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.



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.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston

For those of you more advanced in your research, but hit a wall, there is help at The New England Historic Genealogical Society [NEHGS] in Boston. If you just have one question you need help with, you can submit your question to their professional Genealogist for free at the web site below:

If the wall you hit is more complex than a simple question, you can request an appointment for a one-on-one consultation with Judy Lucy (fee), their expert on Canadian genealogy. I have sat down with her twice now and received several helpful suggestions on other resources I could try to break through a wall I hit.

To learn more about NEHGS and the services they provide, visit their web site at:

Keith Matthews Name Files, 1500–1850

For those of you more advanced in your family research, but may have been unable to find more information you need, the Keith Matthews Name Files mentioned above is a collection on individuals, families, and businesses that were involved in the settlement, fisheries, and trade of Newfoundland. As you will read on his web site, Keith Matthews complied the files from a variety of English, Irish, and Newfoundland records including:

parish registers, newspapers, shipping records, custom records, political papers, census records, merchant records, diaries, and other sources.

To find out if your family surname is included in his collection, click on the link below:

Then click on the letter your surname begins with. The web site also provides a “Schedule of Fees” page that will tell you about how you can obtain photocopies, digitized copies, etc. of your family information.