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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in April 2013. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian: Vital Statistic Records - Part 1 by Sharon L. Murphy. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is separated from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by the Northumberland Strait. Settlement was not really begun until 1720, proceeding only slowly to about 5,000 residents by 1758. Coming under British control in 1763, it was called the Island of St John. The island was annexed to Nova Scotia until 1769 when it was given its own legislature.
Its name was changed to Prince Edward Island in 1799 in honour of the Duke of Kent. Proposals were made in 1864 for British North American union but they were rejected in 1865. The province did not enter Confederation until 1873.
Civil registration began in Prince Edward Island in 1906. There are some civil marriage records, although incomplete, from 1886-1905 and some church baptismal records from 1886. Births from 1840 to 1905 are also held with the Director of Vital Statistics, Department of Health. Public Archives and Records Office (PARO) holds baptismal records, many of which indicate a birth date, up to 1923. They also hold marriage records to 1933 and death records to 1960 (as of January 2013). The following list will give you an idea of the scope of the records available at the Public Archives and Records Office:
Master Name Index
This is an index of over 400,000 index cards filed by family name and then individual name drawn from a variety of record groups that generate information about the individuals. This index has been microfilmed but is not available in a seachable database. It is, however, a good place to start if you are visiting PARO in person.
A searchable Computerized Master Name Index developed by the PEI Genealogical Society is available.
Public Archives and Records Office
Prince Edward Island Baptismal Index An alphabetical listing from church records of baptisms from 1777 to 1923 is available at the Public Archives and Records Office and also as a searchable database online. The records generally include information such as the child’s name, dates of birth and baptism, parents’ names and a reference to the church record from which the information was obtained. A microfilmed copy of the actual baptismal record may be ordered from the website for $5.00 plus tax. Please note that the following church baptismal records are not available on microfilm:
- York United
- Kensington United
- Kensington Presbyterian
- St Peters Bay R.C.
- St George’s Parish
Deaths Prior to 1906
An alphabetical listing from church records or newspaper announcements, of death or burial records.
Microfilm copies of the registers are available for public access from 1906-1930. The registers are arranged by year and then as the event was registered. Indexes exist to help locate the specific certificate.
Archives staff will prepare a death extract for clients seeking a death record from 1931-1957.
Marriage Register Books 1832-1923
Books in which marriage returns from the clergy were recorded. These have been indexed in the Master name index.
Marriage Licenses, 1787-1919 and Marriage Bonds, 1849-1902
Separate collections of bonds and licenses filmed in chronological sequence and indexed by both bride and groom. Parents’ names are not included nor date of marriage on the bond.
Marriage License Cash Books 1879 - 1970
These are organized by county and provide a chronological record of the licenses issued. Records include the name to whom the license was issued, as well as the names of the parties and bondsmen and the date.
PARO has a large number of church records on microfilm. The majority date from 1830 on. Type and amount of information varies by church but much of the baptismal and death information prior to 1906 has been extracted to the Prince Edward Island Baptismal Index. Catholic Church records after 1900 are closed to the public.
Office of Vital Statistics
Birth records from 1840, marriage records from 1886 and death records from 1906 are held by the Office of Vital Statistics. Birth records are restricted for 120 years, marriage records for 75 years and death records for 50 years. The cause of death is never released. Please note that at the time of writing this course (January 2013) the information on their website regarding the restrictions was incorrect.
A three consecutive-year search for one specific record is $10.00 whether or not the record is found. The fee to obtain a copy of the record is $25 for a birth, $30 for a death, and $35 for a marriage. Note that, if you order a copy of the record, the search fee is included.
PEI Department of Health and Wellness - Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 3000
Montague, Prince Edward Island C0A 1R0
United Church Records
The United Church of Canada archives hold the local church records of the United Church and its uniting denominations (Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian (1925 union); and Evangelical United Brethren—joined in 1968). The records of the churches which did not join at union but remained part of the continuing Presbyterian Church in Canada after 1925, are held in:
Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives and Records Office
50 Wynford Drive
Toronto, Ontario M3C 1J7
Telephone: (416) 441-1111
Maritime Conference Archives, United Church of Canada
21 Wright Street
Sackville, New Brunswick E4L 4P8
Telephone: 506-536- 1334 ext. 7
Prince Edward Island Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 2744
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 8C4
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian: Vital Statistic Records - Part 1 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
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