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Civil Registration in Newfoundland and Labrador
Civil registration began in 1891. Prior to this, the clergy of the various denominations maintained records of birth or baptism, marriage and death. Copies of most of these early church records are held at the Provincial Archives. The oldest parish registers in existence are those of the Church of England. These date from 1752. Catholic registers for St. John's start in 1798; Methodist registers at Carbonear in 1794; Presbyterian registers in 1842 in St. John's; and Congregationalist registers in the 1780's. The Provincial Archives also have microfilmed birth records from 1891-1923 and this material in open for public search.
The official records since civil registration commenced are in the Vital Statistics Division of the Dept. of Health. Although not open to public search, information and certified copies are available for a fee. Always request a "true" copy.
Land Records in Newfoundland and Labrador
A great deal of genealogical information can often be extracted from land records and conveyances of property. You may find references to wills, and to other members of the particular property-owner's family. The Registry of Deeds in St. John's is the main source for more recent land information. The earlier and original Crown Land Grants are in the Crown Lands Office.
Newfoundland and Labrador Wills
The probate records date back to the 1700's and are in three locations. Those from 1832 on are in the Probate Registry, St. John's. Earlier ones are located in the Provincial Archives. Wills from the Burin area are all in the Provincial Archives. The Archives plan to enter all wills into their computer.
Page last updated March 26, 2013 (Craig Peterman)
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