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Contributed by Roberta Sullivan,
Ferryland District


Pole Paper Extracts - Ferryland 1799/1800

In the fall of 1799 and the spring of 1800, Robert Carter, Justice of the Peace at Ferryland compiled three documents at the request of George Pole, Governor of Newfoundland. These documents provide a valuable source of genealogical, historical, and statistical information for the district of Ferryland. Ferryland District, at that time, included the settlements from LaManche to Renews inclusive. These three documents are as follows:

Document 1

This document is officially entitled "A Register of the Families, inhabitants in the district of Ferryland , 1800" but is generally referred to as The Ferryland Census of 1800. It provides a list of the names of fathers, mothers, and children deemed to be part of a resident family unit. In addition to the names of the children, the ages of the children are also given. The term "children" in this record appears to include all offspring, regardless of their age, who were residing with their parent (s) or adoptive family. The families named in this document form the core of many of today's families living in this area. Most importantly, these records help fill the void left by the loss of early parish records. This document also highlights an important factor in the growth of Newfoundland's resident population in the nineteenth century, i.e. the availability of "native-born" females as prospective wives for many of the transient young men employed in the fishery.

Document 2

This document is entitled "A list of the names of all the Masters, Servants, and Dieters residing in the district of Ferryland for the Winter of 1799 & Spring 1800". It is a list of males who were employed to work after the close of the fishing season in 1799 until the start of the next fishing season in the spring of 1800. Analysis of the listed names indicate many of these workers came from resident families listed in Document 1, sometimes in the employ of their father/step father. The remainder of the labor force is made up of men and boys who were non-resident, however, a number of names among this group appear in later documents as the progenitors of present day families. The term DIETER used in this document usually indicates one who receives winter board and accommodation against the promise of cash or service in the next fishing season, or one engaged in return for board, in the preparatory work of the fishing seaso



Page Revised: July 2002 (Don Tate)

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