The quest to pinpoint historical places, even those from the late eighteenth century, can prove a difficult endeavour for researchers and requires the skills of both Sherlock Holmes and an experienced historian. In New Brunswick, for instance, two main cites existed under alternate names for the early period of loyalist settlement: Parrtown or Parr Town for Saint John and St.
On September 6th of 1816, Abel Sands appeared in the Saint John County Court House as the alleged father of a bastard child with Ann Mickens. About 200 years later, this record was transcribed by a student assistant in the Microforms Unit—marking our very first encounter with Mr. Abel Sands. As you can probably tell by the chicken scratch handwriting pictured below, this first encounter was definitely not straightforward.
For many living in present day New Brunswick, Canada party politics has become normalized. People vote for the party that has the most agreeable party platform, and the elected Member of the Legislative Assembly becomes an ambassador of the party first and their riding second. Many do not know that party politics was imported into New Brunswick with the signing of Confederation in 1867.
The real, daily interactions between indigenous people and setters of European ancestry in British colonies was an ongoing process and often involved a clash in lifestyles. Formation and negotiation of relationships between colonial groups were recorded through petitioning and court cases initiated by both indigenous and settler populations.
Siobhan M. Carlson is a master’s student at the University of New Brunswick in Interdisciplinary Studies. Her research focuses on the use of biomedical models in gothic and cult fiction. Siobhan has worked in libraries for three years—including the Harriet Irving Library on the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton campus.
“That at a very early period of the late Rebellion, being greatly persecuted by the Kings Enemies he was obliged to abandon his property and seek protection within the British Lines. That he joined the New Corps and cheerfully served during the whole war, exerting himself to the uttermost to prove useful, and was in the course of such service taken Prisoner, and while in Captivity treated with great inhumanity.
There are many interesting tidbits to be found among baptismal and burial records besides names and dates. For instance, the baptismal records of St. John’s Church in modern Port Williams, Nova Scotia, lists an individual as a “natural child,” who would have been born outside of marriage and publically labelled as such.
The crucial interactions and key events of a community in colonial North America were often played out within the confines of the church. The Loyalist Collection includes a wide range of church records from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec which hold very useful information for locating and identifying individuals, such as baptismal, marital, and burial records. They also contain some fascinating documents that give a vivid picture of life in the colonial Atlantic World.