Nova Scotia Archives

An Acadian Parish Reborn

Post–Deportation Argyle – First 50 Years of Catholic Parish Records 1799-1849


Fifty Years of Records

'An Acadian Parish Reborn' brings together the first fifty years of post-Deportation Catholic vital records for the Argyle region as a tool for genealogical researchers and other scholars. The parish of Sainte Anne, which Sigogne established in 1799, initially encompassed the entire County of Yarmouth, and researchers are fortunate to have an intact body of parish registers stretching from 1799 to the present. In the Acadian region of Clare, in neighbouring Digby County, however, this is not the case. While many of their parish registers have survived, others, especially the earliest, have been lost to church fires, the first occurring in Sigogne's lifetime at Church Point.

Throughout the fifty-year period included within 'An Acadian parish Reborn' the quality of the record-keeping varies, depending on the record-keeper. As previously noted, Jean-Mandé Sigogne maintained detailed and meticulous records, though his treatment of the spelling of surnames exhibits the casualness and inconsistency of the period. He was not, however, the only record-keeper during this period.

For the first twenty years after his arrival in 1799, Sigogne was the only Catholic priest for all of Yarmouth and Digby Counties. In 1819, however, he was given some assistance when the bishop at Québec supplied an additional priest, the Rev. André Doucet, specifically for the parish of Sainte Anne in Argyle; he arrived in November and remained until September 1824. Sadly he was a poor record-keeper, and few baptisms, marriages or burials were entered in the registers during his tenure.

It was not until 1828 that another priest arrived to minister to Sainte Anne's parish. This was the Rev. Fr. Jean-Baptiste Morin, who remained until 1833 or 1834. He was replaced in turn by the Rev. Fr. Amable Petithomme in October 1836, but the latter's tenure at Argyle was also brief, lasting only until July 1839.

By this time Sigogne was too elderly to travel to Argyle. In 1839 the Rev. Fr. Louis-Modeste Anssart was named resident priest for Argyle, but he lasted only a year, to be replaced by the Rev. Fr. Joseph Goudot, who remained until the 1850s, well beyond the end-date for the records presented here.

To sum up, the record-keepers for the parish of Saint Anne at Argyle during its first fifty years were:

Rev. Fr. Jean Mandé Sigogne, 1799–1819
Rev. Fr. André Doucet, Nov. 1819 – Sept. 1824
Rev. Fr. Jean Mandé Sigogne, Sept. 1824–1828
Rev. Fr. Jean-Baptiste Morin, 1828–1833/34
Rev. Fr. Jean Mandé Sigogne, 1834–Oct. 1836
Rev. Fr. Amable Petithomme, Oct. 1836 – July 1839
Rev. Fr. Louis-Modeste Anssart, July 1839–1840
Rev. Fr. Joseph Goudot, 1840–1849


Record-keeping in the Catholic Parishes of Argyle and Yarmouth

In all there are eleven (11) parish registers involved in capturing the first fifty years of post-Deportation Catholic records in Argyle, and in fact, all of Yarmouth County:


Parish Registers for Sainte Anne

Register #1
Date range: 8 July 1799 – 26 Apr. 1807
Records included: Baptisms, Marriages, Burials and First Communions for the entire Catholic population of Yarmouth County.
Description of records: Consists of 50 unbound folios (numbered on the front side of the page only, with writing on both sides). Numbering is inconsistent at times. Sheets have been removed from original binding and were laminated in the 1980s.
Format: Portrait
Trim size: 19.05 cm x 22.86 cm (7 ½" x 9")
Extent of records: 99 pp. (incl. original handwritten index)
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SA1

Register #2
Date range: 30 Aug. 1799 – 29 Apr. 1814
Records included: Baptisms, Marriages, Burials and First Communions for the entire Catholic population of Yarmouth County.
Description of records: Consists of 33 unbound folios (numbered on the front side of the page only, with writing on both sides). Some folios are missing numbers or are incorrectly numbered in the original document. Sheets have been removed from original binding and sealed in plastic sheet protectors.
Format: Portrait
Trim size: 18.4 cm x 23.5 cm (7 ¼" x 9 ¼")
Extent of records: 77 pp. (incl. original handwritten index)
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SA2

Register #3
Date range: Jan. 1815 – 22 Mar. 1826
Records included: Baptisms, Marriages, Burials and First Communions for the entire Catholic population of Yarmouth County.
Description of records: Consists of 38 unbound folios (numbered on the front side of the page only, with writing on both sides). Some folios are missing (1, 8, 10, 18, 24, 25, 31, 40, 41) and a few are unlabelled or incorrectly labelled. The priest noted some of these missing sheets at the front of the register. Sheets have been removed from original binding and sealed in plastic sheet protectors.
Format: Portrait
Trim size: 18.4 cm x 23.5 cm (7 ¼" x 9 ¼")
Extent of records: 77 pp.
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SA3

Register #4
Date range: 3 May 1826 – 4 Nov. 1828
Records included: Baptisms, Marriages, Burials and First Communions for the entire Catholic population of Yarmouth County.
Description of records: Consists of 25 unbound folios (numbered on the front side of the page only, with writing on both sides). No missing sheets, but some folios are not numbered and the last folio is incorrectly numbered as 22 (should be 24). Sheets have been removed from original binding and sealed in plastic sheet protectors.
Format: Portrait
Trim size: 19.7 cm x 24.1 cm (7 ¾" x 9 ½")
Extent of records: 50 pp. (incl. original handwritten index)
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SA4

Register #5
Date range: 9 Apr. 1829 – 2 Apr. 1830
Records included: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials for the entire Catholic population of Yarmouth County.
Description of records: Consists of 24 unbound folios (numbered on the front side of the page only, with writing on both sides). No missing sheets, but some sheets do not have numbers and the 7th folio is incorrectly numbered as 71. Sheets have been removed from original binding and sealed in plastic sheet protectors.
Format: Portrait
Trim size: 19.7 cm x 24.1 cm (7 ¾" x 9 ½")
Extent of records: 44 pp.
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SA5

Register #6
Date range: 3 Apr. 1831 – 11 Nov. 1835
Records included: Baptisms, Marriages, Burials and First Communions for the entire Catholic population of Yarmouth County.
Description of records: Consists of 41 unbound folios (numbered on the front side of the page only, with writing on both sides). No missing sheets, but some folios are incorrectly numbered or are missing numbers. Numbering is interrupted at folio 23 by four sheets of baptismal records dated 1833 (including one burial) that are numbered independently from the rest of the register. Numbering of the sheets picks up at 24 thereafter. Sheets have been removed from original binding and sealed in plastic sheet protectors.
Format: Portrait
Trim size: 17.8 cm x 29.2 cm (7" x 11 ½")
Extent of records: 102 pp.
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SA6

Register #7
Date range: 23 Apr. 1836 – 16 Feb. 1841
Records included: Baptisms, Marriages, Burials and First Communions for Sainte Anne's parish.
Description of records: Consists of 42 unbound folios (numbered on the front side of the page only, with writing on both sides). Many sheets are unnumbered and a few folios are incorrectly numbered. Sheets have been removed from original binding and sealed in plastic sheet protectors.
Format: Portrait
Trim size: 19.1 cm x 24.8 cm (7 ½" x 9 ¾")
Extent of records: 83 pp. (incl. notes)
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SA7

Register #8
Date range: 9 Dec. 1841 – 11 Nov. 1867
Records included: Baptisms and Marriages for Sainte Anne's parish.
Description of records: Bound record book with original covers. Book is 2.5 cm (1") thick, but not all pages have been used. The records themselves constitute less than an inch of material. Baptisms are recorded on pages 1–67 and marriages on pages 239–279.
Format: Portrait (legal)
Trim size: 19.7cm x 33 cm (7 ¾" x 13")
Extent of records: 108 pp.
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SA8

Location (2010): The first 8 registers for Sainte Anne's parish are kept in a fireproof safe at the rectory in Sainte-Anne-du-Ruisseau, Yarmouth County, NS.


Parish Registers for Saint Pierre

Register #1
Date range: 15 Sep. 1836 – 7 Jan. 1847
Records included: Baptisms and Marriages for the parish of Saint Pierre.
Description of records: Bound record book with original covers. Sheets are not numbered.
Format: Portrait
Trim size: 19.5 cm x 16 cm (7.7" x 6.3")
Extent of records: 79 pp.
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SP1
Location (2010): Vault in former Bishop's residence, Park Street, Yarmouth, NS.

Register #2
Date range: 6 Aug. 1846 – 1857
Records included: Baptisms and Marriages for the parish of Saint Pierre.
Description of records: Bound record book with original covers. Sheets are not numbered.
Format: Portrait
Trim size: 19.5 cm x 32.5 cm (7.7" x 12.8")
Extent of records: 19 pp.
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SP2
Location (2010): Parish rectory, Lower West Pubnico, Yarmouth County, NS.


Parish Register for Saint Michel

Date range: 9 July 1836 – 12 June 1853
Records included: Baptisms, Marriages, Burials and Deaths for the parish of Saint Michel, including many records for the small Catholic population of the town of Yarmouth for the years preceding the founding of Saint Ambrose Parish, 1836–1845.
Description of records: Bound record book with original covers. Sheets are not numbered. Records include a 29-page census dated 21 Oct. 1826, listing parents and their children (including birthdates) and deaths.
Format: Portrait
Trim size: 30.2 cm x 19.3 cm (11.9" x 7.6")
Extent of records: 120 pp.
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SM1
Location (2010): Vault in former Bishop's residence, Park Street, Yarmouth, NS.


Parish Register for Saint Ambrose

Date range: 7 Dec. 1845 – 30 June 1850, 17 Mar. 1853 – 24 Aug. 1868 (predominantly 7 Dec. 1845 – 30 June 1850, 17 Mar. 1853 – 10 Sep. 1855)
Records included: Baptisms for Saint Ambrose parish.
Description of records: Bound record book with original covers. Sheets are not numbered.
Format: Portrait
Trim size: 33 cm x 20.5 cm (13" x 8")
Extent of records: 11 pp.
Abbreviation in Index / Database: SAM
Location (2010): Vault in former Bishop's residence, Park Street, Yarmouth, NS.



Argyle Township Court House and Archives