FAQs – Southeast & Winnipeg

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Use these links to find more details about your frequently asked questions.

Do you have any burning questions?  Tell us and we will get back to you, but we may also post your question and the answer in this list.


Society vs Branch What is the difference between membership in MGS and membership in the SE & Winnipeg Branch? 

  • The Manitoba Genealogical Society (MGS) is the provincial organization that promotes genealogical research across the province. MGS is a registered charity.
    • MGS maintains the Resource Centre in Winnipeg that houses a collection of resources for the entire province, and beyond!
    • MGS focuses on providing … organization, oversight, communication to all members, promotional opportunities.
  • The Southeast & Winnipeg Branch is one of 4 local branches of MGS, each created to bring genealogists together, wherever we live in Manitoba.
    • The Southeast & Winnipeg Branch was formed in 1979 under the by-laws of the Society to provide opportunities for persons interested in family history in Winnipeg and the Southeastern area of Manitoba to share experiences, assist one another, and expand our research skills.

A member’s locationDo I have to live in Winnipeg or Southeastern Manitoba to become a member of the Branch?

  • NO! Any person from anywhere in the world is welcome to become a member!
    • Our Branch does have a geographical area from which we typically attract members — within easy commuting distance to Winnipeg.
    • Our members are those who live nearby and may be researching family from anywhere in the world; or, those with an historic connection with Manitoba they are researching and who live anywhere in the world!

Branch objectivesWhat is the purpose of the Southeast and Winnipeg Branch of MGS?

  • The Southeast & Winnipeg Branch focuses on providing genealogical education opportunities for our members with the following objectives:
    • to support the Manitoba Genealogical Society and its stated objectives;
    • to provide opportunities for members to get together in person, and by use of internet technology, to share information and experiences relating to genealogy.

Who is welcome as a member?  Do I need a lot of experience in building a family tree and researching ancestors before I can become a member of the Branch?

  • We invite you to join us regardless of your experience level in what will be a grand adventure! There is a place among our friendly community of members for anyone having an interest in family genealogy. We share our knowledge, help guide each other, and by doing so expand our research skills, and have fun!
    • Our focus is social and educational. We hold 15 to 20 events annually through our Monday Night Genealogy!
    • We will support you to find your family’s stories, wherever in the world they came from.

Meetings … When and whereWhen and where are your meetings? 

  • Monday Night Genealogy! is offered twice each month from September through June, usually the 2nd & 4th Mondays of the month.
    • Beginning at 7:00 PM for two hours, you can join a meeting by Zoom from the comfort of your home, especially on a cold winter’s night or if you live at a long distance from Winnipeg … or by attending in-person at the MGS Resource Center, (when COVID restrictions permit.)
    • The MGS Resource Centre is located at Unit E, 1045 St. James Street, Winnipeg. This is north of the Polo Park shopping centre on the north side of Ellice Avenue.  It is tucked in the corner of the L-shaped strip mall across the parking lot form the Brick Furniture store.  There is lots of free parking at any time.  The sign on the outside of our Resource Centre is “MGS  Family History”.

Building a family treeWill you research my ancestors and build a family tree for me?

  • No … but, we will help you to develop the knowledge and skills to do it yourself!
    • Depending on the extent you wish to delve into different branches and generations of your ancestors, building a family tree can often involve periodic research work over many months or years. This is the fun part of genealogy!
    • MGS also has a Research Service, fee-for-service which can carry out genealogical research in respect of a chosen person and his or her immediate family members, if the person has an historic connection with Manitoba.
    • If you prefer someone to do the research for you, MGS maintains a short list of genealogists for hire.

MGS Research toolsWhat resources does the Branch have that will help me research my ancestors?

  • Because our Branch is co-located within the MGS Resource Centre, we merged our Branch Library with the MGS Resource Centre, so all of the resources there are available! Our Resource Centre is your one-stop researching experience for genealogy in Manitoba!
  • Primarily a library, we have more than 10,000 physical items (books, journals, digital databases, Henderson Winnipeg Directories, unique transcriptions, etc.) Check out our collection by using our on-line library catalogue — KOHA
  • The friendly volunteers who staff the Resource Centre are experienced family historians with knowledge of research skills and repositories locally and beyond, as well as expert knowledge of our own collection.
  • Manitoba Name Index (MANI) is our online database of past and current Manitobans, drawn from items in our own collection — from local history books, obituaries, Manitoba headstone transcriptions, faith group records, and many unique sources! Currently, there are more than 1,000,000 names! MGS members have access to MANI from their own computers and tablets too!
  • A listing of many additional resources can be found in the MGS Library and Resource Centre
  • Our Branch also supports for use at the Resource Centre subscriptions to Ancestry Library Edition, and an international version of NewspaperArchives which includes Winnipeg Free Press archives from 1872 to the present as well as multiple other local Manitoba community newspapers.

Learning opportunities – I have been building my family tree for a few years.  Will I learn anything new at your Monday Night Genealogy!?

  • YES! Many of our members are very experienced family genealogists who have been building their own family tree for many years and helping others.   They have many research ideas and real life stories to share.   There is always something new.

MGS Collection Do you have any Winnipeg city directories?

  • In many cities across Canada directories were compiled from the work of employed canvassers who gathered information when possible about the name, address and occupation of each business owner, home owner or employed tenant on every street and avenue of the city. These compilations were sold in large bound books primarily to sales people to assist them in marketing their products.  These city directories are wonderful substitutes for a census if you believe you know the city in which your ancestor lived.

Our collection of Henderson Directories at the MGS Resource Centre includes Manitoba addresses and residents from 1876 to 1908, and Winnipeg home and business addresses and residents from 1908 to end of publication in 1999.  They are available for use only while you are at the MGS Resource Centre.  Access to these large bound books is available to anyone visiting the Resource Centre.

Digitized Henderson Directories for Manitoba, Brandon and Winnipeg plus some cities in Saskatchewan and Alberta can be found on the University of Alberta’s website for free … although they are somewhat tedious to search on-line.  If you wish to access the Henderson Directories for Manitoba or Winnipeg, you may find the easy tactile use of the large bound books at the MGS Resource Centre to be preferable.  Plus, you are certain to find things you didn’t know to search for while flipping through pages!

Obituary CollectionDo you have obituaries for Winnipeg and Southeast Manitoba?

  • We have a number of valuable sources that may be useful to you …
    • Early Newspaper Obituary Index – births, marriages and deaths found in selected rural Manitoba newspapers 1859 to 1887 and in Winnipeg newspapers from 1859 to mid – 1890s.
    • Obituaries in Winnipeg papers – from 1968 to the present, compiled and updated every quarter and entered into the searchable MGS Manitoba Name Index (MANI) on-line database. MANI is accessible at the MGS resource Centre or by members from their home computers.  An entry in MANI will indicate the date of the obituary and the newspaper in which it was located.
    • Manitoba leads the country in the number of local community newspapers that have been made available digitally — many in searchable format, while others are browsable. Still others have been indexed. Our volunteers can help you locate these newspapers in various locations, both within our Resource Centre and beyond.

MGS collectionDo you have books or documents related to specific ethnic groups?

  • Manitoba has been home to Indigenous peoples for many thousands of years. Later, it became the birthplace of the Métis Nation.  More recently, it has seen settlement by peoples of many other nations.  Many peoples came together, in groups from their homelands, and settled together and established communities.  In Southeastern Manitoba, some of the most common groups historically living in the area include:  Indigenous peoples, Métis, as well as settlers from France & Quebec, Iceland, Ukraine, Galicia, Mennonites from Russia, and the United Kingdom — particularly Scotland.
  • We encourage you to search our online catalogue KOHA, using ‘Title’ and ‘All Fields’ searches. Here is a sampling of some of the resources related to specific groups within Southeastern Manitoba:
    • Indigenous: When searching for resources related to Indigenous Canadians, it is important to remember that many sources were produced in the past, when language was used differently.  This language is not acceptable today, but does reflect the times when the materials were created or published.  While this information is still valuable and important, awareness of the context when searching and reading is absolutely necessary.

Some search terms to use in the ‘all fields’ search are:  Indigenous, Native, Indian, First Nation, First People, Aboriginal, Inuit, Innu, and Eskimo, as well as reserve and reservation.  The MGS Resource Centre holds over 100 books or documents pertaining to Indigenous peoples.  These are but a few of the titles:

      • Indian Treaties and Surrenders
      • Paylists Of Manitoba Indian Bands: Covers About 1880 – 1900
      • 826 Sioux Indian Graveyard
      • Birdtail Sioux Indian Reserve Cemetery
      • Native Soldiers, Foreign Battlefields
      • Indian, Métis & Eskimo Leaders in Contemporary Canada
      • These Too Were Pioneers: The Story of the Key Indian Reserve 65 and the Centennial Of The Church (1884 – 1984)
      • Kayas Ochekiwi Sipi = Fisher River Before 1950
      • Ebb and Flow Stories
      • Native Census: A List of Census Returns Housed at the Hudson’s Bay Archives
    • Métis: The MGS Resource Centre holds 74 books or documents having the word ‘Métis’ in an ‘all fields’ search.  These are but a few of the titles:
      • Discover Your Métis Ancestry: A Beginner’s Guide
      • Métis Application For Scrip, 1870 – 1885, Manitoba, Index
      • Land Records, Métis and Original White Settlers: Applications of 1886 – 1901, 1906, Index A-Z
      • Hold High Your Heads: (History of the Métis Nation in Western Canada)
      • Métis of St. Laurent, Manitoba: Their Life and Stories, 1920 – 1988
      • Warren Sinclair Métis Genealogy: A Finding Aid to the Warren Sinclair Fonds at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives
      • Six Métis Communities: Matheson Island, St. Laurent, Traverse Bay, Berens River, Camperville, St. Lazare
      • Métis Families: A Genealogical Compendium 
      • The Genealogy of the First Métis Nation: The Development and Dispersal of the Red River Settlement, 1820 – 1900
      • Vantage Points: Stories from Turtle Mountain Métis Elders & Manitoba’s Southwest Corner
    • Iceland: The MGS Resource Centre holds 57 books with either the word ‘Iceland’ or ‘Icelandic’ in an ‘all fields’ search.  These are but a few of the titles:
      • Passenger Lists from Various Ships: Including Iceland to Canada (1870s)
      • Major Genealogical Record Sources in Iceland
      • The Icelandic People in Manitoba: A Manitoba Saga
      • Selected Resource Material on Canadians of Icelandic Descent
      • Tracing Your Icelandic Family Tree
      • Vesturfaraskra 1870 – 1914 = A Record of Emigrants from Iceland to America, 1870 – 1914 (in Icelandic, English Sections)
      • Early Icelandic Settlements In Canada
      • 1227 Isafoldarbygg Icelandic Cemetery: SE 15-24-4E –  Transcription of Gravestones
      • 898 Vidir Icelandic Cemetery: NW 30-23-2E – Transcription of Gravestones
      • 831 Vestfold Icelandic Aka Hove Cemetery: SE 24-18-3W – Transcript of Gravestones
    • Galicia: The MGS Resource Centre holds 26 books or documents having the words ‘Galicia’, ‘Galician’ or ‘Galizien’ in an ‘all fields’ search.  Here are some interesting titles from that group:
      • Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia
      • Galicia: Multi-Ethnic Roots in Ukraine and Poland
      • Alphabetical Listing of Villages in Poveits of Borszczow, Czortkow, Kopyczynce & Saleszczyki Galicia, Austria
      • Historic Geography and Locating Ancestral Villages in Galicia
      • Galizien German Descendants [Periodical]
      • Researching Our Galizien Roots
      • Sharing Our Heritage: Galizien German Descendants
      • Galicia and Bukovina: A Research Handbook About Western Ukraine, Late 19th and 20th Centuries
      • Galizien German Descendants. Ggd #36, October 2003. Felizienthal
      • Galician Record Keeping: Parish Registers and Unusual Types of Records
    • Ukraine: The MGS Resource Centre holds 278 books or documents having the word ‘Ukrainian’ in an ‘all fields’ search.  These are but a few of the titles of books:
      • Spruce, Swamp and Stone: A History of the Pioneer Ukrainian Settlements in the Gimli Area
      • Pioneer Profiles: Ukrainian Settlers in Manitoba
      • Vita: A Ukrainian Community
      • Dictionary of Ukrainian Canadian Biography, Pioneer Settlers of Manitoba, 1891 – 1900
      • Hardship & Progress of Ukrainian Pioneers
      • Biographical Dictionary to the History of Ukrainian Canadians 
      • Finding Your Ukrainian Ancestors
      • Trailblazers Of Ukrainian Emigration to Canada – Wasyl Eleniak and Ivan Pylypow
      • Ukrainian Farmsteads in Manitoba
      • Ukrainian Genealogy: A Beginner’s Guide
    • Mennonite: The MGS Resource Centre holds 170 books or documents having the word ‘Mennonite’ in an ‘all fields’.  These are but a few of the titles of books:
      • Manitoba Mennonite Memories: A Century Past But Not Forgotten
      • The Waisenamt: A History of Mennonite Inheritance Custom
      • Mennonite Images: Historical, Cultural, and Literary Essays Dealing with Mennonite Issues
      • Settlers of the East Reserve: Moving In, Moving Out, Staying
      • Mennonite Genealogy – Stories, Rules and Exceptions
      • Mennonite Women: A Story of God’s Faithfulness, 1683 – 1983
      • Faspa: A Snack of Mennonite Stories
      • Atlas of Original Mennonite Villages on the East Reserve, Manitoba
      • Sources for Doing Mennonite Genealogy Research: from Vertical file
      • Causes and History of the Emigration of the Mennonites from Russia to America
    • Scotland: The MGS Resource Centre holds 392 books or documents having the word ‘Scotland’ or ‘Scottish’ in an ‘all fields’ search.  If searching for early ancestors in Manitoba, you should also search ‘Hudson’s Bay Company’ and ‘Selkirk Settlers’ which bring up even more results. This is a wee list of a few of those titles:
      • The Emigrant Scots: An Inventory of Extant Ships Manifests (Passenger Lists) in Canadian Archives for Ships Travelling from Scotland to Canada Before 1900
      • A Genealogical Atlas of Scotland
      • The Scottish Family Tree Detective: Tracing Your Ancestors in Scotland
      • Dictionary Of Scottish Emigrants to Canada Before Confederation
      • Scotland — Orkney 1821 Census
      • Trace Your Orkney Ancestors
      • Selkirk Settlers of Red River and Their Descendants
      • Romantic Settlement of Lord Selkirk’s Colonists (The Pioneers of Manitoba)
      • Red River Settlement: Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1820  – 1851
      • Biographical Resources at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives


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