Burin Peninsula Region ~ Grand Bank District
Parish InformationTranscribed by CHERYL McGREGOR, August 2001. While I have endeavored to be as correct as humanly possible, there may be errors.
The Grand Bank Parish didn't have a church until 1817 when the Methodists came in. The date that the Church records start is the date when the church came to town. Before the church was in the town, the ministers had circuits they traveled to minister to their flock. In the early days the circuit was very large. Edward Wix was an example of an early Church of England circuit Minister and he traveled the whole province.
The early Grand Bank Ministers took care of an area that seems to have started at Point au Gaul and went as far as Little Bay. Many of these places were accessible by boat only. As each community grew and built it's own church and acquired a minister - the circuit shrank. This is why in the early dates of the Parish registers you will see groups of marriages or baptisms for a particular town - all corresponding to the ministers circuit to that particular place.
By the late 1800's all the marriages and birth places were of the town where the church was. If you see that a child was listed in the Grand Bank Parish register but his birth place is Sagona, the chances are that he was baptised in Sagona. It was hard enough for the minister to travel, so there is most likely no way a mother, whose husband was out to sea, could leave her house, garden, and farm animals to trundle several children on a voyage across the bay to the big town of Grand Bank for a baptism.
Another thing to take into account was that the Methodist Church was the first Church in many south shore communities. So a family may have been CoE or RC originally but would be found married and baptised in the Methodist parish as that was the Minister who served the area. As other churches came into the area families might go back to the church of their parents.
A good sign of how well respected and loved a minister was can be seen by how many children carry the Minister's last name as their middle name. If your parish register does not go far enough back - try the next big town. If you are looking at 1800's or earlier - check the St. John's registers as the marriage or baptism could have been done by a circuit minister like Edward Wix.