Métis Nation genealogy
On this page you will find resources for researching the family history and genealogy of Métis.
Métis of the North West formed a group identity as “distinctive peoples who, in addition to their mixed ancestry, developed their own customs, way of life, and recognizable group identity separate from their Indian or Inuit and European forebears.”
Most of our records relate to the Red River Métis, in Manitoba, as well as Métis in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Records and genealogical information relating to the Métis Nation can be found in the Department of the Interior fonds (RG 15) and to some extent in the Indian and Inuit Affairs Program sous fonds (in RG 10). Some records in the Department of Justice fonds (RG 13) provide accounts of the 1870s and 1880s in Manitoba and the unrest that prevailed between the Métis Nation population and the Canadian government.
On this page
Before you start
Gather information such as:
- approximate year of birth
- place of residence in Canada
Places to look
Here are the major sources for research:
1. Census records
Canadian censuses often recorded the ethnicity of individuals as well as their place of origin. For example, the 1911 Census recorded ethnic origin and the country or province of birth.
LAC holds the records for all official Canadian censuses.
We also hold some partial records from Red River censuses from 1831 to 1856. For more information on these, please consult our guide to Other censuses and related documents.
2. Birth, marriage, and death records
Provincial and territorial government offices record births, marriages and deaths. These are also known as civil registration records. Those offices may transfer older records to the provincial or territorial archives. Information about the records and where to find them is found in researching your ancestors in birth, marriage and death records
Researchers should also consult church records for this type of information.
3. Military records
Métis soldiers have served in several conflicts. Some records that may be useful:
First World War
Second World War
4. School records
You may find limited information about your ancestor in the Residential School files.
5. Métis scrip records
In the 1870s, the federal government admitted they were responsible for the Métis by passing legislation affecting them and by creating a system for ending their "Indian title" by means of compensation with Métis scrip.
These scrip documents are a key source for genealogical information.
Scrip certificates were first issued to Métis and were redeemable for land or money. Resembling government bonds, they were printed in various denominations. Scrip was generally awarded to Métis heads of families and to children of Métis heads of families.
Money scrip was issued in exchange for the extinguishment of certain claims.
For more information on Métis scrip, you can consult our page on that topic.
6. Published histories and genealogies
Some Métis have published their own histories. These publications can include stories that might help you better understand the experiences of your ancestors. They may also include information about specific individuals. You can search Aurora to find these publications. Try keywords like:
- Métis genealogy
- Métis biographies
- Métis history
- a place name
To help you with your research, our genealogy staff have compiled a list of books in our Aurora catalogue. Most of these books include information about individuals.
Each title in this list includes the author and the LAC call number.
- If the call number includes the word genealogy, that means the book is in the genealogy room URL at our Ottawa location.
- Example of a call number: Genealogy Ref. - CS88 A2 A38 2003
You can click on a title in the list to open the full catalogue entry. Then if you scroll down, you will see a list of other libraries that hold copies. You can also check your local library’s online catalogue.
Consider events and locations that are connected to Métis Nation. Such events include:
- Red River Resistance of 1869-70
- Northwest Resistance of 1885
- The destruction of Roostertown, Manitoba
- Métis road allowance people
- Legal petitions for Métis rights
- Spelling was not standardized, and the same names might be written in many different ways.
Access the records
Records that are digitized
If you find a record of interest, there may be a digital image. Some of these are available through Collection Search. Others, particularly microfilm that have been digitized, are available through Héritage.
Records that are not digitized
For records that are not digitized and not restricted, you will need to see them in person. If you cannot visit us in person, you may want to order copies or hire a researcher.