Yukon Ancestors: yukongenealogy.com


If you\’re lucky enough to have an ancestor that spent time in the Territories, it\’s a double edged sword. You know they\’re probably going to have the kind of life story that we as genealogists crave. But you also know that genealogy in Canada\’s North doesn\’t come as easy as in the South. If you have a Yukon ancestor though, then you\’re in luck. Yukon Genealogy is a government funded website to give research on that adventurous ancestor a jump start.


You can get right to searching three ways on the home page: Yukon Genealogy Archives, Specialty (Deaths, professions, etc.), or Dawson City Museum Pan for Gold.

Just for fun, I entered \”McDonald\” with no filters. I got hundreds of results, broken down first by the three main databases, then by specific source. The range of source material is incredible. It would take me years to go through them all, so I scrolled way back to the top and filtered to just Yukon Archives Genealogy results.


As you can see in the picture, the database has

  • Name
  • Home Town
  • Call Number
  • Occupation
  • Yukon Location
  • Nationality
  • Notes
Now, the Call Number is the location of the record at the Yukon Archives. If you see where I\’ve circled above, there is a link there that says Source. Click that and a pop up window gives a brief explanation of the records they\’ve created the database from. At the bottom of that is a link that says View the Sources. Clicking on that link will not only give you an itemized list of all the sources used (and there are a lot), but also the matching call numbers. Now you know exactly what record you should be looking at to see the original. You also have the option of printing all the results near the top of the results section. That can come in handy if you ever make it to the Archives. You\’ll notice in my results that the list starts out with 2 ladies who married McDonald men, and a man by the name of Chisholm applying for a liquor licence for McDonald and Aurora Hotels. The results will not only give you a McDonald surname, but anywhere McDonald is found. 
I checked the Yukon Archives\’ main website, and they do offer reproduction services. You can check out the information on their service here.
Next I decided to use the Specialty (Deaths, Professions, etc.) filter. You also have the option of filtering this one even further to a specific record set
  • Francophone Yukoners
  • Sourdough Air Display, 1971-2006
  • Yukon Barristers Roll
  • Pioneer Cemetery,1900-1965
  • Yukon River Basin, Deaths and Burials, 1887-2007
  • Grey Mountain Cemetery,1960-1976
  • Yukon News Obituary Index, 1966-2005
  • Missing in the Klondike, 1898-1958
  • Yukon Businesses
  • Census 1891 & 1901: First Nations Communities
  • Whitehorse Star Weddings, Births & Deaths, 1964-1965
Even if you don\’t filter even farther, the results are broken down by record set. It will even tell you if nothing was found in a particular collection.

Each record set has different headings, and by clicking Source beside the Title, you can find out more about each one. The majority of them were taken from archival material at the Yukon Archives. I found it a little amusing that under Yukon Businesses, almost all the McDonalds listed ran bars, saloons, hotels, and roadhouses. Apparently customer service runs in the McDonald genes.

The last main filter, Dawson City Museum Pan for Gold, is a great database if your ancestor had anything to do with the Gold Rush. Just look at the individual record sets:

One set I found interesting was the Dawson City Mortuary Records,1898-1938. The notes contain a great deal of information. This was the entry for a Daniel H. McDonald:

MACDONALD H. Daniel, 48 years (McDonald); crushed by caterpillar tractor, Bear Creek; March 4, 1933, Dr. Nunn; St. Paul\’s Church, Hillside Cemetery; IOOF; teamster

Not bad. In one entry we know when, where and how he died. We have the doctor\’s name who was in attendance.We know where he\’s buried. We know an approximate birth year (1933-48=1885). He was a member of the I.O.O.F and a teamster. Just that one entry gives us a few avenues of research. Here\’s another one for a Finlay McDonald:

MCDONALD Finlay, 59 years; ptomaine poisoning, St. Mary\’s Hospital; May 30, 1919, Culbertson & LaChapelle; funeral at St. Andrew\’s Church; Yukon Gold Company; paint man.

Here we know when, where, and how he died. We can put his birth around 1860. We know where his funeral was and which funeral home handled it. We know he was a paint man for the Yukon Gold Company. We can look at church records, funeral home records, hospital records, and employment records to find out more about him. In case you were wondering, ptomaine poisoning is food poisoning from bacterial contamination of food.

Going along the tab bar at the top are these headings:

Here you can access sets of links by clicking on highlighted text. First is websites and contact emails for government organizations, historical sites and societies, churches, universities, and genealogy webpages. Quite a few of the links don\’t work any more, but a quick google search should be able to take you to the updated link.

The next highlighted text will take you to Yukon specific sites. There\’s City and Territorial Government contact info, churches, and fraternal organizations. You can also get info for Historical organizations and info to contact the various First Nations. There\’s also info on newspapers.

Lastly is the contact information and website link to the Yukon Archives. There\’s a link to a handy 90 page PDF on researching there. It\’s free to download and will give you everything you need to prepare for a visit to the Archives.

Tips for Family Research
This page is a general tip page on beginning family history research. But if you scroll down to the bottom, they have provided forms to print off to help you keep organized:

  • Family History Worksheet
  • Family Homes
  • Family Tree
  • Family Records by Generation
  • Family Records Vital Statistics
  • Military Records
  • Oral histories
  • Schools and Graduations
  • Employment History
  • Immigration Records
  • Research Log
Everyone keeps records differently, but you\’re sure to find at least one form that works for you.
Maintained by the Yukon Archives, the site had funding from both the Yukon Government and the Canadian Government.. Links to the Archive and the government departments that provided funding is here.

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