New Brunswick Ancestors: Update to the PANB County Guides

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_New_Brunswick

A while back I wrote a blog post about the County Guides at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (PANB). They are a wonderful resource, but at the time of writing they were last updated in 2006. I\’m happy to say that over the holidays, the PANB gave us a Christmas gift and updated them. In this post I\’m going to highlight some of the changes. You can see my original post on them for reference here.

  • Guide to Family Histories

This is new section that has me tickled pink. Clicking on the link provided will take you to the index\’s search screen. Type in a name and the results will tell you if there\’s a written family history about your person at the Archives. According to the Introduction, this can be anything from a couple of lines of information to a whole book. Included in the index is any or all of the following:

  • Surname
  • First Name
  • Archive Reference Number
  • Remarks
  • County Location of the ancestor 

Using the reference number you can find out whether it\’s on microfilm or not. If it is, you can use inter library loan to obtain it. In the introduction they also suggest looking at the index Guide to Biographies at the Provincial Archives. This can be accessed here.

  • Census Returns
No big changes here. But there is a mention that transcripts are available for purchase from the Associates of the Provincial Archives. I do not remember seeing that last time.
  • Vital Statistics
They\’ve combined the old version sections Returns of Birth, Marriages and Deaths, and Burial Records into one section here. It\’s been updated what\’s available online on their main BMD databases. They\’ve also added a link to the government website for accessing records that are still under privacy restrictions. The main databases tend to be listed in all the County Guides, but there are some that are County specific. It\’s a good idea to check and see what unique collections are available for your ancestor. For instance, the databases Early County Marriage Records (RS155), and Marriage Bonds (RS155A) are not listed in the Madawaska County Guide. However, they do have a collection called Repertoire des mariages de diocese d\’Edmunston, N.-B. et du compte d\’Aroostock (MC301).
There\’s also what I believe is a new addition to the Guides, Index to Death Registrations of Soldiers, 1941-1947. This index has death information for WWII soldiers who were New Brunswick born, but died elsewhere. They warn that is not a complete collection. Also making it into the collection are some American and non New Brunswick born. The certificates themselves are not available to view online, but by looking at the microfilm F20079 you can see the certificates. They are filled in like a normal death registration, so you will get to see such information as birth date, cause of death, and parents\’ names and birthplaces.

The information on the cemeteries databases have been updated. They\’ve also added that there is some cemetery transcriptions at the Archives that is not included in their database.

  • Land Records
Along with information on the Land Petitions and Land Grants collections, there is a new collection added to some of the Guides called Registry Office Records (RS##). Not all Counties have this collection in their Guide (Northumberland County is one that doesn\’t). The year range for each County is different, but it says among this collection are:
  • Deeds
  • Leases
  • Liens
  • Mortgages
Also included are some wills. This is a place where beginning genealogists might not think to look for a will. Sometimes people would use a will to transfer ownership of land to the heirs and/or spouse. If your ancestors did not have a lot of money, there\’s a good chance that instead of looking at probate records, you should be looking at land records to find a will. 
The RS# associated with this collection is different for each County, so if you\’re contacting the Archives for microfilm numbers make sure you have the right collection number.
  • Immigration Records
Not much has changed here, but they have added a note that Passengers to New Brunswick: The Customs House Records; 1833, 1834, 1837, 1838 by Daniel F. Johnson (MC80/1263) is available to view at the Archives.
  • Court Records
This section has microfilm numbers for both the Probate Court Books, and separate microfilms for the Probate Court files. Read over the instructions to save yourself some grief. For instance, the Madawaska County Courthouse had a fire in 1909, and destroyed most of the records from 1873-1909. Also note that if you are looking for a probate file post 1930, they can only be viewed at the PANB. Meanwhile in Victoria County, you can get microfilms of files up to 1972.
The Court of Equity Records is still not available online either as an index or complete digital image.
  • Education Records
This section also has no new collections that I could pinpoint from the old version, but still worth checking out, especially if your ancestor was involved in the education system.
  • Directories
They have noted that an online index to the Hutchinson and Lovell directories is available on their website. You can access it here for the Hutchinson directories and here for the Lovell directory. Both indexes list Name, Street, Community, County, and Occupation.
  • City Council Records
Because the record sets differ for each County, I cannot immediately tell if there are new ones added. As before, not all microfilm numbers are listed. Some collections you will have to request the numbers.
  • Newspapers
As with the section above, the newspapers listed are different for each County. I cannot immediately tell if there are any new newspapers added, or if any years have been added to existing ones. Also like the City Council records, you may have to contact the Archives to get the microfilm numbers you need. You can also look at their online index Daniel F. Johnson\’s New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics. It was originally compiled by Daniel F. Johnson and put online by the Archives in his memory. You have the option of a name or a full text search. Just remember that if you search by name, make sure you are putting in all the name variations you can think of. My grandmother was a MALLAIS, so I\’ve had to look at MALLET, MALLETT, and even MALLEY to find ancestors. If you\’re looking for a MC or MAC name, try also M\’ in your search (i.e. M\’Donald).
  • New Brunswick Museum Vertical Files
No changes to this section.
  • Church Records
I like how they\’ve improved the look of this sections. It\’s much cleaner looking and easier to find a specific church. They\’ve also updated what\’s available. I looked at the Burnt Church records in Northumberland County. I mentioned in my original post that this was the my grandfather\’s people were a part of. There\’s a new microfilm for St. Ann\’s that covers the years 1891-1938. Happy dance!
  • Other Institutions to Contact or Visit
Another updated section. Along with mailing addresses, they\’ve also included phone numbers and websites if available.
  • Website References
A new section that gives you web addresses for the PANB, LAC, the Associates of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, and Service New Brunswick.
Now, if you\’ll excuse me, I\’ve got a list of microfilm numbers to make…..

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