Alberta Ancestors: Early Alberta Newspapers Online

One of the downsides of Canadian research is the lack of a central repository for newspapers. If you have ancestors in Alberta in the early 1900\’s, you\’ll want to look at the University of Calgary\’s collection of early Alberta newspapers.

The website has a total collection of over 600 microfilms of various newspapers around the province:

  • the calgary herald (57)
  • the calgary daily herald (55)
  • the morning albertan (51)
  • edmonton bulletin (45)
  • the nanton news (22)
  • the camrose canadian (19)
  • the olds gazette (18)
  • the gazette (17)
  • the morning bulletin (17)
  • crag and canyon (15)
  • the olds gazette and mountain view news (14)
  • lethbridge herald (13)
  • medicine hat news (13)
  • the strathmore and bow valley standard (8)
  • the albertan (6)
  • the high river times (6)
  • the lethbridge daily herald (6)
  • lethbridge news (5)
  • red deer advocate (5)
  • strathmore standard (5)
  • the daily herald (5)
  • the macleod gazette (5)
  • the plaindealer (5)
  • edmonton daily bulletin (4)
  • lethbridge daily herald (4)
  • plaindealer (4)
  • northern tribune (3)
  • strathcona plaindealer (3)
  • the delburne progress (3)
  • the sylvan lake news (3)
  • vegreville observer (3)
  • claresholm review (2)
  • edmonton journal (2)
  • innisfail free lance (2)
  • lloydminster times (2)
  • stavely standard (2)
  • the sedgewick sentinel (2)
  • claresholm local press (1)
  • herald tribune (1)
  • medicine hat times (1)
  • medicine hat weekly news (1)
  • rocky mountain house paper (1)
  • strathcona plaindealer special school edition (1)
  • sylvan lake news (1)
  • the bawlf banner (1)
  • the bawlf sun (1)
  • the claresholm local press (1)
  • the guide (1)
  • the pincher creek echo (1)
  • the stavely advertiser (1)
  • the sylvan lake world (1)

The years run the gamut from about 1908 to the early 1920s. However, I also found a couple of sets that had dates from the 1990s as well. Each microfilm holds multiple issues.!p22007coll18!p22007coll19!p22007coll24/order/title/ad/asc

There is an option to sort the issues by:

  • Title Ascending
  • Title Descending
  • Date Ascending
  • Date Descending
  • Description Ascending
  • Description Descending
It doesn\’t work perfectly, but it more or less sorts the way you want it to. On the left side bar, you can also filter by newspaper and/or date. To access a particular microfilm, just click on the one you want. I chose the Calgary Herald 1915-07-02 – 1915-08-28.

To be able to zoom in and out, just click on the little red box with the arrows in the right corner of the image. You\’ll then be able to zoom in and out. As well, you can make it a full screen image, rotate left, or rotate right.

Use the search bar to the right of the image to search for surnames or key words. But take some time to browse the issues as well, because you never know what you might find.The search engine may not always pick up your search words. 
So what kind of information can you find? Most beginners in newspaper research only look at the Births, Marriages and Deaths section. But you can find a lot more if you look at the other pages as well. For example, here\’s an interesting article about a boy who lied about his age to enter WWI in 1915 in Calgary Herald.

Here\’s another one, detailing a court case. It is from The Albertan in 1902:

And here\’s one from The Edmonton Bulletin in 1925. Some farmers were fined for making moonshine:

To go to the next image on the microfilm, you can click on the image in the right sidebar. You can alternately use the red bars on the right and left to go back and forth through the images. If you are in the zoom screen, there are right and left arrows at the top of the screen to go back and forth. They are a little hard to see, but just take your cursor and hover on the top right corner, and they will become highlighted.

Unfortunately, I could see no way to download images. You could however take a screen shot and save it as a JPEG or PNG image to your computer. There are several screen shot programs out there if you don\’t have one. 
For your source citation, scroll to the bottom of the page to Object Description to get the information you need.

3 thoughts on “Alberta Ancestors: Early Alberta Newspapers Online

  1. I wish the Grouard Newspaper was digitalized. It was on microfilm at the Legislative Library. Very informative news about the early development of northern Alberta.


  2. Hi. I'm searching the Newspaper collection for the first time and hope you can help. The word searched for isn't highlighted on the page, is there a way to do this? I haven't been able to locate the references without any highlighting. Thanks! Peggy.


  3. When I was preparing the blog post I could not get keywords to highlight either. I’m not part of the website team, so I can’t say as to how you could have it do that for you. My only suggestion is to zoom in on the page results and skim the page. It’s more time consuming, but it’s still better than browsing page by page 🙂


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