Types of Post Records

Post Journals (a)

Journals of the various establishments of the Hudson's Bay Company in North America, recording weather, daily activities, occurrences of note, arrivals and departures of visitors and expeditions into the hinterland. Many journals include copies of accounts and correspondence inward and outward. Some have attached or separated meteorological journals noting temperature, wind velocity and barometric pressure, while other posts include logs of various vessels operating in Hudson and James Bays, journals of expeditions into the hinterland, astronomical journals noting stars and planets and their measurements, or medical journals kept by the surgeon.

Correspondence Books (b)

Contemporary and letterpress copies of incoming and outgoing letters between various Hudson's Bay Company posts in North America. The correspondence covers a broad range of subjects, the most common being matters relating to orders and instructions from the district officers, forwarding of pelts, settling of accounts, quality of provisions and supplies, and other subjects affecting the conduct of the fur trade.

Correspondence Inward (c)

Originals and contemporary copies of letters received at Company posts relating to a wide variety of business and personal matters. This category includes letters not copied into the Correspondence Books noted above.

Account Books (d)

Account books of various Company posts, including bills payable, bills receivable, cash accounts, inventories, Indians', servants' and officers' debt books, provision shed accounts, invoices, bills of lading, standards of trade, lists of servants and a variety of other accounts.

Reports on Districts (e)

Annual district reports of the HBC commenting on social and economic conditions of the district. Although the format varies, the reports usually include a statement of the topography of the district, the advantages and disadvantages inherent in its strategic position, comments on posts, the productivity of each, the means of subsistence for the traders, conduct of the officers and men, the number and health of the Indians, changes in their condition and fluctuations in the fur trade. Some sketches and maps are also included. Reports of subsidiary posts in the district are frequently included under the name of the district headquarters.

Lists of Servants (f)

Enumeration of servants in various Company posts in North America. Not all lists are detailed but the general format includes such information as names, parish, capacity (i.e. position in the HBC), wages, winter residence, expiry date of contract, age, stature, person (i.e. physique), number of years of service, character and other remarks. Some lists enumerate the staff of the Northern department while others give the notice of retirement. A list of North West Company clerks for 1821 is also included.

Abstracts of Servants' Accounts (g)

The abstracts provide separate lists of Officers, Clerks and Postmasters, and Servants. They provide a general statement of each employee's account with the HBC and include the names and accounts of the men at various districts listing the name, parish of origin, capacity (i.e. position in the HBC), winter residence, years of service, contract expiry date, wage, sundry credits, assignments in England, assignments in Montreal, book debts, rations, benefit fund, bills in London or Montreal, remarks, and a balance.

District Fur Returns (h)

Lists of the fur consignments from the major posts in Rupert's Land, noting the kind and quantity of furs returned for a designated year. Later returns record the disposal of these furs: to London, to Sitka, or remaining in the country.

Minutes of Council (k)

Minutes of the annual meetings of the Governor of Rupert's Land, Chief Factors and Chief Traders of each district. Included are: discussions of major policy decisions affecting the disposition of men and supplies; resolutions and recommendations of the Governor and Committee in London; organization of the annual outfit; and standing rules and regulations.

District Statements (l)

Annual statements of servants' accounts of the HBC and various subsidiary enterprises under its control (i.e. the Puget's Sound Agricultural Company, the brig Ganymede, etc.) Included are names of servants, wage, gratuities, balance of book debts, capacity (i.e. position in the HBC) as well as other remarks. Contract expiry dates are sometimes provided. An index is included at the beginning of each statement detailing the district accounted for.

Scheme Indents (m)

Estimates of indent for the Northern Department two years in advance, i.e. Indent 1833 for outfit 1835. An inventory, the reserve stock and total amounts of goods are included. The commodities are listed alphabetically noting both kind and quantity of orders.

Indent Books (n)

Requisitions for the outfit two years in advance, e.g. orders made out in 1840 were shipped in 1841 for outfit 1842. The goods are listed alphabetically noting quantity and kind, together with other general remarks. The early indents are listed according to the various stores at the York Factory Depot in which the commodities were kept, i.e. Shipwright's Store, Cooper's Store, Naval Store, etc.

Fur Invoice Books (o)

Invoices of furs shipped to London on various Hudson's Bay Company vessels, listing quantity (in cases or bales) and kinds of furs and goods shipped.

Expenditure Books (p)

Accounts of goods distributed to Northern Department Districts in a designated year including an inventory, the total stock and total outfit of the Northern Department. Generally the books list the Districts by letter, and include the outfit for the year, total stock and expenditure by District within the Northern Department noting increases or decreases.

Book Debts (q)

Debits to the accounts of the HBC servants. The employees are grouped by their status in the HBC, such as officers of the Northern Department, officers of other departments, servants and clerks, Columbia District clerks, Montreal pay list, servants retired or deceased, and others. A recapitulation of the goods in alphabetical order is provided at the end of each book. Later volumes frequently include an index.

Scheme Distribution and Invoice Books (r)

Volumes listing the kind and quantity of goods required for the annual outfit by various districts within the Northern Department.

Provision Shed Balance Books (s)

A daily account of the kind and quantity of provisions issued to the various Districts in the Northern Department. The books record provisions issued to the mess, brigades, hunts, Indians and missions. Later volumes are drawn in a slightly different format, providing an annual balance sheet and an index to the accounts.

Store Balance Books (t)

Lists of stores distributed among the various districts (shown by an initial rather than a name) of the Northern Department, containing an inventory and an account of imports from various districts and departments. Other entries list distribution among the various districts and other establishments such as missions, ships, etc. Some later books record distribution to the rooms and stores of York Factory.

Servants' Engagement Registers (u)

The servants' engagement registers list the particulars of a servant's contract and note name, age, parish, capacity or position, date of engagement, length of term, expiry date of contract, present whereabouts (i.e. deserted, dead, or home, and the date), wage, remuneration for extra service, and other remarks. Only servants of the Northern Department are listed. The registers are arranged chronologically and within each register the entries are grouped by letter of the alphabet.

Accounts Current (v)

Accounts for the annual outfit of each district under the Northern Department. Various subsidiary companies and individuals are included. Usually, a statement of the value of the inventory, various accounts receivable as well as accounts payable to York Factory and a statement of profit or loss on the current account are provided.

Bills of Lading (w)

Bills of lading for goods or furs carried to or from inland posts. The bills are divided into two categories: boats departing and boats arriving. Bills for boats departing are catalogued by lading number and include lists of provisions and stores, private supplies and their destination. The bills of lading for boats arriving include a rough account of the returns of the annual outfit from various districts in the Northern Department, the country goods produced locally and goods left at inland depots. Indexes are provided at the end of the volumes.

Servants' Ledgers (x)

Statement of credit and debit with a given post in the Northern Department for goods and monies advanced to or paid by the HBC's servants. A balance is drawn at the end of each fiscal year. Credits include wages and gratuities, etc. made by the servant to the HBC. Debits include cash or goods advanced from the Hudson's Bay Company stores. A statement of profit or loss on the bills of the Northern Department is occasionally included. The statements are arranged alphabetically by servant with a nominal index preceding each volume.

London Fur Trade Ledgers (y)

Ledgers drawn every outfit year, with supplementary ledgers every four to seven years. Debits and credits are kept by account, with an index provided at the front. (Records for York Factory are not microfilmed because the same information may be found in A.14 Grand Ledgers.)

Miscellaneous Items (z)

Miscellaneous Items consisting of a variety of items relating to or found among the records of various posts. Included are various depositions, marriage contracts, memoranda, land records, petitions, indents, accounts, lists of servants, invoices, bills of lading, Indian census returns, reports on new transport routes, and various papers relating to the North West Company.

Inventories (aa)

Inventories of goods on hand in the Northern Department listing commodities according to districts within the Department (B.239/aa/1-4, 6-59, 100-104, 115, 118). There are also inventories for York Factory itself (B.239/aa/5, 60-99, 105-114, 116-117) which include a brief breakdown of their disposition, i.e., officers' and general stores, etc. The goods are listed alphabetically and include unit prices, quantity and total value. Various statements of orders filled and invoices often follow the records.

Tariff Books (bb)

Lists of costs and tariff of various commodities over a period of years. Generally, the unit cost is included as well as a 33 1/3% and a 50% tariff. Some books list unit cost and indicate tariff by district in tabular form while others include prime cost, York Factory cost, as well as prices charged to commissioned officers, clerks, servants, district prices and prices charged to Red River settlers. The commodities are listed in alphabetical order.

Store Transfer Books (cc)

Accounts of stores transferred between various Northern Department Districts, listing quantity, kind, and value of the goods, date of the transfer entry, and a balance. The volumes are indexed in most instances.

Store Invoice Books (dd)

Invoices of stores from York Factory Depot to various districts in the Northern Department, including the quantity and kind of goods, unit price and the total value of the shipment.

Invoices of Shipments (ee)

Invoices of shipments from Great Britain to Hudson Bay listing cargo according to quantity, kind, value of goods and names of supplier. Later volumes list goods according to district and provide an index at the beginning of the volume. See also A.24 for invoices to 1781.

Freight Check Books (ff)

Books listing cargo packages and their marks on the homeward voyages of the Prince Rupert, Ocean Nymph and Cam Owen.

Cash Advances to Officers and Servants (gg)

Cash advances to officers and servants kept by outfit year, with an index by name in alphabetical order for commissioned officers, clerks etc., and servants.

Fur Purchasing Agencies' Journals (hh)

Journals of Fur Purchasing Agencies reporting daily activities, occurrences of note, and arrivals and departures of visitors.