Prince Edward Island Resources available at
The Centre d'études acadiennes, Université de Moncton
I originally wrote this article for the Island Register, where it was first published on 2 August 2001.
An Introduction to the Centre d'études acadiennes (Acadian Studies Centre)
As a genealogist who is researching my Prince Edward Island roots, I often find that my efforts are constrained by a lack of access to the records and resources I need. Unfortunately, I neither live on the Island nor have much opportunity to travel to Charlottetown to conduct research at the Provincial Archives. This is no doubt true for many of us, as it seems our main areas of research are concentrated outside of the town or region where we actually reside.
Luckily, I have been fortunate enough to locate a research centre here in my hometown of Moncton, New Brunswick. The place in question is the Centre d'études acadiennes (Acadian Studies Centre - hereafter referred to as the CEA), which is located on the campus of the Université de Moncton. Many of you, particularly those with Acadian roots, may already be familiar with either the CEA or its resident genealogist, Mr. Stephen A. White.
Why, you may ask, would a research centre in Moncton be of any interest to those in search of their Island roots? The answer to that question will vary from person to person, depending upon your research interests and needs. With its convenient location, large amount of resources, and holdings that will interest both Acadian and non-Acadian researchers alike, it does in fact have "a little bit of everything".
First, if you have Acadian ancestry, there is probably no better place to conduct your research. As the name implies, the CEA is specialized in, and dedicated to, the research of Acadian history and genealogy. It contains what is probably one of the largest collections of Acadian records and resources, extending from the earliest records of the Port-Royal settlement up to church and government records, and private collections, that approach the present day. These include census and church records, French and British Colonial records, newspapers, folklore collections, both published and unpublished manuscripts, and much more.
Second, Moncton is centrally located in the Maritime provinces (which is why the city has the nickname of "The Hub of the Maritimes"). It may be quicker and easier for people from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to travel to Moncton on a regular basis than to go all the way to Charlottetown. There is, of course, a saving in time, gas, and bridge and ferry tolls. If you are like me and live close to Moncton, but are unable to make regular trips to the PEI Archives in Charlottetown, it will give you an opportunity to research some of your Island and Acadian roots on a more regular, and more convenient basis. And, for those from outside of the Maritimes who are travelling to PEI by car to discover and research your Island ancestral roots, chances are you will travel through Moncton anyway. Therefore, a side-trip to the CEA would not be difficult.
Third, the resources at the CEA include some of the records from the many regions that encountered Acadian settlement either directly or through the movements of the Acadian people after the deportation. Because PEI was witness to Acadian settlement as early as 1720, and has had residents of Acadian descent ever since, it would not be possible to form a complete picture of the Acadian people without accessing and researching Island records. Therefore, the CEA does have amongst its holdings a variety of PEI and PEI-related documents and resources. And, these are not all exclusive to Acadian people and topics. In my own case, I have also been able to conduct a reasonable amount of research into my Irish and Scottish roots from Prince Edward Island.
Fourth (and this is related to items 1 and 3 above), the CEA's archival holdings include information from a much wider area than just the City of Moncton or the Province of New Brunswick. In that respect, they are very different than the government archives of any province or state. Because of this, a researcher can not only access information from one particular town, parish, or province but also trace the movements of their ancestors from place to place. Whether you have Irish ancestors who left the Island for the Miramichi, or Acadian ancestors who were widely dispersed after the Grand Dérangement of 1755-1758, it is possible to discover where and when they relocated. Without a doubt, the regional diversity of their holdings is one advantage not normally found at any provincial archive.
It has been about three years since I "discovered" the CEA. My regular visits there have permitted me to establish the basis for many of the Island families I am researching. In some cases I have been able to advance my knowledge of certain families to a considerable extent. In others, I have at least been able to form the groundwork for further research and create detailed, itemized lists of research requirements. This has enabled me to make better use of the precious little time I get to spend at the PEI Archives and Records Office. I have found the CEA to be an invaluable resource and would likely still be in the beginning stages of my research into some families had I not learned about it. By introducing the CEA and some of its holdings to you, I hope that others may also benefit from it.
Now, let's have a detailed look at the records that are available for Prince Edward Island. I will break these down by category, and attempt to list them item-by-item where practicable. As well, I will try and add some explanations or descriptions where necessary. I have made a notation where particular documents appear in French only. Unless otherwise noted, all of these resources are found on microfilm.
Newspapers (some issues may be missing within these date ranges):
|F-1111 to F-1119||L'Impartial (French)||22 January 1893 to 1 June 1915|
|F-1045||L'Impartial Illustré (Bilingual)||19 July 1899|
|F-1324 to F1325||PEI Register||26 July 1823 to 17 August 1830|
|F-1326||Royal Gazette & Miscellany||29 July 1791 to 30 July 1794|
|F-1327 to F-1335||PEI Royal Gazette||3 January 1832 to 28 December 1853|
|F-1336||Palladium Charlottetown||7 September 1843 to 10 May 1845|
|F-1337 toF-1339||Colonial Herald Charlottetown||6 January 1838 to 27 July 1844|
|F- 1340||Vindicator Charlottetown||17 October 1862 to 5 October 1864|
|F-1341 to F-1342||Charlottetown Herald||12 October 1864 to 25 October 1871|
|F-1061 & F-1865 to F-1866||Margry, Pierre: ed. Documents regarding the history of Ile St-Jean and neighbouring areas under French Colonial rule, 1654-1761. Includes extracts from the Colonial Series, census extracts, and the register for Port-Lajoie, 1721-1758. (French)|
Records of the Arch-diocese of Québec:
|F-967 to F-974||Bishops' letters to priests and missionaries, 15 June 1788 to 1855 (not exclusive to PEI)|
|F-976||Bishops' letters to PEI priests and missionaries, 1772 to 1869|
|F-1045||Letters from PEI priests and missionaries to the Bishop of Québec.|
Note: The language in which these letters were written varies - they appear in French, English, and Latin. The majority of them are in French while some are in English and Latin. The mother tongue of the priest had no bearing on the language used. Bishop A. B. MacEachern corresponded in all three languages with no apparent rhyme or reason to the one he chose at any particular time, while Bishop B. D. MacDonald usually wrote in Latin. The replies from the Bishops of Québec were usually written in French. There are gaps in these records, so you might find a letter from the Bishop in response to a letter he received from the priest, but might not be able to locate the original letter from the priest to the Bishop.
Roman Catholic Biographical and Historical Information:
|F-1045||Chiasson, Mgr. Jean. c. 1942. Acadian Priests born on PEI or the Magdalen Islands from the Start of the 19th century to the Present Day. (French)|
|F-1045||Burke, Rev. Alfred E. 1885. Catholic Parishes in Prince Edward Island (ironically, the chapters on the Acadian parishes are all missing - ie, Miscouche, Rustico, Mont-Carmel, etc)|
Catholic Parish Registers:
|F-2044||Alberton: Sacred Heart||1879 - 1900|
|F-2059||Bloomfield: St. Anthony's||1839 - 1899|
|F-2062||Brae: St. Mary's||1833 - 1900 (now called Immaculate Conception RC)|
|F-2058||Cardigan: St. Theresa's||1868 - 1900|
|F-2048 to F-2049||Charlottetown: St. Dunstan's||1830 - 1900|
|Corran Ban||See Tracadie|
|F-2060||East Point: St. Columba's||1836 - 1900|
|F-2052||Egmont Bay: St. Philippe & St. Jacque's||1821 - 1901 (marr. available to 1921 in book form)|
|F-2063||Grand River: St. Patrick's||1842 - 1878|
|F-2038||Hope River: St. Ann's||1881 - 1900|
|F-2047||Indian River: St. Mary's||1838 - 1900|
|F-2054||Kelly's Cross: St. Joseph||1851 - 1900|
|F-2058||Kinkora: St. Malachy's||1860 - 1900|
|F-2044||Little Pond: St. Francis de Sales||1865 - 1900|
|F-2059||Lot 11: St. Brigid's||1876 - 1900|
|F-2058||Lot 7: St. Mary's||1871 - 1900|
|Lot 65: St. Ann's||See Tyrone|
|F-2061 & F-1045||Miscouche: St. John the Baptist||1817 - 1887 (marr. available to 1941 in book form)|
|F-1045||Mont Carmel: Notre-Dame||1820 - 1879 (marr. available to 1913 in book form)|
|F-2051||Montague: St. Mary's||1872 - 1900|
|F-2059||Morell: St. Lawrence||1881 - 1900|
|F-2041||Palmer Road: Immaculate Conception||1878 - 1899 (Also 1878 & 1890 RC Census)|
|F-1865 & F-1866||Port-Lajoie||1721 - 1758|
|F-2044||Rollo Bay: St. Alexis||1847 - 1900|
|F-2045 to F-2046||Rustico: St. Augustin's||1812 - 1900 (also F-1045 for 1812 to 1824)|
|F-2043||St. Andrew's||1835 - 1900 (& Roman Catholic Book, 1809-1810)|
|F-2040||St. Charles||1896 - 1901|
|F-2062||St. George's||1836 - 1900|
|F-2043||St. Margaret's||1881 - 1900|
|F-2039||St. Peter's||1849 - 1900|
|F-1059||St-Pierre-du-Nord||1725 - 1758|
|F-2055||Seven Mile Bay: St. Peter's||1846 - 1900|
|F-2042||Souris: St. Mary's||1864 - 1900|
|F-2051||Sturgeon Falls: St. Paul's||1867 - 1890|
|F-2040||Summerfield: St. James'||1890 - 1900|
|F-2055||Summerside: St. Paul's||1854 - 1900|
|F-2056 to F-2057||Tignish: St. Simon & St. Jude||1831 - 1900|
|F-2053||Tracadie: St. Bonaventure||1887 - 1900|
|F-2053||Tyrone: St. Ann's||1861 - 1900|
|F-2050||Vernon River: St. Joachim's||1838 - 1900|
|F-2051||Wellington: Immaculate Conception||1884 - 1900|
[Notes: 1) The dates above indicate the dates for which the registers are available. However, certain types of records may not be available for all years. For instance, with regards to Bloomfield, the baptism records are available for the entire period but marriage records start in 1860 and sepulchres only start in 1871. 2) See Issue #37 (Spring/Summer 1995) of the Island Magazine for a complete transcript and description of the Roman Catholic Book. 3) To compare the RC register holdings of the CEA with those of PARO, you can cross-reference this list to The List of Church Records Available At PARO, as posted on The Island Register. ]
The following registers (originals) have been photocopied and hard-cover bound and are available in the reading room:
|Bloomfield: St. Anthony's||1839 - 1868|
|Egmont-Bay: St. Philippe & St. Jacque's||1821 - 1881, and marriages 1844 - 1921|
|Miscouche: St. John the Baptist||1817 - 1887, and marriages 1833 - 1941|
|Mont-Carmel: Notre Dame||1820 - 1879, and marriages 1844 - 1913|
|Rustico: St. Augustin's||1812 - 1899|
|Tignish: St. Simon & St. Jude||1831 - 1872|
|F-1989 to F-1992||1881 PEI Census||Complete for all Lots|
|F-2033 to F-2035||1891 PEI Census||Complete for all Lots|
|F-2258 to F-2260||1901 PEI Census||Complete for all Lots|
1881 Census Extracts (Index Cards):
This is a rather helpful and unique finding aid for those interested in Acadian families. Essentially, the staff at the CEA extracted the census information for all households, Island-wide, with a known Acadian surname. These cards are arranged in alphabetical order, based on the name of the head-of-household as recorded in the original census forms. What makes these cards unique is the notations added by Stephen White, which include (where known): the names of the parents, dates of baptism and/or marriage, whether or not this was a first or second marriage, whether the children listed were from the first or second marriage, etc. For those interested in Acadian families, a quick search of this census extract can lead you directly to a variety of other records on the individuals named within.
Catholic Parish Register Extracts (Index Cards):
These cards record the basic information from baptism, marriage, and sepulchre records found in selected parish registers. The cards are arranged in alphabetical order. They are meant as a finding aid only, and do not contain all of the information that may have been listed in the original register entry. But, they will assist you in locating the original records. The index cards are available for the following PEI parishes:
|Ile St-Jean and area||1729 - 1758|
|Miscouche||1817 - 1835|
|Rustico||1812 until the early 1820's|
There are other PEI records available that I have not listed. And, some PEI families may appear in holdings not necessarily specific to PEI alone. What I have attempted to do, for the purpose of this newsletter, is highlight the resources typically used by most genealogists. But, a call or visit to the CEA may produce many more items of use to genealogists and historians alike. For example, the CEA does have the notes and manuscripts of the 19th century Acadian genealogist, Placide Gaudet, within their collection. Placide's notes are not specific to the Island, although he did gather information on many Island families, especially the Gaudets. As well, there are some PEI-related books available at the CEA, such as those written by Mr. J-Henri Blanchard, and parish histories for Miscouche and Mont-Carmel. There may be others. The CEA also maintains a photo collection, a folklore collection, and much, much more. There is too much, in fact, to attempt to list here. For more detailed listings of what is available through the CEA, or to determine whether or not they possess particular records, one should contact the Centre d'études acadiennes directly. They can be reached by phone at 506-858-4085. Their website is at http://www.umoncton.ca/etudeacadiennes/centre/cea.html.
The Centre d'études acadiennes is located in the Bibliothèque Champlain (Champlain Library), on the Moncton Campus of the Université de Moncton. They are open on week-days from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, year round, except for holidays. From September to April, they are also open on Thursday evenings from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Unfortunately, they are not open on the week-ends.
Located nearby, and sharing a common parking lot, are the Musée Acadien and the Galerie d'art de l'Université de Moncton. Their hours are: June to September - Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm; and October to May - Tuesday to Friday, 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm, and Saturday to Sunday, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The Musée Acadien holds over 30,000 artifacts in its ever-growing collection, parts of which are on permanent display.