Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Prince Edward Island Ancestors: PEI Church Records on Family Search

Unlike other provinces, Prince Edward Island resources are not plentiful online. If you have PEI ancestors, you might want to check out Family Search's browse only collection Prince Edward Island Church Records, 1777-1985. According to the Family Search wiki, there are several denominations in the collection:

  • Anglican Church of Canada
  • Catholic
  • Church of Christ
  • Church of England in Canada
  • Church of Scotland
  • Free Church
  • Methodist
  • Presbyterian
  • United Church of Canada

If you're searching for ancestors' life events pre 1906, church records might be the only record of these. Now, the Public Archives and Record Office in PEI has a great online resource called the PARO Collections Database. This resource is a collection of birth, marriage and death records from 1777 to 1968. It is searchable by keyword and fairly easy to use. A lot of the results are transcriptions though. The Family Search collection includes some records up to 1985, and there are digitized images attached.

As with most browse only collections through Family Search, they have made searching easier by narrowing first by County:

Next you pick your City/Town. Next, you can narrow by Denomination/Parish. Lastly, you narrow one more time by Record Type and Year Range. I chose Prince for County, Summerside for City/Town, and lastly Church of Christ for the Parish. I got some interesting subheadings here:

As you can see, this collection has more than just BMDs. The Accounts section gives the expenditures for the Parish. Though it is for the most part just accounting, there are a few occasions where names are mentioned.

What's interesting is the Members sections. These are comprehensive lists of members of the Parish. The members are listed alphabetically by surname. They tell how the person became part of the parish, but also how they left. The most common reasons for leaving are death, but I found a few that left for other reasons. For instance, Ida Arnold entered into the Parish in 1913, but in 1924 returned to her Roman Catholic church.


Herbert Best moved to Calgary

As well, I found several who moved to the USA. If you have someone in your tree who seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth, these registers can give you the answer to what happened to them.

If you have an ancestor that was active in the church, you'll also want to check out the church minutes. These handwritten entries contain information about church committees, and the daily activities of the church. I saw several names mentioned.

Images can be downloaded right to your computer as a jpeg, or printed off. Because the download is the whole page image, I would suggest downloading first. Then you can crop as needed before printing if you don't want the whole page.

This is a great collection that makes me wish I had PEI ancestors to research.


  1. This post coincided with my WIGGINS research, as I have New Brunswick folks who moved away to settle in PEI. You are right, the church records FamilySearch.org has available online were wonderful help. - Thank you for your very helpful blog for people outside of Canada.