Twigs & Trees with Rhonda: Some Resources When Researching in Prince Edward Island, Canada
In 1763 the island was annexed to Nova Scotia. It was not until 1799 that the name would be changed from the Island of St. John to Prince Edward Island. And in that interim time, much would take place. And it was not until 1873 that the island became of a province of Canada.
Under British Control
Once the British had control of it, they needed a plan to encourage settlement. So, the island was divided into three counties and 67 townships. Unlike many other areas, the land was dispersed using a lottery system to those who were deserving of "Royal patronage." Thus the land has always been referred to as Lots. However, even with this system, settlement was slow.
Despite the deportation back in 1758, there were still a few Acadians that remained. And after the American Revolution, those who sided with the English, about 800 or so, decided to make the island their home.
Genealogical repositories are found in the capital of Charlottetown. Many of them are within walking distance of each other. If you are able to visit in person, you will want to plan on visiting the Public Archives and Record Office (PARO). This archive was established in 1964 with the goal of preserving primary source documents. Among the holdings of the PARO you can find:
One of the best indexes available for records of Prince Edward Island is the "Master Name Index" which contains over 500,000 cards in alphabetical order. The names that appear in this index have been extracted from a number of different sources, including:
This index is available on microfilm from the Family History Library through your local Family History Center.
If you wish to contact the archives, you can write to them at:
Public Archives and Records Office
PO Box 1000
To request vital records, you will want to see the forms available in Thomas J. Kemp's International Vital Records Handbook published by Genealogical Publishing Company. Keep in mind that official registration of vital records for Prince Edward Island did not begin until 1906. Church records will need to be consulted for research prior to 1906.The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition. She is the author of four how-to guides on Family Tree Maker. In late 2001, she wrote The Genealogist's Computer Companion. She is a contributing editor to Biography Magazine with her "Celebrity Roots" column and a contributing writer to The History Channel Magazine. Her latest book is Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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