Indian Affairs, Annuity Paylists

Available reels: 15

Document Record

Indian Affairs, Annuity Paylists
RG 10
Document source
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
In 1755, the British Crown established the British Indian Department, and responsibility for Indian Affairs rested on the Superintendents of Indian Affairs from 1755 to 1841. After 1843, the Governors General held control of Indian Affairs, but usually delegated much of their responsibility to a series of Civil Secretaries. In 1860, the responsibility for Indian affairs was transferred from the government of Great Britain to the Province of Canada and the responsibility for Indian Affairs was given to the Crown Lands Department Commissions Responsible for Indian Affairs. The responsibility for Indian Affairs rested with various government departments between 1873 and 1966. The Minister of the Interior also held the position of Superintendent General of Indian Affairs after the Indian Affairs Department was established in 1880. From 1950 to 1965, the Indian Affairs portfolio was carried by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. In October 1966, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development was created. Today, the department is known as Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
This collection consists, primarily, of headquarters copies of treaty annuity paylists. Paylists had at least three copies: the agent maintained one and he then forwarded the others to Headquarters for verification and retention. As the Headquarters copies, the records in this series represent the main core of the Department of Indian Affairs holdings in this area. While, in theory, the information contained in field office copies of paylists should mirror that found in the Headquarters copy, researchers have found discrepancies. As a result, users may find it useful to compare the copy of the paylists found in this series with any extant field office copies.
While treaty annuity paylists have importance in their own right as proof of fulfilment of treaty obligations of the government, they are also used by many researchers as a genealogical tool, especially for the period prior to the establishment of the Indian Register in 1951. The value of paylists for genealogical research has some qualifications, however. Often, especially in the period prior to about 1940, paylists normally record by name the head of household only, with other family members recorded only as a number (e.g., 1 woman, 2 boys, 3 girls). This makes the tracing of women and girls particularly difficult as the head of household was commonly male. On the other hand, paylists often also contain very valuable comments about family relationships and about childrens' absences from the family home by virtue of their attendance at residential schools. Often they also indicate file numbers for correspondence about particular transactions that affect an individual's inclusion or not on a paylist (e.g., band transfers, commutations, loss of status by marriage, admissions of new adherents to treaty, etc.).