Prince Edward Island Genealogy

Marie E. DalyMelanie McComb

Introduction

Prince Edward Island was originally a French colony, named Île Saint-Jean, and was settled in the early 18th century by Acadians. Most of the Acadians were deported by the British in 1758 after the battle of Louisburg, but about 300 Acadian families stayed on the island by hiding out in the woods. In 1763, when the Treaty of Paris was signed, the island was officially turned over to the British. The island was divided up into 67 numbered lots and a lottery was held in 1767 to allocate the lots. The proprietors were required to pay quitrents (a tax or land tax) to the Crown and bring in 100 Protestant, non-British settlers within 10 years. In 1769, the Island was renamed St John’s Island. However, the first settlers were Scottish Catholics and arrived in 1772. Subsequent waves of Scottish immigrants, both Catholic and Protestant, and Irish and English immigrants came to the island, largely between 1772 and 1841. In 1799, the Island was renamed to Prince Edward Island. This subject guide provides a list of key resources, records, and some background information to help you get results in your PEI research.

How-To Guides

Genealogist's Handbook for Atlantic Canada Research by Terrence M. Punch
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks, 7th Floor Reading Rm, and Microtext Floor (4th Floor) CS88.A88 G46 1997

Finding Your Canadian Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide by Sherry Irvine and Dave Obee
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks CS82.I78 2007

Master Name Index

The Master Name Index (MNI) is a finding aid that includes abstracts of census records, obituaries, gravestone inscriptions, histories, and other resources. It’s a great place to start your research.

Master Name Index, Part 1 and Part 2
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 P7 1985 (Part 1); CS88.P7 P72 1998 (Part 2)

Computerized Master Name Index (CMNI)
The PEI Genealogical Society has placed many, but not all, of the sources in the Master Name Index in an online database.

Vital Records

There was no civil registration in PEI prior to 1906. In addition, the following restrictions apply:

  • Births: Restricted for 120 years after the date of the event
  • Marriages: Restricted for 75 years after the date of the event
  • Deaths: Restricted for 50 years after the date of the event; cause remains permanently confidential

Microfilm copies are available at the PEI Public Archives and Records Office.

Provincial Marriage Licenses 1831-1851
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 P714 1979

Provincial Marriage Registrations 1832-1888
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 P712

Marriage Registers, 1832–1888, FamilySearch.org
Images of indexes and registers are browsable on FamilySearch.org. Marriages took place in churches and before Justices of the Peace. Dates of indexes correspond to dates of marriages, and marriage records are arranged by date of registration, so the dates of the indexes and the marriage records do not always match. Indexes are alphabetized by first letter of the surname only. Note: In some indexes, the "Mc" and "Mac" names are indexed by the first letter after "Mc" or "Mac."

Death Card Index, 1721–1905, FamilySearch.org
Browsable images of a PEI death card index from 1721 to 1905 are available on FamilySearch.org. With only 3,428 images, the index greatly under-reports the actual deaths of this time period. Cemetery inscriptions are a better source.

Kings County

Records of Marriage Licenses Issued by Deputy Protho King’s County, July 1879-February 1970
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 K56

Church Records

Since there was no civil registration in PEI before 1906, church records are the best alternative for genealogists. Baptism indexes are available on FamilySearch.org and the PEI Archives and Public Records website. Not all church records are in either database, and there are transcription errors. Copies of original church records should also be consulted.

PEI Baptism Card Index, 1721–1885, FamilySearch.org
This collection of 92,218 records provides an index of church records of baptisms and births. The baptism card index was created to provide pre-civil registration birth records. The earliest records date from 1751, but the majority date from 1830 onwards.

PEI Baptismal Index
This PEI Archives and Public Records database of baptismal records was taken from existing church records from across the Island. In lieu of official birth certificates which were not issued until 1906, baptismal records provide information concerning individuals’ births and parentage. The database contains over 168,700 records which span approximately 1777 to 1923.

PEI Church Records, 1777–1985, FamilySearch.org
FamilySearch.org has 22,448 browsable images of some church records. They are arranged by community, and then by church.

Anglican

Alberton: Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Burials, 1859-1973
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 A53

Charlottetown:

St. Paul’s Anglican Church – Baptisms 1777-1960, Marriages 1780-1970, Burials 1927-1971, Confirmations 1920-1957, Vestry Minutes 1791-1963, Pew Rents and Wardens Accounts 1848-1864
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 A53

Cathedral Church of St. Peters
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 A53 1982

Crapaud: St. John’s Anglican Church
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 A53

Georgetown
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 A53

New London
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm, CS88.P74 A53

Richmond - Baptisms 1821-1866, Burials 1824-1862, Marriages 1824-1864
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm, CS88.P74 A53

Souris: St. Albans Church – Baptisms: 1894-1917, 1931, 1935,1956, 1960; Confirmations: 1896-1907,1931; Marriages: 1899, 1903,1912, 1916,1976; Burials: 1899-1916, 1931, 1932, 1963.
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm, CS88.P74 A53

Summerside and St. Eleanor’s: St. Mary's and St. John‘s Chuch - Baptisms and Marriages 1821-1857, Burials 1852-1863, 1872-1945; Archdeacon Visitations, 1873; Confirmations 1907, 1909, 1911, 1945-1957, Communicants.
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm, CS88.P74 A53 1978

Catholic

Alberton: Sacred Heart Church – 1879-1900
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 7

Bloomfield: St. Anthony’s Church (1839-1899)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 22

Brae: St. Mary’s Church (1833-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 25

Cardigan: St. Theresa’s Church (1868-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 21

Cardigan Bridge: All Saints Church
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 27

Charlottetown: St. Dunstan’s Basilica (1830-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 11-12

Corran Ban: St. Michael’s Church (1844-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 16

Covehead: St. Eugene’s Church (1887-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 16

East Point: St. Columba’s Church (1835-1855, 1873-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 23

Egmont Bay: St. James’ Church (1821-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 15

Fort Augustus: St. Patrick’s Church (1854-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 28

Grand River: St. Patrick’s Church (1867-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 26

Hope River: St. Anne’s Church
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 1

Indian River: St. Mary’s Church
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 10

Iona: St Michael’s Church
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 30

Kelly’s Cross: St Joseph’s Church (1851-1892)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 17

Kinkora: St. Malachi’s Church (1860-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 21

Lennox Island
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 29

Little Pond: St. Francis de Sales (1865-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 7

Lot 11: St Brigid’s Church (1876-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 22

Lot 65: St. Anne’s Church (1893-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 16

Miscouche: St. John the Baptist Church (1817-1835)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 24A

Montague: St Mary’s Church (1872-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 14

Morell: St. Lawrence Church (1881-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 22

Mount Stewart: St. Andrew’s Church (1856-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 6

Palmer Road: Immaculate Conception
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 4

Rollo Bay: St. Alexis Church (1847-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 7

Rustico: St. Augustine‘s Church (1812-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 8-9

St. Charles: (1896-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 3

St. George’s: (1836-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 25

St. Peter’s: (1849-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 2

Seven Mile Bay: St. Peter’s Church (1846-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 18

Souris:

St. Margaret’s Church (1881-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 6

St. Mary’s Church (1864-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 5

Sturgeon: St. Paul’s Church (1867-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 14

Summerside: St. Paul’s Church (1854-1883)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 18

Tignish: St. Simon and St. Jude (1831-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 19-20

Tracadie: St. Eugene’s Church (1861-1892)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 16

Vernon River: St. Joachim’s Church (1838-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 13

Wellington: Immaculate Conception (1884-1900)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C3 no. 14

Church of Scotland

Circuit Registers for Mermaid, Highfield, Glasgow Rd, Churchchill and Lot 48
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C48

Orwell Head, DeSable, Birch Hill, Murray River, Cape Traverse, Canoe Cove and Others - Funeral Registers 1895-1900, Baptisms 1853-1900
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 C482

Methodist

Pownal: Includes Birth, Death and Marriage Records for Orwell Head, Vernon River and Bible Christian
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 P68

Presbyterian

Alberton - Baptisms, Burials, Communicants, 1891-1898; Marriages, 1892-1898; Communions, 1889-1898; Annual Meetings and Other Church Records.
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 P69 1978

Caledonia
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 P69

Charlottetown: Zion Presbyterian Church – Baptisms 1868-1979, Marriages 1874-1969, Deaths 1862-1979
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 P69 1987

Hartsville - Baptisms 1845-1907, Marriages 1852-1862
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 P69

South Granville – Treasurer's Accounts 1882-1898; Collections 1924-1966; General Account Book 1899-1923
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 P69 1983

Protestant

Montague: Montague Church of Christ
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 M66

United Church of Canada

Alberton: Alberton Presbyterian and United Church registers 1891-1954
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Bedeque: Formerly known as the Bedeque Methodist Church - Baptisms 1821-1983; Marriages 1828-1843, 1861-1878, 1883-1976; Burials 1918-1984; Deaths 1977-1983; Minutes 1892-1965; Trustee minutes 1910-1986; Official Board minutes 1965-1985.
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Charlottetown: Trinity United Church (formerly called the Grace Methodist Church) - Burials, Marriages 1836-1981; Marriages 1956-1980, Baptisms 1836-1918, 1927-1981; Church Receipts 1922-1931, Minutes: Committee of Stewards 1925-1943, Official Boards 1925-1961; Minutes: Official Board 1954-1961, Annual Convention of the W.M.S. of the Methodist Church 1903-1924, Board of Trustees 1875-1919, Session 1925- 1943, membership roll 1882-1933; Minutes: Ladies Aid Society 1934- 1947, Evening Auxiliary 1945-1952, Trinity Men's Association 1943-1956, W.M.S. Association members 1948-1961
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Cornwall
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Dundas: Dundas United Church: Baptisms, 1903-1987; Marriages, 1903-1986; Deaths 1903-1987
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Georgetown: St. David’s United Church: Baptisms, 1903-1987; Marriages, 1903-1986; Deaths 1903-1987
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Kensington - Baptisms, 1864-1886; Marriages 1865-1886
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Kensington-Summerfield Circuit Records - Baptisms 1917-1986, Marriages 1919-1986, Deaths 1920-1986
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Margate - Marriage and Birth records, 1778-1843; Baptisms, 1886-1968; Marriages, 1860-1965; Deaths, 1893-1967; Minutes, 1877-1886; Membership, 1893-1923
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Montague and Area United Church Records
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Montrose: Montrose Presbyterian register 1895-1915; Montrose Presbyterian and United Church charge 1914-1954; etc.
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

North Bedeque: Baptisms 1826-1985; Marriages 1883-1984; Deaths 1888-19785; List of Ministers 1826-1963; Communion Roll 1887-1898.deaths 1975-1985; Session Minutes 1906-1972; Official Board minutes 1949-1975; Communion roll; Membership Roll.
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

O’Leary
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54 1987

Princetown - Baptisms, 1860-1968; Marriages, 1860-1966; Deaths, 1904-1967; Registers of Pastors, Elders and Communicants
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Summerside: Trinity United Church - Baptisms: 1866-1960, Marriages: 1868-1885, 1889-1893, 1916-1964, Burials: 1916-1965, Births 1928, 1932; Official Board minutes: 1925-1961, Trustees Minutes 1893-1978, Board of Stewards Minutes 1949-1967, Sunday School Minutes 1907-1914.
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Tryon - Includes Records of these Churches: Bedeque-Crapaud Circuit (Methodist); Tryon. Bonshaw (Presbyterian); Tryon. Victoria, Appin Road, DeSable (Methodist); Hampton. Victoria, Bonshaw (United); Tryon Circuit (Methodist & United)
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfilm CS88.P74 U54

Burial and Cemetery Records

An Index of English Immigrants Based On Cemetery Transcriptions by Nelda Murray
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks CS88.P7 F76 1990

Cemeteries of Prince Edward County by the Prince Edward Chamber of Commerce and the Quinte’s Isle Tourist Association.
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks CS88.O6 C43 1993

Cemetery Transcripts by the Prince Edward Island Genealogical Society (partial list)
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks CS88.P7 C33 1982

Inscriptions Copied From Cemeteries in Bedeque, Prince Edward Island, Canada by Mrs. Vernon L. Schurman.
NEHGS, Manuscripts Mss A 5973

Census Records

Available census records for Prince Edward Island generally cover the period of 1798 to 1911. Census records dating back to 1728 also exist for the island when it was under French control (known as Île Saint-Jean). For more information on these earlier records and to view transcriptions, visit the Island Register website.

The information and coverage provided by the 1798 to 1921 census returns vary from year to year. The 1881 return was the first national census that included Prince Edward Island (the province having joined the Confederation in 1873) and all subsequent censuses occurred every ten years. Surnames, lots, and other data can be searched online at a variety of websites.

Note: The 1871 census is missing for Prince Edward Island except for Lots 34 and 36. The book entitled The Index to the 1870 Commissioner of Public Land’s Report is a census substitute.

The following census records are available for PEI:

YearWhere to AccessInformation Provided
1798
  • CMNI
  • MNI
  • Name of head of household
  • Sex and age range of other members of household
1841
  • Name and occupation of head of household
  • Sex, age range, religion, birthplace, and land holdings of other members of household (no names given)
  • Agricultural data on crops and livestock
1848(Charlottetown only)
  • Name and occupation of head of household
  • Sex, age range, religion, birthplace, and land holdings of other members of household (no names given)
  • Agricultural data on crops and livestock
1861
  • Name and occupation of head of household
  • Sex, age range, religion, birthplace, and land holdings of other members of household (no names given)
1881
  • Name, sex and age of each person living in the household
  • Information regarding place of birth, religion, and education (no relationship given)
1891
  • Name, sex and age of each person living in the household
  • Information regarding place of birth, education, and family relationships
1901
  • Name, sex and age of each person living in the household
  • Information regarding place of birth, education, and family relationships
1911
  • Name, sex and age of each person living in the household
  • Information regarding place of birth, education, and family relationships
1921
  • Name, sex and age of each person living in the household
  • Information regarding place of birth, education, and family relationships

Military Records

The American Civil War: The Service Records of Atlantic Canadians With the State of Maine Volunteers by Daniel F. Johnson
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks E494.J64 1995 v.1-2

Canadian First World War Diaries (Library and Archives Canada)

Personnel Records of the First World War (Library and Archives Canada)

Land Records

Most residents of PEI did not own the land they lived on until after the Land Purchase Act of 1871 was enacted. Many deeds date from the later nineteenth century. Many earlier leases, however, were recorded with the Registry of Deeds. Later deeds were recorded with the Commissioner of Deeds (starting in 1855).

Land Registry Records (Conveyance Ledgers), 1769-1872 , FamilySearch.org

Prince Edward Island Commissioner’s Deeds, 1855-1915; indexes, 1855-1966, FamilySearch.org

Prince Edward Island Township Ledgers, 1850-1954, FamilySearch.org

Prince Edward Island Land Conveyances, 1769–1872
NEHGS, Microfilm Collection (4th Floor) CS88.P74 L36

Probate Records

PEI Wills 1807–1901
NEHGS, Microfilm Collection (4th Floor) CS88.P74 W55
NEHGS has copies of 19th century PEI wills, including an index, on microfilm.

Early Prince Edward Island Probate Records, 1786–1850 by Linda Jean Nicholson
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks CS88.P74 N53 2004

Probate Records, 1807-1985; Indexes 1786-2000, FamilySearch.org

Maps and Atlases

The Island Imagined
The Island Imagined is an online collection of historic maps of Prince Edward Island. The collection features maps, atlases, books, images, and documents from various Prince Edward Island repositories. The site contains over 1,000 maps and features a digitized version of Meacham's atlas from 1880 (see below).

1863 Lake Map
This map shows the location of residents in 1863 and is available online on the Island Register website.

NEHGS has two atlases which show occupiers of every farm in the province for 1880 and 1928:

Illustrated Historical Atlas of Prince Edward Island published by J. H. Meacham Company, 1880
NEHGS, Atlas Collection (5th Floor) G1135.M4 1972

Atlas of Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada published by Cummins Map Co., 1928
NEHGS, Atlas Collection (5th Floor) G1135.A84 1928

Newspapers

The Robertson Library at the University of Prince Edward Island has digitized many newspapers including the Charlottetown Herald, The Guardian, The Royal Gazette and many more. The web site portal is Island Newspapers and is free to search. Older newspapers may also be found on microfilm at Library and Archives of Canada.

An Index of English Immigrants by Peter Gallant
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks CS88.P7 F76 1990

Checklist and Historical Directory of Prince Edward Island Newspapers 1787-1986 by Heather Boylan
NEHGS, 7th Floor Reference Z6954.C3 B6 1987

From Ireland to Prince Edward Island by Prince Edward Island Genealogical Society
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks F1040.I6 F76 1990

From Scotland to Prince Edward Island by Prince Edward Island Genealogical Society
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks CS88.P7 F77 1990

Directories

Lovell's Province of Prince Edward Island directory for 1871
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfiche F1003.G45 CIHM A00049 A000664 A00106

McAlpine’s Maritime Provinces Directory for 1870-1
NEHGS, 4th Floor Microfiche F1003.G45 CIHM A01056

Genealogies

A list of compiled genealogies can be found on the Island Register web site.

Periodicals

P.E.I. Genealogical Society Newsletter
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks F1046.P75 1977

The Island Magazine by PEI Heritage Foundation
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks F1046.I8

The Abegweit Review by University of Prince Edward Island
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks F1046.A23

Reference

Century of Farewells: A Biographical Dictionary of Prince Edward Island by J. Clinton Morrison
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks CS88.P74 M67 2009 v.1-2

Exiles and Islanders: The Irish Settlers of Prince Edward Island by Brendan O’Grady
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks F1049.7.I6 O37 2004

History of Prince Edward Island by Duncan Campbell
NEHGS, 5th Floor Stacks F1048.C35 1875

Websites

Island Lives, islandlives.ca - Digitized published community histories

Library and Archives Canada, collectionscanada.gc.ca

Memory PEI, gov.pe.ca/paroatom - Archival database for the Public Archives and Records Office (PARO)

PEI Public Archives and Records Office, gov.pe.ca/archives

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