New Source for Digitized Canadian Newspapers

It recently came to my attention that Bowling Green State University has free links to Digitized Canadian newspapers on the internet.

To check it out, check out the following link:

If it doesn’t work (I’ve been having trouble with it), go to:

then type in “Canadian newspapers” in the search area.


List of History Books about Newfoundland

These are some of the more popular history books about Newfoundland. Check back as I will be adding other books to this list.

Cell, Gillian T., Newfoundland Discovered: English Attempts at Colonisation 1610-1630, Hakluyt Society: London, 1982.

Mannion, John J., The Peopling of Newfoundland: Essays in Historical Geography, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Memorial University of Newfoundland: Newfoundland 1977: ISBN:  0-919666-17-5.

Pedley, Charles, The History of Newfoundland; From the Earliest Times to the Year 1860, General Books: Newfoundland, 2009.

Peter, Neary and Patrick O’Flaherty, By great waters: A Newfoundland and Labrador Anthology, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1974: ISBN: 0-8020-6233-4.

Pope, Peter E., Fish into Wine: The Newfoundland Plantation in the Seventeenth Century, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2004: ISBN: 0-8078-5576-6.

Prowse, D.W., A History of Newfoundland, Boulder Publications Ltd., Portugal Cove, NL, 2002: ISBN:  0-9730271-1-8

StonePics – Cemeteries of Newfoundland

Newfoundland is the first state/province in North America to have a comprehensive database for finding cemeteries and headstones.

There is a lot of information giving instructions and details about the StonePics  Project. Personally, I found it difficult to get into their database from their web site. However, the information that includes photos, can be found easily on the Newfoundland Grand Banks genealogy site.

Helpful hint #4: Interviewing Relatives–Before It’s Too Late

Saturday at a monthly genealogy meeting one of the woman at my table was telling us about how when she was growing up, at family gatherings, the men would go off and do their thing, the children would go play, and the older woman would gather around a table and talk about family and relatives–often those who passed away. At the time, she thought, “Who would want to talk about dead relatives.”

Now that this woman is interested in her family history, and finds herself sitting at the table with the “older” women, she realizes it’s with her cousins. The older generation, who would be able to tell her about her grandparents’ and great grandparents’ and remember stories about them, have all passed away.

Don’t let this happen to you. Below are some helpful suggestions for interviewing relatives:

1) Make sure they feel at ease. This often means interviewing them in their own home so they are sitting in their favorite chair.  Take time to get to get to know the person first if it’s not a relative you know well before you start asking them questions about the family.

2) Ask specific questions that are not too general that they could just answer yes or no to. Do not ask leading questions (i.e. Aunt Ruth had seven sisters, right?). The person you are interviewing may remember something entirely different.

3) Use props if you have them. Having a relative look at a passport, obit, photography, family bible, etc. could bring a lot of memories back to her/him.

4) Don’t believe everything you hear. No one is perfect. If the relative is much older they may mix up names of people or names of cities they lived, etc. Always verify the information you receive after you get back home.

5) If a relative is talking about one specific family and knows a lot about them, but claims not to know anything about one family member, do not force the issue. Perhaps that family member was the black sheep of the family, or moved away at a young age and was never heard from again.  There are other ways to find information on that one family member.

6) Take notes. You can also audio or video tape the interview of the interviewee feels comfortable with it. Write it down even if it doesn’t seem important or you think the person is mistaken. You never know what information will become important in the future.

7) Before leaving try to secure names of other relatives who may know about different relatives or have important family heirlooms they can show you and tell you about.

The Newfoundland Ancestor Journal by FHSNL

The Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador was established in 1984 to help researchers locate and access genealogical information. They publish a quarterly journal called The Newfoundland Ancestor. The journal includes a variety of articles as well as a section that members can publish their own research questions.

In the very first journal I received, was a notice from a woman who lives across the country (U.S.) asking about my father’s family. Because of the names she mentioned, I knew it was the same Taylor family. Sure enough her grandfather and my grandfather were siblings. I contacted her by email and we exchanged a lot of information. You never know where you will find your next lead.

To check out the FHSNL, please visit their web site:

Helpful Hint #3: Wills are a Great Resource

When I found the Will of Richard Taylor (b. 1750, d.12/23/1827), I could not believe all the new information I learned from it.

  • In parish birth records his wife’s name is “Anne” with an “e” on the end; however, in Richard’s will, he spells his wife’s name with no “e” on the end; I’m assuming he knows how to spell his wife’s name;
  • The names of two children I did not know about;
  • The names of his son Jonathan’s son’s–there were four and one has a strange spelling: Rich’d;
  • The marriage surname of two daughters: Ann [Taylor] BEST and another is RUMSON
  • The name of three of his grandchildren: George Best, Benoni Taylor, and Patience Rumson;
  • The above grandchild Benoni Taylor was listed as child of his daughter Mary; that told me that Mary married a man with the same surname of “Taylor.”

Try finding the will of your relatives and see what new information you can find:

The Wills are listed on the Newfoundland GenWeb site at:

On the Newfoundland Grand Banks web site, go to the “B, D, W, M” tab and scroll down to “Will Indexes”

Newfoundland Migration Patterns

Pre-European contact: The Beothuk (Indians) moved to Notre Dame and Bonavista from Newfoundland. The Beothuk Indians are extinct in Newfoundland in 1829.

Pre-European contact: The Mi’mak and Innu Indians move to Newfoundland and Labrador to establish settlements.

1520s–1580s: The Portuguese and Spanish move to Newfoundland and Labrador from Portugal and Spain to establish  fishing grounds.

1583+; 1610: The English move to Newfoundland and Labrador from England to establish fishing grounds and establish  permanent settlements.

1655–1763; 1774+: The French move to Plaisance (Placentia) and Labrador from France and Quebec to establish permanent settlements.

1675+: The Irish move to various locations in Newfoundland from Ireland due to economic factors and to establish permanent settlements.

Early 1800s: 1841-1860s: The Scottish move to the Avalon Peninsula from Scotland and Nova Scotia for commerce and trade opportunities and own land.

1895+: The Chinese move to Carbonear, St. John’s, and Harbour Grace from Guangdong via Western Canada due to economic factors.