Step-By-Step Guide For Research into Burials Associated with Tuberculosis Treatment in Manitoba  

Mary Jane Logan McCallum

Winnipeg, June 2023

Ninette Sanatorium, Manitoba Lung Association, MBLung 11-11-001

Have you ever been curious about family and community history but did not know where or how to begin searching for information?

Together with the team at the Manitoba Indigenous Tuberculosis History Project, I have listened to many people who are on similar journeys, and this prompted the creation of a Research Guide.

Here is a link to a PDF of the Guide. We are asking for feedback on the Guide in preparation for another edition later in the year.  Please send any feedback to: asap or by July 30, 2023, at the latest.

While it can be used more broadly, this Guide primarily speaks to people looking for information on burials of individuals who were sent away for tuberculosis (TB) treatment and did not return.  Because of the significant number of children in TB sanatoriums, and the significant rates of TB in Indian residential schools, this history is connected to residential schools in many ways, with transfers of children between hospitals and schools or vice versa.   

The Guide starts with the basics and takes researchers through a step-by-step process describing the paths we have taken as historians in similar searches.  These paths address searches of the records of the Sanatorium Board of Manitoba, the Société historique de Saint-Boniface, Library and Archives Canada (including RG10 Schools Files), the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections, and Voters Lists. It also describes how to access research tools including the Nanilavut Initiative, the Medical Patient Searches of the Northwest Territories, the Manitoba Vital Statistics Database, the Manitoba Genealogical Society, and Find A Grave. 

In all searches, we recommend people gather as much information as possible, and as their research progresses, that they come back and add more information. This step is supported by a helpful checklist, reproduced from the Guide below.  Please be in touch to request a printed copy of the Guide, or download your own from the website.

  1. First and middle name(s) of the missing person. Be sure to include formal names, nicknames, and any spelling variations you can think of (for instance, Betsie could be Betsey, Betsy, or even Elizabeth).
  2. Last name of the missing person. Include possible different spellings. Also, if they might have had stepparents or been adopted by or lived with someone or another family, include their last name as possible here. Include women’s married and maiden last names if you can.
  3. Community of the missing person. There may be more than one community to which they are connected. If the person was at school when they were sent to hospital, include the name and location of the school here.
  4. Birthdate, or age of person when they were sent to hospital. Even a rough estimate can be helpful.
  5. Parents of the missing person. Include stepparents, adopted family (including customary adoption). Were any of them sent to a hospital? Do you know which one(s)?
  6. Siblings of the missing person. Include step siblings and cousin siblings. Were any of them sent to a hospital? Do you know which one(s)
  7. Any faith community or religious affiliation of the missing person.
  8. Any faith community or religious affiliation of the family of the missing person.
  9. Date the missing person was sent to the hospital. Even a rough estimate can be helpful.
  10. Name of the hospital the missing person might have been sent to. Even a rough estimate or name of a nearby community can be helpful. For example, “close to Winnipeg” narrows the options down to two hospitals.
  11. Any stories you might know or have heard about where they were sent, when they were sent, who sent them, anyone who was sent with them, etc.

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