March Poll Results: How do you use the Resource Centre?

Text reads 'Our poll. Your Voice. Results'For our third poll of the year, we wanted to see how our members and users make use of the MGS Resource Centre. Thank you to those who responded; your input will help us make improvements to better support your genealogical research.

Visiting the Resource Centre

The poll shows that two-thirds of respondents have been to the Resource Centre before. Of those who said they hadn’t been, a quarter said that was due to being out of town, which is completely understandable!

We asked you to also let us know why you had come to the Resource Centre — simply genealogy research or one of our events or education sessions? Of those who responded, over two-thirds of people confirmed that it was for genealogical research. The other third were part of our wonderful team of volunteers.

What resources do you use?

This was a very useful question for us. It tells us which resources our visitors regularly make use of, thereby letting us know where we might want to focus our attention.

Newspaper Archive International Edition

36% of you said you make use of our access to Members can access this International Edition for free at the MGS Resource Centre. You can also access the version featuring Canadian newspapers only for free from your own computer via either the Brandon or Winnipeg Public Library website using your library membership number.

Newspaper Archive is a great resource to trace your ancestors through newspaper articles, wedding announcements and obituaries. This is the part of family history that really helps you know your ancestors’ lives and understand their impact beyond birth, marriage, and death.

Learn how MANI and Newspaper Archive can work together >>

Ancestry Library Edition

Just over one quarter of you said you made use of the Library Edition of Ancestry. For those without an Ancestry subscription, this Edition gives you access to a range of records available on Ancestry. While you won’t be able to save these records directly to an Ancestry tree, you can use it to break down some of those brick walls.

Vivid Pix Restore

For those who don’t know, Vivid Pix Restore allows you to restore old photos and documents. It can help bring colour back to faded memories or enhance lettering on hard-to-read documents. 27% of you said you have used Vivid Pix Restore at the Resource Centre, but perhaps more of you will want to give it a try?

See how Southeast Branch president, Bob Allebone, restored old photos with Vivid Pix >>

MGS Library Books

The library books are the most popular of all at the Resource Centre, according to respondents. Almost 3/4 of you said you made use of the MGS library books, which include family histories, local histories to provide context within your research, and other useful books to help your research.


Our collection of periodicals has been used by only 18% of you. We regularly receive periodicals that you can read at the Resource Centre, which can help you find new ways to research or learn about activity of other genealogical societies both within and outside of Canada.

See our most recent journals >>

Manitoba Name Index (MANI)

The Manitoba Name Index is available for members of MGS and can help you with research of Manitoban ancestors. 36% of you say that you used MANI when visiting the Resource Centre. It’s a database that you can also access online from your home.

Learn more about MANI >>

Genealogical Handbooks and Research Aides

36% of respondents also said that they made use of the Resource Centre’s genealogical handbooks, reference materials and research aids. If you need some additional guidance on starting your research, these resources are a great place to start.

Newspaper Obituary Index

Fewer than 10% of you said you made use of the Early Manitoba Newspaper Obituary Index, which ranges from 1859 to the mid-1890s. For those of you whose ancestors lived in the area in Manitoba’s beginnings, this index might help you make connections between families.

Local and Family History Books

This collection consists of over 900 books that can help you learn about contextual history or explore families you might have connections to. Of those who responded, around 55% said they made use of these resources, which is fantastic to see. Even if you don’t have connections to the families, they might come from similar backgrounds which can help with your own research.

See our most recent family histories >>

Manitoba Henderson Directories

55% of you also said you made use of the Manitoba Henderson Directories. The Henderson Directories includes Manitoba addresses and residents from 1876 to 1908 as well as Winnipeg addresses and residents from 1908 to end of publication in 1999.

If you’re interested in searching them, come into the Resource Centre to see how.

Rupert’s Land Anglican Indexes

18% of respondents said they made use of the Anglican Marriage, Baptism and Death indexes from the Diocese of Rupert’s Land (1813-1925). These records are not available online, which means going down to the Resource Centre is necessary. However, if you’re looking for ancestors who lived in Rupert’s Land prior to it becoming Manitoba, this is an excellent place to look.

Learn more about searching birth, marriage and death records in Manitoba >>

Epson Scanner

Lastly, around 10% said that they made use of the Epson scanner — specifically for scanning and fixing photos or documents. Often, scanning those old documents can allow you to enhance them on computers, making them easier to read.

Scanning these documents can also ensure they are saved somewhere they can’t disintegrate. Digitizing records also means you don’t need to handle fragile documents as much, so we do encourage you to make use of this technology when you visit.

Other resources

There were some resources listed in this poll that no one said they used. They were:

  • Microfiche and microfilm resources;
  • Manitoba Crown Lands Registries;
  • Catholic marriage indexes (1834-1982);
  • United Church Archives;
  • Epson scanner for digitizing (to OCR them).

Why you don’t visit the MGS Resource Centre

Some visitors are unaware of the resources above, which could mean they’ve missed the opportunity to research some important areas. If that is you, come explore what we have to offer. We’re happy to help!

In terms of the reasons people gave for not visiting at all, the main factors were:

  • distance from where they lived; and
  • available time during the weekly opening hours.

One person said “I live out of town and accessing the MGS Resource Centre is difficult,” while another noted that it is sometimes difficult to find.

Some also found benefit in the online resources. “I got use to the Zoom webinars and meetings and much prefer that to in-person.”

Educational programming using Zoom meeting technology is provided primarily by both the Southwest (Brandon) Branch and the Southeast & Winnipeg Branch to all members of the respective branch.

Use of the MGS Resource Centre in Winnipeg is all about focused personal research. In person, you can make use of genealogical resources such as books and documents (of which there are over 10,000), access to online databases and equipment (some mentioned above) and knowledgeable volunteers to assist you with your genealogical research.

Overall, respondents were positive about the Resource Centre and looked forward to visiting:

  • “I appreciate the collections – and in particular those that are available online as I live in Saskatchewan.”
  • “I haven’t been to the MGS Centre in person since pre-Covid. Sad in a way. It is a nice place to go to.”
  • “I look forward to visiting.”
  • “It’s a great resource, although I haven’t been there for awhile.”
  • “The next time I am back visiting my beloved hometown Winnipeg, I’ll be sure to pop in. Thanks!”

Other polls

See January’s poll results >>

See February’s poll results >>

Take the April poll >>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *