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Baptismal Registers of the Exmouth Street United Church

Graeme Somerville

Mum had just filled the stove with softwood to get the oven hot enough to cook the biscuits she was making for supper, when Dad and Gramp came rushing into the house.

Although they had been working at Gramp’s place, they spotted clouds of smoke and some flames shooting from the chimney and knew immediately the flu was burning out. Dad quickly climbed the roof ladder and dumped a half pail of coarse salt down the chimney.

The fear was the long stove pipe that went through the upstairs would melt as it was red hot. If this happened, the house could catch on fire.

Mum was really frightened. She hurried to the bedroom, reached under the bed for the tin box that held important papers, and carried it out to the car for safe keeping.

Back in 1965, on a cold winter’s night an overheated furnace pipe started a fire which the Saint John Fire Department quickly extinguished but not before the flames had destroyed much of the congregation's records and burned off almost 800 Christian names of persons who had been baptized at the Exmouth Street United Church. Over 100 years of irreplaceable records were lost, or so it seemed until officials of the United Church gave Graeme Somerville permission to publish the Baptismal records.

From out of the ashes of this church fire comes Graeme's new book.

By using other publicly available records Graeme has recovered 654 of the burnt off names and the new book “The Baptismal Registers of the Exmouth Street United Church, Saint John, NB, Canada” will be available at a book launch and signing at the Genealogical Fair to be held at the Millidgeville North School on Saturday, September 16th.

The publication contains almost 1500 lines of data, including both parents’ names, dates of birth and baptism, and is fully indexed making it a treasure trove of information for family researchers.

In his introduction to the book Graeme reminds us that the fire in the Exmouth Street United Church, that cold winter’s night, should be “a lesson to all who have old, or valuable, or irreplaceable records” to store them in a secure, fireproof place and to deposit a copy in an archive.

Anyone interested in the Exmouth Street United Church, or researching that congregation's records will undoubtedly want a copy of this new publication as the charred registers available at the Church’s Sackville archives lack so many Christian names.

The Baptismal Registers of the Exmouth Street United Church, Saint John, NB, Canada” can be purchased from the author at the book launch or by writing him at 84 Beach Crescent, Saint John NB, E2K 2E4. He can also be reached at 506-632-2020. The price is $20.00 plus postage and packaging.

Query 1505
Clark: Thomas Clark and his wife Ephremia Mandeville Clark went to Saint John in 1783. Their daughter Catherine Clark born 2 Apr 1783, in New York died 13 Jul 1783, in Saint John. Three children were born in Saint John: Elizabeth born 10 June 1785, John H. born 8 May 1787 and Rachel B. born 15 Apr 1790. Thomas stayed until 1792 then came back to New York.  I am interested in finding anything about the family while in Saint John, New Brunswick.

New and Used Genealogical and Historical books of
New Brunswick for sale.

Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:  Include your name and mailing address for the benefit of the readers of the newspaper who do not have access to E-mail but could have information to share with you. Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query. For more information on submitting queries, visit
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