Newfoundland, Vital Statistics (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Newfoundland, Vital Statistics, 1753-1893 .

Record Description

This collection contains records dating from 1753 to 1893.

The records include images of church record transcripts. These records contain baptisms, marriages, and some burials from many churches in the province.

Burial records were not systematically gathered for this collection so only a very small number are found in the collection.

Civil registration started in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1891 and 1892. At that time, all clergy were required to register every baptism, marriage, and burial conducted within their jurisdiction. Prior to 1891, no central registry existed, so the only record of a baptism, marriage, or burial was the one held by the church.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Sir John Charles Puddester was disturbed that the original parish registers were in bad condition and some of the records had been lost in fires and other disasters. So, he initiated a program of transcribing the pre-1891 church records. Burial records were not requested, although some churches did submit them. The collection contains mostly Protestant records; only 6 of the 124 volumes are Roman Catholic records.

Civil registration did not exist in Newfoundland and Labrador until 1891 or 1892. The Newfoundland Registers of Vital Statics were created in order to gather birth and marriage information from churches for the time period before 1891.

These records are generally reliable, but not all churches and clergy responded to the request for records, so the collection is not complete. Also, because most of the records were handwritten and then copied, there may be transcription errors and mistakes in the spelling of some individuals’ names. It is important to check for alternate and similar spellings.

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Record Content

Baptismal records may contain the following information:

  • Child's name
  • Names of parents
  • Date and place of birth
  • Gender of child
  • Date and place of baptism
  • Religious denomination of child
  • Father's occupation

Marriage records may contain the following information:

  • Name of groom and bride
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Age of bride and groom
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation
  • Religion Denomination
  • Residence
  • Names of witnesses
  • Officiator at marriage

Burial records may contain the following information:

  • Name of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Age, gender and occupation of deceased
  • Place of birth
  • Religious denomination
  • Burial information

How to Use the Records

Searching for Birth Records

To begin your search in the birth records, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Names of the parents
  • Approximate year of birth
  • Religion

Searching for Marriage Records

To begin your search in the marriage records, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of bride or groom
  • Approximate year of marriage
  • Religion

Searching for Death Records

To begin your search in the death records, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of deceased
  • Approximate year of death
  • Religion

Search the Collection

To search the collection image by image select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "District/Municipality/Town"
⇒Select the appropriate "Church"
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type and Years" which will take you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

Using the Information

When you have located a record for your ancestor, the following will help you further your research:

Birth Records

Use the names of the parents to search for their marriage record in this collection.

Marriage Records

Use the age to calculate the approximate year of birth. Then search for a birth record of the bride or groom.

Death Records

  • Use the place of birth, and the calculated year of birth to search for a birth record.
  • The religious denomination named in this record will help you with your search in the church records.

General Information About These Records

The information in some of these records may not be complete.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

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 Wiki 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.

Contributions to This Article

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.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box. Newfoundland, Vital Statistics, 1753-1893

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

"Newfoundland, Vital Statistics, 1753-1893" Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Vital Statistics Division. Provincial Archives, St.John's.

Digital images of originals housed at various municipal archives throughout Newfoundland.