Posted by: webmaster | October 6, 2008

New Brunswick Repositories: Archives of the Diocese of Saint John

by Peter D. Murphy

The Diocese of Saint John is the seventh oldest Roman Catholic diocese in Canada. Established in 1842, the Diocese originally embraced the entire province of New Brunswick and the Madawaska region of the adjacent State of Maine. Currently, the Diocese of Saint John serves New Brunswick’s eight predominantly English-speaking counties: Saint John, Kings, Queens, Sunbury, York, Charlotte, Carleton and Northumberland.

Largely as a result of the explosion of interest in genealogy at the end of the 1970s, Bishop Arthur J. Gilbert established the Diocesan Archives as a publicly-accessible research facility. Peter D. Murphy served as the first Diocesan Archivist. The Archives—currently housed in the Diocesan Services Building in Uptown Saint John—house most of the extant PRE-1900 sacramental records for the parishes and regions currently served by the Diocese. Except for records of interment, all POST-1900 records must be obtained directly from the parish or mission in which the sacrament was administered. The oldest extant sacramental records are those of Bartibogue, on the Miramichi, which begin in 1801. Baptismal and marriage records for the Saint John area begin in 1812, for the Fredericton and Charlotte County areas in 1827, the Woodstock region in 1842, and the missions of Kings County in 1845.

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