Newfoundland, Vital Statistics (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 Statistics, 1753-1893 .

Record Description

Burial records were not systematically gathered for this collection so only a very small number are found in the collection.

Civil registration started in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1891 and 1892. At that time, all clergy were required to register every baptism, marriage, and burial conducted within their jurisdiction. Prior to 1891, no central registry existed, so the only record of a baptism, marriage, or burial was the one held by the church. 

During the 1930s and 1940s, Sir John Charles Puddester was disturbed that the original parish registers were in bad condition and some of the records had been lost in fires and other disasters. So, he initiated a program of transcribing the pre-1891 church records. Burial records were not requested, although some churches did submit them. The collection is not complete because many clergy and churches did not respond to the request. The collection contains mostly Protestant records; only 6 of the 124 volumes are Roman Catholic records. 

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

This collection contains records dating from 1753 to 1893. 

Civil registration did not exist in Newfoundland and Labrador until 1891 or 1892. The Newfoundland Registers of Vital Statics were created in order to gather birth and marriage information from churches for the time period before 1891.

These records are generally reliable, but not all churches and clergy responded to the request for records, so the collection is not complete. Also, because most of the records were handwritten and then copied, there may be transcription errors and mistakes in the spelling of some individuals’ names. It is important to check for alternate and similar spellings.

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.

Department of Public Health and Welfare. Newfoundland, vital statistics. Provincial Archives of Newfoundland, St.John's.

Digital images of originals housed at various municipal archives throughout Newfoundland.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

Baptism Records may contain:

  • Date and place of birth
  • Parents' names (often just the father’s name)
  • Child's name
  • Gender of child
  • Date and place of baptism
  • Religious denomination of child
  • Father's occupation

Marriage Records may contain:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Name of groom and bride
  • Age
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation
  • Religion Denomination
  • Residence
  • Names of witnesses
  • Officiator at marriage

Burial Records may contain:

  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Name of deceased
  • Age, gender and occupation of deceased
  • Place of birth
  • Religious denomination
  • Attendant clergyman
  • Burial information

How to Use the Records

Searching for Birth Records

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

  • Names of the parents
  • Place of residence

Searching for Marriage Records

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

  • Name of parents
  • Year of birth
  • Occupation of father

Searching for Death Records

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

  • Name of ancestor
  • Occupation
  • Year of birth

Searching the Collection

Searching the Images

To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "District/Municipality/Town" category
⇒Select the "Church" category
⇒Select the "Record Type and Years" category which will take you to the images.

Look at each image one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Using the Information

When you have located the record of your ancestor, the following will help you further your research:

Birth Records

  • Search for a marriage record of the father and the child.

Marriage Records

  • Use the age to calculate the approximate year of birth.
  • Use the occupation to help you find a death record of your ancestor.

General Information About These Records

The information in some of these records may not be complete. Because the transcription project was so large and because some of the names in the registers may not have been clearly legible, mistakes may have been made. It is advisable to check the original registers whenever possible.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

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.

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

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 Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"Newfoundland, Vital Statistics, 1753-1893," images, FamilySearch ( https: accessed 31 March 2011), William Champion and Rosanna Mansfield,  September 13, 1874; citing Marriage Records, Flowers Cove, Flowers Cove (Methodist), Marriage 1874-1890, Vol. 95, Image 1, number 2; Newfoundland Department of Public Health and Welfare, Provincial Archives of Newfoundland, St. John's Newfoundland.