The 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.
The resources cover a broad range. Information about Census Records, Cemetery Tombstone Records and Microfilm can be found on these pages:
This page will summarize some of the other components of the research materials available in the History Centre.
Our principal collection of books is shelved in the following groupings:
- General PEI history Special interest
- Community histories Stories / Songs
- Family histories Architecture
- Biographies Summerside history [View]
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. http://www.archives.pe.ca/index.php3?number=1030124&lang=E