The Rooms Provincial Archives houses the records of Newfoundland and Labrador: www.therooms.ca/archives This is an important province for Irish immigration, dating back into the 1600s. The province represents the oldest and most enduring connection between Ireland and Canada. Migration was particularly heavy from counties, Cork, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford. The Rooms is an excellent place to begin your search into the history of Irish immigration.
The Rooms houses the vital statistics for the province as well as parish registers. The Rooms houses church, court, land, newspapers, probate, vital and voter records. To access collections such as church records, the archive website has finding aids such as a “Community Index” which is an alphabetical listing of communities and what churches were in the area. Then the archive references for the parish registers are provided. Church registers are important as they form the core of the vital records prior to government civil registration beginning in 1891.
A particularly interesting database is “Parish Register Finding Aid” which is by denomination, and then alphabetical by locality. These include: Church of England/Anglican, Congregational, Methodist/United Church, Moravian, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Salvation Army.
The Rooms collects non-governmental records, such as those generated by businesses. One of the strengths of their collection are mercantile records related to the Newfoundland fishery industry. There are also journals, diaries and correspondence from individuals houses at the archive as well as the records for various groups and associations.
The archive staff will conduct research by correspondence. However, they do require detailed information, especially with searching parish registers. For those who do not live near the archive in St. John’s, be aware, many of their core collections have been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, and are available through the Family History Library: www.familysearch.org When using the FHL Catalog, make sure you look under the name of the town as well as the general province.
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