To make searching and accessing our archival collections easier, we have a few different tools you can use to start your research from home online.

Please read below to learn more about each research tool or to find additional links for
supporting your research.

Using Finding Aids

For every collection of records preserved in our vault, there is a finding aid to help you navigate that collection.

Each finding aid describes a collection, or fonds, from general to specific; going fonds → series → subseries → individual folder or item. Using this aid, you can see what a collection has without needing to visit the archives to open every box.

You can use the Search Finding Aids search bar to find a collection or search terms within finding aids. On a finding aid page, you can use search terms with Cntrl+F.

Show More Collapse

Exploring Databases

The SPRA has a large collection of individual databases and indexes for archival research produced by staff and volunteers.

These cover subjects about the South Peace including Land Settlement and Ownership, Surnames, Communities, Sports, and Newspapers. Each database contains a brief description of its contents as well as a search bar or key at the top to more easily find the information you are searching for.

Show More Collapse

Locating Reference Files

The topical reference files are a collection of newspaper clippings and other assorted print materials for research reference.

While not archival, these materials serve as a great starting point for researching a more general topic. These are sorted topically by series → subseries in our online guide and items can be accessed during a visit to our reading room at the archives.

Show More Collapse

Research Guides

For special topics or collections here at the archives, there are specific guides to help you find and access relevant records.

The Indigenous records research guide was developed as part of a major project in 2021 to identify, describe, and digitize Indigenous related records in our collection. The guide describes fonds, reference books and files, Telling Our Stories articles, and external resources that contain records by or about Indigenous peoples.

The military records research guide describes some of the records the SPRA holds related to World War I and World War II as well as collecting together a large list of resources that hold military records from external institutions.

Show More Collapse

Viewing Newspaper Articles

Newspapers issues from the South Peace can be found in a few different locations at the SPRA and at other institutions.

Indexes of newspapers like the Spirit River Echo are in our Exploring Databases section. We also have a collection of print newspapers like the Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune that can be found in Using Finding Aids and viewed in our reading room.

These newspapers can also be found at other institutions. A complete collection of the Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune in microfilm is available at the Grande Prairie Public library and a number of South Peace newspapers have been digitized by the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.

Show More Collapse

Where to Find Photographs

A selection of our photographs have been digitized and made available for viewing on Alberta on Record. Many more photographs are described in the finding aids on our website.

Many other archives also use Alberta on Record to share their photographs. Be sure that the search bar in the top left corner reads “Search South Peace Regional Archives” before entering your search term.

Not all photographs will be suitable for high-quality reproductions. For more information about ordering reproductions of our photographs, visit our Photograph Reproductions page.

Show More Collapse

You Found it! Accessing an Item

When you have identified the collection and records you wish to access, you can schedule an appointment to visit the archives.

You Didn't Find it... Getting Help

If you can’t find what you are looking for on our website, don’t fear. You can get in contact with staff at the archives for assistance, or access a list of external resources that may answer your question.

Research Assistance

If you did not find what you were looking for, we may be able to help you. Archives staff
are able to provide 30 minutes of complimentary research assistance. Additional
assistance will be subject to a research fee of $23.10 per half hour or part thereof (GST Included).

When crafting your research request, please remember:

  • Ask specific questions.
  • Provide as much information as possible (dates, full names, locations, alternate spellings, etc.)
  • If you have already spoken with any staff about your request, be sure to mention this.
  • Reproductions, whether digital files or physical copies, are subject to fees. Some records may not be available for reproduction.
  • Be prepared for some disappointments. There is always the possibility that records were never created, were destroyed at some point in the past, or were never donated to the archives.
  • Some records may be closed due to conservation concerns, donor-imposed restrictions, or privacy legislation.
Research Assistance Collapse