52 Ancestors: Week 8 – Photographs on Peel\’s Prairie Provinces

This week\’s 52 Ancestors prompt is photos. They are one of my favourite things in the world, especially when it comes to genealogy. Who hasn\’t looked at an old photo of an ancestor and looked for similarities to themselves? Even a photo of a house your ancestor lived in can make them more than names on paper. Unfortunately, I\’m not blessed to have a lot of old photos of my family. I treasure the ones I do have because of this.

If you have ancestors that settled in the Canadian Prairies, then you\’ll want to look at Peel\’s Prairie Provinces. This site is a must have in your browser bookmarks regardless, but they have a wonderful photograph collection. To access it, click on the tab Find Images.


Once in that section, you\’ll have two options. You can search by keyword, or you can browse 2 of their collections: the Magee Photographs Collection or the Prairie Postcards Collection.


Search By Keyword
I used the keyword \”Saskatchewan\”. According to the site, there are 2500 images related to Saskatchewan. I found buildings and structures, towns and cities, and people. Here\’s a few:

Baseball Team from Togo Saskatchewan ca. 1903-1908
Methodist Church in Fort Saskatchewan Alberta ca. 1910
Milestone, Saskatchewan after 1920

You also have the option of narrowing your results by:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Subject Heading
  • Identifier
  • Publication Year
  • Language (Dutch, English, French, German, Icelandic, Inuit, Swedish, Ukrainian, or Welsh)
Or try the option of sorting your results by:
  • Relevance
  • ID
  • Date-oldest to newest
  • Date- newest to oldest
  • Author – ascending
  • Author – descending
  • Title – Ascending
  • Title – Descending
Magee Photographs Collection
This collection is divided into:
  • Activities
  • Animals and Plants
  • Buildings and Camps
  • Land and Land Use
  • Objects
  • People
Each of these when you click on it is further divided into subcategories. Naturally, most of us will probably pick the people section first. I clicked on it and chose \”tourists\”. One of the results was a group title \”Seattle Mountaineers\” taken at Glacier Park in Montana. The dating says it was taken between 1910 and 1945.
Prairie Postcards
This collection is divided into:
  • Activities and Sports
  • Animals
  • Buildings
  • Business and Industry
  • Events
  • Land and Land Use
  • Natural Phenomena
  • Objects
  • Organizations
  • People 
  • Plants
  • Vehicles
As with the Magee Collection, each section is further divided into subcategories. I clicked on \”Business and Industry\”, then \”Merchandise Displays\”, then \”Window Displays\”. Here\’s one titled \”Departmental Stores, Gladstone, Man.\” 
In the description it says it shows the stores Galloway Bros, Williams\’ Bros. Co. Ltd., and the Bank of Hamilton. What a great find for descendants of these business owners. Even better, the description of the postcard also states:
  • Postmarked in Gladstone, Manitoba 1913-04-24
  • From VP?
  • To a Mr. G W Harding in Battleford, Saskatchewan and \”true\”
  • The message only states \”VP\”
Just to see if I could find a postmarked postcard with more detail, I looked at \”Organizations\”, and \”Fraternal Organizations\”. I found this postcard featuring the I.O.O.F.:
This one had the following details:
  • Postmark Winnipeg, Man. 1910-08-28
  • From Lulu
  • To David T. Richards, Esq. of Prospect Heights, Canon City, Colorado
  • Message: \”This town is booming. It\’s a live wire and holds a great future for a young man who comes here and invests his money – [urather frisch] Best love, Lulu\”

While you\’re on the site, check out everything else Peel\’s Prairie Provinces has to offer. Run by the University of Alberta, it was made through partnership with

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