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Ruby M. Cusack

The documents on the Provincial Archives website
and the books that have been compiled over the years
by many volunteers
are New Brunswick's treasures.

The Road Signs direct those seeking communities the way to go
The use of the GPS also makes it much easier to find the forgotten roads and settlements.

Relatives and friends were making their visits while the trees were rich in colour and there was still warmth in the air.

They talked of the days of the past and complained that some of the old houses and barns were in need of repair or had been torn down.

Cliff and I spent a lot of time on this beautiful Autumn Saturday roaming through the pastures and along the brook to find leaves that were at their best colour and perfectly shaped. Next came ironing them with the sad iron that had a changeable handle. Our map of New Brunswick showing the counties and parishes, looked good to us. The frame of leaves added to it and made us very proud.

Our fact sheet was very informative or so we thought.

I found it interesting that New Brunswick wasn’t around until 1784, when it became a province and independent from Nova Scotia.

The surveyors made the grant lots about 200 acres each and many had water frontage as this was the chief way to travel. Still today we have many an older home facing the river and the highway goes past the back door.

If you were fortunate to get a grant, then you received a spade, an axe, four yards of woolen cloth, seven yards of linen, two pairs of shoes, two pairs of stockings and a pair of mittens. Each lady received three yards of woolen cloth, six of linen, one pair of shoes, one pair of wool stockings and one pair of mittens. The children received under ten years received three yards of woolen cloth, six of linen, one pair of stockings, and one pair of mittens.

Tools, muskets etc. were shared with community members. Churches were built as soon as possible.

Farm work was done by oxen with few horses in the early days.

We lived in Kings County which was created on July 4, 1785 with four townships or parishes - Westfield, Springfield, Kingston and Sussex and they made Kingston the Shiretown.

From experience, I know how important it is to know the history of the area you are researching - especially when counties and parishes are involved.

Much information is given on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website at

Following is some info on the time frame of New Brunswick parishes.
“1786: Westfield, Sussex, Springfield and Kingston were created.
1795: Greenwich, Norton and Hampton were set off from Sussex and Kingston.
1835: Upham was set off from Hampton.
1840: Studholm was set off from Sussex.
1858: Havelock was set off from Studholm.
1858: Hammond was set off from Upham.
1859: Kars was set off from Kingston.
1870: Rothesay was set off from Hampton.
1874: Cardwell and Waterford were set off from Sussex.”

Genealogists spend hours searching for the location of the family’s first home. Problems arise with name changes in the area which were written into deeds and other documents. The brook that ran by our house was referred to as the North Stream - a name long forgotten.

Grace Aiton compiled the book “Sussex and Vicinity” which is filled with information on not only Sussex but the southern area of New Brunswick. If you have not read this book, I suggest borrowing a copy from the Library.

Many maps are online, such as the Land Grants, Roe and Colby Atlas and others. My favourite is the Walling map, a topographical map of the counties of Saint John and Kings. It is from the actual surveys under the direction of H.F. Walling. If you had ancestors living in this area in 1862, it is a map for you to study carefully. It shows the name and the location of residences, churches, schools, tanneries and other places of businesses. Business directories of several communities are also included.

Much information can be gained by the genealogical researcher taking an imaginary walk down the roads of yesteryear on this map. Start where your ancestor lived and then stop to visit each nearby household.

For those interested in the schools, spend some time reading ‘Early Schools of Kings County, New Brunswick' published by the Kings County Retired Teachers' Association as it holds not only information on the 3 R's of education but lots of ABCs for the family tree.

James McAnary was 56 years of age and married according to his license for Passekeag School (Patticake Settlement) in 1842 and he was in charge of the school for nine years. Surnames of pupils in 1844 were Crocket, Carney, Earle, Floyd, Hunter, Hughston, Jones, King, Matthews, Mitchell, McVey, Newel, Ogden, Stewart, Smith and Tease. Teachers from 1879 to 1900 were Edwin Hayes, Augusta Dodge, Mary Millar, Jessie Brown, David Wagner, Jennie Hanson, Augusta Titus, Omar Campbell, Caroline Raymond, Miss R. Ryan, Mabel Folkins, L. M. Colpitts, Maggie Fowler, Maggie Pickle, T. A. Leonard, E. J. Puddington, Laura Snodgrass, Ethel Moody, Ella Smith and Eugenia Keith.

The records for 1862 for the Penobsquis School show the teacher received a yearly salary of $125 from the district and $125 from the government. There were 47 pupils. Subjects included spelling, reading, writing, languages (English, French, Latin and Greek), arithmetic, geography, history, book-keeping, geometry, measuring, surveying of land, navigation, algebra and other fields of study.

The documents on the Provincial Archives website and the books that have been compiled over the years are New Brunswick treasures.