Vital cluesAs soon as the newspaper arrives at the door, I want to stop everything and read it. The dishes can stay on the table and the laundry can wait to be folded the paper must be read. Several volumes of Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers
are waiting for you at Research institutions
In the early 1960s, we would rush through supper to go to the library to read old newspapers. In those years the library was on Hazen Street. You would ask for a certain paper and the librarian would bring you that paper to read. The newspapers were old, dusty and very fragile.
When we arrived home at the end of the evening, our hands would be smudged with ink. But Oh! The excitement we shared with each other of the stories we had found. One, I remember very clearly was of the Bishop's picnic being held at St. Martins. The congregation had taken the train to Hampton and then transferred to the St. Martins train.
We would read births, marriages, deaths, stories of the day and advertisements. Our notes would be written very hastily and needed to be deciphered and recopied once we were home.
Gradually change took place at the library and the newspapers were microfilmed and no more reading from the originals. We now would spend evenings hunched over the microfilm reader. We were able to get printouts of articles that we were interested in. The Kings County News was one of our favourites. It was printed in Hampton from 1894 until 1898 and was filled with local items of interest of the surrounding area.
In this paper there was an item on the opening of St. Anthony's Catholic Church at Upham, in 1897. It mentioned that the ceiling had been painted blue with silver stars.
Today you still can sit and peruse the microfilm reels, looking for, as the old expression goes, "the hatches, matches and dispatches" meaning births, marriages and deaths. Since the newspapers started to be printed about 1784, one could spend a great deal of time trying to find a vital statistic in the newspaper.
In 1982 a group of volunteers from the New Brunswick Genealogical Society took on a project of indexing the vital statistics from New Brunswick newspapers, beginning at 1784, and publishing them in book form. This project was later taken over by Dan Johnson He has published about 70 volumes of "Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers from 1784 to 1888." He publishes about four volumes per year.
When you are doing your research, you will find these indexed volumes to be very useful. At the Saint John Free Public Library these books are in the section near to the family histories.
For a number of years Ethel Kirkpatrick donated copies of the "Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers" to the Saint John Regional Library as they were published. This generous donation made it possible for many people to have access to this information. Sharing knowledge with others is a trait of a true genealogist.
You will find "Vital Statistics From New Brunswick Newspapers" by Dan Johnson in several research institutions. To learn of Dan Johnson's Extract and Search Service visit http://www.rootsweb.com/~nbcarlet/nb_newspapers.htm
Queries have been grouped together to cover the year 1998 and can be viewed at Queries-1998
Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at firstname.lastname@example.org. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.
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