Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Newfoundland's Grand Banks

The Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogical and Historical Data website was founded by Bill Crant and Don Tate in the 1990s. Their mission statement is succinct and direct: "The purpose of this site is to provide original genealogical and historical data in the form of census information, Provincial wide directory publications, church, parish, and cemetery records, and many other original source documents. It has been created for those desiring to do research in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador."[1]

The site is obviously a treasure trove for those who had ancestors that lived in or immigrated to this part of Canada. Of particular interest to this blog is the information contained in the transcribed Roman Catholic parish registers from the city of St. John's. After selecting 'Parish Records' on the home page, you are provided with a list of place names from throughout the province. Selecting your place of interest presents you with transcribed parish records from various denominations. The St. John's Roman Catholic baptismal and marriage records provide a lot of useful information, with many of the marriage entries providing a 'last permanent residence' for Irish immigrants.

Immigration to this part of the world from Ireland was mostly made up of people from the southeast of Ireland—Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, south Tipperary, east Cork—who were attracted to work in the fishing industry. This is reflected in the registers - John Neil of Mothel Parish [County Waterford] married Mary Keating of Cashel Parish [County Tipperary] in St. John's Parish, St. John's on 22 June 1800.[2]

A fascinating section of the website is Parish Records of Newfoundlanders located in Other Countries. There are examples of Newfoundlanders recorded in the Roman Catholic Parish of St. Patrick, Waterford City, Ireland in the 1750s; Roman Catholic church records in Montreal, Quebec; and  in various denomination in Nova Scotia. Early Catholic marriage records from Halifax, Nova Scotia are a delight, with names of parents and places of birth provided for both parties. For example, James Dowling of County Carlow, Ireland, and son of Michael Dowling and Winifred Phelan, married Margaret McDonald of Newfoundland, daughter of John McDonald and Alice Corcoran, on 18 April 1833 in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Parish.[3]

Digital images of church records from Newfoundland are also available to browse for free on the Familysearch database Newfoundland Church Records, 1793-1945. Therefore, using both websites can give you the best of both worlds - a transcribed, searchable list of entries and digital images.

[1] Craig Peterman. Mission Statement. Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogical and Historical Data, August 2015. (http://ngb.chebucto.org/mission.shtml), accessed 3 October 2016.
[2] St. John's Roman Catholic Parish (St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada), marriage register, p. 22, 2 June 1800, John Neil and Mary Keating; transcription, "1799 - 1811 Marriages - St. John's RC Basilica Parish," St. John's City, Parish Records, Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogical and Historical Data (http://ngb.chebucto.org), accessed 7 January 2017.
[3] St. Mary's Roman Catholic Parish (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada), marriage register, 18 April 183, James Dowling and Margaret McDonald; transcription, "Marriages 1830 - 1900 St Mary's Basilica RC," Other Countries, Parish Records, Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogical and Historical Data (http://ngb.chebucto.org), accessed 7 January 2017.


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