Europeans settled Newfoundland slowly because of the commercial considerations of the fishery. The first attempt goes back to 1583 with the efforts of Sir Humphrey Gilbert.
Around 1660, the French established colonies in Plaisance and near St. John's. Most of the current population has ancestors who were immigrants from southwest England and southern Ireland. Newfoundland and Labrador became a Canadian province on March 31, 1949.
Civil Registration (Birth, Death and Marriage Records)
In Newfoundland, records date from 1892 and are in the custody of:
Service NL: Vital Statistics Division
5 Mews Place
PO Box 8700
St. John's, NL
For earlier years, the only source is church records, which are numerous for the period from 1860 to 1891, with a few returns as early as the 1820s. The Maritime History Archive has published Births, Deaths & Marriages in Newfoundland Newspapers, 1810 - 1890 on CD-Rom with more than 40,000 entries for births, deaths and marriages transcribed from 43 Newfoundland newspapers, 1810-1890. Inquiries concerning records prior to 1892 should be addressed to the The Rooms Archives.
- The Rooms Archives:
Court records include Surrogates Court, Magistrates Court, Supreme Court, Court of Sessions and Vice-Admiralty Court.
The Registry of Crown Titles and Records holds land documents together with background information, applications and legal surveys dating back to the 1830s.
The Registry of Deeds has records relating to real estate in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador dating back to the early 1800s.
Many libraries hold reference books, local histories, family histories and other books on genealogy. Library and Archives Canada allows you to browse lists of Canadian library Web sites and catalogues by province (Archived).
Records of probated estates are held by the:
Supreme Court of Newfoundland (Trial Division)
Court House, Duckworth Street
St. John's, NL