Prince Edward Island, Canada Genealogy
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Guide to Prince Edward Island ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.
Prince Edward Island InformationPrince Edward Island is a province in Canada. The province is made up of the major Prince Edward Island and many small islands.
Getting Started with Prince Edward Island
Links to articles on getting started with Prince Edward Island research.
Prince Edward Island Research Tools
Links to articles and websites that assist in Prince Edward Island research.
Prince Edward Island Map
- The first inhabitants of PEI were the Mi’kmaq. The Mi’kmaq have inhabited the area for the last 2,000 years.
- The first European to record seeing the Island was Jacques Cartier in the summer of 1534.There were no permanent settlements for almost 200 years after his sighting.
- Settlement of the Island (then known as as Île St-Jean) began in the 1720's. The colony was French and near what is now Charlottetown. Colonization was slow, with the population in 1748 reaching just over 700. When the British expelled the Acadian inhabitants of Nova Scotia in 1755, the population mushroomed to 4,500 in 1758. The British drove all but a few hundred of the Arcadians out.
- Under the British rule the name of the Island was changed to the Island of Saint John. Surveyor General Samuel Holland was able to provide detailed maps of the Island by 1765. He divided it into 67 townships of 20,000 acres each. Almost all of these were granted as the result of a lottery held in 1767 to military officers and others to whom the British government owed favors. The proprietors were required to settle their lands to fulfill the terms of their grants, but few made an effort to do so. As a result the Island had vast areas of undeveloped land, yet those who wished to open up farms often had to pay steep rents or purchase fees. Most of the land holders never set foot in the colony.
- The population grew from just over 4,000 in 1798 to 62,000 around 1850. Although there was an influx of Loyalists after the American Revolution, the majority of the newcomers were from the British Isles. Several large groups were brought from Scotland in the late 1700's and early 1800's by landowners such as Captain John MacDonald and Lord Selkirk, and by 1850 the Irish represented a sizable proportion of the recent immigrants.
- After 1758 the Island was administered from Nova Scotia and later, in 1763, became part of that province. In 1769 a separate administration was set up complete with governor, lieutenant-governor, council and assembly. In 1799 the name of the colony was changed by the assembly to Prince Edward Island to honor a son of King George III stationed with the army in Halifax at the time.
- In 1851 responsible government was granted to the colony and the first elected administration under George Coles took office.
- The enticements offered by the Canadians included an absorption of the colony's debt, year-round communication with the mainland, and the provision of funds with which the colony could buy out the proprietors and end the land question. Although few Islanders displayed much enthusiasm, most accepted the union as a marriage of necessity.
- The province reached a population level of 109,000 in 1891, but the lure of employment in western and central Canada and in the U.S. led to a drain on the population, which had slipped to 88,000 by the time of the Great Depression. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the economy of the province was stable, with only slight changes in both farming and fishing — with the notable exception of the fox-farming industry between 1890 and 1939.
Although the boundaries of Prince Edward Island have remained stable the early records will be found in Nova Scotia and France who held those records.
No record loss has been noted.
Counties of Prince Edward Island
- Who's who on Prince Edward Island
- Away : Maritimers in Massachusetts, Ontario, and Alberta : an oral history of leaving home
- Making History : a celebration of Prince Edward Island women of the 20th century
- Maritime Presbyterian Ministers : biographical sketches of over 400 ministers of the various Presbyterian churches in the lower provinces of British North America ordained by 1875
- Nova Scotia blue book and encyclopedia
- Prominent people of the Maritime Provinces
The following are in French
- 1798 Island of St. John Heads of Household Census
- 1841,1881,1891,1901 Prince Edward Island Archives Census Search Index.
- 1861 Prince Edward Island Census Index Only.
- 1901 Census records for Prince Edward Island, by Automated Genealogy
- Prince Edward Island Archives Baptismal Index
- 1721-1885 Prince Edward Island Baptism Card Index Index and images.
- 1777-1985 Prince Edward Island, Church Records Images only.
- 1835 -1891 The history of the Catholic Church in Prince Edward Island ($)
- 1687–1710 The Loppinot Papers, which are important genealogical abstracts of the earliest notarial records for the province of Acadia: Loppinot, Jean Chrysostome. book 971.5 N38L Includes a surname index.
- 1793–1934 Court Records, [Charlottetown, P.E.I.]: Microfilmed by the Public Archives of Prince Edward Island films 1630150–51
- 1867-1976 Persons Sentenced to Death in Canada An Inventory of Case Files in the Fonds of the Department of Justice.
- 1889-1890 Frederick's Prince Edward Island Directory and Book of Useful Information Ancestry.com ($)
Land and Property Records
- Prince Edward Island Land Record Database
- 1767-1810 Proprietors of P.E.I. Lots in 1767, and Changes in Lot Ownership till 1810
- 1780-1915 Prince Edward Island Archive Petition Index 1780-1915
- 1880 Prince Edward Island, Canada Land/Gazetteer Records: 1880 ($)
- History of Prince Edward Island ($)
- A History of Prince Edward Island: From its Discovery in 1534 Until the Departure of Lieutenant-Governor Ready in 1831 ($)
- Handbook of Prince Edward Island ($)
Newspapers and Obituaries
*1881, 1891 and 1901 tax records are available at Prince Edward Island Public Archives and Record Office. You may search the records by name and date.
- At Prince Edward Island Public Archives and Record Office you may search Baptism, Marriage and death records by name .
- 1721-1758 Îl St. Jean (now Prince Edward Islands), Civil Registration and Parish Registers, index and images. These records are in French.
- 1832-1888 Prince Edward Island Marriage Registers Images only.
- 1841-1968 http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/divorce/index-e.html Library and Archives Canada] database covers those divorces in parliamentary publications.
- 1721-1905 Prince Edward Island Death Card Index
Societies and Libraries
- Island Imagined Maps and Atlases of Prince Edward Island
- Government of Prince Edward Island
- Prince Edward Island, Canada
- Historica Canada
- Island Register
- P.R.I. Public Archives and Records
- Canadian Genealogy
- Library and Archives Canada
- PEI Public Archives and Records Office
- Le Centre d'études acadiennes (Center for Acadian Studies)
- American-Canadian Genealogical Society
- Library and Archives of Canada
Below are FamilySearch resources that can assist you in resourcing your family.
- Facebook Communities - Facebook groups discussing genealogy research
- Learning Center - Online genealogy courses
- Historical Records - databases and record images on FamilySearch
- Family History Center locator map
- The Canadian Encyclopedia
- https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/executive-council-office/historic-milestones Prince Edward Island Canada]