Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Religious Records Part 2 - Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island

In this section we will be looking at Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. For the sake of convenience, I'll be referring to the various sects of Protestant as simply Protestant for this post and the future ones as we go across Canada.


If you would like a historical timeline of the church in general for Newfoundland, I came across a great site by Claude Belanger on the religious history of Newfoundland. In fact, the whole site is good for Newfoundland history. I've added the link to the Newfoundland and Labrador tab at the top of the blog.

The first recorded minister in Newfoundland goes back to the early 1600's. Though a predominately Protestant province, there has been a Catholic presence since the middle of the seventeenth century. You can find records that go back to 1793 through the following sites:

FamilySearch has an collection of both Church of England and Catholic records that range from 1793-1945. This collection is not indexed, so you will have to use the browse feature. The wiki has instructions on how to use this collection, as well as a chart that will tell you the range of years for each location.

Newfoundland Grand Banks has among its other records transcriptions of parish records. It also has some various church reports transcribed. These are worth looking at, because you never know if your ancestor will be mentioned.

The Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador has on site transcriptions of over 100,000 births, marriages and deaths. These records cover the years 1753-1968. They will do searches for you for a fee if you cannot go there yourself. This is an ongoing project, so they will be continually adding to the database.

The Rooms has a finding aid online outlining what parish records they hold. Depending on the parish, year rages for the parishes vary from the early 1800's to as late as the 1990's. They will do research for a fee.

NL GenWeb has transcriptions of records for various areas of Newfoundland. Not all areas have transcriptions available. Check out the site to see what they offer.

Of course you can also contact the Church Archives themselves. Some do research requests. To go to the specific Archives of the denomination you are looking for, Library and Archives Canada
has a great collection of links for contact information. Scroll down to the section called Religious Archives.

Prince Edward Island

There has been a Catholic presence on PEI back to the Acadians, when it was called Ile St. Jean. With the waves of UK settlers, the Protestant church came to PEI.

FamilySearch has a browse only collection of records from 1777-1985. The wiki explainds it in detail with instructions on using the database. They also have an indexed database of PEI baptism cards from 1721-1885 here.

PARO has a database where you can enter in a last name and you will get a breakdown of how many each of births, deaths and marriages there are. Use the advanced search option to help narrow your search. I typed in FERGUSON, with no date range, and got 433 births, 103 marriages, and 230 deaths. Clicking on a specific record will give you a transcription of the event.

The Island Register has transcriptions of family bibles. Some only have a few entries, others are quite extensive.

The University of Prince Edward Island does have some religious records in their holdings. Some are available to look at online.

If you are looking for Acadian records, Library and Archives Canada has digital images for Ile St. Jean parish records. The LAC page is in French, but google will translate for you. Also keep in mind that the records themselves are in French, and so some familiarity with French will be needed. I find that the "Franglais" I grew up with is sufficient. Also see the LAC link in the Newfoundland section for the contact information for Religious Archives.

Next post we will look at records for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

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