Ruby M. Cusack

Official Historical Booklet ­ Diocese of Saint John

When I was growing up, a trip to town was a big event. I sat in the back seat of the car, my head bobbing, trying to watch both sides of the road.

Once we arrived in the city and started up Waterloo Street, I would look only to the right. First there was St. Mary's Church, then the General Hospital and next came the big church built of quarried stone. I would press my nose against the window, looking way, way up to see its tall spire. I am no longer a kid, but I am still fascinated with that church's steeple.

Listen and I'll tell you about this church on Waterloo Street ­ - The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Its foundation stone was laid in May of 1853 and the blessing of this building took place on Christmas Day of 1855. Upon its completion in 1865, it was a building without a steeple. But all that changed in 1871, when a 230 foot spire was erected. Another transformation occurred in 1998, when lights were installed for the illumination of the steeple in the night sky. This beautiful spire is now visible, day or night, from many parts of the city.

Much of this information comes from the "Official Historical Booklet ­ Diocese of Saint John," published in 1948 on the occasion of the Diocesan Rally of Catholic Men. If you have Catholic roots, this is one book you will want to spend some time reading. It is not only an enjoyable book to read but an excellent reference source. The listing of first pastors and dates the churches were erected will make it easier to determine which church record you should consult to find a baptism or marriage.

The publication has photos of many of the members of the clergy as well as most, if not all, the churches of the Diocese of Saint John. You will find a brief history of each church, listing the priests who served it, as well as information on the missions. The Diocese of Saint John covers a large geographic area of New Brunswick including Fredericton, Hampton, Chipman, Westfield, Petersville, Kingsclear, Stanley, Woodstock, Debec, St. George, St. Stephen, Johnville, Campobello Island, St. Martins and Sussex.

Also included are articles on the Bishop's picnic, Catholic charities, City Coronet Band, Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Credit Union, Catholic Women's League, CYO groups, Catholic Sailors' Club, Mount Caramel Academy, The New Freeman, Knights of Columbus, St. Joseph's Hospital, The Legion of Mary and Caton's Island.

The "Official Historical Booklet ­ Diocese of Saint John" is in the reference department of the Saint John Free Public Library and at the library and archives of the New Brunswick Museum as well as the archives of the Diocese of Saint John. 

Book can be purchased at

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Query 98 -367

Curry - Maxner: I am searching for a birth record for my grandfather, Constant Churchill Curry, Jr., who was born on Dec. 29, 1858, in Saint John, N.B. He was the son of Constant Churchill Curry, Sr. and Martha Maxner Curry. They were from Windsor, N.S., and according to our data, all his siblings were born in that area. Since the other children were born in the Windsor area, I find it odd he was born in Saint John. All records indicate his parents remained in the Windsor area throughout their lives. Does anyone have any information on this family?
­ Betty Merrick, 605 Westminster St., Orlando, Florida, 32803. Or E-mail to

Query 98-368
Groom - Clark - Carr - Ferdinand - Wallis - Mason - Wanamaker: Enoch Groom was a Loyalist, who came to Prince Edward Island. He married Dorothy Clark there in 1788. In his New Brunswick land petition of 1797, he states that he has lived for some years on private land on the Island of St. John, but the mice were so destructive last year, he thought fit to remove with wife and children to the Township of Hillsborough, County of Westmorland (now Albert County). He was not granted this lot. In 1815, he purchased land in Hampton Parish, Kings Co., and died there in 1843. In the 1851 census, Dorothy was living in the household of her son-in-law, Henry Wanamaker of Millstream. Known children of Enoch are: Mary Groom, married (1819) John Wallis; Enoch Groom (Jr.), married (1825) Margaret Carr; Elizabeth Margaret Groom, married (1826) Peter Ferdinand; William Groom, married (1831) Catherine Mason; Hannah, married (1834) Henry Wanamaker. In 1834, an Alfred Groom married Emily Carr in Charlottetown, PEI. I am seeking any information on the Groom family, but I am particularly interested in documenting the parents of Alfred Groom of PEI and his relationship to Enoch Groom.
­ Alfred V. Groom, 618 Water St, Summerside, PEI, C1N 2V5. Phone (902) 436-2295. Or E-mail to

Query 98-369
Lawrence: I'm way over here on the West Coast, in Oregon, trying to research my New Brunswick ancestor Richard Lawrence. He travelled in September of 1783 from New York to Pennfield aboard the Camel. He eventually held land grants at Miramichi River in Northumberland, Kings Co., and St. John Co., before leaving the area in 1796 for Upper Canada. I believe he was a Quaker. Any information would be helpful as I have searched for this elusive man for many a year. I have no information on his wife or children or where in the United States he lived.
­ Trish McLaughlin, 3597 Southshore, Lake, Oswego, Oregon, 97034. Or E-mail

Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.

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