Newfoundland and Labrador Church Records

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Newfoundland & Labrador Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
Newfoundland & Labrador Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

Denominations[edit | edit source]

The major denominations of Newfoundland include the Anglican Church, the Catholic Church, and the United Church of Canada (the Methodists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists united in 1925 to form the United Church of Canada).

Information Found in the Records[edit | edit source]

To effectively use church records, become familiar with their content. Click on these links to learn about a specific record type:

Finding the Records[edit | edit source]

Look for online records.[edit | edit source],, and can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Caution sign.png

Online databases are incomplete. This can lead to two common errors:

  1. Near matches: Researchers might mistakenly accept an entry very similar to their ancestor, thinking it is the only one available. Only use information that matches your ancestor in date, place, relationships, and other details.
  2. Stopping research: Researchers might assume the database proves church records do not exist. Actually the record is still out there, just not in this incomplete collection of records. Keep searching!

Look for digital copies of church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]

Family History Library
Salt Lake City, Utah
  • The Family History Library (FHL) has microfilmed and/or digitized records for churches in the Canada.
  • Online church records can be listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under the province or a town.
  • If you find a record that has not yet been digitized, see How do I request that a microfilm be digitized?
  • Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations.
  • To find records:
a. Click on the records of Canada, Newfoundland.
b. Click on Places within Canada, Newfoundland and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town or the town where the church was, if different.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Consult available finding aids.[edit | edit source]

These aids generally provide lists of records that are known to exist and information on their location.

Correspond with or visit the actual churches.[edit | edit source]

Some records are still held in the local churches. Contact the current minister to find out what records are still available.

  • Make an appointment to look at the records. Or ask the minister of the church to make a copy of the record for you.
  • To find church staff available, you might have to visit on Sunday.
  • Ask for small searches at a time, such as one birth record or a specific marriage. Never ask for "everything on a family or surname".
  • A donation ($25-$40) for their time and effort to help you would be appropriate.
  • If the church has a website, you may be able to e-mail a message.
  • See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

Addresses[edit | edit source]

Check the church records collections in archives and libraries.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been deposited for preservation in government archives or in libraries. Watch for links to digitized, online records offered by the archives. Some archives provide research services for a fee. For others, if you cannot visit in person, you might hire a researcher.

Here you will find archive information unique to the province. Many more archives are kept by denomination. For denominational archives, go to Searching for Church Records by Denomination.

Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador[edit | edit source]

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.[1]

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 Canada
Fax: 709-757-8017

Anglican Church of Canada[edit | edit source]

Diocese of Central Newfoundland
Synod Office
34 Fraser Road
Gander, NL A1V 2E8
Phone: 709-256-2372
Fax: 709-256-2396

Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador
Synod Office
19 King’s Bridge Rd.
St. Johns, NL A1C 3K4
Phone: 709-576-6697
Fax: 709-576-7122

Anglican Diocese of Western Newfoundland Archives
John Edgar
25 Main Street
Corner Brook, NL A2H 1C2
Phone: 709-639-8712
Fax: 709-639-1636

Predominant records are from 1976 to 1990, but there are also records from 1842 to 1990. The Diocese of Western Newfoundland was created in 1976 during the process of restructuring. The former Diocese of Newfoundland (established 1839) was divided into three smaller dioceses. All records generated since this split are located at the Diocesan Archives of Western Newfoundland.
Sacramental records of several parishes of Western Newfoundland (since 1842) will be available also through this Archive, by means of microfilmed records. Provision is made also for collection and microfilming of other parish records of the diocese. Correspondence, minutes, reports, principles, constitutions, journals, yearbooks, administrative records, handbooks, newsletters, orders of service, press releases, notices, questionnaires, plans, assessments, feasibility studies, property records are all housed here.

Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John's Archives
Archdiocesan Archives
Pastoral Center
200 Military Road
St. John’s, NL A1C 2E8

Tel: (709) 726-3660
Fax: (709) 726-8021

Baptist[edit | edit source]

Atlantic Baptist Archives
Acadia University
Esther Clark Wright Archives
Vaughan Memorial Library Special Collections
Acadia University
P.O. Box 4
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6
Reference Desk: (902) 585-1011

The Atlantic Baptist Archives at Acadia University preserves the records of nearly 800 Baptist Churches in Atlantic Canada. These archival finding aids are inventories of some, but not all, church records in the Archives. New finding aids will continue to be added as they are created.

If you do not see your church listed, please email us:

United Church of Canada[edit | edit source]

Fundy St. Lawrence Dawning Waters Regional Council
21 Wright St.
Sackville New Brunswick E4L 4P8
Phone: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 6159

The Fundy St. Lawrence Dawning Waters Regional Council/Regional Council 15 Archives is mandated to collect, preserve, and provide access to the records of the Maritime, Gaspé, and Bermuda regions of the The United Church of Canada. We also have pre-1925 records of the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregational congregations in the Maritimes and Gaspé which joined The United Church of Canada in 1925.

Go to the Wiki article for your ancestors' denomination to find more archives.[edit | edit source]

There are frequently additional, nationwide or regional archives for each denomination. Find the article for your ancestors' denomination and follow the instructions there to access these sources. This is especially important if local archives are not given above.

Wiki Articles for Records of Major Churches in Canada

Correspond with genealogical or historical societies.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been given to historical societies. Also, historical societies may be able to tell you where the records are being held. To find a society near you, consult these lists:

Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor[edit | edit source]

You will possibly find many different people with the same name as your ancestor, especially when a family stayed in a locality for several generations, and several children were named after the grandparents or aunts and uncles. Be prepared to find the correct church records by organizing in advance as many of these exact details about the ancestor as possible:

  • name, including middle name and maiden name
  • names of all spouses, including middle and maiden name
  • exact or closely estimated dates of birth, marriage, and death
  • names and approximate birthdates of children
  • all known places of residence
  • occupations
  • military service details

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.pngCarefully evaluate the church records you find to make sure you have really found records for your ancestor and not just a "near match". If one or more of the details do not line up, be careful about accepting the entry as your ancestor. There are guiding principles for deciding how to resolve discrepancies between records that are seemingly close. For more instruction in evaluating evidence, read the Wiki article, Evaluate the Evidence.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Parish Parish Records", at Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador,, accessed 21 December 2020.