Protestant Records

Early Ontario Protestant parish registers online

The partnership between Library and Archives Canada and Canadiana.org over the next ten years involves the digitization, indexing and description of millions of personal, administrative and government documents. It will triple LAC’s digital content on the Web, and allow Canadians to access tens of millions of additional images regardless of where they live, at no charge.

– Library and Archives Canada Blog, Fruits of the Library and Archives Canada and Canadiana.org partnership starting to appear online

LAC has recently added a huge pile of digitized microfilms to Canadiana.org’s Héritage website. Unfortunately, many of these record collections lack finding aids, or even brief explanations of what can be found on a reel.

There are, for example, many parish registers on these digitized microfilms. But as Ken McKinlay points out, “Unfortunately the descriptions of what is on each microfilm is very brief and usually only from the first record set … and there may be MANY record sets on a single microfilms” (“More LAC Parish Register Microfilms,” Family Tree Knots). 

Take, for example, Parish Registers: Ontario: C-3030.

The About page for this digitized microfilm contains no description beyond “Parish Registers, Ontario.”

Here is what can be found this microfilm:

  • Images 5-120: Ontario, Perth, Presbyterian Church, Register of baptisms and marriages 1817-1857
  • Images 121 – 171: Ontario Rideau Circuit Methodist Church, Register of Baptisms, 1824-1843
  • Images 175-319: Ontario, Sandwich, St. John’s Anglican, 1802-1827, Register of baptisms, marriages and burials, 1802-1827
  • Images 321- 462: Ontario, Williamstown, Presbyterian Church, Register of baptisms and marriages, 1779-1810
  • Images 464-515: Ontario, Williamstown, Presbyterian Church, Register of baptisms, marriages and burials, 1811-1817
  • Images 517- 610: Ontario, Osnabruck and Lunenberg, Presbyterian church registers, Baptisms 1852-1909, Marriages, 1860-1900, Deaths 1906-1909
  • Images 611- 726: Ontario, Eastern District, Marriage register of Church of Scotland, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Baptists, Independents, Methodists, Menonists, Tunkers, Presbyterians or Moravians, 1831-1865
  • Images 727- 1076: Ontario, Johnstown District,  Marriage register 1801-1850 [various denominations, marriages registered with the Clerk of the Peace, Johnstown District]

In other words, Parish Registers: Ontario: C-3030 contains an extremely valuable collection of late-eighteenth and nineteenth-century Protestant parish registers.

A marriage certificate (John Delaney and Emma Dean)

As noted in the previous entry, John Delaney and Emma Dean were married at Salford, England on 16 January 1886; a year and a half later, their Protestant marriage was blessed by a Catholic priest at Notre Dame de Grâce, Hull (Ottawa County, Québec, Canada).

From the GRO (General Register Office), here is a copy of the civil registration of their marriage, which was solemnized at an Anglican church: St. Bartholomew’s, Salford:

Marriage of John Delaney and Sarah Emma Dean, 16 Jan 1886

Obituary for (Michael) John Delaney, Ottawa Citizen, 22 December 1931

Note that John Delaney’s address is given as “Salford Barracks,” and his occupation as “Musician 80th Foot.” This is the same regiment (80th Foot) in which his father Michael Delaney had served, though Michael Delaney was an army pensioner by 1881, and by 1883 he and his wife Mary Ashbury had emigrated to Canada (John Delaney, with his wife Emma Dean, would follow his parents to Canada by the summer of 1887).

John Delaney’s military career began at a (by today’s standards) shockingly early age. His obituary (Ottawa Citizen, 22 Dec 1931) records that he was a drummer in the [Anglo-]Zulu War. He would have been about 13 years old at the time1: a drummer boy. He appears to have fudged his birth year by a couple of years for his Salford marriage (where he is listed as age 21, when he was in fact 19 years of age: perhaps he had already added a couple of years to his age in order to serve in the 80th Foot Regiment in 1880? he should have been 14 years old in 1880 in order to serve, but given his birth date, he clearly wasn’t), but in August 1887 Rev. Father M.E. Harnois of Notre Dame de Grâce accurately listed John Delaney as fils mineur (minor son, i.e., not yet 21 years of age) of Michael Delaney and Mary Ashberry [Ashbury].

It is highly unusual to have a civil registration of an Anglican marriage in England followed by a Catholic blessing of said marriage in the province of Quebec, Canada. My guess (pure speculation here, admittedly) is that John Delaney’s Irish Catholic parents (and probably especially his mother) were in fits that their son had placed his immortal soul in peril, and somebody (again, probably his mother) had lobbied the local parish priest to fix things, to put the fix in.

  1. John (Michael John) Delaney was born 12 August 1867 at Port Louis, Mauritius; the Anglo-Zulu War began 22 January 1879. According to his obituary, John Delaney served as a drummer in 1880.

Protestant records for Pontiac Co., Québec, 1894-1909: online at BAnQ, free of charge

Actually, Catholic records for Pontiac County are also online at BAnQ, free of charge, and for the same time period (roughly 1894-1909, though it varies by church/parish). But the Catholic parish registers for Pontiac Co., Quebec are available online at three other sites that I know of, and for a much broader time period:

  1. by subscription at ancestry.ca (Quebec, Vital and Church Records [Drouin Collection], 1621-1967);
  2. free of charge at FamilySearch (Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900);
  3. and by subscription at Généalogie Québec (Registres du Fonds Drouin).

So I’m highlighting the Protestant records of Pontiac County here, since it’s my impression that these records are far less readily available in online, digitized format than are the RC parish records.1

BAnQ = Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (National Library and Archives of Quebec). And, because of Quebec’s pre-1994 church-based system of civil registration,2 BAnQ’s collection of digitized parish registers (both Catholic and Protestant) will be found under the heading of Registres de l’état civil (= civil registers).

The records are here. For Pontiac County (District judiciaire de Pontiac [Outaouais]), look for Outaouais in the left menu (under Par région [by region]), then look for District de Pontiac (the other option being District de Hull). The time period is admittedly quite limited (roughly 1894 to 1909, as mentioned above), but this is an ongoing project, apparently, and we can expect to see the coverage broadened in the future. The alphabetical list (right side of page) for Pontiac Co. begins with Bristol Township Presbyterian Church and ends with Thorne Township Methodist Church, and includes a number of Protestant (Anglican [Church of England]; Lutheran; Methodist; Presbyterian; and also the Shawville Holiness Movement Church) Pontiac Co. parishes in between.

A few French terms in translation, to help with navigation:

  •  Début = [to the] beginning
  • suivante = next
  • précédente = previous
  • Affichage plein écran = full-screen display

 

  1. Certainly, there are no Protestant parishes included in FamilySearch’s “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers” collection, for obvious reasons. And while ancestry.ca’s Drouin collection does include many Protestant parishes in the province of Québec, there appear to be some gaps in its coverage of Pontiac County (for Protestant denominations, I mean, not for RC parishes). And as to Généalogie Quebec, I really don’t know: it is not easy to use its search tools (in fact, I don’t think it’s possible) without subscribing to its service, and I gave up my subscription when FamilySearch added not only “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900″ but also “Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923″ to its online collection (which, in combination with ancestry’s RC Drouin records for both Québec and Ontario, now answers my research needs, and why pay for a subscription that you won’t actually use?). So for all I know, Généalogie Québec has Protestant Pontiac well covered, though with a paid, subscription-only service.
  2. Brief description of the system, in French, at BAnQ, under En savoir plus (to know more/further information), Présentation; but also see Marlene Simmons for a brief but comprehensive English-language explanation