Manitoba Ancestors: Was Your Ancestor Memorable?

Did your Manitoba ancestor contribute in some way to their community? Then you will want to check out the free resource Memorable Manitobans on the Manitoba Historical Society’s website.

According to the website, the criteria for being included their large collection is as follows:

  • They must be deceased
  • They contributed through their Government occupation
  • They contributed through a Society or Organzation
  • They advanced knowledge in a particular field of study or industry
  • If they were being merited through their occupation, then they went above and beyond their normal duties
  • If they don’t meet the examples above, they brought distinction and honour

The Society does not normally include our favourite black sheep type of ancestors, but they may if they can be used as an object lesson. They will also occasionally include living people, if “…they have made imortant contributions to Manitoba life…”

I could not find an official tally of just how many names are in the database, but it is quite large. There are several ways to search:

Keyword Search – You can use any kind of key word such as surname, occupation, or place. I typed in HBC for Hudson’s Bay Company, and got 543 results. On the results page, click on a name and it will take you to that person’s biography

Surname Search – You can also browse alphabetically by surname. Clicking on the first letter of the surname gives you a list of names with birth and death years. Just click on the name to take you to the biography.

Year of Death – They have the listed the years 2000-2017, but I found when I clicked on the year 2000, I could then also access the link for 1999. Clicking on that gave me the link for 1998, and so on.

Government Officials – There are several categories of those in Government Positions

Medals and Orders – These provide to those who earned medals and members of various Orders

Sources – The Society has used several sources in compiling their database. By clicking on the source, you can access names included. They have also included photographs. Here’s some of the photos from the first source listed, Representative Men of Manitoba, 1902:

So what kind of information is included in these biographies? According to the Society, a standard biography will include:

  • Birth date
  • Birth place
  • Parents’ names
  • Education
  • Career highlights
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Charitable activities
  • Death date
  • Death place
  • Burial location
  • Portrait photo

They also include their source material for the entries, which is extremely handy. Included in the biographies are hyper links to names and places for more information. Here’s one for one of the Governors of the Red River Settlement, William Bletterman Caldwell (c1798-1882)

If you would like your ancestor included in the database, you can contact the Administrator of Memorable Manitobans at As well, you can also contact them if you would like to add or correct any information already in the database.

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