Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Vital Statistics from Government Records (RS141)

pdf View the finding aid
Introduction Introduction | Help Help | Name Index Name Index | Search Page Search Page
The following Record Series are available in the Vital Statistics Search Engine. Click the link to view the introduction. It will appear below.
IndexDescriptionYearsRecordsLast updated
141A1b Index to Late Registration of Births 1810-1921 110,730 2017-05-24
141A1c Index to Late Registration of Births: County Series 1869-1901 2,294 2016-07-07
141A2/2 Index to County Birth Registers 1800-1919 87,950 2017-05-25
141A5 Index to Provincial Registrations of Births 1870-1921 135,698 2017-05-11
IndexDescriptionYearsRecordsLast updated
141B7 Index to New Brunswick Marriages 1847-1965 263,033 2017-05-12
IndexDescriptionYearsRecordsLast updated
141C1 Index to County Death Registers 1885-1921 40,447 2017-01-28
141C4 Provincial Returns of Deaths 1815-1919 84,192 2017-04-04
141C5 Index to Death Certificates 1918-1966 231,783 2017-05-11



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 The registration of marriages had been required since 1812, but such registration was repealed and reconstituted in the 1887 Act which came into force on January 1, 1888.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 John".

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:

County Total Births Earliest Birth
Albert County 3,017 1804
Carleton County 3,143 1839
Charlotte County 3,171 1812
Gloucester County 12,418 1818
Kent County 10,239 1829
Kings County 4,619 1801
Madawaska County 3 1868
Northumberland County 6,458 1819
Queens County 3,585 1843
Restigouche County 3,683 1844
St. John County 16,376 1813
Victoria County 2,736 1850
York County 10,156 1838

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 presumption only.

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:

County Code (Cd) Book (Bk)
Saint John SJ 1
Charlotte CH 2
Sunbury SU 3 no registers
Queens QU 4
Kings KI 5
Albert AL 6
Westmorland WE 7 no registers
Kent KE 8
Northumberland NO 9
York YO 10
Carleton CA 11
Victoria VI 12
Madawaska MA 13
Restigouche RE 14
Gloucester GL 15

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.

Film #
This is the number of the microfilm at the Provincial Archives on which that birth appears.

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.