Frequently Asked Questions

Genealogy FAQ

This page contains the answers to our most frequently asked questions (FAQ). Scroll down to find the questions you’d like answered or download the PDFs.

They are organized in 4 sections:
The Basics, Placing an Order for Genealogy, Orders in Progress and Completed Orders.

If your question is not there, please feel free to contact us by phone or email. Our team is here to help you!

 

FAQ – The Basics

General information on our genealogy services

What is the difference between the Proof of Métis Ancestry package and the 10, 12 or 15 generation genealogy books?

A Proof of Métis Ancestry Package is comprised of 2-4 pages of information with a focus on one single branch of your tree leading to an alleged Métis ancestor. If a historical document (most often scrip, but sometimes census record) can be found to substantiate the claim, it is attached as the last page and can be submitted to the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) as part of your Metis Citizenship application. Proof of Métis Ancestry Packages typically include 6 to 8 generations of an individual’s family tree.

10, 12, and 15 generation genealogy books will go back as many generations as specified in the order, on every branch that it is possible for us to do so. These books are particularly useful for people with ancestors from Quebec, as we are generally able to trace such lines well into the 1600s.

How far back does a 10, 12 or 15 generation genealogy book go?

Until we hit a dead end due to lack of documents or the ancestors originate from outside of Canada. These books are particularly useful for people with ancestors from Quebec, as we are generally able to trace such lines well into the 1600s.

I’m not sure which option to choose, what would you recommend?

If your primary goal is to apply for Métis Nation citizenship with MMF we recommend the Proof of Metis Ancestry Package.

If your ancestors are primarily Indigenous, with few connections to Quebec we would also recommend the Proof of Métis Ancestry Package.

If you have multiple connections to Quebec, we would recommend one of our genealogy books.

Will my genealogy include copies of all the primary source documents used to build my tree?

No. Primary sources are consulted and sourced internally in our genealogical database, but we do not include lists of our sources or copies of the original documents. If you are interested in what sources were used to verify a particular individual’s vital events, you can contact us via email or phone and we will look into it for you.  Copies of documents from our archival holdings can be ordered at an additional cost per copy, whereas documents digitized and available online can be accessed directly from your home computer.

Will my genealogy include anecdotal information (family stories) on all of my ancestors and their extended families?

No. Our genealogies focus on names, dates and places that events occurred, with the goal of substantiating connections from one generation to the next. If you are interested in more information on a particular ancestor you can:

a) Do research and consult our archives yourself, in person at our center for a 5$ daily fee or online for free

b) Hire an independent researcher to do the research for you at their fees

c) Request one of our staff or volunteers to conduct additional research on your behalf at a cost of 30$ per hour.

Will my genealogy include my siblings, aunts/uncles and other extended family members?

No. Our genealogies include direct child to parent connections only.

Will my genealogy include photos of my ancestors?

No. This is not included in the genealogy service. If you are looking for photos of your ancestors we encourage you to search our archival database (https://archivesshsb.mb.ca/en) yourself to identify listings of interest, and then contact us to arrange a visit in order to consult them in person. If you are unable to do so, you can:

a) Hire an independent researcher to do the research for you at their fees

b) Request one of our staff or volunteers to conduct additional research on your behalf at a cost of 30$ per hour.

I would love to know more about one specific ancestor or solve a family mystery; will my genealogy answer these questions for me?

No. Our genealogies focus on names, dates and places that events occurred, with the goal of substantiating connections from one generation to the next. If you are interested in more information on a particular ancestor or their life story you can:

a) Do research and consult our archives yourself, in person at our center for a 5$ daily fee or online for free

b) Hire an independent researcher to do the research for you at their fees

c) Request one of our staff or volunteers to conduct additional research on your behalf at a cost of 30$ per hour.

I would like the genealogy book to start with my deceased parent/grand-parent, instead of myself... – Can this be done?

Unfortunately: No. Because we require both a current valid government issued photo ID and a signature giving consent to do a genealogy for all applicants, we cannot allow third-parties to make requests on behalf of a deceased or absent person.

I live outside of Manitoba and want to apply for citizenship with the recognized Métis Government of the province in which I live. Will the genealogy I order from you be accepted by these institutions?

It depends on the institution. You are best to call ahead and verify with them directly.

I’ve done or want to do my own research for Métis ancestry -- will the MMF accept those results?

No. We are currently the only recognized genealogical institution the MMF will accept genealogies from. Our genealogists are certified, our institution accredited and our process adheres to genealogical research standards and ethics. There is no way to ensure standards are met when dealing with genealogies created by amateur genealogists, un-vetted independent researchers or hobbyists.

I want to do my own research (French-Canadian / Franco-Manitoban / Métis) -- will you help me with it?

Yes. If you are interested in doing your own research on site, we can give you an orientation of our library, a quick overview of our archival holdings, and access to our online subscription databases. We can also consult our internal databases on your behalf. We are here to assist you, but if you prefer we do the research for you, please request one of our staff or volunteers to conduct additional research on your behalf at a cost of 30$ per hour.

My family is from Eastern Canada but not Québec. Can you still do my genealogy?

No. Our resources in this area are limited at best. Your query falls outside our mandate and available resources.

My family is from another country. Can you still do my genealogy?

No. We do not have the resources required to answer these requests. Your query falls outside our mandate and available resources.

My family is First Nations, not Métis or French-Canadian. Can you still do my genealogy?

Possibly. Our resources for First Nations families are limited, but we can attempt a basic search for Manitoban families (order Proof of Métis Ancestry Package, with a note that your family may instead be First Nations) and we will provide you with the information we succeed in finding.

Can you do research on ancestors in all Canadian provinces?

We are best equipped to research ancestors originating in the Prairies and Quebec. We have limited resources for BC, Maritime Provinces and the Territories.

I’m not sure if I or my children are eligible for First Nations Status or Métis Citizenship. What should I do?

Order a Proof of Métis Ancestry Package, but include a note that your family may possibly be First Nations. We will provide you with the information we succeed at finding. This should help guide your decision to pursue citizenship with the Manitoba Metis Federation or status with Indigenous Services Canada.

 

FAQ – Placing an Order

You’ve decided to place an order… now what?

How do I place an order?

You can place your order…

1) Online by filling out the application form

2) In person by visiting the Centre du patrimoine with your information and required documents.

3) By mail, by sending us your information and required documents along with your payment (cheque or money order) to the St. Boniface Historical Society.

My parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or cousin already had this done. Do I still need to order my own?

Not necessarily. The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) may let you use your relative’s genealogy, if it was completed after 2008 and you provide the appropriate documents to link yourself into it. You should discuss this with an MMF representative before applying for a new genealogy with us

I’ve been told my old genealogy is now unacceptable and I need to order a new one. Why?

Policies surrounding document requirements for genealogies tightened up significantly in 2008. If your genealogy is older than this, we must re-verify all generational connections leading up to Métis-identifying ancestors and also collect a copy of your valid government issued photo ID and birth or baptismal record connecting you to your parents.

Can you provide me with a copy of my parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or cousin’s genealogy?

No. We can only provide copies of a past client’s genealogy to the client themselves.

What information or documents do I need to submit?

1) One Government issued photo ID (driver’s licence, passport, Canadian Forces ID, etc)

2) A birth or baptismal record for yourself, that connects you to your parents.
*A short form birth certificate is not acceptable as it does not also include your parents’ names. You will need either a ‘Birth Certificate with Parents Names on it’ or a ‘Registration of Birth’ (both from Vital Statistics in the province in which you were born), or a Baptismal Certificate (from the parish or diocese in which your baptism took place).

3) Full names (maiden names for women), dates of birth (and death if applicable) and places of birth (and death if applicable) for your parents, grandparents and if possible, great-grandparents. Please fill out one of our blank family trees to provide us with this information.

4) Any family obituaries you may have (this is not required, but it helps us a great deal if you do have them on hand).

I find forms difficult; can someone assist me in person or over the phone?

Yes. Please call in or come in person for any assistance you might need. We can fill in an order form on your behalf and even take credit card payment over the phone to officially start your file. You will still need to send in or bring in copies of the prerequisite documents.

I don’t have a birth document for myself listing my parents; how do I get one?

Contact the Vital Statistics office in your province of birth and order a copy of your Registration of Birth or Birth Certificate with parents’ names on it. For people born in Manitoba the contact information and appropriate form to fill out can be found here: http://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca/pdf/application_mb_birth_document.en.pdf

Only one of my parents is listed on my birth document, will this be a problem?

Only if the parent in question is your only connection to Métis ancestry; but there are a couple solutions to this.

1.  Your parents, if both still living, can file a joint request at Vital Statistics Manitoba to have the missing parent added to your birth certificate. You can then request a copy of it.

2.  If this is not possible, the missing parent, a sibling or a parent of theirs, can swear an affidavit claiming you as their biological child, niece, nephew or grandchild. The affidavit must be signed and notarized and include detailed information on yourself, the parent you want to prove a connection to and how you are related. Otherwise it will not count as an acceptable legal document.

I don’t have a valid government issued photo ID; what should I do to meet this prerequisite?

You will need to submit a guarantor signed passport photo and accompanying statement in order to verify your identity. You can request the appropriate forms for this from our receptionist.

I am applying on behalf of my child who is too young to have government issued photo ID. What should we do to meet this prerequisite?

For a child under the age of 15, we are able to accept a school identity card or a Child Find Manitoba Card, provided it includes a current photo of the child in question. This however, may not be sufficient at Manitoba Metis Federation offices when applying for citizenship. Discuss with them prior to applying for Metis Nation Citizenship as you may be asked to submit a guarantor signed passport photo with accompanying statement or some other supplementary documentation.

My gender identity doesn’t match the gender recorded on my documents. Will this be a problem?

Your gender identity does not affect your ancestral connections. However, unless otherwise specified, we do transcribe your information into our genealogical database exactly as it appears on your birth certificate or other official documents.

If your birth certificate has you registered under a gender that does not reflect your actual gender identity, please let us know upon application so we can note it in your file and avoid misgendering you in correspondence and on your final genealogical report.

Our genealogical software allows for 3 gender options: male, female and unknown. You can choose which of the 3 you would like to be recorded under.

My name was legally changed but not due to a marriage or adoption. What extra documentation do I need to submit to verify my identity and connection to my parents?

You will need to submit a Change of Name Certificate to prove that the person recorded on the birth documents and the person pictured on the photo ID are in fact one and the same person.

Why do I have to submit these documents and information?

These prerequisites are required both here and when applying for Metis Nation Citizenship at MMF offices. We are required to verify a client’s identity to ensure no privacy laws are breached when delivering the private personal information contained in our genealogical reports.

Can I provide copies of the prerequisite documents or do I need to submit the originals?

If you are applying in person, please bring originals and we can take a photocopy of your documents ourselves. Your originals will be returned to you immediately.

If you are applying via mail, post or website, you do not need to send in your original documents, but please provide copies in the form of a good quality scan, photocopy or photo.

We have found faxed copies to be of too poor quality to properly discern the required information.

What happens if I don’t submit the prerequisite documents and information?

Your file will not be worked on until the prerequisites are present in your file. You will be sent a reminder requesting the prerequisite documents and information if it is not already in your file when we are about to begin research. Your file will be skipped over until such a time as we receive them from you.  No other work on your file will take place until the documents and information in question are submitted.  This is the last point at which you can choose to cancel your file before it becomes non-refundable.

Why do I need to submit information on my parents and grandparents? I thought that’s what the genealogy service would find out.

The Privacy Act offers protections to all individuals still living or born less than 100 years ago, which limit a third party’s access to their information. We ask that clients provide us with information on their parents and grandparents to get us started, as this is the only way we can begin the process of establishing links to generations further back in their lineage.

It will take me a while to get all this information and documents together. Should I place an order now, or wait until I can submit everything that is needed?

It is up to you. However, because the wait time on genealogies in the queue can vary from 2 to 5 months depending on the type of order, we recommend that you start a file as soon as possible, and send in documents and information to be added to your existing file as you receive them. That way, when we arrive at your file in the queue, it will not be delayed further due to missing prerequisite documents.

I have the documents I need but very little other information on my parents, grand-parents or great-grandparents due to estrangement within the family. What should I do?

Call ahead and ask to speak to a genealogist on our team. They should be able to quickly review the information you have and assess whether or not they believe more will be needed. If the information you have is not enough to get started with, you may need to spend some time asking your relatives or community elders for more information before going through with this process.

I’m adopted and have limited access to the information and documents listed as prerequisites. How should I go forward in this process?

If you or one of your ancestors was legally adopted and the adoption is not sealed; we require the following 2 documents as well as the information listed below in order to attempt a genealogy:

  • A copy of the adoptee’s Pre-Adoption Birth Registration (PABR)
  • A copy of the adoptee’s Decree of Absolute Adoption
  • If you are in contact with your birth family, any information you can gather from them about your grandparents and great-grandparents, such as names, approximate dates and places of birth and death.

If the adoption in question took place in Manitoba, the 2 documents listed above should be in the possession of the CFS Post Adoption Registry (204-945-6964). If the adoption in question is sealed and/or the information is inaccessible to you for whatever reason, please contact the Manitoba Métis Federation Citizenship Department directly (204-586-8474) and ask to speak to Janine Morin-West for further guidance or to engage in the CFS/MMF PAR partnership process.

My adoption occurred outside of Manitoba. What should I do?

You will need to request the same documents, as described above, from the adoption agency or governmental department that took care of your adoption, in the province in which it occurred.

I want to add my children to my genealogy. What extra documentation do I need in order to do this?

You will need to submit an official document linking each of your children to you in order for us to include them on a Family Group Sheet.

Suitable document include any one of the following:  a Registration of Live Birth; a Birth Certificate with Parents’ Names on it; a Baptismal Certificate or any other legal document clearly connecting your child to you (i.e. divorce and child support proceedings).

Can you add my grandchildren as well?

Unfortunately: No. We include only a client’s direct ancestors and their children in our genealogies. Including a generation of grandchildren takes enough time and resources that we recommend that grandchildren get their own genealogies.

How long is the wait time?

6Wait times vary depending on the amount of requests in the queue. This can mean anywhere from 4-5 months on average. Longer wait times may happen due to external circumstances, such as unanticipated spikes in requests.

Why does it take so long?

Our genealogy services are extremely popular and we receive anywhere between 90 and 200 genealogy requests per month. They are placed in a queue in the order in which they are received. We will process your file when we arrive at it in the queue.

I want to go hunting, fishing or gathering this fall. Can I put a rush on my order?

Unfortunately: No. At this time we are only accepting Rush Requests under special circumstances such as to access essential services like health or housing support from the MMF. These Rush Requests are only accepted when they are submitted in writing by an MMF representative acting on your behalf. Please contact the MMF Community Liaisons Department if you need assistance of this nature.

I have ordered a genealogy with the intent of applying for programming, services or grants available only to Indigenous applicants. Can I put a rush on my order so as not to miss important deadlines?

Unfortunately: No. At this time we are only accepting Rush Requests under special circumstances such as to access essential services like health or housing support from the MMF. These Rush Requests are only accepted when they are submitted in writing by an MMF representative acting on your behalf. Please contact the MMF Community Liaisons Department if you need assistance of this nature.

I am urgently in need of this genealogy to enroll in the MMF prescription drug program (PDP) which will provide me with essential medication. Can I put a rush on my order?

Yes. At this time we are only accepting Rush Requests under special circumstances such as to access essential services like health or housing support from the MMF. These Rush Requests are only accepted when they are submitted in writing by an MMF representative acting on your behalf. Please contact the MMF Community Liaisons Department if you need assistance of this nature.

 

FAQ – Orders in Progress

Your order is in progress. Questions you may have as you wait.

I’ve sent in my order by mail. How will I know when it has been received?

Watch your bank accounts, if your cheque is processed, we have received your application and have entered your order into our queue.

My order is in progress and I have received a phone call or email requesting more information or a specific document on a particular ancestor. Why?

Every single generational link leading up to an ancestor identified as Métis on a historical record must be substantiated with a primary source document in order to stand up in a court of law. Our genealogists will only contact you to request additional documentation of this kind if they have exhausted all other resources available to them. In these cases, you will be given some direction on how to acquire the document being requested.

What if I have difficulty acquiring the document in question or choose not to pursue it at this time?

If you are not able to provide the document we need (or some other legal document that acts as an equivalent), we will not be able to complete and release your request at this time. Your file will be put on hold until such a time as the document (or an acceptable substitute) is submitted.

I haven’t heard from your office yet, even though the estimated wait time on my order has passed. What should I do?

Delays depend on the length of the file queue at any given moment. You can call the office to get a sense of where your file is in the process. It is not unusual to wait anywhere between 4-6 months, calling will not speed up the process.

I’ve changed my mind. I want to cancel my order now. Can I get a refund?

Refunds are possible only if we have not yet started doing research on your file. Please call to find out. Downgrades on books (which result in partial refunds) are also an option depending on how much time we have already invested in your file.

 

FAQ – Completed Orders

Your order is complete… what next?

I have received my genealogy and it has been stamped “Inconclusive”. Now what?

All genealogies marked “Inconclusive” should be accompanied by a letter. Please read the letter attentively for further guidance. If you have not received a letter, we encourage you to call our office.

I have received my genealogy, how can I tell if I have a Métis ancestor?

Any records pertaining to Métis ancestors will be found at the back of your package or genealogy book. Documents such as scrip affidavits or census records are common types of primary source documents in which ancestors can be identified as Métis. If your genealogy includes such a document in its very last pages, we have successfully found an ancestor in your tree that identified as Métis in the historical record.

I have received my genealogy and there is a scrip affidavit or census record attached in which one of my direct ancestors is identified as Métis. Now what?

The next step is to contact the Manitoba Metis Federation who can give you guidance in completing your application for Métis Citizenship using the genealogy we have provided you with.

My genealogy has been submitted and formally rejected by the MMF. What now?

The MMF has their own internal process for appeals and rejections. Please speak to one of their representatives for further guidance.

I think my genealogy was lost in the mail. What should I do?

First, please try contacting the post office for confirmation and to report the incident. Then, please contact us and let us know. We will print you a new one free of charge if you are able to pick it up. Otherwise, you may be asked to cover the postage fees.

I would like a second copy of my genealogy. How do I request one?

Due to the volume of genealogy requests we receive, requests for copies must go through the regular ordering stream and await their turn in the queue. Proof of Métis Ancestry Package reprints can be offered at a fee of 15$ only if the original order was made more recently than 2008. Copies of books cost the full amount as the originals due to the time and resources required to produce them.

Now that I have my genealogy I would love to know more about one specific ancestor or solve a family mystery; how do I go about that?

We encourage people to do their own research for these kinds of questions as this goes beyond the scope of our genealogy service. Please refer to the genealogy section on our website for more information on doing research in person or online.

My grandparent or great-grandparent’s name looks wrong, but it must be them because the dates and places are correct. What’s going on?

As much as possible, our genealogists record names as they appear in the original records. If a name looks different or includes several other names of which you weren’t aware, there is a good chance that the information was transcribed from an ecclesiastical record, such as a baptismal register. If you need further clarification please contact our office and speak to a genealogist.

My ex shows up on my family group sheet, can I have them removed?

Yes. However, this can have some unintended consequences.

1. If the ex was included in the genealogy because they are the mother/father of your children, removing their will result in your children being recorded as having only one known parent (i.e. Jimmy Smith – son of Unknown and Jane Doe).

2. If your last name and your child’s last name do not match, you may be asked to provide more documentation to explain why when it comes time to apply for citizenship at MMF offices.

3. If the genealogy is for your child, and their Métis ancestors come from your ex’s side of the family, we cannot remove them as this would break their connection to the ancestors whose rights they are attempting to claim.

I am remarried but my first spouse shows up on the first page instead of my current spouse. Can I have them removed?

Yes. However we highly recommend you don’t remove your first spouse entirely if they are the father or mother of your children (see previous question and answer above). We can however prioritize your current spouse so that they show up first on printouts instead of your ex.

I think a mistake has been made on my genealogy. What should I do?

Any errors can be corrected free of charge if brought to our attention within 3 months of receiving your order. Please contact us with specific information on the error you believe was made. Our genealogist will look into it and check the sources. If our sources do not correspond with what you claim, you will be asked to provide primary source documents that counter our own sources before any amendments can be made to the genealogy.

If an error has indeed been made, we will correct it and provide you with a new copy of the pages in question for your records. If you require corrections after the 3 month period mentioned above, any additional printouts will be subject to additional fees.

I had a genealogy done with your office several years ago. The new one I just received and the old one I have in my possession do not match. What’s going on?

More and more primary source documents and resources become available to us with every passing year. On top of this we are constantly adding new and more reliable information into our genealogical database.  The newest version of your genealogy should be more accurate and more complete than the last. Depending on how long ago the original was done, it is sometimes worth ordering a new genealogy just to have those updates.

I already have a genealogy done by myself or another researcher/institution. The new one I just received from you and the other one do not match. What’s going on?

We cannot answer for the work of another institution or researcher. However, if you can point out where the research diverges, we can double check our sources to ensure no error has been made on our part. See the previous questions and answers for further information on what to do if you suspect an error has been made.

There are dead ends in my genealogy, even though I have found generations going further back online. Why aren’t they included?

There are several possible reasons why information you submitted or information found online might not be included in your genealogy:

1. The information is unverifiable and cannot be confirmed using the primary source documents we have access to.

2. The information is about an ancestor from outside of Canada.

3. The information you submitted or found online is incorrect.

Now that I have my genealogy I would also like to order copies of some of the primary source documents used to create it. How do I go about that?

There is a fee per document copy that you order. Please refer to the Reproduction of Documents section on our website for more information.