If you have Prince Edward Island ancestors, then you need to bookmark The Island Register into your web browser. This site is a go-to site when researching PEI. Mainly transcriptions, it is still none the less a very good resource on tracing your ancestors.
Right on the home page you can see that there are over 4500 documents and over 1161 lineages on this site. For the purposes of this blog post, I'll be going down the sections on the home page. These can also be accessed from the links on the left side bar.
The nice thing about this link is that once you've gone through the site a few times, you can then periodically check here for new updates. Scrolling down the page shows that they regularly update their section on death notices.
Featured Articles and Notices
This interesting section gives you links to other pages. It's rather an eclectic mix of Ham Radio, Maps, the history of the telephone on PEI, as well as more traditional genealogy items. There's also a page about rebuilding laptops for PEI children who might otherwise not have one.
One of the more popular sections of the site. Sorted alphabetically by surname, these are user submitted lineages. The section does come with a warning that there may be errors. Each lineage comes with the submitter's contact information. This is handy if it's one of your family lines and would like to see documentation, or submit a correction or addition.
Also on the page is a very good tutorial on the concepts of Consanguinity and Age of Majority in genealogical records. The tutorial also gives you a worksheet to help you with your own research along these lines.
The third handy tool here is the family relationship chart to help you figure out how two individuals can be related. Those of us who have had the headache of figuring out which degree of cousin two people are know how handy this chart can be.
Books CD's & More Index
This index can help you find books, CD's, and researchers relating to PEI history and genealogy. The Island Register itself has its own bookstore. Their focus is not only on PEI, but Acadian, Mi'kmaq, UK, and New England genealogy and history.
Census, Maps, and Related Documents
As the section title says, there are links to historical maps and census here. But there is so much more. You'll also find:
- Maps: There's maps of the island both as an English possession, as well as when it was the French island of Ile Saint John. It also includes a map of Acadia as a whole, and a Scottish clan map.
- Census and Census Extracts: A huge sub section. There's not only information relating to Canadian Census years, but it goes back farther than that. Here you can find Acadian Census and Rolls covering various years from 1728-1754. After the Expulsion, you can also look at pre Confederation Censuses. If your ancestor left PEI and settled in a different part of Canada or the United States, you might find them in the extracts that have been done from Census records in those areas.
- P.E.I. Directories and Atlas Indexes: You can find the Hutchinson's, Lovell's , and MacAlpine's Directories, as well as some historical atlases. There's also a neat chart of PEI directories and when you can find them. You can also find some unique extracts relating to the "Lot" System of land records that is unique to Prince Edward Island.
- Telephone Directories: They have transcribed names, residences and exchanges from the 1889/1990, 1922,1928, and 1935 telephone books.
- Rent Rolls: The Rent rolls of the Northern Portion of Lot 23. There's rents listed from the years 1826-1853.
- Church Records: Indexes and extracts from various churches in PEI. They also have extracts of names of people who died in Murray Harbour. This was taken from the diary of Lauretta (Machon) Brooks. Another link from this page also lists the dates of fires. Beside the date is the structure that burnt. For instance, on 31 July 1931 it says that "Both Hazen Moore and John Robert Bull lost their barns to fire on the same night".
- Muster Rolls: Muster Rolls from 1784 and 1785 for disbanded, discharged and Loyalist soldiers that arrived in Prince Edward Island.
Noteworthy Documents Index
A hodge podge of interesting transcriptions.
- U.K. Records: There's records for Bradworthy Parish, and transcriptions from Scoor Cemetery in Mull. A nest one is a selection of transcribed letters between Prince Edward Islanders and people back in the UK.
- Miscellaneous P.E.I. Records: Here you can find aids for Islanders who lived in New England. There's also BMD information from newspapers, and information on those employed by the government or in civil services.
- Parliamentary/Government Records: Records not only of the Lot Proprietors, but a neat one containing mini genealogies of Government members in 1885 and 1887. They even have a transcription of the P.E.I. budgets for 1866 and 1893.
- Information on P.E.I. Churches: Information on the Methodist and Bible Christian Church in Prince Edward Island.
Some really neat links to databases here.
- Surname List
- Postmaster Database
- Rural Placenames
- Postal Database
- Letters and Stamps
- Bible Database
- Land Record Database
- Wills Database
- Ships Arrivals/Departures
P.E.I. Resources/ Info Pages
Whether your ancestor was Acadian or British, here are links to take you to other sites to help further your research. There's also a link to Lord Selkirk Park, and news about P.E.I. Events.
P.E.I. Ship Information
If your ancestor was involved in the Maritime trade, you'll want to look at this collection of links. Along with passenger lists, there's information on Mariners and Ship Building. There's also information on various ships with a PEI connection. As well, there's a handy glossary of ship terminology.
Other Register Feature Pages
Another big section covering everything and anything. Here'a list of the subsections
- The P.E.I. Railway/Postal Articles
- Locating P.E.I. Communities
- Obituary and Stray Books
- P.E.I. Scrapbooks and Clippings
- Links to Other Web Resources
Each subsection has enough links to keep you busy for awhile.
Diaries, Family Histories, Memoires, Etc
I found an impressive list of information taken from diaries, journals and day books. There'a also local histories and written memories of people and places. I even saw transcriptions from autograph books.
Services, Guides and Other Helpers
Here are some good reference pages for researching PEI. Maps, Postal information, railway info, and common PEI surnames are a few of the things I found listed. I also saw information for PARO, Family History Centers, and newspaper repositories. If you need a researcher, you can find a list of researchers for hire.
Another page that's worth the visit. ere are links to various government, institutions, museums, and archives. You can also find links to educational institutions, maps, and even media sites.
Our Main Links Page
Another good one. There's a quick link menu that will take you to another page of links. Here's the subject links:
- Adoption/Home Children
- Canada General
- Canadian Listservers
- General Resources
- Home Page Construction
- PEI Newspapers
- Software and Gene. Programs
- Funereal Homes
The Island Register Queries Page
Have a query that the users might be able to answer. You can submit queries here, or look through past ones to see if your question has already been asked and answered.
Receive Free Notification
If you would like to sign up for The Island Register's Newsletter, then you can subscribe here. The newsletter gives updates to the site, news items on PEI research, and other little tid bits of interest.
On a final note, the nice thing about the general genealogy community is that we are willing to help others. This site is another great example of genealogists paying it forward. So remember on this or any other free site: If they help with your research, let them know. A lot of work goes into these, and the people who run them deserve a thanks.