Fonds (S)X 2 - Pioneer Questionnaires collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Pioneer Questionnaires collection

General material designation

  • Textual record

Parallel title

Description type


Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Variations in title: Saskatchewan Archives Questionnaire 1: Pioneer diet : What did Western Canadian Pioneers Eat?
  • Variations in title: Saskatchewan Archives Questionnaire 2 : Pioneer experiences : A General questionnaire.
  • Variations in title: Saskatchewan Archives Questionnaire 3 : Pioneer schools.
  • Variations in title: Saskatchewan Archives Questionnaire 4 : Pioneer churches.
  • Variations in title: Saskatchewan Archives Questionnaire 5 : Pioneer recreation and social life.
  • Variations in title: Saskatchewan Archives Questionnaire 6 : Pioneer farming experiences.
  • Variations in title: Saskatchewan Archives Questionnaire 7 : Pioneer folklore.
  • Variations in title: Saskatchewan Archives Questionnaire 8 : Pioneer health.
  • Variations in title: Saskatchewan Archives Questionnaire 9 : Pioneer housing
  • Variations in title: Saskatchewan Archives Questionnaire 10 : Local government

Level of description


Reference code

(S)X 2

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1905, 1953-1971 (predominant: 1953-1956) (Creation)
    Saskatchewan Archives Board

Physical description area

Physical description

ca. 7.252m of textual records

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Custodial history

Scope and content

Collection consists of responses received by the Saskatchewan Archives following their distribution of a series of ten questionnaires to early settlers of the province, in particular those who lived in Western Canada prior to 1914. Each questionnaire focused on one of the following particular subjects: pioneer diet; general pioneer experience; schools; churches; recreation and social life; farming experiences; folklore; health; housing; and local government. The collection also includes responses to an eleventh questionnaire on Christmas that formed part of the material gathered by the Archives for a radio program and that was sent to selective respondents of the folklore questionnaire.

Questionnaire number 1 on nutrition was organized into sections on: flour and other grain products; sugars and syrups; dairy products; meat and fish; beverages; vegetables and dried fruits; canning and preserving; baking; water supply; soaps; fuels; methods of cooking and types of utensils; and wrappings and containers.

Questionnaire number 2 on pioneer experiences included questions on: places lived; income; family relations; travel; commerce; "firsts"; sources of place names; availability of historical source materials; and important changes since their arrival.

Questionnaire number 3 on schools was organized into sections on: personal experiences of early school activity; building and equipment; organization and administration; school attendance; classroom activities; school health conditions; school grounds, games and entertainment; district social life; general.

Questionnaire number 4 on churches included questions on: religious services attended; location of services; buildings used; music and choirs; organizations; youth services; activities and special events (e.g. picnics, suppers, fund raisers); administration and financial support; membership; records available; and special features.

Questionnaire number 5 on recreation and social life was organized into sections on: neighbourly visiting, parties, etc.; organizations and meetings; children's games; picnics and sports; reading; musical entertainment; hobbies and special interests; and general.

Questionnaire number 6 on farming experiences included questions on: dates, locations, and acquisition details of land; financing; machinery; crops, livestock and other commodities; co-operative societies; hazards and difficulties (e.g. pests, weather); harvesting and secondary production activities; exhibitions and fairs; gardening; and interactions with North West Mounted Police.

Questionnaire number 7 on folklore was organized into sections on: introductory information; settlement - the land (location, man-made features; associated stories and jokes), climate (tales/believe about weather phenomenon; associated animal behaviour), celestial bodies (associated stores/beliefs), supernatural beings (stories of ghosts/fairies/strange beings), human beings (anecdotes on individuals who performed unusual deeds), animals; supporting oneself after settlement (how were skills developed; household help); family or group gatherings in the pioneer community (storytelling, singing, jokes); life cycle in the pioneer community - childhood (naming; birthdays; songs, rhymes and stories; superstitions), marriage (accessories; good and bad luck), death (foreshadowing; ceremonies); good and bad luck (signs; attracting/avoiding); and proverbs and proverbial phrases.

Questionnaire number 8 on health was organized into sections on: services of a doctor (e.g. distance; competency; visitation; charges and payment); hospital services (e.g. distance; organization; visitiation; births); home remedies (e.g. associated illnesses and treatments; sources; treatment of serious accidents; aids for the handicapped); public health problems (e.g. vaccinations; epidemics); dental services (e.g. distance; visitation; treatments and services); and general (e.g. prevention; steps taken by the community for improvements).

Questionnaire number 9 on housing was organized into sections on: temporary structures (e.g. sod or log houses; even if the family lived in the building for many years); permanent structures (e.g. including the "better" house built after living for a time in quarters mentioned in temporary structures, a permanent home built upon arrival, or the "homestead shack" that may have been added to and continued as a permanent house); and general (e.g. winterizing; additions; animals/pets; furnishings; windows and ventilation; windbreaks; fire protection and emergency measures/features).

Questionnaire number 10 on local government was organized into sections on: statute labour districts and local improvement districts before 1908; township local improvement districts and rural municipalities after 1908; villages; and towns and cities.

Questionnaire on Christmas included suggested questions on: preparations; foods; guests; gifts; songs; correspondence; impact of weather; amusements; changes over time.

Notes area

Physical condition

Records are in good physical condition.

Immediate source of acquisition

Individual respondents to the survey request returned questionnaires to the offices of the Saskatchewan Archives over multiple years.
Some reocrds donated by Florence A. Kenyon to the Regina office, Saskatchewan Archives in one accession in 1959: 489 (Photo R) (February 1959).


Questionnaires 1 to 3462 were arranged numerically by questionnaire type (1 to 10, Christmas), then by respondent's year of arrival in Saskatchewan, and then alphabetically by surname.
Questionnaires 3466 to 3566 were arranged alphabetically by name of respondent.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Records are open for research use.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication, and/or reproduction of records are subject to terms and conditions of the Crown Copyright. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.

To consult the records, visit or contact the Regina and Saskatoon offices.

Finding aids

Collection consists of a fonds description, file and file part descriptions of textual records, and an index to questionnaires by name of respondent.

Associated materials

Related material: An additional pioneer questionnaire distributed by the Saskatchewan Archives is in the Wallace papers located at the Saskatchewan Archives Board (SAB), Regina office (Micro. R-2.429).
Blank copies of pioneer questionnairs numbers 1 to 10, are available in the R-E collection, located at the Regina office, Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan (R-E1859).

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Location for retrieval: Saskatoon - Murray; Regina- Hillsdale.


Conservation practices in place at the time of processing applied to the records in this collection.

Alpha-numeric designations

Textual records: S-X 2.1 to S-X 2.1865; S-X 2.1886 to S-X 2.1907; S-X 2.1909 to S-X 2.3005; S-X 2.3007 to S-X 2.3047; S-X 2-3049 to S-X 2-3399; S-X 2.3401 to S-X 2.3563; S-X 2.3565, S-X 2.3566.
Photographs: R-B1770

Physical description

Textual records extent based upon an estimate of 0.002 m per file.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

(S)X 2

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions

Saskatchewan Archives. Archival Description Manual 2004.



Level of detail

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

  • Latin


Content of collection.
Information supplied by Reference Archivists.
Saskatoon Shelf List Database.

Accession area