Newfoundland Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Newfoundland Church Records, 1793-1945 .

Record Description

This collection covers the years 1793-1945.

This collection contains baptisms, marriages and deaths from some Catholic and Church of England in Canada parishes. The dates may vary for each parish.

The Roman Catholic Church in Newfoundland was not instituted by church law until May 1784. It was at this time that the church in Newfoundland began to establish parishes that maintained baptismal and marriage registers. The oldest records were maintained at the Basilica Parish, St. John's and all records for the church were recorded there.

Gradually, new parishes were opened in other areas of the province. In each new parish, baptismal and marriage records were maintained.

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

Record Content

Baptismal records usually contain the following information:

  • Name of child
  • Names of parents
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Date of baptism
  • Place where baptized

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Date of marriage.
  • Names of the bride and groom.
  • Notes if the bride or groom were single or widowed.
  • Names of witnesses.
  • The bride’s and groom’s ages, residences, occupations, names of parents, and birthplaces.
  • Names of previous marriage partners.
  • A note whether a parent or other party gave permission for the marriage.

Death records usually contain the following information:

  • Name of the deceased.
  • Date and place of death and burial.
  • (Often) the age, place of residence, and cause of death.
  • Names of survivors.
  • (Occasionally) date and place of birth of deceased.

How to Use the Record

Searching the birth records:

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

  • Name of parents
  • Approximate year and place of birth

Searching the 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 and place of marriage

Searching the 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 and place of death

Search the Collection

To search the collection image by image select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒ Select the appropriate "City/Town"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Name of Denomination/Parish"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Record Type and Year Range" which takes 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.

Using the Information

When you have found the record of your ancestor, the following will be helpful aids in your research:

  • Use the age found in the marriage and death records to calculate the approximate year of birth.
  • Search the names of parents found in the marriage document for a marriage date.

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.

Identifying Denominations of Your Ancestor

To identify the religion your ancestor was part of, the following hints will help you in the aid of finding your ancestor:

  • Some communities only had one church, so most residents would have attended that church.
  • Sometimes an ancestor preferred to attend a church close to his or her home and was not so concerned about what denomination he or she attended.
  • Sometimes an ancestor was strict about which denomination he belonged to and may have traveled some distance to attend his church. Check where persons of that denomination met.

To see more hints & tips about finding the denomination of your ancestor, go to the section How can I determine the denomination of my ancestor? in the Canada Church Records article

General Information About These Records

Church records are great sources for accurate names, dates, and places of births, marriages and deaths. Many people who lived in Canada were recorded in church records. The church records are vital records made by church officials. They are often called parish registers or church books. Roman Catholic Church records are sometimes called sacramental records.

Related Websites

Parish Records for Newfoundland and Labrador Listed by District

Related Wiki Articles

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, Church Records, 1793-1945

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 Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"Newfoundland Church Records, 1793-1945." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013.

Newfoundland, Church Records Coverage Table.