Newfoundland Vital Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Canada Gotoarrow.png Newfoundland and Labrador

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Newfoundland, Vital Records, 1840-1949 .
This article describes a collection of records at
Newfoundland,  Canada
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Flag of Canada
Location of Newfoundland, Canada
Record Description
Collection years 1840-1949
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Provincial Archives, St. John's

What is in this Collection?

This collection contains vital 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 date back to 1840. A delayed birth certificate is considered to be a birth certificate not filed within one year of the date of birth. Delayed birth certificates are generally a separate type of document and can include more types of documents than just late filings.

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 not occur in Newfoundland until 1891.

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

Collection Content

Sample Images

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

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 Do I search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The place your ancestor lived.
  • The approximate year a birth, marriage or death occurred.
  • The names of family members and their relationships.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search this collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select "Browse Images" on the initial search 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.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s birth, marriage, or death record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

What Does this Record Tell Me?

It is important to analyze the information from the records. Here are some ideas and tips for this specific collection:

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 and other volumes, noting the following:

  • Page 1 is missing and the pages are partly damaged.
  • When searching in Births 1892-1895, Certificate Numbers 620001-634463, it is advisable to read the remarks on the frontice page at Image 2.
  • 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; these are listed alphabetically. The documents are varied, containing mostly affidavits requesting a birth record stating that this person was born on a specific day to specific parents in a specific place. They are sometimes supported by baptism records and declarations by ministers or priests. 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 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 for the years 1840 to 1915, inclusively. 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.

The following records contain a Vital Statistics Index:

  • 'Death Index 1920-1930
  • Death Index 1931-1937
  • Death Index 1938-1945
  • Death Index 1946-1949

This Vital Statistics Index 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 correspond to the Deaths records with the years and volume numbers.

Marriage Index

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

In Marriages 1887-1920, Certificate Numbers 950001-950016, the 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 one record for Aug. 2, 1888.

For Marriages 1921-1922, Certificate Number 950001-950011, the certificate numbers begin correctly with image #1.

The Marriage Indexes correspond to the Marriages records with years and volumes.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Try using variations on the surname when searching. Spelling was not standardized, so it could be spelled many different ways throughout the ancestor's life.
  • Try using nicknames or middle names when searching.

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 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.

Citing this Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. 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. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"Newfoundland, Vital Records, 1840-1949" Database with Images. FamilySearch. accessed 2016. Citing Vital Statistics Division. Provincial Archives, St.John's.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Newfoundland, Vital Records, 1840-1949.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Newfoundland, Vital Records, 1840-1949.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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.