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RS141A2/2 INTRODUCTION: COUNTY BIRTH REGISTERS INDEX - SECOND EDITION
New Brunswick was over 100 years old when the first legislation was passed requiring
the civil registration of births and deaths. An Act to Provide for the Registration of
Births, Deaths, and Marriages (50 Victoria, Ch.V) was passed on April 5, 1887. The
registration of marriages had been required since 1812, but such registration was repealed
and reconstituted in the 1887 Act which came into force on January 1, 1888.
Administratively, the Provincial Secretary was denoted as Registrar General. Divisional
Registrars were established in "each county and the City and County of Saint
The system for the registration was revamped in 1920 and all registers created between
1888 and 1919 were supposed to be forwarded to the Registrar of Vital Statistics. The
registers were transferred to the Provincial Archives for permanent preservation by the
Registrar in 1991 and 1992.
Description of the Birth Registers:
The registers which are designated at the Provincial Archives as "RS141A2/1 - County
Registers of Births", are those which were created pursuant to the 1887 legislation
discussed above. Generally the registers contain the name of the child, sex of the child,
date of birth, place of birth, father's name, father's occupation, mother's maiden name,
informant's name and address, name of accoucheur, county of registration, registration
date, and registration number. However, not all registers were filled in to the same
degree: some have far less information than the Act required and some have more.
Sadly, not all of the registers have been located. The following are still missing:
1. Westmorland County 1888-1919: (undoubtedly several registers because Moncton would be included)
2. Sunbury County 1888-1919: (probably one register)
3. Madawaska County 1888-1909: (one register)
Whether these registers have been lost forever or are yet to be found, is not known. If
any are located later, they will be added to A2/1 and indexed. Nonetheless, their absence
now leaves a very noticeable gap in this Index.
Transcription and Indexing Project:
With the resources of both Vital Statistics Branch and the Provincial Archives, every
pre-1900 birth in the registers was transcribed and used to build the Index, which
contains just over 79,600 birth registrations. By indexing all children, all mothers, and
all fathers, the size of the final index tripled, but so also did its research value. The
entire Index on paper totals more that 6500 pages, but is also available on microfilm.
Researchers may find it useful to know the number of births registered for each county:
|St. John County
Data Elements and Transcription Criteria:
The following are the elements added to the Index from the registers, and points of
rointerest to researchers concerning the data.
Much effort was expended to ensure accuracy in transcribing the names of the child, mother
and father, but researchers should note that there are many errors in the registers
themselves, and that within the Index various spellings should be checked as a matter
of course. In many cases, only parts of names remain in those registers which have
sustained much damage from over-use, but where those parts were legible, they have been
transcribed, with dashes (---) indicating missing letters. Where no name (surname or
given) exists, five dashes (-----) were used to indicate this fact. Where the transcriber
has filled in a part of name using other evidence (another entry in the register, for
example), an asterisk (*) following the entry indicates this.
In only a very few cases did the transcriber change the spelling of a surname from that in
the register, although there are many obvious discrepancies. (It seems that those entering
the births into the registers were often anything but careful.) However, during the
transcription process, obviously misspelled given names were often changed. For example,
"Willaim" would be corrected to "William" or "Goerge" to
"George". But even here, great care was taken not to make a change on
This column includes the name of the child whose birth is being registered. In some cases,
the given name of the child is not in the register; this is indicated by the five dashes
(-----). In those cases where the surname of the child differs from that of both
the name of the father and the mother, the was indexed as it appeared. However, where
there was confusion over the surname, the child was indexed under both possibilities;
knowing that although one possibility was incorrect, the other was probably accurate. This
latter problem arose most often when it could not be determined if the second name of the
child was the middle name or surname.
This indicates the sex of the child: Male or Female.
Dy/Mo/Year (Date of Birth)
This is the date of birth registered for the Child. It is indicated in the style of
"day-month-year". Dashes are used to indicate missing data elements. Most of the
births recorded occurred in the latter part of the century, but a considerable number
pre-date 1850. The earliest birth recorded is 1801. In about four cases, an error by the
recorder indicates a nineteenth century birth when the date is actually out by 100 years:
thus 1925 became 1825. In these cases, the incorrect date appears in the Dy/Mo/Year column
but the correct date appears in parentheses in the child column.
Officially, this column was supposed to include the maiden name of mother of the child.
However, many times the married name is given rather than the maiden name. In the cases
where no surname appeared for the mother, dashes were used to indicate that fact. Note: in
no case did the transcriber apply the surname of the father to the mother.
This column contains the name of the father of the child.
This is the place where the child was born. Of course, most of the places of birth were in
the county where the register was created, but not always. There are many instances where
births are registered in adjoining or distant counties. There are also births registered
which occurred in the United States and overseas.
This column contains the abbreviation of the county where the register was created.
(It is not always the county of the place of birth). The codes used for the counties of
New Brunswick are the first two letters, excepting St. John County where SJ is used. The
list of abbreviations is included with the Book codes below.
This is the code (from 1 to 15) applied to the birth registers by Vital Statistics. It is
followed by a dash and a number indicating the number for the volume within the series of
registers for that particular county. For example, Book "1-2" indicates St. John
County (code 1), volume 2. The county abbreviations and book codes are as follows:
||3 no registers
||7 no registers
This column contains the page in the register on which the birth is recorded.
This is the registration number within the register. A number zero (#0) indicates that the
births are not numbered on that particular page.
This is the number of the microfilm at the Provincial Archives on which that birth
Second Edition Notes:
The first edition of this Index was issued in March of 1994. Immediately thereafter, a
missing volume was turned up by Vital Statistics Branch. This was Volume 3 for St. John
County (coded 1-3). It was transcribed and nearly 1500 new names for St. John County were
subsequently added to the Index. Also, it was discovered that an error in page alignment
had occurred which resulted in nearly 200 children being mis-matched with mother and
father. This, too, has been corrected in this Second Edition. As well, other minor errors
have been rectified.
Special Note to Researchers:
It should be pointed out that researchers may discover many spelling and name
discrepancies between this Index and family or other records. Please remember that the
historical records in the Archives cannot be edited, amended, or otherwise changed: the
continued integrity of the record demands this prohibition. The indexes provided by the
Archives are only aids to finding information in the records and are not intended to be
official registers and, as such, must reflect the records as created.