Newfoundland Vital Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Newfoundland Vital Records, 1840-1949
This article describes a collection of records at
Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
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Location of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Record Description
Collection years 1840-1949
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Provincial Archives, St. John's

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection contains vital records dating from 1840 to 1949. These records include images of births, delayed registrations of births, marriages, and deaths. Newfoundland, including the area of Labrador, became a province of Canada in 1949. Official registration of births, marriages, and deaths began in 1891. This collection also contains “Delayed Registration of Birth” certificates as well. Some of these date back to 1840. A delayed birth certificate is considered to be a birth certificate not filed within one year of the date of birth. Delayed birth certificates are generally a separate type of document and can include more types of documents than just late filings. Until 1948, most vital records were copies of church records. Clergy were required to register the baptisms, marriages, and burials they performed with the civil authorities. Also, as most of the records were handwritten and then copied from there may be transcription errors and mistakes in orthography of some individual’s names. It is important to check for alternate and similar spellings. Official registration of Births, marriages, and deaths did not occur in Newfoundland until 1891. Civil registration started in Newfoundland in 1891-1892. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Newfoundland Department of Public Health and Welfare, requested that churches transcribe their pre-1891 baptisms and marriages. This collection contains the records of those churches which responded to the request. Beginning dates vary with each record, and many dates are out of chronological order.

In the birth index, some pages in volumes 1 and 2 are damaged and will not allow you to recover the page number or line number. In volume 2, it is also advisable to read the remarks on the frontice page at image 2. Search by Year:

  • Birth Index 1891-1892 Certificate Numbers 640001-646442
  • Birth Index 1892-1895 Certificate Numbers 620001-634463 and 634464-639686
  • Birth Index 1895-1897 Certificate Number 600041-660119

Delayed Births are indexed as follows:

  • 1861-1865 Box 2, Box 01-34
  • 1866-1758 Box 3-4
  • 1870-1871 Box 5, box 01-34
  • 1840-1915 Box 01-34
  • Example: In Delayed Birth Index 1840-1915, Box 01-34 (image 9) is a record for Thomas Adams, 1860 in Box 02. With that information, go to Delayed Births 1859-1860, Box 01-02 (image 53) to see the original document.

Some records may duplicate baptisms already available in the Collection of Vital Statistics Registers or the Parish Records Collection. Some are records of baptism/birth which may not be found elsewhere. This is especially true of church records, which have been destroyed by fire and which predated the start of civil registration in 1891. This collection contains a number of marriage records, as well as one death record. They are noted in the indices. These thirty-four boxes of bound records are for the years 1840 to 1915, inclusively. Each box contains a finding aid (index) for the volume(s) in that particular box. The index lists the surnames of all records contained in the box. The year of each record is noted. Each volume of records is arranged alphabetically. This master index lists the surnames of all records contained in the entire collection of All Newfoundland Births (34 boxes).

  • Marriage Index 1891-1892, Volume 01 records begin with Images 49-86. Images 1-48 are misplaced duplicates of death records from the Death Index 1891-1892, Volume 01 link
  • In Marriages 1887-1920, Certificate Numbers 950001-950016, the certificate numbers begin at image #3. The 1st page is a marriage affidavit and the 2nd page contains records for Dec. 1887 to Feb. 1888 and one record for Aug. 2, 1888
  • For Marriages 1921-1922, Certificate Number 950001-950011, the certificate numbers begin correctly with image #1

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Newfoundland, Vital Records, 1840-1949.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:


  • Date and place of baptism
  • Date and place of birth
  • Name and gender of child


  • Child's name and gender
  • Child's date and place of birth
  • Date and place of baptism and by whom baptized
  • Father's full name and occupation
  • Mother's maiden name
  • Names of witnesses and their residence
  • Witnesses' relationship to child

Marriages 1891 to 1922

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Name of groom and bride
  • Age of each
  • Bachelor, spinster or widowed
  • Occupation
  • Birthplace
  • Religion denomination
  • Residence at time of marriage
  • Witnesses
  • Name of officiator

Deaths 1891 to 1949

  • Name and gender of deceased
  • Residence of deceased
  • Age in years, months and days
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Place of birth
  • Marital status and occupation
  • Religious denomination
  • Date and place of burial

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

How Do I search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The name of a relative or date of the event

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Record Type and Years to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Once a birth or marriage has been established from this record collection, try to find your ancestor in the Newfoundland Census, 1921 - FamilySearch Historical Records or Newfoundland Census, 1935 - FamilySearch Historical Records if your ancestors were alive during these times. The census can help with verifying residency for a certain time and other important information
  • Use the information to find other records such as land and death records
  • Use the information to find additional family members
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This can help you find possible relatives
  • Search the records of nearby areas
  • Check for other names. An individual might appear under an unexpected name for a variety of reasons:
    • A woman may have returned to her maiden name after the death of her husband

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Known Issues[edit | edit source]

Click here for a list of known issues with this collection.

Citing this Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.