Community, Cultural Affairs and Labour
|Births, Marriages, Deaths|
As there was no civil register on Prince Edward Island prior to 1906, vital statistics information is not readily available in one specific source. With the exception of some civil marriage records, the major source of this early information is Church records, many of which have been destroyed through fire or flood, or have otherwise disappeared.
Church baptismal records for the 1886-1906 period, as well as official birth, marriage and death records post 1906 are kept at Prince Edward Island Vital Statistics in the Health and Community Services Agency, 35 Douses Rd., P.O. Box 3000, Montague, PE, C0A 1R0. These records are considered confidential.
For further information on the Division of Vital Statistics, consult the following web page: http://www.gov.pe.ca/infopei/onelisting.php3?number=43516.
The following collections of Public Archives and Records Office contain vital statistics information:
Baptisms prior to 1886: An alphabetical listing of baptisms, taken from church records, from across the Island. They contain the child's name, date of birth and baptism, father's and mother's (usually maiden) name and reference to the church record from which the information was abstracted.
Deaths prior to 1906: An alphabetical listing of death or burial records, taken from church records or newspaper announcements. Information given is very limited and references are often impossible to research to source.
Marriage register books, 1832-1923: Books in which marriage returns from the clergy were recorded. Information is limited, giving name, marital status, and place of residence of bride and groom, date of marriage, names of witnesses and clergyman. These have been indexed in the Master Name Index.
Marriage licenses, 1787-1919 & Marriage bonds, 1849-1902: Separate collections of bonds and licenses filmed in chronological sequence, and indexed by both bride and groom. Information is similar to that in the marriage register books although the bond does not include the date of the ceremony. Parents' names are not included on these marriage records.
Many churches kept records of baptisms, marriages and deaths. It is from these registers that the baptismal and death information prior to 1906 has been abstracted. The Public Archives and Records Office has microfilmed a large number of church records from parishes across Prince Edward Island. To use these records, you must know the location and religious affiliation of the family you seek. A few of these records from Acadian parishes and those of St. Paul's Anglican Church in Charlottetown predate 1800, but the majority date from 1830 on.
Indexes are available for some of the records of the Church of Scotland, St. John's Presbyterian Church in Belfast, and St. Peter's Anglican Church in Charlottetown.
The type and amount of information in these records varies with the individual church. Generally deaths were much more poorly documented than were baptisms or marriages. Marriage records, particularly Catholic Church records, may include parents' names. Restrictions on access to these records also vary according to the wishes of the individual Church although all Catholic Church records after 1900 are closed to the public.
Inscriptions have been copied from existing gravestones for cemeteries of all denominations from Lots 1 to 67. As well as dates of birth and death, these may establish family relationships, indicate place of origin, or offer miscellaneous genealogical data. These are indexed in the Master Name Index.
Most Prince Edward Island newspapers are available on microfilm at the Public Archives and Records Office or at the Robertson Library at University of Prince Edward Island. Announcements regarding births, marriages and deaths are of uneven quality depending on the date and newspaper consulted. It is important to have a specific date or this search can be extremely time-consuming. Index cards referencing vital statistics and other information in selected newspapers are included in the Master Name Index.