Help us improve the profile of Canadian folk hero, Louis Riel!

+15 votes

This week's collaborative profile of the week is Louis Riel, who led two rebellions against the Canadian government.

We have a nice start on the profile, but it could use some dressing up and improving. 

Can you do anything to help? Here are some ideas. If you think of something else, go for it!

  • Detailed biography with references.
  • Did he have any siblings? They need added, if so or marked as no more siblings.
  • Are there some primary sources we can track down? Birth records? Census? Death?
  • His surrounding family needs some sprucing-there are some gedcom leftovers here and there to clean up, more sources added, parents for his wife.
  • Background image?

Post an answer if you're going to research something or contribute something. Comment when others post. This will keep the discussion going and at the top of G2G feeds, and it will keep people from duplicating efforts. Be sure to vote up posts too, to thank contributors for helping.

WikiTree profile: Louis Riel
asked Feb 24, 2015 in Requests for Project Volunteers by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (346,130 points)
edited Feb 24, 2015 by Chris Whitten
Cool! I just found out he's my cousin!

"Louis and Roland are 6th cousins four times removed"

8 Answers

+5 votes
I'll do some cleaning up of his surrounding family. Thanks Abby!
answered Feb 24, 2015 by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1,168,150 points)
+4 votes
I added a short biography for his daughter, Angelique. At the time of the 1891 census, she was living in her paternal uncle Joseph's house if someone wants to have a point to use to get started on Louis Riel's siblings.
answered Feb 24, 2015 by Erin Breen G2G6 Pilot (218,430 points)
+5 votes

He had ten siblings! So there's definitely work to be done there! I remember recently coming across a politician whose bio said he was Louis Riel's brother... I'll try to find him again.

I'm so glad he got nominated. :) As leader of the Manitoba Project I'll definitely be helping out with this one, as Louis Riel is a key figure in Manitoba history.

answered Feb 24, 2015 by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (405,380 points)
+4 votes
I found him in the 1870 census! He's living with his mother and 7 of his siblings. I also found another sister living in a convent. I'm proceeding to add those siblings now.

That'll be the only Manitoba census he shows up in, since he was in Montana in 1881. But maybe he's in a US census or two?
answered Feb 24, 2015 by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (405,380 points)
Between 1870 and 1900 the only existing US Census is 1880. And he doesn't show up in Montana or anywhere else for that one, unless he's working in a brickyard in Massachusetts, which sounds unlikely.
+2 votes

Just bumping up this question in hopes of some last minute collaboration! Louis Riel really needs a bigger bio! I'm just not much of a bio writer. For someone who is, there's lots of info about his life on his Wikipedia article, and in this page on the Library and Archives Canada website.

answered Mar 1, 2015 by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (405,380 points)
+3 votes

You can find more about his United States citizenship at:


I have a copy of his death certificate. Unfortunately, I can't recall where on the internet I found it. The photocopy may be copyrighted. I read the handwriting to be:


Winnipeg, December 7th 1885


Plot_ At St Boneface

Name of deceased_ Louis Reil

Cause of Death_ Hung (Rebel leader)

Where born_ St Boneface

Where died_ Hung at Regene

Date of Death:_ ????

Religion_ RC

Married_ 28 yrs Single_

Name of attending physician_


answered Mar 2, 2015 by George Blanchard G2G6 Mach 8 (89,890 points)
That's an interesting article. I'd honestly never thought about the fact that Louis Riel was, at the time of his death, a US citizen, and the implications of that on a charge of treason. Thanks for sharing, George!
+3 votes
I wrote a bio, in the wee hours this morning and promptly fell asleep. Would someone proof read it.
answered Mar 2, 2015 by Anne B G2G6 Pilot (888,250 points)
Thanks Anne!! I did a quick proofread and copyedit.
+1 vote
Here's a nice source for more bio data on my remote cousin.

As far as the question of his being deemed a traitor to Canada when he had become a U.S. citizen, I have never seen mention that he renounced his Canadian citizenship, and as far as I know Canada has always allowed dual citizenship, so his conviction of treason was most likely based on the fact that he was still considered a Canadian.
answered Mar 3, 2015 by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (113,190 points)
Hmm, interesting point. I don't think Riel had dual-citizenship, though. According to that article George shared, the Canadian Naturalization Act of 1881 allowed emigrants to give up their British allegiance by foreign naturalization, which is what Riel did. But now you've got me curious about the history of dual citizenship in Canada.

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