Online Database  of the
Archives and Research Library
of the New Brunswick Museum

When Gord returned from his trip to town, he came into the house carrying a box. We gathered around him as he opened the package, removed a radio and placed it on the kitchen table. He plugged the cord into the nearby electrical outlet and simply by pushing one of the buttons, music from Wheeling West Virginia commenced to play. With a push of the next button, CHSJ was on the air. This was certainly different from the large floor model cabinet radio with its wire antenna that stretched from the living room window to a pole on the woodshed roof. To get a station to “come in” on that radio, Mum would turn the dial very slowly until she heard a voice. This new technology certainly made the “tuning” to a station much easier and faster.

Today, the searching of the material found in the Archives and Research Library of the New Brunswick Museum has been made much simpler and faster. You can just sit in front of the computer at home and push buttons which in today’s world we call computer keys and instantly you have information on the computer screen. From the museum website at, click on “Collections” then "Archives & Research Library". Now select "Search Archives and Library".

Many of the “fonds” or collections contain biographical information which is followed by an inventory of the items. Searches can be done by keyword or name of the collection.

I was interested in finding out about pharmacies in Saint John. The information that I found gave me not only the name "William Hawker: Father of Canadian Pharmacy 1840-1937" but biographical  information stating he had been born at Barrington, England on March 27, 1840 and  apprenticed as a printer but decided instead to enlist in the British army in November 1857 where he received training in medicine. His battalion the 15th foot was ordered to Saint John in 1861, he was a surgeon-lieutenant by that time. In 1862 was transferred to the Fredericton hospital and there married, on November 13, 1862  Lovedy Thomasine Dale, the daughter of Henry Dale of Cornwall, England.  He retired from the army and moved back to Saint John opening a pharmacy in 1866 on Prince William Street. He produced a line of various remedies that would be purchased by the Canadian Drug Company. For the family researcher, the names and spouses of his children are included plus another fonds that holds an unpublished manuscript by Elizabeth McMullin, a descendant of William Hawker.  Mention is also made of the Grand balloon ascension under the auspices of the Hawker Medicine Co.

The Saint John Harmonic Society fonds consists of a minute book from 1854-1857

The Merritt family fonds of 1778-1957 take up 3.98 metres of space - probably lots of interesting material there.

The Sylvester Z Earle papers provide a list of subscribers to the Hampton Ferry Bridge of 1835-1839 .

In the Canada Customs, port of Saint John, personnel ledger of 1918 to1940, you will find the annual listing of information on employees' date of first service, office of appointment, salary at which appointed, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, ethnic origin, religion and current salary.

The Saint John Board of School Trustees Records of 1877 to 1948 includes census and enumeration; monthly returns by teachers; work books; truancy reports; account books; question papers, and Principal's Association minute books.

On my next visit to the Archives and Research Library on Douglas Avenue in Saint John, I plan to ask to see the George J. Dibblee (1800-1877) Papers with the sketch of C.M. Abell's Improved Farm Gate.

The archival collections of the New Brunswick Museum consist of business records, personal papers and ephemera relating to the economic, social, legal, military, religious and political aspects of life in New Brunswick, with a nineteenth century emphasis.

The library database has been accessible on the New Brunswick Museum website for several months, and a search can be done by author, title or subject. If you are looking for ancestors in Kings County – a search brings up 20 possible resources.

The online access to both of these databases has been made possible by funding from the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund.

By the way, these 2 databases are also available for searching at the Archives and Research Library of the New Brunswick Museum, 277 Douglas Ave, Saint John, where staff are available to provide assistance. The hours of operation are Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information, phone (506) 643-2322, Fax (506) 643-2360 or e-mail Website

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