St. John's History
The City of St. John's Archives is a division of the Department of Corporate Services and is open to the public for research purposes.
In this section, we are offering some guides to resources that will aid you in exploring a different side of St. John's, the St. John's municipal government, as well as links to resources if you are tracing your family tree.
The City of St. John's Archives was established in 1989 to preserve and make accessible the enduring records of the municipal government. In the Archives Holdings section, we have provided you with a copy of our Guide to the Holdings, which is a listing of what collections are housed in the City Archives. They include the City’s government records, as well as collections that were donated to us. Have a look - you will be surprised to see what your City Archives has in its collections. Interested in donating material to the City Archives? Check out our Donations section for further information.
Ever wonder who was elected to Council and when? Check out the listing to the Councils, by date or alphabetically, of those who ran for Council and their terms of office. This report also includes a partial list of those who ran for office but were unsuccessful.
Your City Archives can assist you in ways you might not have thought of. Ever wonder about the history of your house or neighbourhood? In the Houses and Buildings FAQ section we have some answers to questions that property owners often ask us.
Officially presented to the City in 1965, the City Crest is the official symbol for the City. See what it represents.
Do you know how St. John's received its name? There are many theories but no one can really say for sure. We offer some possible explanations in the City Name section.
Ever wonder how a street in St. John's received its name? Or where to find the location of an old area of St. John's, a monument or a plaque? Click on the following link: Streets, Areas, Monuments and Plaques
The Freedom of the City is the highest award conferred by the City of St. John's. Since 1944 there have been a total of 15 ceremonies and one formal recognition of the awarding of the Freedom of the City.
Have you ever wanted to have a peek under our City’s streets? Under the Streets of St. John's gives you a look at the archaeology that took place while construction was underway for the Harbour Interceptor sewer project.
No one source can provide a researcher with the entire history of St. John's. In the History of St. John's section, we have provided you with a very broad overview of how St. John's came to be what it is today.
Finally, are you interested in where to look for your ancestors? We have some links in our Genealogical and Family History Research section that will get you started or point you in a different direction.