Part I: Researching Your Aboriginal Genealogy at Library and Archives Canada
Membership Registers and Lists
Band membership lists before 1951 are scattered throughout RG 10 fonds, mostly in agency, district, superintendency and regional office records. A few of these lists can also be found in the General Headquarters Administration Records.
Descriptions of membership lists can be obtained from the ARCHIVED - General Inventory database, and file information can be obtained from the ARCHIVED - Government of Canada Files database using keywords such as the names of bands or agencies as explained in Part II of this guide. Many of these documents have access restrictions.
The posted lists consist of band membership lists for all of Canada posted in 1951. These lists were posted in communities to permit the protest of individuals included or excluded before the establishment of the first centralized Indian register. The files are arranged alphabetically by the names of bands and are described in FA 10-100. File information can be obtained from the ARCHIVED - Government of Canada Files database using keywords such as the names of bands and agencies as explained in Part II of this guide. These documents have access restrictions.
The posted lists are a record of relatively minor use compared to the register, providing a snapshot only. There are few instances in which you would consult the posted lists rather than the registers themselves.
The treaty annuity pay lists, 1850-1982, and the interest distribution pay lists, 1856-1982
A treaty annuity was an annual payment made by the Crown to band members whose band had entered into a treaty. Interest money was paid to band members whose band had money in the care of the federal government. These payments were documented in the pay lists by the Indian agent at the time of each payment.
The treaty annuity pay lists and the interest distribution pay lists are sources of primary interest to the genealogist whose ancestor died before 1951. Originally, these pay lists were created to record payments of money made to selected members of a band (generally the heads of families) and contained only those names. Later, however, around 1893, and until the creation of the Indian Register of 1951, the pay lists contained also the names of the other members of a band and the government used these pay lists as band membership lists. They can be used today to obtain individual information about family relationships and Indian status. However, researchers should note that these records do not exist for all bands country wide. Treaty annuity pay lists exist only for those bands that were signatories to a treaty. Interest distribution pay lists exist only for those bands that distributed interest monies to their membership.
Interest distribution pay
list of the Six Nations
Indians, Fall 1877.
Library and Archives
Canada, RG 10,
vol. 9566, folio 1r,
The genealogical information in these lists varies (e.g., from a simple name and band number to details such as date of birth). The lists also provide information such as the name of the band, the place and date of payment, the name of the agent and the amounts of money involved.
The bulk of these records are in RG 10 files at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa. Most of the pay lists found in the field office records and in the agency records are duplicates; however, some contain additional annotations by the agent, and some show other kinds of information. Lists in the RG 10 files can be located through finding aids (FAs) 10-91, 10-109 and 10-116.
FA 10-91 is a computer-generated list sorted by the order of the volume number in which the original records are organized. This order is neither alphabetical nor chronological. The volume number, reel number, file description and outside date are listed. The file descriptions are somewhat scattered and are intermixed with descriptions pertaining to census, membership and other subjects.
Most treaty annuity pay lists in FA 10-91 are listed by treaty number; therefore, a band's pay list can be found by referencing the treaty to which a band belongs. Few band names can be referenced directly.
Conversely, most of the interest distribution pay lists in FA 10-91 are listed by band name. In some cases they are listed by the name of the agency to which a group of bands belonged.
FA 10-109 is a computer-generated list sorted by the order of the volume number in which the original records are organized. The finding aid covers the period of 1946 to 1987 for the treaty annuity pay lists and the period of 1938 to 1964 for the interest distribution pay lists. The volume numbers, file descriptions and outside dates are listed. The file descriptions give the band names and their location. They are roughly grouped by provinces and the Northwest Territories.
Although the Province of Quebec is not a treaty area, two bands in this province, the Abitibi Dominion Band and the Abitiwinni, are listed with the bands that obtained annuity payments. For more information on records related to aboriginal peoples in Quebec, see Pistard [http://pistard.banq.qc.ca] (Information is available in French only), the online research tool of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, at [http://www.banq.qc.ca/].
FA 10-91 and FA 10-109 can be searched using the ARCHIVED - Government of Canada Files database as explained in Part II of this guide.
FA 10-116 is a microfiche finding aid that provides a page reference for locating treaty annuities for the bands in treaties 4, 6 and 7 for the years 1874 to 1884. For the years from 1884 to 1955, the microfiches were cut and organized alphabetically within each year. This finding aid also contains the microfilm shelf list for the annuity pay lists.
FA 10-116 has not been computerized and must be used at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.
Treaty annuity pay lists and interest distribution pay lists dated after 1909 are almost invariably restricted and subject to review under the Privacy Act before information on individuals can be released.