The telling of a place often is told through the people who make up the place. Conversely, the telling of a family can be told through the place they lived. Here are books about places or families in Newfoundland that may be of interest to those researching their origins.
Many prolific writers and storytellers have told Newfoundland’s past and present. There are also historical sources and contemporary analyses of Newfoundland Mi’kmaq. I have not included those here.
These books are about specific family or community history. They have real names and details of family history as well as the history of areas in which Mi’kmaq people lived. The exceptions are those by Kevin Major, Horwood and Butts, Erin Sharpe, Percy Janes, and Barbara Rieti. You may not think of Kevin Major’s book when you think “history”, but it’s well worth reading. Horwood and Butts’ book tells about the pirate Peter Easton in Newfoundland. Erin Sharpe’s article, through the eyes of one young woman, gives the reasons why people track their Mi’kmaq ancestry. Percy Janes’ novel beautifully presents place; Corner Brook in the first half of the 20th century. Barbara Rieti studies witchcraft beliefs in all of Newfoundland, but includes Mi’kmaq people and areas.
Please let me know if you know of a book that should be here. (Thanks, Maura Hanrahan – a programming glitch ate your July 2020 comment, but I have added the books you suggested.)
The titles below are links to find them. If you buy from Amazon, doing so through my links (or ‘Search Amazon’ box in right sidebar) means a fraction of every sale goes to me. For that, I am most appreciative.
Relevant, and included elsewhere in this site, are Earl Pilgrim’s Drifting Into Doom, my own Nogwa’mkisk: (Where the sand blows): Vignettes of Bay St. George Micmacs (out of print) and Lark Szick’s Young/LeJeune Family.
Click book titles (in green) for info and purchase
Andersen, Raoul and John Crellin Mi'sel Joe: An aboriginal chief's journey St. John's: Flanker Press 2009 (Amazon)
Bartels, Dennis & Alice "Mi'gmaq Lives: Aboriginal identity in Newfoundland" in Walking a Tightrope: Aboriginal people and their representations Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier U Press 2005, eds. Ute Lischke, David MacNab (Amazon)
Bartels, Dennis and Olaf Janzen "Micmac Migration to Western Newfoundland" in Canadian Journal of Native Studies 10:1 1990 (pdf)
Barter, Geraldine A linguistic description of the French spoken on the Port-au-Port Peninsula of western Newfoundland 1986 MA thesis, MUN (pdf)
Bennett, Don The Legacy of William Haynes, Jesperson Press 1997 (out of print, at MUN libraries, St. John’s & Corner Brook)
Bennett, Don The Trail of French Ancestors, printed by Robinson-Blackmore, 2002? (Try the booksellers in the mall or the Newfoundland Emporium in Corner Brook)
Benoit-Penney, Mercedes Back of the Pond St. Clair Pubs. 2018
The story of Stephenville Pond, the Mi'kmaq and Acadian part of Stephenville demolished in 1941 for the American base. (Amazon)
Benoit-Penney, Mercedes Je Suis Jackatar St. Clair Pubs. 2022
Sequel to her Back of the Pond, this is the story of the Acadian arrival in Bay St George and Stephenville NL. (Amazon)
Benwah, Jasen Kluskap's Trail: La Piste Kluskap 2021
A bilingual kids' book about Kluskap and Newfoundland folklore. (Amazon)
Benwah, Jasen L'nu'k: Honouring our history 2021
Interviews with Mi'kmaq elders of the Port Au Port Peninsula, Newfoundland. Benoit First Nation. Large print. (Amazon)
Benwah, Jasen Visiting Our Mi'kmaq Elders 2021
"accounts of life growing up in rural Newfoundland and how they survived by living off of the land." (Amazon)
Berger, Antony That Good and Beautiful Bay: A history of Bonne Bay to Confederation and a little beyond St. John's: Flanker Press 2014 (Amazon)
Brown, Esther Slaney Labours of Love: Midwives in Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's: DRC Publishing 2007 (DRC)
Butler, Charles William James Resistance and Reinscription: Revitalizing Mi'kmaq Culture in Newfoundland - A Grounded Theory Discursive Analysis of Oppression and Resistance, 2014 PhD thesis, U of Calgary (pdf)
Butler, Gary R. Saying isn't believing: Conversational narrative and the discourse of tradition in a French-Newfoundland community ISER Memorial U. 1990 (Amazon) Belief traditions in the Port au Port.
Butt, Kirk Early Settlers of Bay St. George Vol. 1: The Inner Bay Vol. 2: The Outer Bay (Tidespoint)
Cher, Patricia Mi'kmaq Song: Time Travel Acadia 1606 (Amazon)
A 2011 novel. Not about Nfld Mi'kmaq communities, but about the world that produced them.
Clarke, David J. A History of the Isles: Twillingate, New World Island, Fogo Island and Change Islands CreateSpace 2012 (Amazon)
Clair, Peter J. Taapoategl & Pallet: A Mi'kmaq Journey of Loss & Survival Chapel Street Editions 2017 (Amazon) New Brunswick award-winning novel telling stories of two Mi'kmaq people, two centuries apart, and their convergence.
Clarke, David J. An Historical Directory of the Isles: Twillingate, New World Island, Fogo and Change Islands CreateSpace 2013 (Amazon)
Clarke, David J. Stories From These Shores: Newfoundland & Labrador, and the Isles of Notre Dame CreateSpace 2014 (Amazon)
Collins, Gary Mattie Mitchell: Newfoundland's Greatest Frontiersman Flanker Press, St. John’s 2011 (Amazon)
Cormack, W. E. Narrative of a Journey Across the Island of Newfoundland St. John's, Nfld. 1873 (online - see top left for formats. You can also buy Journey Across... Newfoundland on Amazon)
Cranford, Garry The Buchans Miners: A mining and hockey legacy St. John's: Flanker Press 1997 (Amazon - Kindle)
Crummey, Michael River Thieves Toronto: Doubleday/Anchor 2002 (novel, about Exploits and Beothuk - Amazon)
Downer, Don Turbulent Tides: A social history of Sandy Point ESP Press, Portugal Cove 1997 (Tidespoint & Indigo)
Dunraven, 4th Earl of (W. T. Wyndham-Quin) Canadian Nights Leopold Classic facsimile of 1914 ed. (Amazon) Chapter 6 "Newfoundland in the [1870s]" includes Joe family of Hall's Bay. Also at archive.org.
Everts, Lee K. M. The Placentia Area: A changing mosaic lulu.com 2016 (paperback - Amazon)
Feild, Edward (Bishop) Journal of the Bishop of Newfoundland's Voyage... to the south and west coasts... and Labrador... in the year 1848 Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, London 1849 (online - see top left for formats)
Feild, Edward (Bishop) A Journal of a Visitation in the "Hawk" Church Ship... in the year 1849 Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, London 1850 (anglicanhistory.org)
Felt, Lawrence & Peter Sinclair Living on the Edge: The Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland ISER, MUN, St. John's 1995 (Amazon)
Finn, Tom Westsiders: Stories from old Corner Brook Petra Books 2010 (Amazon)
Fitzhugh, Lynne The Labradorians: Voices from the Land of Cain Breakwater Books 1999 (Amazon) Labrador people talking about their lives. In some are their connections also to Newfoundland.
Francis, Bernie and Trudy Sable The Language of this Land, Mi'kma'ki Cape Breton U. P. 2012 (Amazon) Not about a specific community, but about the language and worldview of Mi'kmaq people.
Godin, Janice Then She Danced Guardian 2016 (Amazon) A novel about a French-Mi'kmaq woman and community in Newfoundland - in history and present day. A love story too.
Gordon, Joleen, Acadian Root Baskets of Atlantic Canada Nova Scotia Museum 2005 (Amazon) She describes "how Acadian, Black, and Mi’kmaw practices overlapped and influenced each other, but also provides a detailed step-by-step guide to making the baskets." There's a section on the basket makers too, including Anthony White of Shallop Cove.
Green, H. Gordon Don't Have Your Baby in the Dory: A biography of Nurse Myra Bennett Flanker Press, St. John's 2012. Also the story of Daniel's Harbour from the early 1900s. (Amazon Kindle and paper)
Hall, Pam Towards an Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge: Excerpts from Chapters I and II Breakwater 2017 Part 1 is about the Northern Peninsula and Bonne Bay. Part 2 is on Fogo and Change Islands. Part 3, completed in 2019 with Jerry Evans, is about Miawpukek. (Amazon)
Hanrahan, Maura Tsunami: The Newfoundland tidal wave disaster St. John's: Flanker Press 2004. South coast 1929 (Amazon paperback and Kindle)
Hanrahan, Maura Sheilagh's Brush Toronto: Inanna Pub. 2010. A novel set around the bay at the start of the Depression. A baby born with a traditional Mi'kmaq midwife and an English nurse-midwife. (Amazon paperback and Kindle)
Hanrahan, Maura "An Indigenous Attempt at Reimagining the Participation of the Newfoundland Mi’kmaq in Europe’s Great War" Ch. 9 in Ethnic Resonances in Performance, Literature, and Identity, Y. Kalogeras and C. Waegner (eds) 2019 (Amazon Kindle and hardback)
Harvey, Stuart L. The Forgotten Bay: A historical survey of the settlement of Lark Harbour and York Harbour in the Outer Bay of Islands, Newfoundland 1997 (online and in libraries)
High, Steven Base Colonies in the Western Hemisphere, 1940-1967 Palgrave Macmillan 2009 Ch. 3 "Working for Uncle Sam in Newfoundland", Ch 6 "The American Occupation of Stephenville" (Amazon)
High, Steven "From Outport to Outport Base: The American occupation of Stephenville 1940-1945" Newfoundland Studies 18:1 (2002):84-113 (pdf)
Hollett, Matthew Album Rock: Looking back through the lens of Paul-Emile Miot Boulder Pubs 2018 "touches on the history of photography in Newfoundland, Miot’s travels around the French Shore, and the power of naming in shaping our perceptions of a place." (Amazon)
Horwood, Harold Corner Brook: A social history of a paper town Breakwater, St. John's 1986 (Amazon)
Horwood, Harold & Ed Butts Pirates & Outlaws of Canada: 1610 to 1932 Doubleday, Toronto 1984 (Amazon)
Jackson, Doug (ed. Gerald Penney) On The Country: The Micmac Of Newfoundland Harry Cuff Publications, St. John’s 1993 (Amazon - sometimes okay prices, sometimes not. But well worth reading!)
Janes, Percy House of Hate (fiction, Corner Brook) Breakwater, St. John's 1992; first pub. McLelland and Stewart 1970 (Amazon)
Jeddore, John Nick Moccasin Tracks: A memoir of Mi'kmaw life in Newfoundland ISER, St. John's 2015 (Amazon)
Joe, Mi'sel and Sheila O'Neill My Indian St John's: Breakwater Books 2021 (The life of Sylvester Joe, guide to W. E. Cormack. Historical fiction. Preorder on Amazon for release date Apr 30 2021.)
Joe, Mi'sel Muinji'j Becomes a Man St John's: Breakwater Books 2003, illustrated by Clara Dunn. A story about a Mi'kmaw boy and his grandfather - Amazon)
Johnson, Frederick Let Us Remember the Old Mi'kmaq Nimbus, Halifax 2001 (NL and NS historical photographs compiled by Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq - Amazon)
Johnston, Brian A Fortune Bay Fisherman's Tale 1912-1945 Book I, 2020 (First part of a fishing family's history in Harbour Breton. Kindle on Amazon)
Johnston, Brian A Dark Spring 1912-1945 Book II, 2020 (2nd part of Harbour Breton series. Begins in 1918, with the end of WWI. Kindle on Amazon)
Johnston, Brian Off The Dole 1912-1945 Book III, 2020 (3rd part of Harbour Breton series. The years of the Depression and WWII. Kindle on Amazon)
Kendall, Victor G. and Victor Ramea's Family Tree Corner Brook 1995
Kirwin, W. J., G. M. Story, J. D. A. Widdowson (eds.) Dictionary of Newfoundland English, 2nd ed. U of Toronto Press, Toronto 1990 (Amazon)
Lawrence, Bonita "Reclaiming Ktaqamkuk: Land and Mi'kmaq identity in Newfoundland" in Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental justice in Canada, Julian Agyeman et al. (eds.) UBC Press, Vancouver 2009 (Amazon)
Letto, Irving Sealskin Boots and a Printing Press: Piecing together the life of Canon J. T. Richards Friesen Press 2012 (Includes years 1904-1945 in Flower's Cove, Northern Peninsula - Amazon)
MacFarlane, David Come From Away Abacus 1992 (Goodyear family, Grand Falls-Windsor, WWI - Amazon)
MacGregor, William Report by the Governor on a Visit to the Micmac Indians at Bay d'Espoir 1908 (pdf) Governor MacGregor's Report also is available in paper and Kindle on Amazon.
Major, Kevin As Near To Heaven By Sea Penguin/Viking, Toronto 2001 (Amazon)
Muise, Victor Sakej The Words of the White Wolf McNally Robinson, Winnipeg 2017 (St. George's, Muise family, traditional ways - Publisher)
Muise, Victor and Doreen Swyers The Tree of Life McNally Robinson, Winnipeg 2018 ("...158 families married into the 15 Generations..." Also by V. Muise, from same publisher, Cultural Recall vols I and II, 2018 and 2019
Norcliffe, Glen Global Game, Local Arena: Restructuring in Corner Brook, Newfoundland ISER, MUN, St. John's 2005 (Amazon)
Old Newfoundland Books, Quarterlies and Magazines (list of online sources)
Osmond, Roy M. Families of the South Arm of Bonne Bay 1800s-1930s Woody Point, 1987 (Libraries)
Park, Richard A History of Bay of Islands with Special Reference to Gillams 1968, MUN 3rd year history paper (pdf)
Payne, Adrian Life on the Great Northern Peninsula: A memoir Flanker Press, St. John's 2017 (Amazon)
Peyton, Amy Louise River Lords, Father and Son: The story of the Peytons and the River of Exploits Flanker Press, St. John’s 2005 (Tidespoint)
Pieroway, Phyllis Memories of Sandy Point, St. George's Bay, Newfoundland Broken Jaw Press 1996 (Amazon)
Polack, Fiona Tracing Ochre: Changing perspectives on the Beothuk Toronto: U of T Press 2018 (Has chapter on Mi'kmaq by Maura Hanrahan - Amazon)
Procter, Andrea A Long Journey: Residential Schools in Labrador and Newfoundland St John's: ISER, MUN 2020 The story of Labrador and St. Anthony boarding schools, told by former students as well as documentary sources - Amazon)
Punch, Terrence Genealogical Research in Nova Scotia 1998 A good how-to resource by a respected Canadian genealogist. Especially valuable if tracing NS history. (Amazon)
Quigley, Colin Music from the Heart: Compositions of a folk fiddler U. of Georgia Press 1995 (Emile Benoit, Bay St. George - Amazon)
Rieti, Barbara Making Witches: Newfoundland traditions of spells and counterspells McGill-Queen's University Press 2008 (Amazon)
Rogers, John Davidson Newfoundland Vol. V, Pt. IV of A Historical Geography of the British Colonies Clarendon, Oxford 1911 Forgotten Books Classic Reprint Series 2012 Esp. ch. 8 for Mi'kmaq history (Amazon sometimes, or libraries)
Rundquist, Marie Revisiting Anne Marie: How an Amerindian woman of seventeenth-century Nova Scotia and a DNA match redefine American heritage 2009, 2012 (How a DNA test took a woman from her French-from-France heritage to the Cajuns and then to Mi'kmaq and Acadians. Continue the story with her Cajun By Any Other Name: Recovering the lost history of a family and a people 2012 - both available at DNA-Genealogy-History.com)
Saunders, Gary L. Rattles and Steadies: Memoirs of a Gander River man Breakwater Books, St. John’s 1986 (Amazon)
Seary, E. R. and Wm. Kirwin Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland McGill-Queen's University Press 1998 (Amazon)
Sharpe, Erin “The Invisible Mi’kmaq” in Culture & Tradition Vol. 29 2007, St. John's: MUN Folklore Dept.
Simmons, Colin The Simmons Family of Newfoundland 2009 (Simmons, Pike and Pynn families, Lower Island Cove and Mosquito - Amazon)
Speck, Frank Beothuk and Micmac New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation 1922 (online - see top left for formats, also on Amazon hard copy and Kindle)
Styles, Cindy 3 or 4 Years an Indian Friesen Press 2015 ("A little story about one girl's attempt to claim her heritage, and the maneuvering by the Canadian government to discredit that heritage." - Amazon blurb. Kindle, paper, hardback eds.)
Surette, Roland F. Métis/Acadian Heritage 1604-2004 ca 2004 (Mi'kmaq and Acadian history and way of life in Nova Scotia. Includes genealogical info. Good quality PDF on Mount Allison University site.)
Tanner, Adrian et al. Aboriginal Peoples and Governance in Newfoundland and Labrador Governance Project, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Oct. 1994, St. John's (Publications Canada PDF)
Tocque, Philip Newfoundland: As it was, and as it is in 1877 (Kindle - Amazon)
Tulk, Janice E. "Our Strength is Ourselves": Identity, status, and cultural revitalization among the Mi'kmaq in Newfoundland MUN, School of Music, PhD Diss. 2008 Collections Canada (pdf)
Vautier, Clarence The Coast of Newfoundland: The southwest corner Flanker Press, St. John's 2002 (Amazon)
Walbourne-Gough, Douglas Crow Gulch Icehouse Poetry (Goose Lane), Fredericton NB 2019 ("This book is my attempt to... remind Corner Brook of the glaring omission in its social history." - the author, on Amazon)
Ward, David Bay of Hope: Five years in Newfoundland ECW Press 2018 ("Part memoir, part nature writing, part love story... also a story about David’s 78 McCallum, Newfoundland, neighbors" - Amazon)
Whitehead, Ruth The Old Man Told Us: Excerpts from Mi'kmaq history 1500-1950 Nimbus Publishing, Halifax, 1991 (Amazon)
Tracking Doctor Lonecloud: Showman to legend keeper Goose Lane Editions, 2002 (19th century NS Mi'kmaw in USA; identity, cultural knowledge and entrepreneurship - Amazon)
Whitehead, Ruth Niniskamijinaqik, Ancestral Images: The Mi'kmaq in art and photography Nimbus Publishing, Halifax, 2015 (Amazon)
Wix, Edward (Bishop) Six Months of a Newfoundland Missionary's Journal from February to August, 1835 (Reprint of original Smith, Elder & Co. 1836 - Amazon) Also at anglicanhistory.org)
Young, Kelly M Imperial Influence on 1820’s Newfoundland: Cormack and his dreams of a colony 2018 MUN 3rd Year Geography paper (pdf)