The Public Archives and Records Office of Prince Edward Island (Public Archives) is located in Charlottetown. It houses Government Records, Private Sector Records, and Genealogy. The Government Records include court cases, wills prior to 1920, vital statistics of birth, marriage, deaths, and land records prior to 1900. The Private Sector Records consist of materials donated by private individuals and make up a significant portion of the Public Archives’ holdings. These would include records from local businesses, diaries and journals, local organizations, correspondence and newspapers. The Genealogy section includes compiled indexes, family files, and bound genealogies. The Public Archives also has photograph, map, architectural plans and movie collections
The Public Archives website has online databases. These include the “Petition Index” (1780-1915) which are requests to the Governor and Executive Council for resources and assistance. The database “Baptismal Index” (1777-1923) indexes church registers from all denominations across the island. There are currently 168,700 baptisms. There is also a “Census Documents Data Search.”
The Public Archives has a “Master Name Index” which brings together many varied sources such as the censuses, passenger lists, censuses, cemeteries, atlases, marriage registers funeral home records, directories, genealogies, land and church histories. This is such a primary research tool that it has been microfilmed and is available at many libraries in the Canada and the United States.
For people outside the province, many of the Public Archives microfilm collections are available through interlibrary loan. They also recommend that researchers use the microfilm collections of the Family History Center. The FHL system does have a large collection of PEI records: www.familysearch.org The Library and Archives Canada: www.collectionscanada.gc.cahas the Master Name Index, Census records, and PEI newspapers.
PEI research is helped tremendously by the fact many records are being indexed, microfilmed and made readily available.