Collections & Research

Collections & Research

Collections & Research

The Rooms collects and preserves objects, artworks and archival materials relevant to the past, present and future of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Rooms Collections are multidisciplinary – it’s here you’ll find everything you need to start your own research journey: government records, maps, photographs, film, natural history specimens, archeological finds, historic objects, and artworks from our province and beyond.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact our Archives Reference Room, or the relevant department from our contact list in the Museum and Art Gallery. Interested in making a donation to the History Collection of The Rooms? Read our FAQs.

Our Collections

Search The Archives


Search the online database for descriptions of our archival records and to view thousands of digital photographs.

Click the image to begin your search.


Vital Statistics (Deaths 1950-1968) 


The Department of Digital Government and Service NL Vital Statistics Division has provided this collection of over 59,000 Newfoundland and Labrador death certificates to The Rooms Provincial Archives for public access and research.

Click the image to begin your search.




Search the military service files of the First Newfoundland Regiment (later "Royal") and the Newfoundland Forestry Companies, including the officers, other ranks, attached specialists and Drum and Bugle Corps.

Click the image to begin your search


Died In Service 


Died in Service is a commemorative database featuring some 1800 individual wartime biographies of those from Newfoundland and Labrador who gave their lives in service during the First World War.

Click the image to begin your search.


Still Images



More than 400,000 photographic items, including a large assortment of photographic prints and about 14,000 glass plate negatives, make up our Still Images Collection. The collection also contains examples of earlier forms of photographic materials, such as tintypes, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and glass lantern slides. .


Government Archives


The Rooms acquires and preserves records created by Government departments, agencies, boards, commissions or Crown Corporations. This rich archival resource is made available for research, subject to the provisions of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy

Authorization from the Public Records Committee must be granted before records are added to The Rooms’ Government Archival collection.




The Rooms acquires non-governmental records considered significant to the history of our province. The Manuscript collection contains a wide range of business records, with particular strength in mercantile records related to the Newfoundland fishery. The collection also contains extensive holdings of individuals’ journals, diaries, and correspondence. Records of non-government groups and associations can also be found here.


Cartographic and Architectural Archives


The Rooms’ Cartographic and Architectural collection contains more than 50,000 maps, plans, prints, drawings, sketches, and charts from both government and non-government sources.

Items are retrieved only twice per week, with a maximum of 20 maps per researcher retrieved each day.




From regatta teams to hockey teams, from soccer to sleigh races, The Rooms’ Sports Archives offer materials relating to professional and amateur sporting activities in Newfoundland and Labrador. Through text, image and audio, the history of sport in this province is documented and available for research.

We hold correspondence, scrapbooks, over 5,000 photographs, clippings, and organizational records dating back to approximately 1820.


For information or assistance in accessing The Rooms Archives, contact us:  call (709) 757-8030 or email

Services & Fees


The Rooms Archivists provide assistance to researchers, both on-site and via email, phone, fax or mail. An appointment can be made with an Archivist to explore specific research requirements and interests.

Our Archives staff can discuss research topics, point out possible archival sources, and provide guidance in locating those sources.


All fees are subject to HST (add 15%). Cheques or money orders, payable to The Rooms Corporation, are due at the time of the request.

Researcher Registration Number: General admission fees do not apply to the Archives. First-time users pay $10 to obtain a permanent Researcher Registration Number.

Photocopies:  .25 per 8" x 10" page | .25 per 11" x 14" page | .50 per 11" x 17" page   
After the first 30 minutes of photocopying, $15/hour will be charged for labour.

Paper Prints from Microfilm: .50 per page
After the first 30 minutes of photocopying, $15/hour will be charged for labour.

Record search: $20 for an 11-year search (includes the year requested plus five years either side of that date)

Genealogical search: $20 for an 11-year search for a baptism, marriage or burial entry from our pre-1892 records.

True Copy:  $20 for an extract of a vital record or census entry

Certified copy: $20 for document certification for legal purposes

Private Researcher List: $50 per year for listing | $10 to change any information in listing before annual renewal

Fax (long distance):  $1.00 per page in addition to calling charges

Postage and handling: $1 for up to nine pages | $2 for up to 49 pages | $5 for up to 99 pages | $6 for up to 199 pages | $7 for 200+ pages

Courier: Charges for courier services are the responsibility of the researcher.

Handling fee for outsourced copying: $10 flat fee for 1-5 items | $15 flat fee for 6-10 items | $20 for 10 items and more

Inter-library loans returns: $5.00 per reel

Printouts from databases: $.25 per page

For information or assistance in accessing The Rooms Archives, call (709) 757-8030 or email

Order Forms

Do you have specific information needs? The Rooms Archival staff are happy to help.

Requests for reproductions, copies and special searches can be facilitated by completing these PDF forms, which can be downloaded, printed and completed. 


Archival Materials Reproduction 
Copying Request with Copy Policy
True Copy Request
Off-Site Retrieval Request
Genealogical Request For Search (Pre 1892 Records Only)
Census Request For Search


Submit completed forms by email, mail or fax to: 

Email: Attach completed PDF forms and send to

Mail: The Rooms - Archives
P. O. Box 1800, Station C
St. John’s, NL  A1C 5P9

Fax: 709-757-8017

For information or assistance in accessing The Rooms Archives, call (709) 757-8030 or email

Genealogy Research

Vital Statistics in Newfoundland and Labrador

Registers of Vital Statistics (pre-1892-3)

Before 1891, the only baptism, marriage or burial records were held by the churches. See Community Index – Registers of Vital Statistics (listed by community).

Vital Statistics – Newfoundland Births, Marriages and Deaths

Beginning in 1891, clergy in Newfoundland and Labrador were required to register all baptisms, marriages and burials conducted in their jurisdiction with the government. 

Records of this civil registration are available on microfilm at the Archives. 

  • Births - 1891-1899
  • Marriages - 1891-1922
  • Deaths - 1891-1949

The Rooms does not make prints of these records or issue certificates based on the records. Certificates can be obtained from the province’s Vital Statistics Division.

These records are also available through the Family History Centres operated by the Genealogical Society of Utah.

Vital Statistics - All Newfoundland Births (1840 to 1915) 

No online index is available for this collection of baptism/birth records. The finding aid is only accessible by visiting the archives at The Rooms in St. John’s. The collection contains:

  • photocopies of baptism/birth certificates
  • sworn affidavits attesting to the age of relatives, friends, or acquaintances
  • delayed registrations of birth (if a birth was not registered within one year)
  • extracts by clergy from parish registers of baptisms
  • lists that include more than one family member (sometimes copied from a family Bible)

Some records duplicate those in the Collection of Vital Statistics Registers or the Parish Records Collection, while other records are not found elsewhere. This is especially true where church records predating civil registration were destroyed by fire.

Parish Records

Parish Records Collection

This extensive collection contains photocopies and/or microfilm copies of original church registers of baptisms, marriages and burials, as well as records of confirmations, minute books and other records of parish life. The original registers remain with the churches.

Approximately 200 Newfoundland and Labrador parishes are represented.  (“Parish” is used here to indicate any district with church(es) and clergy.) Denominations include the Anglican, Congregational, United Church, Moravian, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Salvation Army faiths. 

Although this is an extensive collection, it is not complete. The Rooms works with parishes to obtain copies of their records. Each parish determines the timeframe for records it will release for copying. Also, many parish records were not transcribed; some have been lost, mainly as a result of fires.

See the Parish Records Finding Aid  (arranged by 1. denomination; and 2. community/parish).


Indigenous Ancestry Research

VA15 C - 49.6 Micmac Guide (left) Jim John. Wigwam Along the Gander River

There are two ways to use the records at The Rooms to research indigenous ancestry:

1. On Baptism, Marriage, and Burial certificates, clergy sometimes (though rarely) noted if an individual was indigenous. 

2. Nominal Census Records:  
- The 1921 Nominal Census asked "Are you a Micmac Indian?". Responses were not always given, but in many cases YES or NO was noted. 

- The 1935 Nominal Census sometimes noted indigenous status under the heading "Nationality".

- The 1945 Nominal Census noted "Racial Origin".

If you can determine where your ancestor lived in 1921, 1935 or 1945, the appropriate census record can be checked. Please submit your request on the Request for Search (Nominal Census Records) form (PDF).

Other Family History Collections

In addition to many of our other Collections, these collections will be of interest to family history researchers.

Gertrude Crosbie Collection – Mrs. Crosbie's compilation of births, marriages and deaths from nineteenth-century newspapers, which bridge some missing gaps in church records

Conception Bay area of Harbour Grace and Carbonear – Extracts of births, marriages and deaths from newspapers, circa 1850-1900 

Daily News Deaths – Listings of deaths from the year-end editions of the Daily News from 1913 to 1963

Census Records – 1675-1945

Voter's Lists – 1832-1980s

Registry of Crown Land Grants – Crown land purchases from 1830-1930

Probated Wills of the Supreme Court – 1825-1900

The Plantation Books – Registers of ownership of fishing rooms for Bonavista Bay, Conception Bay and Twillingate, circa 1804-1806

Distance Research

A visit to The Rooms is the best way to access the records we hold. Reference Desk staff in the archives will be happy to assist you in using the inventories to locate relevant records. If you or a friend/relative cannot visit in person to search for records, The Rooms does offer a distance research service.

Guidelines for Genealogical Inquiries – pre-1892

Please observe these guidelines when requesting genealogical record searches to ensure the best, most efficient service.

Currently, each individual register has to be searched page by page, entry by entry, to locate a record. Requests are processed in the order of date received. Due to the large number of requests, it may take some time but your request will be filled as soon as possible.

Be clear and concise in your request. Ask for only one record per request form. Circle whether you require the baptism, marriage or burial record of the individual.

Identify the individual you want to trace by giving this information on the Genealogical Request for Search form:

1. the FULL NAME

2. the approximate DATE or YEAR of the record you seek - a search will be conducted for that year and five years either side

3. PLACE OF RESIDENCE of the person at the time when the record would have been created

4. RELIGIOUS DENOMINATION - be specific, i.e., Church of England/Anglican, Congregational, Methodist/United Church, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army

Without the place of residence and the religious denomination, we cannot complete the search.

SUBMIT your form to
Mail: The Rooms - Archives
P. O. Box 1800, Station C
St. John’s, NL  A1C 5P9
Fax: 709-757-8017


These searches apply to pre-1892 records only at the Archives. 

Seeking a copy of a record from 1892-present? Please contact the province’s Vital Statistics Division:

Vital Statistics Division
Department of Government Services and Lands
Location: 149 Smallwood Drive, Mount Pearl

Via Mail:
Vital Statistics Division
Department of Government Services and Lands
P. O. Box 8700
St. John’s, NL  A1B 4J6
Telephone: (709) 729-3308


Other Options for Family Research

The Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador is a non-profit membership organization membership that can offer assistance and advice on research. Visit

Private researchers conduct genealogical research on Newfoundland and Labrador families for a fee. Prior to 2011, The Rooms Archives created this list of private researchers. Please note: The Rooms does not assume any responsibility for agreements or service between you and a researcher on this list.

Reference Room Hours of Operation

The Reference Room is now accepting walk-ins.

Monday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday: Closed  


Return to The Rooms: A look at the treasures our Curator showed CBC 'Inside the Vault':


Make your own casting net:

Make your own Sou Wester Cap:

Download the pattern here.