Saskatchewan Ancestors: The Name Change Index of the SGS

I\’m sure most of us have found an ancestor who changed their name. Unfortunately, we don\’t always get a paper trail showing it. If you have an ancestor who lived in Saskatchewan though, you\’re in luck.

In 1933 the Saskatchewan government passed legislation formalizing the process of changing one\’s name. First an application would be made to the Provincial Secretary. Then the application would be published in the Saskatchewan Gazette, and the applicant\’s local newspaper. Once approved, the certificate was also published in the Gazette and local newspaper. The rules for application were as follows:

  • Applicant must be at least 21
  • Married women could only change from their married surname if their husband was deceased
  • Married men could not change his name, his wife\’s, or their unmarried children\’s names under 21 without his wife\’s consent

In 1941, The Change of Name Act was amended so that people who changed their name before entering the province could formally register their name. In 1947 the following changes were made:

  • Any one over the age of 18 could change their name, even if married or widowed
  • The applicant could only change the name of a child 14 or older with the written consent that child
  • The certificates would no longer be published in the Saskatchewan Gazette

Even though the process was finalized in 1933, there are applications that go back to 1917. Included in the application would be the full name of the applicant, their wife, and their residence. It also included the names and ages of any minor children. Lastly, it included the proposed name change.

The Saskatchewan Genealogical Society has given researchers a huge leg up with their research by compiling a series of indexes

Compiled by D\’Arcy Hande, Debbie Moyer, and Rae Chamberlain, they cover the years from 1917-1993. The first index, 1917-1950 is set up with the following headings:

  • Original Surname
  • Original Name
  • Address (town or jurisdiction)
  • New Surname
  • New Name
  • Notice (when the application appeared in the Gazette)
  • Certificate (when the approval was published)
The subsequent indexes are set up a little differently:
  • Original Surname
  • Original Name
  • Address
  • New Surname
  • New Name
  • Application Date
  • Publication Date
Because of the amendments in 1947, there is no publication of the certificate. So unlike the first index, you will not be able to know when/if the application was approved. The indexes are PDF files, which is awesome. By hitting \”Ctrl\” \”F\” on your keyboard, a search box will appear and you can type in your desired surname. This will then highlight every time it appears. 
If you have an Ancestry subscription, they have indexed the collection on their site here. It has been indexed by both original name and new name. However, you will not always get that crucial information of when it happened. A lot of the results I got looking at the various names did not have dates attached of either the application or the certificate.
How to Get Application Information
The indexes will let you know what edition of the Saskatchewan Gazette the application was published in. Using this information you can consult that particular edition of the Gazette at the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan. Looking here will give you the application information that is not included in the index.These are not online, but if you are in the area, you can visit the Archives. If you are researching from a distance, you can access their inquiry form here.

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