Ruby M. Cusack
BIRTHS - MARRIAGES - DEATHS IN NEW BRUNSWICK
This lady who was born in 1906,
did not have an official birth
until she was 53 years old when her Aunt signed
a Late Birth
Registration form on March 20, 1959.
Morris usually had a chocolate bar in his coat pocket but
today he handed us each a postcard that was very different as it had the
letters of the alphabet with dashes and dotes after each letter.
He explained we could send secret messages to each other by using short
or long flashes of light or by tapping sounds. To make the S letter -
three shorts knocks - called dits. The letter O was three long knocks
called dahs. SOS was very important as this was a call for help.
Standing on opposite sides of a door, sending messages by tapping was
certainly a great way to spend a rainy dreary Saturday afternoon. But I
think it just about drove Mum crazy..
Speaking of codes, it seemed my parents, grandparents and other family
members had a secret code they used in their conversation. Gram made
reference of, “Going to the City” but I didn’t have a clue where that place was. Gramp spoke often of “floating the teeth of horses with a float.”
And that was confusing as the teeth of horses were well anchored. Dad
announced, usually in the Spring, that he had a couple of “setting hens”.
When Aunt Sadie brought in the newspaper from the mailbox, someone would always inquire if there were any “Hatches, Matches and Dispatches” that were known to the family.
Over the years of doing genealogical research I have come to the conclusion that all of us are looking for some hard to find “births, marriages and deaths”which are usually filed under Vital Statistics.
The website of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick has many births, actually about 300,000.
By the way, Birth Records are not released by Vital Statistics to the
Provincial Archives for public use until 95 years after the birth.
The birth registrations that interest me the most are the ones that I
stumble on of the 110,000 “Late Birth Registrations” with some very
interesting information. Beginning in 1888, the Registrar of Vital
Statistics could record as official the birth of an individual years
after the fact as long as there was verification of the birth by the
doctor or others who were present or had knowledge of the event.
The forms used to register the births usually include information such
as the place of birth, full name of child, sex of child, date of birth,
background information on the father and mother, name of doctor, name of
informant, date of registration.
Concerning the birth of one child born in 1886 - the Late Birth
Registration document was signed September 10, 1940. The informant gives
her name and address and states -“That I am the stepmother of the
aforesaid. That my knowledge of the fact and date of such birth is based
on the following circumstances - That both parents are deceased; that I
was on intimate terms with the family at the time of said birth; that
although I was not present at her birth, I remember the said person as a
small child; That I fully believe that she was born on the date and at
the place. That I am 22 years her senior. That I am step-mother to her
ever since a small child.”
On February 20, 1943, a Father states of his child born in 1911 “I am
the natural and lawful father. Dr. Folkins of Norton was the Physician
at time of birth.”
The informant for a child who was born in 1911 states that my knowledge
of the fact and date of such birth is based on the following
circumstances- “By reason of being her mother.” Signed September 4,
The Aunt of a baby born in 1906 signed a document in 1959, stating she
was the Aunt and that her knowledge of the fact and date of such birth
is based on the following circumstances, “I remember the year (name
omitted) was born as she was born the same year my nephew was killed by a
train - that was 1906.” Signed March 20, 1959.
In 1948, the neighbour of a baby born in 1879 stated, “I am the near
neighbour of the aforesaid. That my knowledge of the fact and date of
such birth is based on the following circumstances - I am eleven years
the said child senior and was a near neighbour and on intimate terms
with the family at that time (Aug 5, 1879) and saw the child five days
after and I fully believe she was born on the date and place mentioned.
Both parents of said child are deceased. Signed October 01, 1948.
It wasn’t until 1945, that a baby born in 1885 arranged to have her
birth registered with the following document, “I am the older sister of
said person. That I am 18 years her senior in age. That at the time of
her birth (June 24, 1885). I was present in the house in which she was
born and have a distinct recollection of the occurrence of said birth.
Both parents are deceased. Signed July 30, 1945.
As to marriages, the Provincial Secretary of New Brunswick was charged
with the responsibility of receiving and administering special bonds
which had to be posted with the government on the occasion of the
intention to marry.
Marriage bonds, which were required when banns were not read in the
churches or when the clergyman did not know both of the parties,
guaranteed a payment of £500 from the would-be-groom or his co-signer if
the proposed marriage did not take place. The bonds are especially
valuable to genealogists, since they provide the names and residences of
the proposed groom-to-be and the co-signer(s) in addition to that of
the bride-to-be. The names of all prospective brides and grooms, along
with all co-signers to the bond have been included in the index. Some
co-signers appear several times, probably because they were professional
bonders collecting fees for their services.
The names of 13,715 grooms are in the Index to Marriage Bonds 1810-1932.
Nearly 2400 non-New Brunswick references may be found in the bonds that
must be read from microfilm as the complete marriage bonds are available
only on microfilm.
In simple language, if the groom and bride were not known to the
officiating person, it was necessary for someone to post a £500 bond to
make certain the groom kept his promise of marriage. Names on the index
are no guarantee the marriage took place.
263,030 records are in the New Brunswick Marriages from 1888 to 1965.
Lots of detailed information can be found, depending on the year such as
Bridegroom's name, age, residence, place of birth, marital status,
occupation, religion, and name of parents, Bride's name, age, residence,
place of birth, marital status, religion, and name of parents, name and
residence of witnesses, date of Marriage, by whom Married, whether
Married by License or Banns, Signature and Postal Address of
Clergy. As well, the Marriage Certificates are signed by the Bride and
Bridegroom, which often helps greatly with deciphering the proper
spelling of their names.
The Deaths on the New Brunswick Provincial Archives website are listed under different headings.
There are 1,497 records available on the database of the City of
Fredericton Burial Permits City of
Fredericton Burial Permits that were published in the Fredericton Daily
Gleaner - 1902-1903; 1908-1911; 1915-1919.
Index to County Death Registers of 1885-1921 have 40,447 records.
Provincial Returns of Deaths 1815-1919 have 84,192 records.
Index to Death Certificates 1918-1965 hold 226,919 records.
That adds up to more than 300,000 Deaths plus an index of the Saint John
Burial Permits is comprised of 33,283 entries. These Burial Permits
were issued under an order of the Board of Health for the City of Saint
John to enable the Board to determine the cause of death and the
possible presence of contagious diseases. The burial permits were filed
with the clerk of the local Board of Health. It seems that this practice
was begun in 1889 and discontinued at the end of 1919. This index
includes the name of the deceased, age, the date of death, and place of
birth. They were issued for anyone who died or was buried in the city of
Saint John or for any bodies passing through the city for burial
If you go to https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2250090, you
will find the complete image of the Saint John Burial Permits.
Since the clocks have been set back, the evenings seem much longer so
Researches will have more time to review all this information on New
Brunswick Hatches, Matches and Dispatches.