Newfoundland did not become a province until 1949. However, the first official accounts of Europeans setting foot on Newfoundland goes back to the late 1400\’s. The historic site L\’anse aux Meadows is over 1,000 years old, and attributed to Leif Eriksson. The province is considered England\’s first overseas colony, going back to Elizabeth the first.
Newfoundland is not in the available national Census records for Canadian research. They do have their own census returns, held onsite at Library and Archives Canada and The Rooms in Newfoundland. You can also view the original images online both at Family Search and at Ancestry for 1921,1935, and 1945. Transcriptions of many years are available at the Newfoundland Grand Banks website. I wrote a previous blog post on their site back in 2018, which you can access here. Directories are a great census substitute. I wrote a previous blog post on a what a great source of information directories can be, which you can read here. Memorial University has digitized several varieties of directories and indexes on their site.
I\’ve provided links to some of what\’s available on the site
- A directory : containing names and present addresses of professional men, merchants and shopkeepers, burnt out by the general conflagration of July 8th, 1892 – a great resource if your ancestor lost their homes and/or businesses due to the devastating fire in St. John\’s in 1892. The first part of the book gives an account of the fire itself. The names are arranged alphabetically
- McAlpine\’s St. John\’s directory : containing a directory of citizens and business and street directories 1908-9 ; also, directories of citizens of Harbor Grace and Carbonear and classified business firms of Newfoundland
- Newfoundland directory : containing an alphabetical list of all business firms and private citizens and list of streets in St. John\’s and St. John\’s Suburbs, also directories of Bay Roberts, Harbor Grace, Carbonear, and Burin West ; also list of popular hotels, tea rooms, motor service stations and business houses in the Districts of Hr. Main and Port-de-Grave
- Number of inhabitants in the Harbour of Brigues, Cupids, Bareneed and Port de Grave ending September 27th 1817 – this handwritten census substitute lists the heads of household. Also listed are the number of men, women, children, female servants and male servants.
- An account of inhabitants residing in the harbor & district of St. John\’s, 1794-1795 – This index was compiled from the 1794/1795 census of St. John\’s. It would be good to read the first few pages, as it explains the abbreciartions and reference numbers
- First four hundred Royal Artillery, 1940 – If your ancestor was one of the first 400 men attested to the two Newfoundland regiments of Britain\’s Royal Artillery during World War II, you\’ll want to look at this. It includes the names and addresses of then men, as well as an honour roll.
- First Newfoundland Regiment Rifle Range Register – this unique resource has the names and points scored on the rifle range. It covers the first world war years. The sheets also give wind direction and visibility.
- The journal of Oliver Rouse, Anglican missionary in Newfoundland : September 1846 to May 1850 – This journal mentions the names of many people and places within the province
- The first five hundred : being a historical sketch of the military operations of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in Gallipoli and on the Western Front during the Great War (1914-1918), together with the individual military records and photographs where obtainable of the men of the first contingent, known as \”The First Five Hundred\”, or \”The Blue Puttees\”