Three Government Links I Found

As usual, I was surfing the internet looking for Newfoundland genealogy sites and found three Canadian government sites.  They may have information that would be useful for your genealogy research. They are:

Association of Newfoundland & Labrador Archives

Government of Canada, Library and Archives Canada

Canadian Council of Archives, Directory


Memorial University of Newfoundland

Another great resource is the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Centre for Newfoundland Studies. It has the largest collection of published material on Newfoundland and Labrador. To search the MUN Collections, visit their web site at:

At the MUN web site above, you can choose the tab Other NL Material to search their databases of journals, articles, archival materials, and maps.


John Guy’s Original Crew Members

In my research of the Taylor family, I read about John Guy’s colonization of Conception Bay for England. In all the articles I read about it, it mentions John Guy, his brorther-in-law, Phillip Guy, and 39 male crew members made up of masons, carpenter, blacksmiths, and other apprentices.  Nowhere in these articles did it mention the crew members names. My curiosity got the better of me.

After much research, I found a book titled, “John Guy of Bristol and Newfoundland: His Life, Times and Legacy” by Dr. Alan F. Williams, Flanker Press Limited, St. John’s: 2010 that mentions the crew by name. In the book, it mentions that on October 7, 1612 Guy and eighteen of his colonists sailed from Cupids Cove to Harbour de Grace [ Harbour Grace]. These eighteen crew members would be 18 of the original 39 crew members. They are: John Guy, Master [no first name] Groute, George Whittington, Frauncis Tipton, Edwarde Perrie, James Holworthy, John Crowder, James Babacucke, George Davies, Thomas Rowlie, George Lane, George Vaughan, Thomas Taylor, George Wichalle, Wm Hadden, Barlemew Percevall, George Frewin, and Samuell Butler.

Later in the book, it mentions known colonists with John Guy between 1610 and 1613. By 1613 there were a lot more people at Cuper’s Cove than the original 39. Some of the original 39 that John Guy felt were not doing their job well were returned to England and others had replaced them.

My curiosity paid off since I found out that there was an original Cuper’s Cove colonist named Thomas Taylor. It would be extremely exciting if I can connect my father’s branch of the Taylor family to one of the original colonist members. At this time I have not been able to. The earliest family Taylor member Richard D. Taylor was born in Harbour Grace in 1750. I have not yet been able to find the names of Richard D. Taylor’s parents. I’m thinking Richard’s father could possibly be the one who would be the son of Thomas Taylor.

If anyone has information on Thomas Taylor proving a marriage and/or children that could connect to Richard D. Taylor of Harbour Grace, please let me know.

The Colonization of Conception Bay, Newfoundland for England

It is well-known that many vessels from European countries fished in the waters off the coast of Newfoundland during the Early or Chaotic Period. The difference is that they were migratory. Fisherman would stay during the fishing season but return to their homeland. Later, some fishermen wintered on the island to keep their equipment safe but it was never year-round.   Any prior attempt at colonization up to 1610 had failed due to the harsh winter conditions on the island, the unfriendliness of the Beothuk, or the harsh Atlantic Ocean and pirates.

Around 1610 in England, word was that French colonies were advancing down the St. Lawrence River. John Guy was born in Bristol, England in 1567 the son of a tradesman. He lobbied for approval from King James I of England to establish a colony in Newfoundland. He already had a prominent role in the London and Bristol Company, as well as Bristol’s Society of Merchant Venturers. It is in his later role he and his brother Phillip, brother-in-law William Colston, and 39 British colonists set sail from Bristol, England and landed at Cupper’s Cover (now known as Cupids) in August of 1610. Their mission was to set up a colony for the express purpose of colonizing, fortifying, and propagating the settlement for England.   John Guy was given direct orders from the King James I that the settlers of Cupper’s Cove were not to interfere with the operations of the migratory fishery in any way.

John Guy’s crew members were all male and made up of masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, and other apprentices to build fortifications and dwellings to prepare for the coming winter. He also brought with him livestock, grain, and gallons of beer. During the winter, they prepared for the next fishing season and would be the first on those grounds (even though Cupper’s Cove was not considered a prime fishing ground). By May of 1611, the colony at Cupper’s Cove consisted of a dwelling house, a storehouse, a second dwelling house, a work house, and a forge. Within the settlement, were two saw pits and a wooden defense works that held three cannons that were mounted on the top.

The first winter at Cupper’s Cove was mild and Guy’s report back to England was optimistic. He included that fact that the livestock they brought from England have thrived and added to their numbers. Along with dwellings and support structures, Guy reports building six fishing vessels and a twelve-tonne bark [ship], the Endeavour.

Guy was the governor of the new settlement (probably the first government in Newfoundland). To defend the settlement against attacks from the pirate Peter Easton and others, a wall of local cut poles sixteen feet long were set up all around the perimeter of the settlement. The fortress was completed by the summer of 1612.

In the autumn of 1611, Guy made a trip back to England returning with more livestock and female settlers. In the Spring of 1612, he went to England again and returned to Cupper’s Cove with more livestock, settlers and a clergyman, Reverend Erasmus Stourton.

During the winter of 1610 to 1611, four of the original colonists had died. During the winter of 1612 to 1613 sixty-two people were known to be at the settlement despite the fact that eight people had died from scurvy.   Guy retuned to England in 1613 and never returned to Newfoundland due to quarrels over property promised to him by the Company and because of the increasingly challenging weather conditions.

The idea of settlement had spread and some of the British colonists in Cupper’s Cove started two “sister” colonies. The first known as, “The Plantation of Bristol’s Hope” (located where modern day Harbour Grace is now) and the second being Carbonear.   The modern day Bristol’s Hope is not the same place as “The Plantation of Bristol’s Hope” because it was known as Musket’s Cove and Mosquito up until about the 1630’s. As common with most countries, land boundaries and names change over the decades.

Genealogy Cruises

If you are like I was, you don’t know there are genealogy cruises!  I happened upon one when I was searching the internet. What a great idea. Now I can get my fix of genealogy, have a relaxing vacation, and travel somewhere I’ve never been–all at the same time.

For those of you interested, below are some 2015 genealogy cruises I found online that you can check out.

Legacy Family Tree Western Carribean Cruise — Sat., June 20 – Sat., June 27, 2015

Unlock The Past Cruises 2015

Family Tree Magazine 2015 Norway Genealogy Cruise–May 16-24, 2015

Federation of Genealogy Society (FGS) Alaskan Genealogy Cruise — Departs August 28, 2015 for 7 nights

Combining Family History with Social History

In 2000 I made a spiral-bound book on the Taylor family to distribute to family members. It contained two pages for each family. The first page included the vital statistics: first, middle, and last name; birth date; place of birth; country of birth, and date of death for each family member. Because I started with my grandparents going forward in time to the present, the second page included a picture of each family member.

Between 2000 and the present, I have researched past Taylor families including several generations in Newfoundland. Again, I would like to create a book to send to family members. However, I do not believe sending vital statistics and a few photographs will catch their interest. What I would like to do is find out more information about the kind of lives past relatives lived. What were their daily lives like? What were their concerns? What hardships did they have to overcome? The problem was where do I find this information?

Then I found the solution in the book titled, “Bringing Your Family History to Life through Social History,” by Katherine Scott Sturdevant. [See book reference at end of page.] The author explains how using the ideas, methods, and sources for building historical context around genealogical information, and where to find it. By adding depth, detail, and drama to your relative’s lives, it makes them more interesting.

Sturdevant, Katherine Scott, Bringing Your Family History to Life through Social History, Betterway Books, Cincinnati, OH, 2000. ISBN # 1-55870-510-4.

Attend U.S. Genealogy Talks

This may seem like a strange suggestion at first.  Why would you want to go to a genealogy talk that’s focused on U.S. genealogy information? The reason is because I have attended many genealogy talks that did not focus on Canadian or Newfoundland genealogy specifically but managed to find out a new place or subject to try looking for family information in Newfoundland.