Death registrations from 1877-1950 are located using a handwritten index.
Vital statistic indexes are yearly summaries of vital events that contain basic information such as name, location, year, and registration number. The indexes are used to locate registrations.
How to Locate a Death Registration
Death indexes for 1877-1950 are organized alphabetically by surname and then by year. Each letter is then further subdivided according to the first vowel instance in the surname,
- i.e., Aa, Ae, Ai, Ao, Au; Ba, Be, Bi, Bo, Bu, and so on.
For example Andrews will be found under Ae; McLean will be found under McE; Smith will be found under Si, and so on. (Please note: If there is no distinction between Mc and Mac, both will be together under one label. ‘Y’ is not considered a vowel.)
These indexes are often imprecise; if you are certain the death happened but are unable to locate the name you are looking for in the index, search under the other vowels in case it was indexed incorrectly. For example, if Hyde is not found under “He,” check “Ha,” “Hi,” “Ho,” and “Hu.”
Please note that prior to 1917, years were assigned a letter or a number:
|Up to 1897 – II/III||1907 – K|
|1898 – A||1908 – L|
|1899 – B||1909 – M|
|1900 – C||1910 – N|
|1901 – D||1911 – O|
|1902 – E||1912 – P|
|1903 – F||1913 - Q|
|1904 – G||1914 – R|
|1905 – H||1915 – S|
|1906 – J||1916 – T|
In the above example, Ann Isabella is listed as dying in year III, which means she died before 1897.
Please note that you are searching the indexes for a registration number rather than the registration records themselves.
Death and stillbirth records often included information related to the form that would have assisted those completing the form to fill it out correctly. Please see this link for samples of what the form information looked like over the range of years that the Provincial Archives of Alberta can provide access to.
How to Request a Death Registration
Follow these steps to locate a registration number:
- Select the first letter of the surname.
- Scroll through the index to find the year the person died in order to locate their name and registration number.
- Request and pay for your Vital Statistics record by completing a Vital Statistics Request
Contact a registry agent to request death registrations that are less than 50 years old.