The New Brunswick Museum on
Douglas Avenue, Saint John
Ruby M. Cusack
Many years have passed since I graduated from high school but a comment made by my Grade 10 teacher, Mrs. Leah MacGowan, has remained with me all these years. She told our class, "It is just as important to know where to find information as it is to know the information." I might elaborate on that 'saying' and add, "It is important to know who to ask."
I asked Felicity Osepchook what genealogical material was available at the archives of the New Brunswick Museum on Douglas Avenue. Read on for her answer.
In 1987, some genealogical records were transferred to the Saint John Regional Library from the library and archives of the New Brunswick Museum. Among those records were microfilm material, including census, marriage, probate, land petitions, church records, newspapers, published and unpublished genealogies; a miscellaneous card index; burial permits; and cemetery records.
It would seem from this list that there could be little left of value to the genealogical researcher. On the contrary, the library and archives holdings offer a number of private manuscript collections and a wealth of secondary source materials which provide background information and often supply leads to family relationships.
The library and archives have some of the same reference tools as the Saint John Regional Library, such as "Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers," city directories, some census records and some published and unpublished genealogies.
Some sources that can be a great tool for genealogical research, and are often overlooked, are local, church and county histories. There are many of these in the New Brunswick Museum Douglas Avenue collections, both library and archival.
One secondary source which is invaluable, particularly in researching Loyalist ancestors, is the "New England Historical and Genealogical Register." The museum has this set from Volume 1, 1847, up to the current issues, along with both sets of indexes.
The majority of the museums archival and library holdings have been entered into the database, and for more archival collections, there are finding aids.
Access to some genealogical information can be as simple as entering a keyword into the database. The museum is one of the few archival institutions that has records in electronic format.
However, most genealogical researchers will be well aware that finding information is seldom as easy as entering a surname into a database. Information is not always indexed as well as one might wish, and may appear to be hidden. That is why it is important not to overlook sources such as local, church and country histories, alms house records, registers of voters, militia records, poll books, almanacs, city directories, periodicals, election records, vertical files and so on. The library and archives of the New Brunswick Museum has many of these types of resources.
I would like to thank Felicity Osepchook, the co-ordinator of the Library and Archives at the New Brunswick Museum for her detailed answer to my question.
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 reading the newspaper, 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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