Newfoundland Vital Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Canada Gotoarrow.png Newfoundland and Labrador

Access the Records
Newfoundland, Vital Records, 1840-1949 .
This article describes a collection of records at
Newfoundland,  Canada
Canada flag.png
Flag of Canada
Location of Newfoundland, Canada
Record Description
Collection years 1840-1949
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Provincial Archives, St. John's

What is in this Collection?

This collection contains vital records dating from 1840 to 1949. These records include images of births, delayed registrations of births, marriages, and deaths.

Newfoundland, including the area of Labrador, became a province of Canada in 1949. Official registration of births, marriages, and deaths began in 1891. This collection also contains “Delayed Registration of Birth” certificates as well. Some of these date back to 1840. A delayed birth certificate is considered to be a birth certificate not filed within one year of the date of birth. Delayed birth certificates are generally a separate type of document and can include more types of documents than just late filings.

Until 1948, most vital records were copies of church records. Clergy were required to register the baptisms, marriages, and burials they performed with the civil authorities. Also, as most of the records were handwritten and then copied from there may be transcription errors and mistakes in orthography of some individual’s names. It is important to check for alternate and similar spellings. Official registration of Births, marriages, and deaths did not occur in Newfoundland until 1891. Civil registration started in Newfoundland in 1891-1892. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Newfoundland Department of Public Health and Welfare, requested that churches transcribe their pre-1891 baptisms and marriages. This collection contains the records of those churches which responded to the request. Beginning dates vary with each record, and many dates are out of chronological order.

To Browse this Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Newfoundland, Vital Records, 1840-1949.

In the birth index, some pages in volumes 1 and 2 are damaged and will not allow you to recover the page number or line number. In volume 2, it is also advisable to read the remarks on the frontice page at image 2. Search by Year:

  • Birth Index 1891-1892 Certificate Numbers 640001-646442
  • Birth Index 1892-1895 Certificate Numbers 620001-634463 and 634464-639686
  • Birth Index 1895-1897 Certificate Number 600041-660119

Delayed Births are indexed as follows:

  • 1861-1865 Box 2, Box 01-34
  • 1866-1758 Box 3-4
  • 1870-1871 Box 5, box 01-34
  • 1840-1915 Box 01-34
  • Example: In Delayed Birth Index 1840-1915, Box 01-34 (image 9) is a record for Thomas Adams, 1860 in Box 02. With that information, go to Delayed Births 1859-1860, Box 01-02 (image 53) to see the original document.

Some records may duplicate baptisms already available in the Collection of Vital Statistics Registers or the Parish Records Collection. Some are records of baptism/birth which may not be found elsewhere. This is especially true of church records, which have been destroyed by fire and which predated the start of civil registration in 1891. This collection contains a number of marriage records, as well as one death record. They are noted in the indices. These thirty-four boxes of bound records are for the years 1840 to 1915, inclusively. Each box contains a finding aid (index) for the volume(s) in that particular box. The index lists the surnames of all records contained in the box. The year of each record is noted. Each volume of records is arranged alphabetically. This master index lists the surnames of all records contained in the entire collection of All Newfoundland Births (34 boxes).

  • Marriage Index 1891-1892, Volume 01 records begin with Images 49-86. Images 1-48 are misplaced duplicates of death records from the Death Index 1891-1892, Volume 01 link.
  • In Marriages 1887-1920, Certificate Numbers 950001-950016, the certificate numbers begin at image #3. The 1st page is a marriage affidavit and the 2nd page contains records for Dec. 1887 to Feb. 1888 and one record for Aug. 2, 1888.
  • For Marriages 1921-1922, Certificate Number 950001-950011, the certificate numbers begin correctly with image #1.

What Can these Records Tell Me?

Baptism, Birth Records and Delayed Registrations of Birth from 1840 to 1915 may contain the following information:

Certificates of baptism:

  • Date and place of baptism
  • Date and place of birth
  • Name and gender of child

Applications for birth records usually include:

  • Child's name and gender
  • Child's date and place of birth
  • Date and place of baptism and by whom baptized
  • Father's full name and occupation
  • Mother's maiden name
  • Names of witnesses and their residence
  • Witnesses' relationship to child

Marriage records date from 1891 to 1922 and usually include:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Name of groom and bride
  • Age of each
  • Bachelor, spinster or widowed
  • Occupation
  • Birthplace
  • Religion denomination
  • Residence at time of marriage
  • Witnesses
  • Name of officiator

Death Records date 1891 to 1949 and usually include:

  • Name and gender of deceased
  • Residence of deceased
  • Age in years, months and days
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Place of birth
  • Marital status and occupation
  • Religious denomination
  • Date and place of burial

Collection Content

Sample Images

How Do I search the Collection?

You can search the index or view the images or both. To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The name of a relative or date of the event

Search the Index

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page then:

  1. Fill in the search boxes with the information you know.
  2. Click Search. This will provide possible a list of matches.

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page then:

  1. Select the "Record Type and Years"

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Once a birth or marriage has been established from this record collection, try to find your ancestor in the Newfoundland Census, 1921 (FamilySearch Historical Records) or Newfoundland Census, 1935 (FamilySearch Historical Records) if your ancestors were alive during these times. The census can help with verifying residency for a certain time and other important information.
  • Use the information to find other records such as land and death records.
  • Use the information to find additional family members.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • [Church Records] often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name, especially French or Latin versions.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of Canada Genealogy.
  • Search in the Canada Archives and Libraries.
  • Search in the FamilySearch Library Catalog

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing this Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"Newfoundland, Vital Records, 1840-1949" Database with Images. FamilySearch. accessed 2017. Citing Vital Statistics Division. Provincial Archives, St.John's.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Newfoundland, Vital Records, 1840-1949.

Image Citation:

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Newfoundland, Vital Records, 1840-1949.

Top of Page

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.