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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 ($).
In the mid 1980s, New Brunswick was chosen to be the test site for high-speed and high-tech telephone infrastructure. The whole province is “wired” with a relatively state-of-the-art system. Computers come with the territory and you will find a lot of data available on the Internet. Get organized to use it.
The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick have a website which will fill you in on most of the basics of genealogical research in New Brunswick.
On the Associates of the Provincial Archives website, under “Publications” you will find: Starting A Family History Project in New Brunswick, Canada, compiled by Robert Fellows, 1995. This is the guide beginners should use.
On the main page of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website, click on “Research Tools”, and then “County Guides.” These are extensive lists of the important primary and secondary sources available at the PANB for genealogical research, listed by county.
Also, on the main page of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website, click on “About PANB”. Here you will find a description of Government Records and Private Records. A list of searchable databases with explanations and instructions can be found under the “Search” option.
Under the “Research Tools” are Government Records Finding Aids. There are also Private Records aids that include:
- Guide to Biographies which indexes a number of biographical dictionaries and other collections at the PANB.
- Guide to Family Histories which indexes family histories in the collections.
Under the “Search” option is information and searchable database for:
- Hutchinson Directories which indexes two issues of this province-wide directory, 1865-1866 and 1867-1868.
- Lovell Directory an index to the 1871 province-wide directory.
A fifth database,Irish Famine Migration to New Brunswick, 1845-1852 is not every emigrant, just a restricted selection.
|A search of all five databases should be run for any family or individual you think may have lived in 19th or 20th century New Brunswick. The Directories will indicate where the family or person lived around 1865-1871. The biographies will pick up almost anyone who held any sort of position or made a name for themselves. The family histories will tell you whether someone has already researched the family. Given the call numbers, you can write the PANB for further information.|
Land Grant Databases
The Land Grant Database, 1765-1900 is based on the Grantbooks (not petitions) and is at the University of New Brunswick. You can search it for the primary grant holder, either by name or by county and place of settlement.
Index to Land Petitions
Original Series 1783-1918, RS108, can also be searched. See further in the course for more information on land grants, read the Introduction to RS637 “Records of the Surveyor General.”
PANB Information Online
If there is any chance you may be able to visit Fredericton, read through this introductory material to get some idea of just how much material is available at the PANB.
Library and Archives Canada Online
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website holds a number of sources including Canadian Newspapers on Microform Held by the Library and Archives Canada, census records from 1851 to 1911 and many others. The Canadian Genealogy Centre is also accessible through the LAC website. Check the website for up-to-date contact information for research inquiries.
The ArchiviaNet: Online Research Tool on the Library and Archives Canada website, has archived content; however, it has been replaced with new search application. ArchiviaNet has many research tools including:
- Passenger Lists, 1865-1922
Immigration Records (1925-1935)
Post Offices and Postmasters
Library and Archives Canada General Inventory
You can use the older reference numbers in searching the “General Inventory” in ArchiviaNet. Entering “MG9” as the search Keyword brings up a huge list of local holdings: “New Brunswick local records collection” (Former number MG9-A12-11) looked most interesting and “Cumberland and Fort Lawrence collection” (Former number MG9-B9-21) is obviously the township book. The entries give a full description, microfilm number, and present location of the material. A search using a place name will limit the size of the list, but be sure to switch the “entries per page” from 20 to MAX. Each detailed inventory entry has a series of subject headings it is indexed under. You could use these to search for other records. Some basic topics are: Aboriginal Records, Colonial (with British and French Colonial Period records, though the majority of entries are from the French period), Genealogy, Government of Canada, etc. The alphabetical list includes Home Children, Immigration 1925-1935, and one that might prove helpful in family research.
Post Offices and Postmasters
Here you search for a post office name and then click up full information with dates, location, and a list of the postmasters with their names, military status, date of birth (not often given), date of appointment, date of vacancy and “Cause of vacancy”. Two postmasters of Boudreau P.O. in Westmorland County were dismissed for “Political Partisanship,” while in the 1880s, around Rockland where the shipyard closed, several postmasters simply “Left the place.” Small post offices were often named after the postmaster, who, in turn, might be from one of the long-established families—though politics clearly mattered.
The Library and Archives Canada website and ArchiviaNet are worth getting to know. Explore them and make your personal list of subject headings as you find ones that take you where you want to go.
Library and Archives Canada’s Union Catalogue, created for Inter-Library Loan (ILL) purposes, is available online. AMICUS is its name. As well, both Mount Allison and University of New Brunswick libraries have online catalogues you can search by author, title, or subject. Just make sure to enter which you are searching, because they all revert to the default “title” search if you forget. Some local library catalogues are also online.
On October 3, 2002 the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada amalgamated and became Library and Archives Canada. From the two institutions came the establishment of the virtual Canadian Genealogical Centre.
The Genealogy and Family History has been developed “to promote genealogy, archives and library resources as tools for lifelong learning”. An inventory of databases and other genealogical resources across Canada, with Internet links, is online.
Library and Archives Canada has census records available from 1851/2 to 1916 on their website. Not all are indexed on the LAC website; however, Ancestry.ca (for fee subscription site) has indexed and digitalized the records. If you do not have access to Ancestry.ca or do not have any luck with their index, you may want to try alternative indexes. FamilySearch, has indexed the 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 census and it is searchable. To locate microfilm numbers for the census images, consult Library and Archives Canada’s Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm 1666-1901 online.
Microfilm of all census returns, 1851-1916, may be obtained from the Library and Archives Canada and some large reference libraries (eg. Toronto, Vancouver) have full sets of Canadian census microfilms.
Unique New Brunswick Census Information
Before Confederation, in 1851 and 1861 individual colonies took their own censuses. In New Brunswick, the 1851 census is nominal, and is unique because of a column for “Date of entering colony”. Unfortunately returns for Gloucester and Kent Counties are missing as well as most of Queens County, and major parts of Saint John. All the surviving New Brunswick 1851 census returns have been compiled and published. See the list of “Publications”. This list also includes some subsequent returns that have been published for some counties.
GenWeb sites, both county and parish may list privately published indexes for small regions. As well, check the County Guides on the PANB website to see which census records have actually survive from 1851 and 1861.
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 email@example.com <br>
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.
- This page was last modified on 24 February 2014, at 20:25.
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