Get help researching your First Nations ancestry

You can request a family history search to find out if you have ancestors registered under the Indian Act or a letter of ancestry to attest you have registered ancestors.

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Who can use our services

You can request a family history search in the Indian Register if you meet any of these conditions:

You can request a letter of ancestry if you:

Family history search

We can search the Indian Register with the names you provide us. The results may include, when available:

To protect privacy, we can only release information on direct ancestors, such as parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

The Indian Register holds information on registered First Nations only. Métis, Inuit and unrecognized First Nations groups manage their own membership records.

Letter of ancestry

A letter of ancestry is an official document confirming registered ancestors for the purpose of living and working in the United States as a person registered under the Indian Act in accordance with the Jay Treaty.

How to apply

For an adult (16 or older)

For a family history search or a letter of ancestry:

  1. Contact us by phone or email to request an application form.
  2. Return the completed form, as well as a copy of 2 pieces of valid acceptable identification.
  3. Be sure to sign and date your request. Please note that digital and typewritten signatures are not acceptable.

For a child (15 or younger) or dependent adult

A parent, custodial parent or legal guardian needs to request the family history search or letter of ancestry.

Be sure to include:

  1. a copy of 2 pieces of the parent’s, custodial parent’s or legal guardian’s valid acceptable identification
  2. any legal document granting custody or guardianship of the child or dependent adult, if applicable
  3. a copy of the child’s or dependent adult’s proof of birth document with parental information or a copy of their Secure Certificate of Indian Status or Certificate of Indian Status, if registered under the Indian Act

Service standards

Family history searches

Family history searches usually take between 6 to 8 weeks to complete, depending on the volume of requests received.

  • Searches for children or dependent adults in care are treated as a priority and are usually completed within 2 weeks. Results are sent by priority mail.
  • Searches related to a Gladue or Indigenous Peoples Court are completed within 6 to 8 weeks or before the court date. Results are sent by priority mail.

Letters of ancestry

Letters of ancestry are sent by priority mail within 2 weeks from when a complete request is received. We cannot guarantee or estimate delivery times for priority mail crossing the border.

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