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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Research: New Brunswick Ancestors by Althea Douglas, MA, CG(C). The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
New Brunswick is divided into regions whose histories differ. Each has their own bibliography as well.
The Lower St. John River
If you can locate a copy of They Planted Well, D.M.Young’s seven-page article will give a general idea of the early settlements along the St. John River, and the wealth of documentary sources available.
W.O. Raymond located many of the relevant documents, and in the ‘Preface’ to his The River St. John: Its Physical Features legends and History from 1604 to 1784, published in 1910, he says he started writing about the river “nearly twenty years” ago, in a series for the Saturday edition of the St. John Daily Telegraph. The papers were afterwards printed in book form, but “the present edition” he explains “will be found to differ materially from the former,” having been entirely rewritten.” “The very full index appended will render the work a handy book of reference.” Take care with quotations and source references.
A paper that W.O. Raymond edited, “Old Townships on the River St. John: Papers Relating to the St. John’s River Society” was published in Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society, No. 6, (Saint John: 1906), and later transcribed by George H. Hayward for Generations (Winter, 1997). The documents and letters deal largely with the townships surrounding the Maugerville and Portland Point settlements.
Esther Clark Wright’s The Saint John River (1949) and The St. John River and its Tributaries (1966) concern the history and geography as well as families, the 1966 version has an excellent index. However, in 1943 she wrote a series of over forty articles for the Saint John Telegraph-Journal titled “Pioneer Families of New Brunswick.” These are currently being reprinted in Generations. The reprint series starts in the Spring 1999 issue, and includes a piece on James Simonds. An index is available at the New Brunswick GenWeb site.
“The Maugerville Settlement—And Some of Its Settlers”, a six-part paper by George H. Hayward, was published in Generations, Issues 61 to 66, from Fall 1994 to Fall 1995. Three segments are transcripts of the vital records in the Town Book, arranged alphabetically, marriages (by groom’s name) are in part 3, births in part 4 and deaths in part 5. Mr. Hayward states that this “Sheffield Town Record Book” is at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John, and was microfilmed for the second time by the PANB, where it is available as MC2278 on film F15983. Judging from dates, this is almost certainly the same Sheffield “Civil registers,” (original at the New Brunswick Museum) inventoried as MG9 A12(8) and filmed by Library and Archives Canada on microfilm C-3020. You may find either source cited. More recently Mr. Hayward transcribed “Memorial Service of the Parish of Christ Church, Maugerville, 1898” for Generations (Spring 2000), a newspaper account of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the church, which, of course contained considerable information on the first settlers. As well, Mr. Hayward transcribed the “Studholm Report”, see above under census.
“Old World thinking” settlements in Queens County are described by Marion Gilchrist Reicker. Those Days Are Gone Away: Queens County, New Brunswick 1643-1901 (Queens County Historical Society, 1981), while not indexed, is clearly organized with a detailed table of contents that make it easy to focus on the assorted lists of grantees, settlers, teachers, doctors, or postmasters. Certainly it is where one can start looking for Queens County families from the times of the first settlers. She has also written A Time There Was: Petersville and Other Abandoned Settlements in Queens County, New Brunswick, 1815-1953 (Queens County Historical Society, 1984).
Planter Townships in Chignecto
Planters and Pioneers plus the early census records, and the Township Books of Sackville and Fort Lawrence are again the basic source of family information. For a long time family historians depended on one book by an historian of an earlier generation: Howard Trueman The Chignecto Isthmus and Its First Settlers (Toronto: William Briggs, 1902). In the 1930s W.C. Milner’s histories of Sackville and Dorchester were added. All three books contain valuable original manuscript material, some family history, with myth information and facts intermingled. Alas, none are indexed. Esther Clark Wright’s “Cumberland Township: A Focal Point of Early Settlement on the Bay of Fundy” originally appeared in Canadian Historical Review, 27 (1946), 27-32, and is reprinted in They Planted Well. Look in the notes for names of settlers.
A History of Fort Lawrence: Times, Tides and Towns, by Gladys Trenholm, Miep Norden and Josephine Trenholm, privately printed in 1986, is a detailed local history of the border region of Chignecto, with a wealth of family information for Planters, Pioneers and Acadians. Footprints in the Marsh Mud: Politics and Land Settlement in the Township of Sackville 1760-1800, a MA thesis by James Dean Snowdon submitted in 1974, recently published by the Tantramar Heritage Trust, includes lists of the various settlers and grantees of Sackville Township.
Another detailed scholarly work, Ernest Clarke’s The Seige of Fort Cumberland, 1776: An Episode in the American Revolution (Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1995) lists all the men involved in the seige, the culminating episode of the Eddy Rebellion. Quite a few of us have had to revise some of our ideas about which ancestors were loyal and which were not. Doug How’s article, “Fallout from the Family Tree”, The Beaver, June-July 2000, is an illuminating look at some of the Yorkshire settlers’ family myths. If a family was in Chignecto in 1776, do check Clarke’s book, the notes and the sources, then check those sources for further information. A reference in the “Introduction” to the “Cumberland remonstrance” sent me off to the Library and Archives Canada who hold most of the Dartmouth Papers (MG23-A1). Here I found the original manuscript (on microfilm) with the signatures of almost every adult male living in the area of Fort Cumberland, Planters, Yorkshiremen and even “The X Marks” of a number of Acadians. Here was documentary evidence of these settlers’ presence in that place in 1776.
The Yorkshire Emigration
The proceedings of Yorkshire 2000, the first conference on the Yorkshire settlers, are hopefully being published. Until then we have the following:
Passenger Lists 1773-1774
In 1773 the British government became aware that a lot of citizens were emigrating to the American Colonies. Some official wanted to know why and in December 1773 and through much of 1774, records were kept of passengers leaving various ports in England, with names, ages, occupation, name of ship, “from” and “to” and “as a”, this last being a catch all column showing many were going as “indentured servants” to colonies like Maryland or Virginia. This bureaucratic effort just happened to catch the peak year of the emigration of Yorkshire settlers to Chignecto. As a result, we know more about this group than almost any other. The lists have been published in full by Gerald Fothergill in Emigrants From England 1773-1774 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1964) but the portions relating to New Brunswick are reprinted regularly. The latest I have seen are those for the Albion and the Jenny printed, with some corrections, in Generations Vol. 18, No. 2, Issue 68, Summer 1996, pages 25-31.
However, in a time before microfilm, much less Xerography, the Public Archives of Canada team that were searching the Public Record Office (PRO) for Canadian records found these lists and hand-copied them. In the PRO they are, or were: (T 47, volume 9) Treasury Registers/Weekly Emigration Returns 1773-74. When I found the manuscript copies at Library and Archives Canada they were in MG 12/ D/15 but are now MG15 T 47 “Transcripts 1774-1775,” 40 pages, Finding Aid 310; now on microfilm C-13524.
|Handwritten doesn’t necessarily mean original.|
In 1987 the South Eastern Branch of the NBGS published the first edition of Early Families, a branch-sponsored “project intended to assemble an accurate and complete record of the earliest families to settle and people the region.” The 196 pages of unverified material submitted by members include a name index. The project continued and Early Families Revisited now runs to 393 pages.
Many local historians have published books with details of the early comers in the Chignecto—Moncton—Shediac triangle. Edith Gillcash’s story of Taylor Village (1984) incorporates both original letters and family data. Reginald B. Bowser first published a family history, A Genealogical Review of The Bowser Family with Particular Reference to Thomas Bowser of Yorkshire, England and Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada (1981) then wrote about Dorchester Island and Related Areas, (1986). Lloyd A. Machum wrote a brief family history: The Dorchester Keillors, published by the Westmorland Historical Society in 1967.
One writer who is helping preserve family folk-history is Helen M. Petchey. She has written over a dozen small booklets on early families from the Dorchester/Sackville area (Chandler, Chapman, Hickman, Palmer, Teed). Easy to read, with family trees and good bibliographies, they are, in some cases, the only place where intimate family memories and local tales are preserved.
Moncton, Hillsborough, Hopewell
There were both Planters and Yorkshire settlers in these townships, but there were also Germans from Pennsylvania. The ‘tangled’ history of these townships, granted in 1765 has been unravelled and set out by Esther Clark Wright in The Petitcodiac, and recapitulated in Planters and Pioneers (pages 22-24). Her histories of the Steeves family explain much about the settlers who remained around The Bend of that river, as does E. W. Larracey’s The First Hundred… on Moncton.
Two church histories, Shirley Dobson’s The Word and the Music and Peter Penner’s The Chignecto ‘Connexion’, deal with early Methodism in Chignecto, while a useful source for all southern New Brunswick family data is the Newlight Baptist Journals of James Manning and James Innis, edited by D.G. Bell. These two preachers both worked in New Brunswick, around the Bay of Fundy, and the editor traces the rise and decline of the Baptists in New Brunswick from 1775 through 1811. In the notes he identifies most of the Baptists these preachers visited and refer to and the petitions in the appendices are useful lists of names. The nominal index as well as a general index make this a useful research tool.
Passamoquoddy Bay Area
Before the American Revolution, the actual border dividing Nova Scotia and Massachusetts was more than somewhat vague, but was thought by many to be the Penobscot River. Both colonies were British and as Grace Mowat points out, a vague border “was often a convenience. Claims that were refused in Halifax could sometimes be dealt with at Boston, and vice versa. Could any situation be more desirable?” (page 24).
What would become the State of Maine was still sparsely settled, and while fishermen and some fur traders and other merchants sailed in, out and around Passamaquoddy Bay, and built a few houses, there were no settlements nor any township established. In 1767 Captain William Owen, R.N., a Welshman, honourary secretary to Lord William Campbell, Governor of Nova Scotia, was given a grant of the island of Campobello at the mouth of the bay. He brought a few settlers and he and members of an extended Owen family seem to have lived there until 1881. Dr. Wright suggests there might have been between 100 and 200 people scattered over the whole Passamaquoddy area when the Loyalists arrived.
- ↑ The Sackville Town Book was transcribed and printed in the last issue of the Southeastern Branch Newsletter, Vol. 6, No. 5, May 1986, noting that it was made from a copy in the Archives at Mount Allison University.
- ↑ Mary Peck's "The Principal Proprietary of Campobello", The Bitter With the Sweet, pages 11-19, includes a portrait, map, views, and a "List of my Indentured Servants at Campo Bello".
- ↑ Planters and Pioneers, page 25.
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Research: New Brunswick Ancestors offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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