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 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).
An online index is under development.
Aboriginal 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 Aboriginal ancestry:
1. On Baptism, Marriage, and Burial certificates, clergy sometimes (though rarely) noted Aboriginal status.
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 aboriginal 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
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
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
Government Services Centre
5 Mews Place
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 http://www.fhsnl.ca.
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.