An Alberta Homestead Claimant Forgets His Age

The homestead application file for William Sartorius in Alberta, Canada contained an additional interesting letter from William over forty years after his homestead was completed. Satorius’ file is contained in the database “Alberta, Canada, Homestead Records, 1870-1930.”

Sartorius wanted to know how old he had claimed to be when he made his homestead application.

A letter dated 28 September 1951 from Beverly, Alberta, is signed by William Henry Sartorius and says in part, “I wish to obtain a statement as to my age given on a homestead entry made in the year 1904 in the Province of Alberta.” Sartorius also provides the legal description of the property he homesteaded.

Why Sartorius needed this information is not clear, but he did enclose one dollar for the service.




The Chief of the Lands Division replied from Ottawa, Canada, a few days later on 3 October and told Sartorius that on 7 August 1907, Sartorius had given his age as twenty-nine years. The dollar Sartorius enclosed for the service was returned.


Whether Sartorius simply did not remember his age or whether he wanted to make certain an age he was giving in 1951 was consistent with the homestead entry is not clear.

The letter serves as a reminder that people don’t always know how old they are or that they sometimes forget how old they are.

Or they just can’t remember what age they told who.

It’s also a reminder that one never knows what may turn up in a record until one actually looks through it


A reminder from our readers:

These homestead records partially (496 of the 686 reels as of the date of this post) are online at for free

To use this version you need the film (roll) and file number which can be located online at the Alberta Genealogical Society’s website. Once you have obtained the film/reel and file numbers from the society’s website, search for that film/reel number in the ‘Search this Collection’ box the collection’s page on and it will take you right to the correct reel, then you can use the file number to locate the specific images on the roll.


6 thoughts on “An Alberta Homestead Claimant Forgets His Age

  1. I wanted to see if there was anymore info. on some Hyett ancestors, but then realized that it was post 1930 even tho. they were there from 1914. Did find another pre-1930, but evidently that film is not on the other website you pointed out…not only searched, but looked as at many thumbnails of the films that I could and upon coming back to your page realized that it was partial files.for the films. Would sure like to know when they upload the rest of them and also the post 1930 even tho. the films did state 1870-1940. Thanks Michael for the excellent tutorial.

    • You are welcome. The scans on are (as of this writing) incomplete. The claims used as illustrations in the blog were not included in the ones that have been placed on and I used the ones on I was unable to find the roll I needed for William Sartorius and a respondent on an earlier post on this topic indicated the rolls posted to were incomplete.

  2. He may have needed some proof-of-age (birth date approximation) for some reason. Eligibility for retirement or for receiving a benefit are common reasons for needing some such evidence.

    • That’s a very reasonable possibility. He could have been using the age from the homestead claim or wanting to make certain it was consistent with the age he was giving in another type of application.

  3. Thank you for the information and links to see the Alberta Homestead Records. I was able to find a relative and the papers associated with his homestead claim.

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