University of Manitoba’s digital archives contain newspapers, military, and prairie history

I had to intended to write this blog post immediately after I learned about the University of Manitoba’s digital collections — but I became distracted. Very distracted.

Thanks to Patricia Greber’s posting on Facebook about this online archival collection, I spent (probably more than) a couple of hours looking for ancestors who lived in Manitoba and entering their names in the search box — all while ignoring what I had planned to do yesterday afternoon.

If you have an ancestor who lived in Manitoba you should definitely explore the University of Manitoba’s UM Digital Collection that contains more than 75,000 digital materials, such as newspapers, correspondence, photos, books, and film.

Two newspaper collections attracted my attention: The Winnipeg Tribune and the university’s student newspaper, The Manitoban.

The front page of the May 1, 1940 edition of The Winnipeg Tribune is one of thousands of pages in the University of Manitoba's digital archives.

The front page of the May 1, 1940 edition of The Winnipeg Tribune is one of thousands of pages in the University of Manitoba’s digital archives.

The Winnipeg Tribune
The Winnipeg Tribune
was one of western Canada’s oldest newspapers and ran from 1890 to 1980. It was a rival to the Winnipeg Free Press. While it had excellent coverage of local events and personalities, it also reported on national and international news.

The Winnipeg Tribune digital collection on the university’s website spans the years 1890 to 1969. The years 1951 to 1956 and 1961 to 1968 have not yet been digitized, but the university indicates it plans to add more issues soon.

I found searching by keyword in the Newspaper Search tab turned up several results for me, and the highlighted keywords were easy to find on each page. This search feature allowed me to easily search by publication, word(s), phrase, and year range.

In one case, I knew the date of death, but could not find an obituary through keyword search. So, I browsed the issues and without too much effort found the obituary.

The Manitoban
If one of your ancestors attended the University of Manitoba, you should search The Manitoban. This student newspaper was first published November 5, 1914, making it one of Canada’s centennial newspapers.

In 2009, the University of Manitoba’s Archives & Special Collections partnered with The Manitoban to digitally preserve the paper copies of the Manitoban, and began an ambitious project to digitize the entire 90+ year run of the paper, making it a publicly available and completely searchable record of 100 years of student life in Manitoba. Today, the collection spans the years 1914 to 2012.

Prairie history, military, sports
Also take a look at the university’s other digital collections. To see what is available, look at the Subjects, Collections, and Formats. In the Subjects, for example, you will find several topics, including Prairie History and Sports and Recreation, and War and the Military.

Include non-Manitobans in your search
Do not limit yourself to ancestors who lived in Manitoba. If the story was national or international, it may have been picked up by The Winnipeg Tribune. I easily found a few mentions of a relative from Montreal who performed in Winnipeg with the vaudeville troupe, the Dumbells.

Genealogy Research Toolbox
I have added the two newspapers mentioned in this post to the Newspapers section in the Genealogy Research Toolbox.

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