Vital Statistics- Part 1 Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island

The three main records all genealogists look for are birth, marriage, and death. We refer to these as the BMD\’s. It\’s from these three events that we build the rest of our records around. So where do we find them?

Registrations for the BMD\’s is handled by provincial and territorial governments. Each has started registration at different times, and have different regulations on public access. So, lets take a look at each province and territory.
Newfoundland and Labrador 
Civil registration began in 1891. Before this, the only records available are church records. The only way to obtain a copy is through Service NL. However, at the provincial archives (The Rooms), you can look at microfilms of some records. According to their website, they have on microfilm births 1891-1899, marriages 1891-1922, and deaths 1891-1949.
According to Service NL, you can get a copies with the following conditions:
Birth Certificate:
  • If it is for yourself (you must be at least 16 years old)
  • You are the parent or guardian (with proof of guardianship)
  • Have written authorization from one of the above
  • A court order or if it is to comply with a specific Act or regulation (proof is required)
  • If the person is deceased you need proof of death. As well you need to be next of kin, or the executor, trustee or administrator of the estate. If not, you need written authorization from one of these people
Marriage Certificate:
  • Either party of the marriage
  • Written authorization from either party
  • A court order
  • If both parties are deceased, then proof of death is required. You would still need to be the child or parent of one of the parties, or the executor, trustee, or administrator of the estate. If not, you will need written authorization of one of these people
Death Certificates
There are no restrictions on who can apply for a death certificate.
The FamilySearch wiki on Newfoundland and Labrador has details of FamilySearch\’s holdings. You can access their page here.
Ancestry does not have a lot of Newfoundland and Labrador records. Click here to see the list.
Cyndi\’s List has a collection of links for vital statistics here.
Prince Edward Island
Though marriage licenses were issued as far back as 1787, government birth and death registrations did not start until 1906. At their provincial archives online section (PARO), they have baptisms 1777-1923, marriage licenses 1827-1919, and deaths pre 1906. They also have deaths 1906-1916. Deaths from 1917-1919 are in the process of data entry. Deaths from 1920-1960 are also available. To obtain copies you must go through the government. On their website the following rules of access apply:
Birth Certificate:
  • you or a parent can apply, as long as the parent\’s name is on the registration
  • written authorization from the person or the person\’s parents
  • a lawyer acting on your or your parents\’ behalf
  • a court order
Marriage certificate:
It does not say on their website who can apply if you are not either one of the parties involved
Death Certificates:
It does not say on their website who can apply.
Now that being said, I did find this website called PEI Island Information. On it\’s website it says the following about the vital statistics office:
\”This office holds an index of baptisms for the period from 1886-1919, and official birth records from 1840-present, marriage records from 1886-present, and death records from 1906-present. This information is not open to the public, however, a staff member will check the records and issue a certificate if the record is 100 years old or older for a fee if you are a direct descendent of the person whose record you wish to obtain.\”

 The last update to this website was in 2014. My suggestion would be to contact the government to find out exactly what the restrictions are.
FamilySearch\’s wiki on PEI is here.
A list of Ancestry\’s PEI records can be accessed here.
Cyndi\’s List for Vital Statistics can be accessed here.
In Part 2 we\’ll look at Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

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