Newfoundland Vital 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, Vital Records, 1840-1949 .

Record Description

This collection contains 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 can date back to 1840.

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 occur in Newfoundland until 1891.

Civil registration started in Newfoundland in 1891-1892. In the 1930's and 1940's, 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.

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

Record Content

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:

  • 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 may contain the following information:

  • 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 may contain the following information:

  • 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

How to Use the Record

To search this collection for birth records, it would be helpful to if you knew the following information:

  • Name of parents
  • Approximate year and place of birth

To search this collection for marriage records, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of bride or groom
  • Approximate year and place of marriage

To search this collection for 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 "Record Type and Years" 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

Birth Index

1. Search Birth Index 1891-1892, Volume 01 for your ancestor and note page and line number.

Some pages are damaged and will not allow you to recover the page number or line number, which can make the search more difficult.

The fact that you found your ancestor in the Birth Index for 1891-1892, Volume 01 does help you know where to look next.

2. With the page and line number, go to Births 1891-1892, Certificate Numbers 640001-646442, and search for the page you noted in Volume 01. In this record, the page number is either hand-written or printed and these numbers appear in the middle or on the left or right upper corner of the page.

The page will state the District and the entry will give you:

  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Parents’ names
  • Father’s occupation
  • Religious denomination of parents
  • Date of baptism
  • By whom baptized
  • Name of child
  • Sex
  • Date of register
  • Registering officer
  • Remarks (certificate number)

3. Repeat this process for Birth Index 1891-1892, Volume 02, noting the following:

  • Births 1892-1895, Certificate Number 620001-634463 - it is advisable to read the remarks on frontice page at Image 2.
  • Page 1 is missing and the pages are partly damaged.
  • Births 1893-1895, Certificate Number 634464-639686 is a continuation of the previous record.

4. Repeat this process, using first the Birth Index 1895-1897, Volume 03 and then search for the birth entry in Births 1895-1897, Certificate Number 600041-660119.

Delayed Births

1. Births 1861-1865, Box 02 contains delayed registrations of births and are listed alphabetically. The documents are varied, containing mostly affidavits requesting a birth record and are sometimes supported by baptism records and declarations by ministers or priests, that this person was born on a specific day to specific parents in a specific place. These records are indexed in Delayed Births, Box 01-34.

2. Note: Births 1866-1869, Box 03-04 and Births 1870-1871, Box 05 should be listed under the following Delayed Births Index, Box 01-34.

3. Delayed Birth Index 1840-1915, Box 01-34 contains:

  • Sworn affidavits of person attesting to the age of relatives, friends or acquaintances.
  • Delayed registrations of birth (if a birth was not registered within one year from the date of the birth, an application had to be completed and supported by written evidence of birth).
  • Photocopies of actual baptism/birth certificates.
  • Extracts, by clergy, from parish registers of baptisms.
  • Lists which include more than one family member which are sometimes copied from a Family Bible.

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 inclusively for the years 1840 to 1915. 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). The year of each record is noted and the box in which it is contained.

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.

Death Indexes

The Death Indexes cover the years 1891-1949. The Death Indexes provide the years and volumes to be searched to obtain the original record.

Example: In Death Index 1891-1892, Volume 01 is a record for Alice Amelia Bennel showing the reference information of ‘page 1 line 4’. With that information, go to Deaths 1891-1891, Volume 01 and the search will locate her on Image #3.

In the following records, Death Index 1920-1930; Death Index 1931-1937; Death Index 1938-1945 and Death Index 1946-1949 is found a Vital Statistics Index that states:

  • Name
  • Place of event
  • Birth year
  • Immigrant record
  • Full date of event
  • Registration number (this number corresponds to the Certificate Number)

The Death Indexes with the years and volume numbers correspond to the Deaths, with years and volumes.

Marriage Index

Marriage Index 1891-1892, Volume 01 records are at Images 49-86. Images 1-48 are misplaced duplicates of death records from the Death Index 1891-1892, Volume 01 link..

Marriages 1887-1920, Certificate Numbers 950001-950016 Note: 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 1 record for Aug. 2, 1888.

Marriages 1921-1922, Certificate Number 950001-950011 Note: Certificate numbers begin correctly with image #1.

The Marriage Indexes with the years and volume numbers correspond to the Marriages, with years and volumes.

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.

Related Websites

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, Vital Records, 1840-1949

When you copy information from a record, you should also 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 Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records 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 Records, 1840-1949" Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Vital Statistics Division. Provincial Archives, St.John's.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.