MacNaught History Centre and Archives is a research centre devoted to genealogy and community history for the town of Summerside and the County of Prince. It also provides a unique stepping off point for finding information on the remainder of the Island. The services available are of use to all levels and interests, from the casual researcher to the serious historian or writer.
For more in-depth information about genealogy research and our microfilm collection, please click the following buttons.
018.101 Sahs Collection
The MacNaught History Centre and Archives (MHCA) has a collection of census records for all of Prince Edward Island organized by lot and royalty. The census records for PEI cover the period from 1728-1911, with some gaps of information. The Prince Edward Island Genealogical Society is a major partner with MHCA and has provided printed transcripts for the 1881, 1891 and 1901 census records. Its website www.peigs.ca offers an index by surname. Researchers at MHCA can also view the original handwritten census on microfilm for the years 1841, 1861, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911.
1728 Census of Isle St. Jean is available at www.islandregister.com
1752 Census by Sieur de la Rocque, Isle St. Jean, offers detailed information of families, their livestock, and personal observations. Available at www.islandregister.com
1798 Census gives only the names of the heads of households and numbers of males and females in age categories
1841 Census has the same information, plus the place of birth, religion, years, manner of holding land, and information about crops and livestock
1848 Census holds the same information but only Charlottetown and Lot 31 survives
1861 Census holds the same information
1871 Census was destroyed
1881 Census names all people in household by gender, age, occupation, education, religion, place of origin
1891 Census holds same type of information as 1881 Census, plus the place of birth of the mother and the father of each person named
1901 Census holds same type of information as 1881 Census, plus dates of birth
1911 Census holds same type of information and is available at www.automatedgenealogy.com
The census records are organized by Lot, numbered 1–67. The 67 Lots, approximately 20,000 acres each, were determined by Captain Samuel Holland in his 1765 survey of Prince Edward Island for the British government.
The PEI Genealogical Society recorded every known cemetery on Prince Edward Island during the years 1972-1982 and since that time an effort has been made to update the original work. The inscriptions, copied from existing gravestones, provide dates of birth and death, establish family relationships, and sometimes give the person’s place of origin. An index, arranged alphabetically by surname, is available for all those individuals recorded on tombstones in the cemeteries of Prince County and Kings County. A similar index for the County of Queens is under development by the Society.
The transcripts are organized by Lot, numbered 1–67. The 67 Lots, approximately 20,000 acres each, were determined by Captain Samuel Holland in his 1765 survey of Prince Edward Island for the British government.
Map Showing Lots
The MacNaught History Centre and Archives is gradually adding photographs of tombstones to its membership website www.peiancestry.com. The huge project of creating the images and recording the information had its beginnings in 2006 with summer students. It has grown exponentially since 2009 with the volunteer work of Summerside residents Art and Miriam Lockhart. Tens of thousands of tombstone images covering most of the eastern half of Prince County and a little bit of Queens are now available online. More are being added in 2012.
Our principal collection of books is shelved in the following groupings:
General PEI history
Stories / Songs
A separate section is devoted to rare books, including Past and Present of Prince Edward Island, a 1906 publication that includes biographical sketches of prominent Islanders of the day. Two excellent atlases show each lot with landowners identified: The Illustrated Historical Atlas of Prince Edward Island published by J. H. Meacham in 1880 and The Atlas of Prince Edward Island published by the Cummins Map Company in 1928.
The MacNaught History Centre maintains a vertical file consisting mainly of photocopied newspaper articles that have been printed since January 2001 about matters of local interest. Older articles from newspapers, magazines, or other printed sources are added as opportunities arise. These files will grow in extent and value as the years pass.
There are three sections to the vertical file. The folders arranged by subject heading, with the focus being Summerside, form the largest portion of the file. The other sections are family files, predominately of the Summerside area, and the community files in which information about other Prince County communities is kept.
Two significant groupings of interviews are available. The Elders’ Circle Video Tapes is a series of 26 recordings done with 24 Summerside seniors by Reg “Dutch” Thompson, whose chats with many Island seniors are available at www.islandvoices.ca. The videotapes were created in 1999-2001 as a component of the Summerside Millennium Project. The Lowell Huestis Audio Tapes, numbering more close to 200, were donated to the History Centre in 2004 and capture the memories of many local residents. Approximately 30% of them are available in digital format on www.peiancestry.com.
History comes alive through images. The basis of the photograph collection came as a consequence of the research done by archivist Fred Horne while he was writing his book titled Historic Summerside 1900-1970, which was published by Nimbus in 2002 as part of its Images of Our Past Series. Many other photographs have been added to the collection since that time, most of them being scanned from the originals retained by the owner. The digital files are available for viewing in a thumbnail version on www.peiancestry.com.
The MacNaught History Centre archival collection is based on the vast amount of textual material that was moved from the Wyatt House shortly after the Wyatt Heritage Properties came into existence. Another large collection that was deposited came from the Bishop Machine Shop. Other materials have been donated by local organizations or individuals.
The staff of the Archives began working on fonds descriptions in the fall of 2001 with funding from the Canadian Archival Information Network. A fonds, according to the Bureau of Canadian Archivists, is defined as “The whole of the documents, regardless of form or medium, automatically and organically created and/or accumulated and used by a particular individual, family, or corporate body in the course of that creator’s activities or functions.”
The fonds descriptions that have been completed are available on the website of the Archives Council of Prince Edward Island.
Additional online Resources:
Are you interested in what life was like in a Canadian town during the years 1939-1945? Take this opportunity to explore national Canadian themes as they played out in the local setting of Summerside PEI, and compare it to what happened in your hometown.
In 1940 the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) established a school on farmland in North St. Eleanors on the outskirts of Summerside. The story of the interaction between Air Force personnel and town residents is unique and at the same time similar to other BCATP sites.