Tag Archives: Canada

Saskatchewan Cemeteries photographed and transcribed online

27 Oct

Ron Isherwood October 09, 1946 – August 09, 2017 enjoyed working on his Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project, and he also had enjoyed doing genealogy research.  Thank you very kindly to the many contributions made by Ron Isherwood, and for his dedication to the Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project, indeed.

burial cemetery cross daylight

The Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project which is now restored and operational online after the hiatus between December 2017 and September 2018.  The Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project is not being updated after 2017, but is kept online in an archived status thanks to Ancestry.com Rootsweb.


NOTE  There are a large number of organizations who are currently compiling cemetery information online which can be viewed at https://sites.rootsweb.com/~cansk/Saskatchewan/cemetery.html

The Canada Gen Web Cemetery Project – Saskatchewan Cemetery Project is a separate project from Ron Isherwood’s Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project and the Canada Gen Web Cemetery Project – Saskatchewan Cemetery Project features submitted transcripts searchable by ancestor’s name for all of Canada or Saskatchewan or by cemetery! Check out this cemetery transcriptions/photographs online project.

Ancestor Recognition Project – Cemetery Preservation: Online Cemetery Digitization courtesy of the Sask Gen Web Project

Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project Restored and Preserved

27 Oct

The Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project is back online, thank you for your patience while the website has been restored!  The project was served by a temporary website on the 123host at http://skschool.site123.me/ during the crash.

wood houses school old

The new content submitted to the Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse project between December 2017 and September 2018 was posted at http://skschool.site123.me/ during the offline experience.  This new content will soon be appearing at the original Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project http://sites.rootsweb.com/~cansk/school/  

Thank you for your patience, and your guidance as the Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project provides an online history for current generations to enjoy, preserve, and experience, our historical educational, architectural, and cultural, heritage.

SaskGenWeb is restored online!

27 Oct

person holding round smiling emoji board photo

Sask Gen Web a part of the Canada Gen Web Project is now back online and on the internet, so thousands and thousands of resources transcribed or photographed and uploaded to the internet on the  Saskatchewan Gen Web Rootsweb https://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk pages can once again be viewed!  From cemeteries, to public domain books and historical maps, ancestral biographies, family trees, and much, much more.  See why Ancestry/Rootsweb had taken all the original pages of data off line in December 2017 and read a news account of why Ancestry/Rootsweb pages had gone offline  Thank you for your patience and also thank you to the resources during the crash on the Wayback machine  Sask Gen Web on the Wayback Machine. 

Thank you kindly for the hours of dedicated work put into the web pages by the many Saskatchewan Gen Web volunteers, and those who had submitted information, pictures and resources to the Saskatchewan gen web project on Ancestry/rootsweb your interest and dedication was simply amazing and appreciated by so many!   The original Saskatchewan Gen Web https://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk is back up and running  Thank you to Rootsweb – Ancestry IT department for restoring and preserving the data submitted by volunteers and submitters as of September 2018

Saskatchewan Gen Web had a temporary presence at http://saskgenweb.site123.me/   to provide temporary genealogical resources while rootsweb/ancestry.com was down between December 2017 and September 2018. Thank you for visiting the temporary SaskGenWeb site http://saskgenweb.site123.me/  and for viewing the announcements which appeared periodically on the E-Magazine and on wordpress.

Saskatchewan  Gen Web, the resource and database projects and Saskatchewan Regions are an online centre for free online genealogy assistance, resources, listings, and databases and information.  The Gen Webs receive transcripts, photographs, and digitized genealogical information from interested citizens, historians and genealogists and the Gen Web volunteers place it online for free access.


How the Right Genealogical Plan can Lead To the Joy of Discovery

13 Jul

The Joys of Research

The Enthusiasm of Discovery

photo of a woman holding an ipad

Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests, and mines, and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors. – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Every family tree has a root, a home, a person a starting point. From this starting point, the tree fans out with all its branches back into time. Does it not follow “inevitably that every father had a father, and so on. In fact,” said Michael Shaara in Man of Distinction, “when you considered the matter rightly, everyone alive was the direct descendant of untold numbers of fathers, down through the ages, all descending, one after another, father to son. And so backward, unquestionably, into the unrecognizable and perhaps simian fathers of the past.”

“It will not require much space to indicate the main sources of information in genealogical research. Having decided to trace back our own lines, we naturally turn first to the living members of our family. If we have parents living and accessible,—grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts, cousins, or others who are likely to know more about the family than we do,—let us consult them, personally if we may, by letter if we must,” begins Frank Allaban when introducing “Concerning Genealogy” and ancestral hunting.

“Special attention is also called to the radically different plans for genealogical works, one tracing the many descendants of a common ancestor, the other tracing the many ancestors of a common descendant. There is a general drift toward the latter, many having discovered the fascination of exploring their direct lines of descent.”

“The moment of first hearing the facts, when the joy of discovery and the satisfaction of making progress are upon us, is the psychological moment for making our notes. It is a positive delight while the fever of enthusiasm is high. As our informant begins his story, let us interrupt with the cry of the enthusiast, “I must jot that down!” Out comes our notebook, conveying to our friend a very distinct impression of the importance of being accurate. He collects himself, and proceeds to give his facts and traditions with the greatest care. As we stop him with questions, or take time to write the facts, his memory is stimulated. With skillful questions the genealogical worker can draw out all the information, taking care to cover every point which may come up later.”

“Furthermore, while we may be able to find our way back from generation to generation with almost ridiculous ease in some cases, such luck is usually too good to last. It is a rare vein which yields family connections at every stroke of the genealogical spade, and one such line may have to console us for a number which we mine slowly and painfully, and for some others which yield no results whatever beyond a certain point.”

“We will suppose that at last the task of investigation has come to an end. We have run our family lines back as far as our plan contemplated, or as far as we were able to do with a reasonable amount of research. Perhaps most of them go back to the original emigrants, but it may be that in a case or two we have had the good fortune to make connection with an old family stem in Europe. In any case, the work is now done. We have made our discoveries, and scored triumphs not a few. But though the excitement of the chase is over, its pleasures are by no means spent. Is there no story to tell, no tale of our difficulties and exploits? Next to the exhilaration of the hunt itself, what can compare with the mellow joy of going over it with a comrade! Least of all can the “inevitable narrative” be spared in a case of ancestry-hunting. It is the logical issue of the search, and failure to weave our facts into a readable story, after having collected them, is almost unthinkable,”

“A truly interesting genealogical work is not a dry compilation of family statistics, but contains striking biographical pen pictures. Let these be made as complete as possible, and the story told with all the interest we can throw into it. We believe that the ideal genealogy is yet to be written, and that it will present facts with the accuracy of a Bancroft, but clothe them with the charm of an Irving. What possibilities there are” are these not the Joys of Research as expounded by Frank Allaban

However to set down the story for future generations the work must contain the proofs of the statements made. An imperative sorting in any historical biography contained in the family tree must need quote the authorities and provide systematic footnotes, and also citations of authorities in the text. The result is that there is no guess as to the opinion or motivation of compiler in giving us the fruit of original research, it is quite well established whether the biography, then, is an extract from another compilation, a part of oral tradition, or a mere conjecture put forward by the collective family memory.

Every leaf in the family tree begins with a name, it is with this moniker that the individual is thus introduced and thus their legend also starts. What whisper, what expression, what libretto will the name reveal? The name is thus a beginning of who they are, like the title of a new adventure story. The family historian has a bird’s eye view from his vantage point in the future to see why this ancestor existed. What role this ancestor played in the family, within the community by their words and by their deeds. The genealogist presenting the family tree to the world at a family reunion or compiled book is tasked with a considerable and significant responsibility. Like the title of a book, the narrative behind the name of each ancestor within the family tree is dependent upon the account and testimony of the genealogist and the validity of the sources relied upon.

We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted. Each of us contains within this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise. – Edward Sellner

Note The new provincial Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk in the meanwhile please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

Boost your research!

29 Jun

How does the genealogist go about locating historical information?

 How do they conduct their research?

The genealogist can, indeed, provide the family with a sense of identity, purpose, and understanding of how their family and ancestors grew shaped their community.  Genealogists may wish to record the family’s evolution and record their achievements.

The genealogist will receive both written and unwritten stories and sources.  They will necessarily be part historian and part biographer, since they must be able to explain how the family set down roots, developed their character, and chose the roads and trails which they did.  The genealogist must explore how the ancestral family earned their livelihood, while at the same time explore how the family played, learned, developed, changed and grew through their art, education, religion, ethnic society, etc.  The genealogist needs to embrace the historical aspect of the era, the impact of the rail line on a local community, or the force of the industrial revolution with cars, combines, trucks and roads.  Finally the genealogist must also be a sociologist as they reconstruct the life and society in the local community of the ancestral family.

man wearing black and white stripe shirt looking at white printer papers on the wall
Revitalize your genealogical fieldwork.  (Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com)  Invigorate your ancestral tree inquiry

Exploring these factors will allow available sources to systematically unfold before the genealogist,  The family member origins, growth, and decisions all play a vital role during the evolution of a family in the context of the past, and similarly help the genealogist complete a family tree with unique aspects.

As the genealogist compiles a timeline of the ancestral family, various events occur to shape the character of each individual in history.  By contemplating this timeline decisions can be made as to whether to pursue a census record for further clarification, or perhaps a military record might show light on another individual.  By delving into the personality of the individual it can be ascertained if their achievements may have been recorded in the local newspaper, or archived in municipal or court records.

Thus, genealogical research receives a boost when the researcher supports the birth, marriage and death certificates with a picture of the ancestor and their personal sense of purpose, and desires.  The ancestor comes to light when their decision to immigrate shows up in passenger lists.  Delving into travel on that particular passenger ship they travelled upon gives further clarification of the kind of trip they experienced.  Exploring the weather in various seasons helps to understand how travel may have been enhanced or been a challenge if the trip was taken in a winter or summer month.  Use your own imagination and Imagine how they felt, and it may provide a stepping stone to another direction in the genealogical quest.  Would it be perhaps fortuitous to explore hospital records if the trip was taken to remediate an illness?  When the passenger ship arrived, how did the next leg of the journey begin to arrive at the set destination?  How did they cross North America if the passenger ship arrived in New York?  Would ancestors arriving Pier 21 Halifax, Nova Scotia have a different journey to arrive at their destination?  If they arrived in winter time to the “Last Best West” where did they live?  Were there hotels in that era?

Ask questions about the ancestral life apart from when and where your great great uncle was born, and died.  Contemplate the role of your great great great grandmother, look up the history of the land, the weather patterns, local events that happened the year she got married.  Continue to ask questions which will lead to more answers and more sources of information.  What facilities and support did she have to give birth?  Describe what you have learned to fellow researchers and explore information in archives, libraries, museums, local history books, and newspapers.  By growing the biographical timeline of your ancestral, you will boost your genealogical research capability.

Note The new Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk while waiting please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

7 Big Things Genealogists Must Know to Succeed

15 Jun

Why are some family memories remembered through the ages and not other events?

How will your genealogical research introduce your ancestral family?

woman sitting on sofa while looking at phone with laptop on lap

Genealogy Research, family ancestry. (Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com)

  1. Start with what is known and work towards the unknown!  It is very easy to begin genealogical research interviewing family members with a well thought out questionnaire seeking names, places, dates and any ancedotes or history.  Further research into primary and secondary source documents provides further direction, filling out the outline started in the family interviews.  As the genealogist delves deep into the past, it is still mandatory to look at what is known, and seek the documentation about that which is known, hoping that a birth certificate provides the heretofore unknown parental names, birth place, and time of birth, an interment record provides the previously unknown relationship and next of kin arranging the burial, or perhaps a marriage certificate besides providing the names of both spouse and groom, the date and place of marriage also registers the parent names.  As each document is located, another opening is made in the brick wall, and research continues.
  2. Organize your data very well, including what paths, and sources you have already had communication with, both successfully and unsuccessfully finding fruit in the research.  Using the Saskatchewan Gen Web internet resources or the assistance of a genealogy society will prove very fruitful if the genealogy researcher can provide a good synopsis of the branch of the family tree.  For example, if your oral interviews or an historic letter have placed your grandfather as a teacher in a one room school in Saskatchewan, pass on all the relevant information pertinent to Saskatchewan to enable your contact to make further progress.  Include with the ancestor name any known nick names, before and after marriage name changes, or spelling differences found thus far in the surname.  Providing a date of birth helps to determine the era of teaching, and saves time not searching records for a teacher who would have only been five years old at the time.  Any historic place names, whether one room school house district names, village, towns or Rural Municipality names help to locate further sources and references which may offer up clues.
  3. Think outside the box.  Not all early pioneers registered births, deaths and marriages, particularly before 1920.  Obituaries, so very handy in contemporary times, were also not as popularly used when pioneers were proving up homesteads, or hunters were chasing down buffalo.  Would other records have further clues to work on?  Family bible records, church records, land records, school yearbooks, funeral home registers, naturalization records may also present the genealogist with more information.
  4. Focus in on the date and era your ancestor would have been living. Research the history of the place they were living at the time.  Pay attention to correlations between historical events which happened in the lifespan of your ancestor.  For example, would they have been the right age to serve in World War I (1914 –1918), World War II (1939 –1945) or any other miliitary event?  Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior for the Dominion of Canada started a massive immigration programme to the “Last Best West” encouraging over three million people to arrive in Canada between 1891–1914.  Would have your ancestor been part of this immigration scheme? And have immigration, naturalization, land settlement records been searched?  Metis/Half Breed families were offered Scrip as compensation for aboriginal rights which were the catalyst of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion.  Have the National Archives records been investigated?
  5. Where did your ancestor set down roots when starting their family?   If the family lived in one locale for an extended period of time earning a living, attending school, and partaking in social events, there may be a plethora of records to investigate.  1955 school Jubilee record books may list the pupils of the school and their family. 75th provincial anniversary local history books compiled in 1981 may show the involvement of the family as they settled in Saskatchewan.  Church groups, legions and ethnic societies are other potential sources of information.  Universities have archives holding records about those in attendance, municipalities likewise retain holdings of persons in office for towns, villages and rural municipalites.
  6. Consider the accent of your ancestor.  Before 1920, many of those enumerated on the census could not read or write English.  The enumerator entered the name phonetically as best they could from what they heard spoken before them.  Consider how you would spell the name. Search the entire census district if family was sure the ancestor lived in that area, but the name is not coming up.  Perhaps the given names of the entire family and their ages will help to determine if a surname spelling variation is a match for your records and information thus far.
  7. Contemplate the current occupation of family members and ancestral occupations.  Quite often sons will follow in the occupations undertaken by their fathers.  The Henderson’s directories record resident names, addresses and their occupations in a specific location.  Brand books are other directories of cattle owners who registered their cattle brands in the province.  Both the early Hendersons’ directories and historic brand books are coming online.  Homesteaders who proved up their land successfully, may still have ancestors farming on the “century farm”.  Land records can be searched for those immigrants who applied for a land patent through the Saskatchewan land titles office, and letters of patent are land records for the successful farmer who proved up their land.  Letters of patent for land ownership were issued by the Dominion government of Canada.

Good luck with your family research!  The internet can indeed prove to be a help in locating long lost cousins, and transcribed, scanned or photographed documentation.  If you have found fruitful information document your source, in case it may be handy in tracing another family member at a later date in your family research.  A great way to document information from the internet is in a bibliographic style.  Author name Last, F. M. (Year, Month Date Published). Article title.  Web site name. Retrieved from URL.  Date retrieved.  Please don’t assume that if an historic document is scanned online, that makes the digital copy in the public domain.  The original paper document may have been published years ago placing the paper document in the public domain, however the digital documentation starts its date of publication when the digital version came online unless the publishers expressly state otherwise.  If you place public domain information online yourself, include supporting documentation and corresponding bibliographies for both copyright and paraphrased source materials.  Protect the rights of the living, and don’t break privacy laws when sharing your family tree information.

Be willing to think creatively, and discover the history, heritage, and ethnic background of your ancestors beyond their name, dates, and place of living.  Your family tree has the capability to develop into an exciting and rewarding experience with a preservation of the constitution and character of your family with rich ancedotes and colour.  Genealogists have different motivations to get started in family tree research. Ofttimes the family historian takes on the preparation of a family tree for a reunion, or perhaps to preserve the story before the family legacy is gone and forgotten about.  The genealogist is not just a data entry clerk focusing solely on those all important facts -names, years, places-, a genealogist also understands history, and the interactions of family members and the society where they lived, worked and played.  By asking the right questions, the genealogist provides the ancestral family with achievements, milestones, and a unique character and identity.

Note The new provincial Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk in the meanwhile please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

Locating Saskatchewan Ancestors together

15 Jun

Genealogy in Saskatchewan

silhouette of man touching woman against sunset sky

Family tree research hints and tips for the province of Saskatchewan

The primary purpose and function of RootsWeb.com is to connect people so that they can help each other and share genealogical research. A common genweb goal is the collection and distribution of genealogical data on the Web. The role of the Saskatchewan GenWeb Project is to assist researchers in locating this information, as well as to add to the existing online data. SaskGenWeb is the gateway linking to the provincial resources & regional GenWeb’s.
If you are researching your family tree in Saskatchewan check out the new https://saskgenweb.site123.me/ Sask Gen Web  Genealogy frequently asked questions regarding Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project, Saskatchewan Cemetery Project, Saskatchewan Genealogy resources, look ups, and much more,

Saskatchewan Genealogy Services

Saskatchewan mailing lists, query boards, Saskatchewan regional maps, look up volunteers, genealogy in Saskatchewan research guidance, Saskatchewan Genealogy Resources, hints, tips, and how tos.

What we believe in

Preserving and celebrating the rich history of the province of Saskatchewan for genealogists and historians.
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Connecting to cousins in Saskatchewan, how to get past genealogy brick walls.

What are the sensational timeline events? Saskatoon Gen Web Region

1 Jun

large bison

“The local historian will deal with both written and unwritten sources. He will be part archeologist, and part geographer, since a writer mus explain how the land, the soil of the locality, was mastered to human purposes. He will go further, much further, for he must understand and he must know the character of the land so that he may explain and interpret the effects of human actions on the landscape. Certainly he must be aware of, and know the shy of, water courses, trails, roads and fields.

The local historian will be, in part, an economic historian, because the greater part of a man’s life is spent gaining a livelihood – but at the same time he will be an historian of art, and education, and religion- because man does not live by bread alone. He will need to be a modernist because he will need to appreciate the impact on a local community of rail and motor transport – and the social and economic effects of the abandonment of a major form of transport. Certainly he must know sociology since he is attempting to reconstruct social life and society in the earlier days of the local community.” (Archer, 1979)

Population growth has increased, and declined throughout the evolution of the region. The adaptation to a common language facilitated cooperation and economic survival. Hunting and gathering gave way to domestic livestock, and agricultural pursuits. Doukhobors, Mennonites, German Catholics were a few of the ethnic groups who chose to establish farm villages, and settle in a nuclear group with the government waiving the rural survey settlement scheme. Rural settlement on homesteads was a method to disperse the immigrants, avoiding the overcrowding and overpopulation of Europe. How did the patterns of rural pioneer settlement arise, and why did urban settlements first appear? Why has the population shifted, with people moving from one location to another? What are the consequences?

The first nations of the plains have had a rich history in this area. Nakota of the late 1600s were displaced by Cree from the north east, and Assiniboine from the south east over the 1600s. Saulteaux made inroads during the 1700s from the east, however settled further east near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border by the time the treaties were signed. The Plains Cree made residence in the Saskatoon Gen Web region during the 1800s, were joined by Métis in the mid 1800s

Early fur trade journeys down the South Saskatchewan River were made by Joseph Smith 1763-1764 and William Pink 1766-1767. Matthew Cocking explored a route through the northern portion of the Saskatoon Gen Web Region 1772-1773. The grand majority of fur trading posts were located north of the “tree line” and north of the Aspen Parkland of the Saskatoon Gen Web Region. That being said, Edge of the Woods Hudson Bay Company Post was established about 1863 south of the present day City of Saskatoon, and Moose Woods trading HBC south of Edge of the Woods post had a brief lifespan 1858/1863 and again revived 1874.

The John Palliser Expedition came down the South Saskatchewan River 1857-1859 taking in data of the lad between the Rocky mountains and the Assiniboine River. Henry Youle Hind also made the route in 1858 down the South Saskatchewan River, as did William F. Butler 1870-1871. John Macoun in 1875, and again in 1879 traversed across land crossing the South Saskatchewan River.

Henry Budd founded Carlton House Church of England Mission at Fort Carlton in 1862. On the other side of the South Saskatchewan River, the Roman Catholic Mission was established in about the same vicinity.

All the British colonies of Canada, provinces and territories were united in the Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867. To include British Columbia into confederation, an inter-colony railroad would improve communication and transportation in general between the settlements of eastern Canada, those communities of British Columbia. To make the railroad economically viable, pressures arose to expand the population across the prairies to improve trade.

Rupert’s Land, or Prince Rupert’s Land, was a territory in British North America comprising the Hudson Bay drainage basin. This land was operated by the Hudson’s Bay Company for 200 years from 1670 to 1870. Rupert’s Land was transferred to Canada in 1869, but the transfer was only consummated in 1870 when £300,000 was paid to the Hudson’s Bay Company.

The Government of Canada passed the Dominion Lands Act of 1872 creating the opportunity for settlers in the Last Best West.

The creation of the Department of the Interior in 1873 had a mission to attract settlers to Canada, creating a strong agricultural economy out west. Settlers were pulled to the area with strong motivations of a better life, and were pushed out of their homelands because of restrictions, over-populations, and under-employment.

David Laird becomes the first Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories in 1875.

Central and west central First Nations bands signed Treaty 6 in 1876 at Fort Carlton, and again at Fort Pitt later.

Saskatoon Gen Web Map Northwest Territories 1900

Saskatoon Gen Web Region in green NWT 1900 map Adapted from: “White, James. Manitoba and Northwest Territories [map]. 1:950,400. [Ottawa]: Dept. of the Interior, 1900. Red blocks show total acreage of land under crop in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories respectively. Shows size, in acres the areas of Athabasca, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Assiniboia and Manitoba in 1900. Source: University of Manitoba : Elizabeth Dafoe Library : Map Collection ” Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

December 23, 1881 the Dominion Government passed regulations allowing colonization companies to be created. These companies would be eligible for odd-numbered sections 24 miles north of the CPR at $2.00 per acre under the pre-requisite that two settlers were residing upon each odd and even section within five years. Colonization companies which could earn the maximum rebate may pay as little as #1.00 an acre, and sell land for $3 to $15 an acre once the colony’s even numbered sections were settled. Besides the Temperance Colonization Society with 213,760 acres, H.D. Smith 10,240 acres and P. Valin 32,900 acres were business applicants in the Saskatoon Gen Web region.

Districts of Assiniboia, Athabasca, Saskatchewan and Alberta are created in the North West Territories in 1882. (The Saskatoon Gen Web Region straddles the Districts of Assiniboia and Saskatchewan)

Though the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway went through southern Canada, rail service did not extend north until 1885 when the Qu’Appelle Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railway and Steamboat Co. (QLLS) ran a line between Regina and the south end of Long Lake (Last Mountain Lake). Entrepreneurs using the spring and summer months for construction had plans to use the rail to transport people and goods to Long Lake, and then steamboat for a great length, with another rail line extending from the north end of the lake to Saskatoon and Prince Albert. However, the prairie winters, soon showed the impracticality of using steam paddle ship on a frozen lake. Steamships did operate on Long Lake until the first world war 1914-1918.

1884-1885 see the rising of the Métis and the Northwest Rebellion; post-Confederation Canada’s first naval battle. Gabriel Dumont rides to the United States of America to convince Louis Riel to return to Canada. Louis Riel was the leader of the Métis and was elected to a provisional government in 1869 before the Red River Rebellion and as Provencher, Manitoba Member of Parliament. “Saturday March 28, 1885. …This morning’s paper has startling news, received over night, by wire from Winnipeg. A clash, it is stated has taken place between Riel’s followers and a small force of Mounted Police and civilians, under Major Crozier, at a place called Duck Lake, in which ten civilians and two Police, are reported killed: that the force, being outnumbered, was compelled to retire…The cause of the trouble, so it is said, arose from a grievance of some standing, over Squatter’s rights, wherein early settlers found their lands taken over their heads, by new comers, armed with deeds of possession, obtained through influence at head-quarters. Be that as it may, not since the days of the Fenian Raid, has the country been so stirred over the calamitous news, and the dread of a possible Indian uprising, [is] coupled with the necessity of a prompt solution of the difficulties of transporting troops, and supplies, over such a great distance through unsettled parts.” Archer, 1962) The battle sites of Fort Carlton, Duck Lake, St. Laurent, Batoche, and Fish Creek are within the Saskatoon Gen Web region, as is Saskatoon’s Marr Residence, [National Historic Site] a field hospital to treat Major General Frederick Middleton’s wounded soldiers during the resistance.

Louis Riel was sentenced to hang by the neck until dead following his trial for high treason in Regina. W.G. Books a juror from Indian Head reported to E.R. Powell; “We were asked to declare the man insane. He seemed to us no more insane than any of the others who addressed us, and they were the ablest in all Canada, and he was more interesting and effective than some of them. We could not declare him insane. We were in a dilemma. We were in sympathy with the Métis, knowing that they had good cause for much they did. We often remarked that we would like to have the Minister of Interior in the prisoner’s box charged with inciting the Métis by his gross neglect and indifference…. but we could not pass judgment of the Minister of the Interior, and we had to give our finding on Riel according to the evidence…..

” ‘This man is in a bad hole. What can we do to help him out?’ That was the concern of all of us. There was no division or dissension of any kind. The only thing we could do was to add a clause to the verdict, recommending mercy. We knew it was not much, but it was not an empty formal expression, and it revealed the serious desire of everyone [on the jury].”(Powell, 1967)

“In 1870, Canada negotiated with the Métis. It granted to the Métis of Manitoba 1,400,000 acres of land out of nearly 9,500,000 acres, constituting less than a sixth but more than a seventh of the province as it then existed…the federal Government gave us an assurance that all future treaties with the Métis of the NorthWest would be similar to the Manitoba treaty,” wrote Louis Riel in a letter to Bishop Taché July 24, 1885.(Flangan, 1974)

“The outbreak of the Northwest Rebellion and the crippling effects it had on immigration to the Canadian West compelled the government to recognized the plight of the colonization companies.” The Minister of the Interior, David L. Macpherson wrote to Prime Minister Macdonald; ” The collapse of the boom did much to defeat their efforts, and the outbreak of the Half-breeds and Indians completed that work.”(Lalonde, 1971)

Scrip was proferred to Métis families as a means of compensation following the 1885 Resistance. Notes in the form of money scrip ( $160 or $240) or land scrip, 160 acres (65 ha) or 240 acres (97 ha) were exchanged for aboriginal rights. “In the North-West Territories, the Métis shared only in a very small way the benefits by which the Government finally gave satisfaction to claims of which it had so long remained unaware. The Commission that was established on March 31, 1885, applied there the same principles as in Manitoba. To Métis children born before July 15, 1870, was given the choice between a “scrip” valued at $240, which they could either negotiate or use for the purchase of federal lands, and a “land scrip” which authorized them to pick out a piece of property of 240 acres on unoccupied Dominion Lands. The “heads of families” could also choose between these two kinds of scrips, but their respective values were limited to $160 or 160 acres. In 1900, an Order in Council extended the same benefits to children born between July 15, 1870 and the year 18/85. In this way the Government settled, in the interests of the Métis , the question of “the extinction of the Indian title” It admitted their indigenous status, and recognized for them a privileged treatment in the administration of Indian lands. Those who were already in possession of a land plot were issued patents which guaranteed them outright ownership up to the amount of 240 acres for the children, and 160 acres for the heads of families.” (Giraud, 1956)

1885 saw the establishment of a North West Mounted Police Post at Carlton. This was followed by posts at Batoche, Saskatoon, Henrietta, Sixty Mile Bush [near Biggar], Macfarllane’s and Rosthern. Following the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway of this year, “importance was now attached to those police duties which increased the comfort and security of the settler’ who was unaccustomed to the pioneer life and required not only information but also assistance, even to find stray animals. The police often provided relief to destitute farmers or those overcome by winter conditions…the police often encountered immigrants as early as their first disembarkment from the train: the police would even sometimes drive them ‘over the most desirable districts for settlement’ providing not only transport, but also cooking utensils, and giving advice and information”. (Betke, 1974)

The years 1885-1890 featured early frost and drought in the weather, settlers abandoned agricultural crops in favour of raising cattle. A financial depression during this period meant difficulties for all.

Trails, such as the “Old Bone Trail” leading into Saskatoon were full of Red River Carts, and Métis carting buffalo bones to the rails where they would be transported to plants converting bones to fertilizer. The years 1890-1891 saw the end of the massive roaming herds of Buffalo across the plains, replaced by cord-wood stacks of their bones alongside the railway track awaiting shipment.

In 1889, the ferry was supplemented by a bridge across the South Saskatchewan River at Saskatoon. The QLLS completed the north-south rail land route in 1890 as far as Saskatoon and Rosthern.

Province of Saskatchewan showing Saskatoon Gen Web Region in Green. Adapted from Author Hwy43 Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Province of Saskatchewan showing Saskatoon Gen Web Region in Green. Adapted from Author Hwy43 Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

September 1905, Saskatchewan and Alberta both become provinces of Canada.

The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway east-west line was completed about 1908, with a bridge over the South Saskatchewan River at Saskatoon.

1907 Saskatoon, formed as a city in 1904, is chosen as the provincial site for the new University of Saskatchewan, with classes starting in 1908. The Regina Leader-Post wrote following the vote, “Success to the University of Saskatchewan and the University City of the Province, May the [citizens of Saskatoon] rise to the opportunity which now is theirs and create a city…worthy of the great institution which will be located in [their] midst.” (Murray, 1959) Delegates and officials from Indian Head, Qu’Appelle, Battleford, Moose Jaw, Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert all presented their case to the Board of Governors convening under Walter Murray of Dalhousie University, Halifax, the new President of the University.

Saskatoon’s boom years were 1910-1912

Seager Wheeler, a Rosthern area farmer wins world wheat championship with his “Marquis Wheat” entry.

“The prairie West had experienced cycles of drought and plentiful rainfall in a more or less normal patter. It was expected in 1930, and in 1932, that this pattern would recur and that “next year” would bring normal moisture conditions…In much of Canada the 1930s was the Depression, but in Saskatchewan it was the ‘Dirty Thirties’ All the problems of drought, insect pests, erosion, low prices for produce, and high winds occurred simultaneously and continued year after year.” (Archer, 1980) Farmers moved north to the tree line, or made a mass exodus to the cities in search of employment, and money for sustenance.


Ethnic Bloc Settlements

Francophone Métis settlements arose around la Pointe-du-Chien-Maigre [Fort Carlton], Lac-aux-Canards [Duck Lake, la Petite-Ville, la Coulee des Touronds [Fish Creek], Batoche, St-Laurent-Grandin between 1866-1876. This settlement expanded around Duck Lake, St.-Isidore-de-Bellevue, St-Louis, and Domremy 1881-1912.

Temperance Colony [Toronto Methodists] was a British Ethnic Bloc Settlement founded 1882 establishing the roots of Saskatoon.

“The steppes of eastern Europe were the ancestral homeland for several groups whose desire to find a secure place to develop their agricultural ambitions, to practice their religion, and to live in peace with their neighbours led them to Saskatchewan. Five distinct cultural groups came to this province from the broad arc of the European continent lying between the Wisla and the Volga rivers, most of which is part of the Ukraine today….the Ukrainians, south Russian Germans, Mennonites, Hutterites, and Doukhobors shared a common homeland…Immigration officers recorded them on arrival variously as Austrians, Russians, Poles, Ruthenians, Galicians, Bukovynians, Volhynians, or Besssarabians – never as Ukrainians” (Barry, 2001)

Saskatchewan Valley Mennonites settled north of Saskatoon between 1891-1918. Laird, Waldheim, Hepburn, Dalmeny, Rosthern, Hague, and Osler. The first families arriving in Rosthern from Manitoba. Rosthern, until 1950 was the Mennonite centre of Saskatchewan. dThe Hague-Osler Mennonite reserved included the Mennonite villages of Blumenheim “Flower Home”, Blumenhoff “Yard full of flowers”, Blumenort “Place of Flowers”, Blumenthal “Garden of Eden Town”, Freundrussendarp “Five Russian Villages, or Five Roses”, Gruenfeld “Green Field”, Gruenthal “Green valley”, Halbstadt “Half Village”, Hochfeld “High Field”, Hochstadt “HIgh Place”, krim, Kronsthal “Crown Valley”, Mennon, Neuanlage “New Settlement”, Neuhorst “New Grove of Trees”, Olgafield, Ostwerwick “East berm or dam”, Reinland “Clean Field”, Rieferthal “River valley”, Reinfeld “Clean field”, Rosenback “Rose Brook”, Rosenfeld “Field of Roses”, Rosengart “Rose Garden”, Rosenort “Place of Roses”, Salem, Schlauberg “Overall Hill”, Schlorrendarp “slipper Village”, Schoenfeld”Beautiful Field”, Schoenthal “Beautiful Valley”, Schoenwiese “Beautiful Meadow”, Silberfeldt “Silver Field”, Steinreich “rich with stones”, Suedflus, “South River”,.

An 1894 migration of Croatians settled near Hanley.

The Redberry Lake and Albertown Polish concentration immigrated in 1896 south east of Battleford around Blaine Lake, Marcelin, and Krydor.

Prud’homme settled 1897 by 260 French settlers was originally known as Marcotte Ranch in 1897, Lally Siding 1904 and Howell in 1906, until receiving the name Prud’homme in 1922..

In 1898, a Ukrainian settlement at Fish Creek mixed with Polish settlers that same year, the St. Laszlo Hungarian settlers who arrived between 1900-1905. The Ukrainian bloc settlement [6,000 immigrants]included Fish Creek, Redberry, Crooked Lake [around Wakaw] of the Saskatoon Gen Web Region.

The Meilicke family encouraged settlers to come up from Minnesota and established the area around Dundurn.

Doukhobors arrived 1899-1902 to set up the Prince Albert – Saskatchewan – Blaine Lake Colony [north section.Winnipeg Commissioner of Immigration, W.F. McCreary stated in his December 31, 1899 report that “the first group of 2,078 ‘souls’ arrived January 27, 1899, followed by 1,973 in February; in May, 1,136 came and July saw 2,335.” Betke mentions that Doukhobour immigrants to the North-West Territories began arriving at Winnipeg on January 27, 1899, by September, 7,427 Doukhobors had entered the area. 1,472 of them established themselves on the North Saskatchewan river west of Carlton near Battleford; 1,404 settled in the “Thunder Hill”, or “North” Colony on the border of Manitoba and the Territories, and the largest group, some 4,478, located in the vicinity of Yorkton.”A letter written to McCreary February 9, 1899 described the conditions; The thermometer stood at forty four {below zero, Fahrenheit} Last night, during the fire in the “Manitoba”, it stood about fifty one, and it has been running from thirty-five to forty -five , with a keen wind, for many weeks..These Doukhobors have hard leather boots with a piece of blanket about the foot, and no socks. The women also, have only a half slipper with leather soles. They have not mitts whatever, or, at least, very few, so that the work of getting them out to the colonies has been stationary.”(Ward, 1981)

“The police found much to admire in the Doukhobor pioneer operations. They showed unique skills in breaking horses, constructing ovens of “home-made sun-dried bricks” and building clean and sturdy though dark houses and stables of sod, mud and logs. They were orderly, quiet , well organized, ‘patient, industrious and self-supporting’: the women proved equal to the men in strength and skill at manual labour and attended to household duties besides.”(Betke, 1974) Doukhobors placed claims for communal land exemption from land tenure registration, and exemption from birth, death, and marriage registration.

In the north east of Saskatoon Gen Web is the St. Peter’s Colony, hosting American German arrivals between 1902-1914. Annaheim, Bruno, Carmel, Cudworth, Englefeld, Fulda, Humboldt, Lake Lenore, Marysburg, Middle Lake, Muenster, Pilger, st. Benedict, St. Gregor, and Wakaw all have a high German Catholic population, as the Russland Deutsche, or German Catholic settlers arrived from Minnesota via the German American American Land Company around Muenster.

In the Allan HIlls, around Lothian came a Scottish bloc settlement in 1902.

1903 saw the arrival of Norwegians around Hanley, Outlook and Elbow areas.

St. Brieux saw the rise of a French settlement of around 367 settlers around 1904-1909, Dollard, Vonda and Wakaw were other French settlements in the region.

Young saw Irish arrivals in 1904, Sinnett in 1906, and Simpson in 1912.

South of Humboldt came Mennonite settlers to form the Guernsey and Nortstern – Drake colonies 1905-1913. In 1908, the Plunkett area saw an Hungarian settlement, Pinkefalva in 1908.

Redberry Lake Ukrainian bloc settlement arrived 1904-1914 south east of Battleford.

South east of Saskatoon the St. Aloysius, Allan German Bloc settlement arrived 1903-1907

In 1924, the Nordheim, Hanley, Dundurn area Mennonite settlers arrived 1924 south of Saskatoon.

Riverview Hutterite colony 16 families population 90 was established 1956, Hillcrest 10 families population 50 1969, Willow Park 1977, Golden View 1978, Rosetown 1979, Big Rose 1980, Eagle Creek 1981



Martensville founded 1939 Became village September 1, 1966 Incorporated Town January 1, 1969, Incorporation Date City November 3, 2009

Saskatoon founded 1883, Became village November 16, 1901 Incorporated as Town July 1, 1903, Incorporation Date City May 26, 1906

Warman founded 1904, Became village May 15, 1905, the same day incorporated as Town, Incorporation Date city October 27, 2012.

Note:  The new Saskatoon Gen Web is online at https://saskatoongenweb.site123.me/ while the original Saskatchewan Gen Web  site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com.  Check periodically for progress on the historical site http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~sksaskat While waiting please check out https://saskatoongenweb.site123.me/

The new provincial Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site waiting http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk in the meanwhile please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/


Archer, John H. Saskatchewan A History. Western Producer Prairie Books. ISBN 0-88833-6 bd, ISBN 0-88833-2 pa. Saskatchewan Archives Board. 1980

Archer, John H. North-West Rebellion 1885. Recollections, Reflections and Items, from the Diary of Captain (no Lt. Col.) A. Hamlyn Todd who commanded the Guards Company of Sharpshooters on that Expedition. Saskatchewan History. Volume XV. Winter 1962. Number 1.

Archer, J.H. “Local History” Local Archives and History Conference Proceedings. Regina, Saskatchewan Archives Board, 1979. Page 11

Barry, Bill. Ukrainian People Places. Ukrainians, Germans, Mennonites, Hutterites, and Doukhobors, and the names they brought to Saskatchewan. People Places Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-894022-65-3. 2001.

Betke, Carl. The Mounted Police and the Doukhobors in Saskatchewan, 1899-1909. Pages 1-14 Saskatchewan History Volume XXVii Winter 1974. Number 1.

Bitner, Ruth and Leslee Newman. Saskatchewan History Centennial Timeline, 1905-2005. Saskatchewan Western Development Museum. Saskatchewan Archives Board. ISBN 0-9697014-5-4. 2005.

Daschuk, J.W. , Paul Hackett, Scott MacNeil. Treaties and Tuberculosis: First Nations People in late 19th Century Western Canada, a Political and Economic Transformation. CBMH/BCHM Volume 23:2 2006 Pages 307-330

Flanagan, Thomas E. Louis Riel’s Religious Beliefs. A letter to Bishop Taché. Saskatchewan History. Volume XXVII. Winter 1974. Number 1.

Fung, Ka-iu. Atlas of Saskatchewan Celebrating the Millenium 2000-2005. University of Saskatchewan Second Edition. ISBN 0-88880-387-7. PrintWest Saskatoon. 1999.

Trading Posts. Pre 1759-Post 1930. Page 34, 35
Waiser, Bill. Scientific Explorations 1870-1914. Page 42-43
Barry, Bill. First Nations and Treaties 1871-1906. Page 44-45
Avery, Cheryl and Stan Hanson. North West Mounted Police and the Indians. Page 46-47
Anderson, Alan. Ethnic Bloc Settlements 1850s-1990s Page 56-57
Drees, Laurie Meijer. North Missions 1820-1910. Pages 38-39

Giraud, Marcel. The Western Métis After the Insurrection. Pages 1-15. Saskatchewan History. Volume IX. Winter 1956, Number 1.

Lalonde, A.N. Colonization Companies in the 1800’s. Page 101-114. Saskatchewan History Volume XXIV Autumn 1971. Number 3. Saskatchewan Archives Board.

Murray, Jean E. The Contest for the University of Saskatchewan. Pages 1-22. Saskatchewan History. Volume Xii, Winter 1959, Number 1.

Norton, William. Human Geography Sixth Edition. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-542511-6. 2007.

Pohorecky, Zenon. Saskatchewan People A brief illustrated guide to their Ethnocultures. Second Enlarged Edition. 1977 Saskatoon. Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights, Canadian Department of the Secretary of State, and the Saskatchewan Department of Culture and Youth.

Powell, E.R. Louis Riel’s Request to the Jury. Canadian Federation of the Blind Magazine. c1967

Richards, J.H. and K.I. Fung. Group Settlements. Atlas of Saskatchewan. University of Saskatchewan. Modern Press. Saskatoon. Page 13. 1969.

Ward, Betty. Trek of the Doukhobors. Page 17-24. Saskatchewan History Winter 1981. Volume XXXIV. Number 1. Saskatchewan Archives Board.

Note The new Saskatoon Gen Web is online at https://saskatoongenweb.site123.me/ while the original Saskatchewan Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~sksaskat While waiting please check out https://saskatoongenweb.site123.me/

The new Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk while waiting please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

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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Rural Municipalities of Saskatchewan

16 May

Rural Municipalities of Saskatchewan

A rural municipality (RM) is a type of incorporated municipality in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. The purpose of municipalities is to ensure that services and facilities are made available to maintain safety, and implement the economic, social, and environmental improvements considered necessary and desired by the community at large. A rural municipality is created by the Minister of Municipal Relations by ministerial order via section 49 of The Municipalities Act. The Municipalities Act (MA) oversees the legislation pertaining to rural municipalities as well as towns, villages and resort villages. Northern Municipalities are regulated under The Northern Municipalities Act, and city legislation falls under The Cities Act. That being said, local governments are also cognizant of The Line Fence Act, The Local Government Election Act, The Noxious Weed Act, The Planning and Development Act, The Stray Animals Act, The Tax Enforcement Act as well as other statutes and acts.

“Good leaders value change, they accomplish a desired change that gets the organization and society better.”
~ Anyaele Sam Chiyson

A rural municipality, often abbreviated RM, is a form of municipality in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, perhaps best comparable to counties or townships in the western United States. Unlike most counties in the United States or Canada, rural municipalities specifically exclude designated official cities, towns, villages, and First Nations Indian reserves from their territory. They are essentially the rural portion of what would normally be a county. In this way, they could perhaps best be compared to certain counties in the state of Virginia, United States, that have independent cities excluded from their territory, although, in Virginia there is usually only one independent city per county, whereas there can be many officially excluded communities in the geographical territory of rural municipalities.

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
John F. Kennedy

Where a city structure may consist of a mayor and councillor for each ward, a reeve is the local official elected to oversee the discharge duties in relation to the municipality as the chief magistrate. Councillors are members of the municipal legislative body and hold the rank of chief officer for the council representing their district. Councillors are elected to represent the interests and well being of the residents in their division developing, planning and ensuring that policies, programs and services are in place for the municipality. The strength of the policies, bylaws, and decisions made by the council define the direction of the municipality. Council works hand in hand with residents thinking about and identifying the needs of the community from which remarkable actions are able to take shape.

“If you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.”~ Terry Pratchett

The Municipal Ordinance of 1883 was enacted by the North-West Territories to provide services to a rural area and provide some means of municipal governing. Saskatchewan and Alberta became provinces in 1905. North West Territorial Government issues Statute Labour Ordinance (1897) and sets of Fire Districts, Statute Labour and Fire (SLF) Districts or Statute Labour Districts. Community residents could pay taxes or supply a couple days per quarter section labour constructing roads, bridges, fireguards instead of paying taxes. The prairie fires in the 19th century were devastating affairs with flames raging across the wide open plains miles and miles across burning everything in its path. As the Big Beaver Historical Society point out, “in the late 1800;s and early 1900’s, after the buffalo vanished from the prairies, and before it was populated with cattle, there was a tremendous growth of grass on the prairies which made good fuel for fires.” Igniting from the spark of the steam engine along the rail line, lightning, or accident, fires grew to hundreds of miles in length, and burned for weeks on end. In the early pioneering days, it often took a river or a rainy spell to extinguish the tremendous flames. Along with great loss to the region, buildings, “Prairie Wool” (the winter feed needed to feed the livestock) of course also lives of animals and livestock, and the very population, the settler’s lives were endangered. One fire of the early 1900s is the huge prairie fire that began near Swift Current Creek, and carried on to Moose Jaw (a distance of about 177 km or 110 miles). Another fire burned for several days, starting at the east shore of Last Mountain Lake (Long Lake), and carrying on, burned everything around the lake. The lake is about 93 km (58 miles) in length, and 3 km (two miles) in width to show the terrific extent of the blaze. Prairie fires were a menace to the early settlers. A good fire guard was necessary to protect homesteads in an era where there was no means of communicating to the residents of the imminent danger approaching. However even an excellent fire guard sometimes cannot sway the path of the towering inferno. The prairie fire of 1894 began near Silton, soared across Boggy Creek within an hour and soon carried over the Qu’Appelle River, two natural fire guards unable to diminish the course of the blaze. Residents within the Fire Districts came together to plough several furrows at a 45 degree angle to the wind direction hoping to narrow the fire and re-direct the aim of the devastation. Another technique used was to start a small back fire which was very small in size, and could be controlled. The theory was to remove fuel from the uncontrollable blaze thus creating a fire guard with a burned patch of land. If the fire was coming straight on to the home, settlers would drape themselves in water soaked blankets and thus covered up, lay down upon the field till the blaze had passed


“Safety is not an intellectual exercise to keep us in work. It is a matter of life and death. It is the sum of our contributions to safety management that determines whether the people we work with live or die” ~Sir Brian Appleton after Piper Alpha

The mail route, and post offices were often the early founders of the community followed by churches, schools and stores. The early one room schools became community centres featuring picnics, fairs, and a number of community gatherings. These schools also provided classes to newcomers who wished to learn to speak English.

“Politics isn’t about big money or power games; it’s about the improvement of people’s lives.”
Paul Wellstone

The early years saw immigrant homesteaders arriving who were coming to the “Last Best West” in search of land. After travelling for days aboard a steamer, and arriving at an Eastern Canadian or American port, the journey continued to the rail’s end. These early travellers would then continue by ox and cart, horse and wagon or by foot to locate a surveyor’s stake that defined the land they wished to lay claim to. They would then seek out the nearest provincial land titles agency for application forms. These first settlers were settled sparsely about the rural countryside and needed to erect a shelter and set up housekeeping with those sundry supplies they had brought with them. These early homes were “soddies” homes made from breaking the prairie turf and piling the sod for walls. Roofs were made of timber poles for framework, upon which more sod was laid. Once enough logs were cut, the sod homes were replaced by log houses.

“With all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens,~A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”~Thomas Jefferson

Fire districts were later called Local Improvement Districts (1898), typically called LID, were the precursors of Rural Municipalities. December 13, 1909 saw the beginning of the discontinuance of Local improvement districts in favour of smaller rural municipal areas. LID were instrumental at improving the community, honouring those killed in action with the erection of War Memorial Cairns, establishing a suitable site for cemeteries and seeking adequate health care and the necessary hospital facilities where possible. In the early 1900s it was necessary for the councillors to seek a doctor’s services to traverse the area ministering to the sick. The Spanish Flue epidemic hit communities hard. Many were sick, and anyone who was well, were taking care of those stricken with the illness, making coffins, burying the dead, and doing chores for families fallen to the flu. When the rail line came through, if the rail was laid down outside of town, the settlers came together to move the buildings from the first settlement three or four miles away to be placed astride the new transportation route. Old Nipawin picked up and moved their settlement. Settlers who came to the Parkside area, moved their businesses to Willis, when the rail came through. The movement to the rails caused the name of Willis to adopt the new name of Parkside, and the original Parkside location some four miles south and one mile west of the rails changed its name to Honeywood to avoid confusion.*

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
Benjamin Franklin

One of the first tasks was the construction of roads which took place with horse graders, horse drawn slips and wheel scrapers, replacing prairie trails. Spring floods would defeat previous efforts, washing away the roads laid the summer before. Bridges were erected across steams, and ferry systems established across rivers. These early roads were a slow time consuming construction process up until the mid twentieth century when the provincial government brought into place the grid road system.

“The world is a place of constant change. If we are open and ready to consider everything while remaining unbiased, we will be ready to accept these changes and utilize them to improve our lives.”~Daniel Willey

Typically, an RM consists of about nine townships, each six miles by six miles in area. Settled areas of denser populations could form urban municipalities with a village, town or city governance. Further improvements came to the rural municipalities in the form of consolidated schools replacing the one room schoolhouse, telephone lines came in the early 1900s, electrical power lines were installed in the 1950s, followed by the installation of farm water and sewer. The councillors were required to provide ensure an adequate water supply and improve recreational facilities. Early streets were gravelled, street lights installed, trees planted in parks and in the community, community rinks, ball diamonds, horse race tracks and arenas were typical improvements to the rural areas. Farmers welcomed irrigation which arrived following world war two, an improvement made available by Prairie Farm Assistance, Federal Government grants, and the Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture supplements.

A municipal council consists of seven men
Who solve many problems of what, where and when
They decide how much your taxes will be
What roads will be built, what gravel you’ll see
The budgets allows for only so much
A bit here and there and for such and such.
!Memories and musings : book II Leonard Loppe

Municipal councils are afforded political powers having corporate status incorporated to govern a territory. The rural areas are in need of core infrastructure and essential services including, animal control, building codes, crime prevention, emergency measures organisation, fire prevention, garbage removal, land planning, recreational facilities, and program implementation, roads and transport, snow and ice removal, water and sewer treatment facilities. Council has within its authority the ability to decide if a day or a portion of a day is a civic holiday.
North of the tree line in northern Saskatchewan the large Northern Local Improvement District was replaced by the Department of Northern Saskatchewan in 1972 and was not subdivided into smaller Rural Municipalities.

“The thing is, continuity of strategic direction and continuous improvement in how you do things are absolutely consistent with each other. In fact, they’re mutually reinforcing”.
Michael Porter

Old Post, Saskatchewan is the largest Rural Municipality encompassing 1,757.00 square kilometers in area and it was formed from the last Local Improvement District. Saskatchewan’s largest and smallest rural municipalities in terms of population are the RM of Corman Park No. 344 and the RM of Glen McPherson No. 46 with populations of 8,354 and 73 respectively. There are currently close to 300 rural municipalities serving in Saskatchewan ranging in number from Argyle No. 1 to Beaver River No. 622.

“Improving your life doesn’t have to be about changing everything ~it’s about making changes that count.”
~Oprah Winfrey

13 ways to kill a community Doug Griffiths. Saskatchewan South East Enterprise Region. 2014 SSEER.

From buffalo grass to wheat : a history of Long Lake district

Shiels, Leonard A.

The golden jubilee of the Nipawin rural municipality, no.487 : 1913-1963
Allan, Gladys Lillian Lamb, Allan, Billie Lamb. Publication information Codete, Saskatchewan: s.n., 1964

Happy Valley happenings : Big Beaver and district

Big Beaver Historical Society

History of Rural Municipality of Excelsior No. 166 : 1910-1967 Charles Lee. Publication information Saskatchewan: R.M. of Excelsior, 1967

List of Rural Municipalities in Saskatchewan

Memories and musings : book II Leonard Loppe. c2002

Municipal Relations Home/About Municipal Relations/Municipal Administration/Elections-General/Understanding the Role, Time Commitment and Powers of Municipal Council Government of Saskatchewan.

Reflections of the Past. History of Parkside and the Districts of Bygland, Cameo, Hilldrop, Honeywood, Ordale and Spruce Glen. Compiled and published by Parkside and District History Book Committee. c1991.page 626.

Municipal Council Member Handbook Government of Saskatchewan Advisory Services and
Municipal Relations Branch. March 2012

Rural Municipality Wikipedia

Rural Municipal Administrators’ Association (RMAA)

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM)

Urban Municipal Administrators Association of Saskatchewan (UMAAS)

“The direction of your focus is the direction your life will move. Let yourself move toward what is good, valuable, strong and true.”
Ralph Marston



















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