Hudson’s Bay Company Archives – Name Indexes

Names of employees and other individuals are documented in many Hudson's Bay Company Archives records. The following indexes contain information taken directly from archival records in our holdings that are commonly used when looking for specific individuals.

For examples of non-indexed records relating to employees and individuals and for a list of books and other resources relating to genealogy research, consult our Common Research Topics. Our Biographical Information Sheets are another source of information for some employees.

Use the index titles below to search Keystone to learn more about the records and to find location codes and microfilm numbers.

Indexes for Hudson’s Bay Company records

  • Servants’ contracts (1780-ca.1926)

    • Index includes information taken from contracts and related records of Hudson’s Bay Company employees, including: employee names, parish/post names, ages, contract lengths, terms of service, positions to be held, and wages.
    • Not included in the index but sometimes found in servants’ contracts (mostly contracts from the 1900s): letters of application, letters of recommendation, photographs and academic certificates.
    • For more detailed information, please see our guide to Understanding the Index to HBC Servants’ Contracts.
  • Northern Department servants’ engagement registers (1823-1895)

    • Index includes information taken from engagement registers for employees of the Northern Department, including: employee names, contract numbers, dates, parish/post names, positions to be held.
    • Not included in the index but sometimes found in servants’ engagement registers: ages, terms of service, contract expiry dates, reasons for leaving the employ of HBC, wages, and comments.
  • Register books of wills and administrations of proprietors (1717-1903)

    • Index includes names and dates taken from registers of shareholders’ wills.
    • Not included in the index but sometimes found in original records: executor names, lists of annuitants, stipulations of wills, and related information.

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Indexes for North West Company records

  • North West Company account books (1795-1827)

    • Index includes employee names, dates and notes taken from a variety of account books, including employee accounts, kept by the North West Company.
    • Not included in the index but sometimes found in original records: parish/post names and details of accounts, including cash advances, payments for work and expenditures.
  • North West Company servants’ contracts (1787-1822)

    • Index includes names, dates and notes taken from contracts of North West Company employees.
    • Not included in the index but sometimes found in original records: lengths of contracts terms of service (including salary and equipment to be supplied by the North West Company), positions to be held and employees’ wintering posts.

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Indexes for Red River Settlement records

Index includes information taken from registers of baptisms, marriages and burials created by Anglican ministers who were appointed by HBC to serve as chaplains in the Red River Settlement and surrounding areas, including Norway House, York Factory, Churchill Factory, Brandon House and Pembina.

  • Extracts from registers of baptisms, marriages and burials in Rupert’s Land sent to the Governor and Committee (1820-1851)

    • Entries for baptisms include Christian names of individuals, Christian names and notes about some relations, dates, places of residence.
    • Not included in the index but sometimes found in original records: fathers’ professions, names of chaplains performing the baptisms.
    • Entries for marriages include names of brides and grooms, dates, places of residence.
    • Not included in the index but sometimes found in original records: names of witnesses present, names of chaplains performing the marriages, places of marriages
    • Entries for burials include names of deceased, dates, places of residence and burial, ages.
    • Not included in the index but sometimes found in original records: occupations of deceased, names of individuals performing the burials.

These records have been digitized and can be viewed online. Search “Extracts from registers of baptisms, marriages and burials” in the Keystone database or go directly to the listing for these records.

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Frequently Asked Questions about these name indexes:

Why am I having trouble finding a name?

Alternative Spellings:

The given name, or surname, of an individual may appear in different forms. Try using alternative spellings when conducting searches.

Contracts or records did not survive:

Although the HBCA has an extensive collection of records containing employee information, many records, particularly those created pre-1778, have not survived.

Contracts/records were created but are missing or filed elsewhere.

Contracts were never created:

In some instances, individuals undertook seasonal or temporary employment with the Hudson’s Bay Company. Often, in these circumstances, formal contracts were not signed and received by HBC workers.

Individual did not work for HBC:

Because records were created for its business purposes, even though someone lived in the vicinity of a fur trade post, their name and information might not have been recorded by the company if they were not employed by the HBC.

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I found a name! Does the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives have more information than what is in the index?

Hudson’s Bay Company recorded information that was useful for its business purposes and activities and as such, information recorded about employees usually included only the most basic information, such as age, parish of origin, years of service, capacity of service, posts stationed at, salary, etc. More detailed personal information and information relating to family members was rarely documented; this is particularly true for early fur trade employees.

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Can I see the original records?

Yes, there are some original records which can be accessed and viewed in the Archives Research Room; however, some records are withdrawn from service and cannot be used. If a record is withdrawn, or if you are not able to visit the Archives in person, keep in mind that many of the records have been microfilmed and are available upon request through our Microfilm Program with a library that participates in interlibrary loans. Use the index title to search Keystone to learn more about the records, including microfilm numbers.

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How accurate is the information found in the records?

The data included in the various indexes has been derived directly from HBCA records; however, verification of information against the original or microfilmed record is advisable.

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Can I ask for assistance in my search?

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, you can contact the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives at hbca@gov.mb.ca.

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