelly, Fort Livingstone National Historic Sites of Canada Management Plan. Parks Canada. ISBN 978-0-662-49893-3. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Fung, K.I., Bill Barry and Michael Wilson. (1999) Atlas of Saskatchewan Celebrating the Millennium. Saskatoon: Printwest.

Government of Manitoba Postage Stamp Province
Historic Sites of Manitoba Postage Stamp Province 1870 (RM of Alexander) Manitoba Historical Society. 2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Historical Maps of Canada. Canadian Geographic Magazine. 2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014

Historical Boundaries Canadian Heritage Government of Canada. 2013-08-28. Date accessed May 26, 2014

Kerr, D.G.G., editor. Historical Atlas of Canada. Page 66, 67 Canadian Historical Associations Committee on a Historical Atlas of Canada. 1960. Thomas Nelson and Sons (Canada) Ltd. Library of Congress catalog card number 60-9189.

Southern Alberta 2012 Aerial Imagery MD of Willow Creek. July 15, 2012. Date accessed May 26, 2014

Watson, J. Wreford, editor. Nelson’s Canadian School Atlas. 1958.

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