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Ruby M. Cusack

Kings County Record Death Index (1897-1936) 
Saint John Burial Permits.

Gramp came through the door muttering that it was hardly safe to walk through the yard as there were so many cobalt blue heads flying through the air catching insects, while others had a mouthful of mud. And that wasn’t all, as he noticed those birds were building a nest right over the backdoor, so he would need to be dodging droppings every time he entered or exited.

Dad said those birds were inside and outside the barns as well.

Cliff and I rushed out the door to see all those blue birds, as we had never seen one before, but all we saw were barn swallows.

As we gazed at the sky, I neglected to look where I was going and bumped into Mum and nearly knocked her down, as she was talking to Gram, while they were admiring the sunset.

I had so many questions that my tongue was wagging at both ends before my brain was in gear.

First we were to get it straight that the men were talking about barn swallows who had cobalt blue heads and fed on flying insects while airborne. The swallows drink by skimming low over lakes or rivers and scooping up water with their open mouth.

Gram said there were many superstitions regarding damage to a barn swallow's nest. Such an act might lead to cows giving bloody milk, or no milk at all, or to hens ceasing to lay.

The swallows build their cuplike nests by getting a mouthful of mud, mixing it with saliva and sometimes a bit of water and sticking it to a barn rafter or under the eave. They make trip after trip for several days and little by little the task is accomplished much like the family researcher looks in many places to find little pieces of information to build the family tree.

Today we can use many sources - such as visiting a new addition to the Provincial Archives of  New Brunswick, to check the Kings County Record Death Index (1897-1936) by Jack Fynn who produced the index and has generously provided it to the Provincial Archives. This is a great, new means of tracking Kings County families through accessing 11,262 deaths recorded in the newspaper.

“When Mr. Fynn began his work on events in the late 19th century Kings County Record, many of the notices of people’s death appeared under the Community or Correspondents Columns, rather than taking the form of the obit we know today. Correspondents or Community Columns were usually written by residents of places too small to warrant a full-time reporter assigned to gather local stories and news.”

Mr. Fynn was unable to locate: August 7, to September 11, 1903 - August 30, to September 20, 1907 - September 20, 1912 to October 10, 1913. If anyone knows of the existence of these issues please contact the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

ATTRIDGE, Richard (18) (d) 10/5 Doaktown ( accidental shooting ) (s/o) Richard
10/12/1906 p.3. This means Richard Attridge was 18 years old, date of death - October 5, place of death - Doaktown, cause of death -Accidental Shooting, son of Richard Attridge and this was published on page 3 of October 12 of 1906.

LAFERGIE, James (70) (d) < Hammond Vale > (bd) Hammond son & daughter
5/30/1919 p.10.  James Lafergie was 70 years old, death mentioned in Hammond Vale column, buried in Hammond, survived by a son and daughter, published on page 10 of May 30 of 1919.

SEDERQUEST, J. Frank, Mrs. (Fowler) (d) French Village (bd) Calais < Hampton > < Smithtown > 12/26/1902 p.3 & p.7. Mrs. J. Frank Sederquest’s death was mentioned in both the Hampton and Smithtown columns. Her maiden name was Fowler. She died in French Village and was buried in Calais. Published on page 3 and 7 of December 26, 1902.

FAIRWEATHER, Vicie (Langley) (d) 4/3 Vancouver (wd/o) D. Hallett (d/o) Elias
4/10/1931 p.4.  Vicie Fairweather widow of D. Hallett Fairweather, daughter of Elias Langley died in Vancouver on April 03, 1931. Published on April 10, 1931 on page 4.

WALLACE, George H. ( 102 ) (d) 6/11 Sussex (b) 1/5/1821 (bd) Penobsquis wife # 3 and son
6/15/1923 p.3. George Wallace lived to be 102 years old having been born on January 5 of 1821. Mention had been made in previous issues of the Kings County Record of his 99th, 100th, 101st and 102nd Birthday. He died on June 11 in Sussex and was buried in Penobsquis. He is survived by his third wife and a son. Published June 15, 1923

Another source for Death Records is the Summary of the Return of a Death on Application for a Burial Permit - Saint John Board of Health 1889 - 1919 - . The Saint John Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society has compiled 21 volumes of the 28 volumes which can be ordered from NBGS-SJ, PO Box 2423, Saint John, NB, E2L 3V9 or by contacting

For those who do not have access to these publications, I suggest you search the Index to Saint John Burial Permits 1889-1919 on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website at for the date of death of the person of interest, then go to With a little searching you will find among the 13,902 images the actual burial permit document.

I was interested in Benjamin Potts who happened to be the first person registered. I found out his death was on March 17, 1889, a married man in his fifties, born in Saint John, Clerk of the Market, death to pneumonia and buried in the Rural Cemetery.

In more searching I found his residence was at 128 Charlotte Street and that St. John lost a familiar face in the death of Benjamin Potts whose long connection with the country market gave him an extended acquaintance with our citizens and many living in adjacent counties. Mr. Potts was about 52 years of age. In early life he followed shipbuilding with his father on Courtenay Bay and for the past 17 years was the collector of tolls in the country market, having been the lessee before the erection of the new building. He has been confined to his home since Tuesday. The deceased was a member of Queen Square Methodist church. Mr. Potts leaves a wife and daughter besides two brothers.

In the SEARCH section of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick -   you will find:

 The N.W. Brenan Funeral Home Records at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick cover the period of 1901 to 1971 and encompass just the records of the Saint John firm. For the years 1904 to 1971, the records comprise, firstly, account books in which the funeral home entered the name of the deceased, the death date, itemization of the goods and services related to the funeral and the respective charges, and usually the name of the person who engaged the company. In accordance with the protection of personal information requirement a 50-year restriction applies to these records.

The Index to Death registration of soldiers, 1941-1947 - has 1,295 records available in this database

1,497 records available in the database of the City of Fredericton Burial Permit Listing 1902-1903; 1908-1911; 1915-1919. Published in the Fredericton Daily Gleaner

Vital Statistics from Government Records holds 13,902 records of death - .

Many deaths can be found in Daniel F. Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics .

Like the swallows who work so hard to build their nest by making trip after trip with little mouthfuls of mud, researches make trip after trip to databases and other sources, spending hours and hours to find one little piece of information for their family tree. 

Query:  Rankin - Matthews:  Mrs Ada M Rankin, Lincoln, New Brunswick was a niece of  Mrs Mary Elizabeth Lunn Matthews, wife of James Henry Matthews. Mary died in 1950. I am looking for a picture of Mary and any Matthews information she may have left behind. Contact PMatth9878@AOL.Com

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