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Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Database of Daniel F. Johnson's

Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers

I was hoping to hear some of Grampy’s really interesting stories but instead tonight, he seemed to be in a pensive mood of reflecting on his life.

As the smoke curled from his pipe, he remarked, “I have been doing a lot of thinking. I wonder in the years to come, who will remember the details about my life?"  “Who will remember that I hauled hay to Saint John by horse and wagon?” “Except for my tombstone, who will remember my name?”

The folk doing genealogy will remember Danny Johnson’s name for many, many years to come due to his work in compiling Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers. This project started out in 1982 with Danny being the chair of a group of members of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society who began work on extracting vital statistics from the newspapers of 1784 to 1815. When the group disbanded three years later, having completed four volumes to cover the years up to 1834, Danny continued the project on his own, turning it into a commercial operation, if anything so modestly remunerative could be called commercial.  He copied out notices of births, marriages, deaths, ship wrecks, crimes, and many other events containing names that might further the search for an ancestor or other individual, compiled these into books, and marketed them to libraries and private researchers around North America.  By the time of his death in 2005, he had compiled and published 102 volumes of data from 75 newspapers covering the period up to 1896. Now, a database containing all of the information in these 102 volumes has been mounted on the web site of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

Who was Danny Johnson? According to the information on the web site, he was born in 1953 in Fort Fairfield, Maine, the youngest child of Fay (Tregunno) and Verdell C. Johnson. He grew up in Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, and graduated from Southern Victoria High School in 1971. In 1975, he obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of New Brunswick and settled into employment in the commercial and insurance fields.  However, in the mid-1980s, his love of history and genealogy prompted him to give up his day job in favor of compiling the Vital Statistics and taking on related projects.  These are too numerous to list, but they included books of tombstone inscriptions, works on the military service of New Brunswickers in the US Civil War and South African War, and updates of various older genealogical works. 

All of Danny’s work is of lasting value, but it is for the massive vital statistics project that he will continue to be known to most researchers – a body of information which Professor W. D. Hamilton described in his 1997 Dictionary of Miramichi Biography as “a godsend to historians, biographers, and genealogists alike,” and which a correspondent of mine referred to as “unique in scope, going far beyond any newspaper statistics project undertaken elsewhere in Canada or the United States.”  In making the fruits of his labors freely available, Danny’s heirs and those who conceived of mounting the database as a tribute to him have made a huge contribution to the Internet services provided by the PANB. There was probably no archival site more informative than the PANB’s before this addition, and the new database secures the PANB’s position as a pioneering institution on the Internet, with a world class inventory of offerings.

Database searches can be done by surname by using the Name Index or by Full-Text Search which enables limiting by county, place, year and newspaper.  In such a brief space, it is impossible to do justice to all the potentialities. Suffice it to say that the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick deserves a tip of the hat from every one of the thousands of researchers in the province and throughout the world who will be making use of this marvelous resource.

PANB web site address is

Daniel F. Johnson's
New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics
Web site address

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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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