Wednesday, 2 August 2017

New Brunswick Ancestors: A Look at the PANB County Guides

The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (PANB) is one of my favourite websites to use. Compared to other provincial archives' sites, it's very genealogist friendly. But did you know that there is so much more information on it than what you can find under the "Search" tab?

One of the great resources they have is the County Guides. They were developed in 2006, so some of the information is a little dated as far as what's available online. But they still have tremendous value into letting you see what they have in their holdings that isn't online.

To access them, you want to go to the main website page here.

http://archives.gnb.ca/Archives/?culture=en-CA




Next you want to click on where I've circled above on Research Tools, and then click on County Guides. Your next screen will look like this:

http://archives.gnb.ca/ResearchTools/CountyGuides.aspx?culture=en-CA

Next you just click on the county you want. The guide for each county is a PDF that you can view online, download and/or print. Each County guide has been set up the same way:


  • Introduction
A quick explanation of the PANB and the County Guides

  • Research, Interlibrary Loan, and Copy Services
A brief explanation of their policies. One of the great things about PANB is their participation in interlibrary loan for most of their microfilms. Why I say "most" will become clearer later on.

  • Development of the County
This gives a brief history of the County you are looking at, and their Parishes. This history comes in especially handy if your County of research was not one the original  8 Counties. For instance, some of my ancestors settled in Gloucester County. Gloucester was originally part of Northumberland until it became it's own County in 1826. Have an ancestor who lived in Kent County? It didn't become a County until 1826, and was formerly a part of Northumberland as well. In both the Kent and Gloucester guides, it advises you that you should be looking in Northumberland records for your pre 1826 ancestors.

  • Census Returns
This is a handy one. It tells you how complete the census records are for your particular County. For instance, It tells me that Northumberland County in 1851 and 1861 are incomplete. The PANB has census records on microfilm and the guide lists what the microfilm reel numbers are. These are not available for microfilm loan. Thanks to other websites though, you can access these in other ways.

  • Returns of Births, Marriages, and Deaths
This section is one of the ones that is outdated. The introduction gives you an overview of the New Brunswick policy on access to BMD's. |It then outlines what is online and what is not. However, since these were made in 2006, the year ranges will be off. For instance, it says that births are online to 1908, marriages and deaths to 1955. But when you check the online database on the site, births are available as of today up to 1921, marriages and deaths to 1966. It also states that their record set Marriage Bonds (RS551A) is only available on microfilm. It has since been added to their collection of online databases. So, just be sure to double check their online databases to make sure if what you're looking for hasn't been updated since the guides were made.

  • Burial Records
Another outdated section. The online database on the PANB of gravestone transcriptions has grown quite a bit since 2006. Depending on the County, you may also find some other collections. Charlotte County has some miscellaneous cemetery records as well as the H Owen Rigby fonds, concerning the account book of Mr. Rigby's undertaking business.

  • Land Records
This section describes their online indexes for land petitions and grants. These microfilms can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. It also describes their collection of Land Registry Office Records. Each County has a different collection number (i.e. Northumberland is RS91, Gloucester is RS87).
There is a microfilmed index only available at the archives, and the records themselves are not available for loan.
  • Immigration Records
Listed are microfilm numbers for their collections of passenger and crew lists. It does not say whether these are available through interlibrary loan. However, they have since been indexed and digitized and are available through the PANB's Irish Portal Virtual Exhibit here.

  • Court Records
The PANB has collections of both Probate Court and Court of Equity records. Microfilms for Probate Court are available through interlibrary loan, though not all have been microfilmed. Court of Equity records are not microfilmed and can only be viewed at the PANB.

  • Education Records
If you have an ancestor that was a teacher, then you might want to consult their collection Teachers' Petitions and Licenses (RS655). This province wide collection's records are not online. However, they have a searchable online index that will give you the microfilm number you need to consult. It does not say whether the records are available for interlibrary loan. I'm assuming that since they do not emphasize a restriction, that they are available to loan.

There is also the collection Teachers' and Trustees' Returns (RS657). You will find the school, teacher's name, and student lists by year. Each county guide lists the particular microfilm numbers needed to consult for that particular area. Again, it does not say whether these are available through interlibrary loan.

Lastly, each guide also lists miscellaneous education records that involve your particular County, and their microfilm numbers.

  • Directories
These have the microfilm numbers of the directories in their holdings for your particular County of interest and the corresponding microfilm numbers.

  • City Council Records
What's available differs for each particular County. As well, some have microfilm numbers listed, while others state "Numbers on Request". In King's County, you can find records from the Road's Commission, while in Restigouche, there are County Jail Records.

  • Newspapers
Another helpful section. Listed in each guide are the newspapers circulating in that area. Some have microfilm numbers attached, while others do not. They do say to consult the Archives for the microfilm number you need. You need to let the staff know what newspaper and date you are looking for to get the right microfilm number. These are available through loan.

  • New Brunswick Museum Vertical Files
These are files that "...contain genealogical, biographical, and historical research information for all of New Brunswick...". There is a microfilmed index on roll F11077.

  • Church Records
This one is worth the guide all on its own. Each guide lists the churches in that county, what years are microfilmed, and microfilm numbers. Take note though that if the microfilm you want says "(RESTRICTED)", then you will need to obtain written permission from that particular church to see those records. 

If you have Catholic ancestors, as I do, then chances are you are probably going to find what you need elsewhere on the internet through the Drouin. But check anyway. You might find something that you didn't know was missing from another site's record set. For instance, in the Drouin Collection on Ancestry, records for Burnt Church in Northumberland County are available from 1891-1899. However, at the PANB they also have 2 other sets from there: 1844-1890, and 1959-1972 (this one is labelled as restricted).

Now if you are trying to get a hold of non Catholic records, then what's available will make you do a dance. Among the guides I looked at, you could find Anglican, United, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Congregational, and Jewish records. Of course, this will vary County by County.

  • Other Institutions to Contact or Visit
Each County guide has a list of institutions, museums, societies and/or archives that have information on that particular area. Postal addresses are included. I'm sure a google search of the individual places will give you email contact information an/or telephone numbers as well.




While you're on the PANB's website, check out the other Research Tools and online exhibits they have. You'll be pleasantly surprised at what they have to offer.