The Archives of Manitoba, including the Hudson's Bay Company Archives, really has a rich collection of records which document life at the Red River Settlement. This includes records that show the people who lived there.
One example of this is the Red River Settlement census returns. Beginning in 1824, the Council of Assiniboia counted the households of settlers who lived on lots along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. The Council of Assiniboia was the governing body for the District of Assiniboia, which included the Red River Settlement.
Every year, two copies of the census were created. One of the copies was sent to the Hudson's Bay Company headquarters in London and the second copy remained at the site of the Settlement. The census is really intended to provide a snapshot of the population.
Every entry included the name of the head of the household, as well as vital information, such as age and marital status, as well as religion and country of origin. They also indicated the number and gender of dependents who lived within that household. Finally, they provided an inventory of property and land, including the type of livestock and farm equipment, as well as the acreages of cultivated and uncultivated land. At the end of each census they included a summary of all the information for that particular year.
Church records also document the people who lived at the Red River Settlement and the Hudson's Bay Company Archives has in its holdings a number of records, including registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials. These records were created by Anglican chaplains who were sent by the Company to the Red River Settlement.
Among their various duties, the chaplains recorded various family and religious events for those who lived at the Settlement. They also conducted ceremonies for those who lived outside of the Red River Settlement, including at various HBC posts, such as Churchill, York Factory, and Pembina.
The registers differ from the information documented in the censuses in that they often include the names of women as well as children. They would also include other details, such as occupation and place of residence.
The burial registers can sometimes show how difficult life was for the settlers. This particular page from the 1823 register shows that four children of the same family all perished of the croup within days of each other.
So taken as a whole, these records are really valuable in that they capture the people who lived at the settlement and show just how diverse this group of settlers was.
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