Trinity & Bonavista

Newells of Bonavista & Trinity, Newfoundland

Some of the earliest records of the Newell family in Newfoundland are from Trinity and Bonavista, Newfoundland which are approx 100 km north of  ‘The Dock’ (see map below).

Newells first started settling in this area in the late 17th century, a century before Philip Newell settled in “The Dock”. A census conducted in 1675   enumerated two Thomas Newells: one at English Harbour [Trinity Bay] was married with a son and a daughter, nine men servants, two boats, a stage and a trainvat [for processing oil]; the other at Bonavista with five men, one boat and a stage was not married (see Francis  I. W. Jones, Summer 1999 issue of the Newfoundland Ancestor). 

A list of Shipps Makinge Fishinge Voyages  to the area between English Harbour, Trinity Bay and Bonavista compiled in 1678  list a Nicho Newole (Nicholas Newell?) as master of a ship from Brixsom [Brixham, Devon].
ffrom English Harb to Port Bonavista is 14 leaugs and from thence to Cape Bonavista 2 leaugs:
Master Ship Port Country
Nicho Newole Brixon mar? Brixsom England.

1678 Thomas Newell not listed instead there appears a Thomas Newman, clearly written and without a family. Thomas Newell is listed in English Harbour with a wife, one son and one daughter.

Bonavista Story’s List, 1681 (CO 1/47 f. 113 – 122)

Ship Home Port Master or Planter [TC Notes]
Thomas Newell. Planter /Thomas ?Jr?

Letter from Wm Coch of Bonavista to Col. Norris 7 Sep. 1698.

I think it my duty to acquaint your Honour that to the north side of this bay are many extraordinary harbours and better fishing; one William Wyng has fished there some years (it being 14 leagues NWN from this place) who has still increased the inhabitants of this place very considerably, and this year one Nowill(Newell) has been that way who has more fish for his two boats than they have for shallops, so that next summer severall of the inhabitants of this harbour design to remove thither and their masters of ships that have fished there this year intend to be likewise, for it is certain the fewer boats are kept in a place the better the fishing.

The following information is from a paper by Prof. Gordon Hancock (2009)

In Bonavista Bay the interval survivals from twenty-two
listed in 1675-77 to twenty-three in 1708 included six surnames
(Brent, Gantlett, Knight, Newell, Shambler, and lilley). According to
the súmame evidence, inter bay movements account for only a small
proportion of these changes, such as the Tavemer family moving
from Bay de Verde, Conception Bay, to Trinity Bay in the 1677-1708
interval, and the migration of Thomas Newell from Trinity Harbour
and George Talbot from English Harbour, each to Bonavista 1675-77;
but only Newell was recorded at Bonavista (Green Island) in 1708.

This type of evidence makes this area a prime candidate for the origin of the Newells of “The Dock”; however, none of the researchers who have researched this area have identified a link.  My father (John Robert Andrews Newell) did suggest that there might be a connection with the Newells of Trinity; however, this might have been through a later marriage.

Hopefully, I will get an opportunity to revisit this topic in the future; however, here are some links to the early history of Bonavista and Trinity with Newell references:

Here are some links to the Newells of Trinity, Nfld.

see also: Francis I. W. Jones, “The Newell Family,” Newfoundland Ancestor, XV, (Summer 1999), 61-65. (see following fr more info:

Later Newells Summerville, Bonavista Bay

McAlpine’s 1894-97 Directory, Bonavista District, INDIAN ARM

NOEL Abraham fisherman
NOEL William fisherman

McAlpine’s 1898 Directory
Bonavista District
Indian Arm

NEWELL Abraham fisherman
NEWELL William fisherman

NEWELL, Abraham, fisherman. NEWELL, William, fisherman › 98-indianarm_bon
Summerville  Newfoundland  was previously known as Indian Arm;

PRE 1891 RECORDS  Bonavista Bay District  BROOKLYN

Church of England Baptisms   1879 – 1891

Dec 13, 1887 Indian Arm NEWELL Abraham & Elizabeth Robert M A A Bryant March 12th C of E Fisherman Twins
Dec 18, 1887 Indian Arm NEWELL Abraham & Elizabeth John M A A Bryant March 12th C of E Fisherman
Dec 23, 1882 Indian Arm NEWELL Abraham & Elizabeth Joseph M Theodore Nurse Feb 4th C of E Fisherman
Dec 26, 1884 Indian Arm NEWELL Abraham & Elizabeth William M Henry C H Johnson Feb 22, 1885 C of E Fisherman

Bonavista Bay Region Salvage Parish Anglican Marriage Records 1842 – 1878

Marr_Date Husb_L_Nam Husb_F_Nam Husb_Stat Husb_Resid
Wife_L_Nam Wife_F_Nam Wife_Stat Wife_Resid
Church Location Minister Witness_1 Witness_2

RE Above See:

Will of Joseph Brown  from Newfoundland will books volume 6 page 111 probate year 1894

Last Will and Testament of Joseph Brown of Indian Arm Bonavista Bay, Planter deceased.

Joseph Brown of Indian Arm Bonavista Bay, being in the full possession of my faculties do hereby make this my last will and Testament. I hereby declare that any will or testament made by me previous to this date is now null and void. I will to my daughter Elizabeth wife of Abraham Newell Eight hundred dollars ($800.00) I will to my daughter Mary, wife of William Newell eight hundred dollars ($800.00) I will to the parish priest of Kings Cove in trust for the Roman Catholic Church of Kings Cove Parish forty dollars ($40.00) I will the house in which I now reside to my wife Jane during her life and to my grandson Joseph son of William Newell after her death. I will the ground on which my dwelling house is built to my wife Jane during her life and to my grandson Joseph son of William Newell after her death. I will to my wife Jane all the remainder of my estate including money, household effects, property of every description, ground used by my wife as a potato garden and all other ground except that on which my dwelling house is built. I appoint D. A. Ryan Esq of Kings Cove to be the executor of my will. This will is made by me Joseph Brown at Indian Arm, Bonavista Bay on this the (7th ) Seventh day of April A.D. one thousand eight hundred & ninety four. (Sgd) Joseph his x mark Brown Indian Arm. April 7th 1894. Witnesses (sgd) William Mullowney. (Sgd) Thomas Sullivan

Newfoundland’s 1935 Provincial Census SUMMERVILLE

9 NEWELL Joseph O 200 6 No Head M M 50 RC
NEWELL Bridget Wife F M 45 RC
NEWELL Robert Son M S 21 RC
NEWELL Felix Son M S 17 RC
NEWELL Joseph Son M S 15 RC
NEWELL Thomas Son M S 13 RC
NEWELL Maurice Son M S 11 RC
NEWELL Eileen Daughter F S 8 RC
NEWELL William Son M S 4 RC
41 41 NEWELL Thomas O 1000 4 No Head M M 47 RC
NEWELL Johanna Wife F M 51 RC
NEWELL Edward Son M S 17 RC
NEWELL William Son M S 10 RC
NEWELL Albert Son M S 8 RC


51 52 NEWELL William O 400 4 No Head M M 50 CE
NEWELL Elizabeth Wife F M 43 CE
NEWELL John Son M S 23 CE
NEWELL George Son M S 20 CE
NEWELL James Son M S 18 CE
NEWELL Jacob Son M S 13 CE
NEWELL Abraham Son M S 7 CE
NEWELL Joseph Son M S 7 CE
NEWELL Elizabeth Mother F W 84 CE

Summerville was known as Indian Arm prior to the settlement being renamed in 1904. The Wild Cove Cemetery is an old Anglican Church Cemetery located at the farthest tip of the community accessible only by foot (approximately a 10 to 15 minute walk from the community), or by small boat:

The following two inscriptions are on one headstone:
GEORGE NEWELL Died July 1,1885.Aged 16 years 11 months.
JOHN NEWELL Died April 21,1911. Aged 22 years 7 months.

See Photo of headstone:

SUMMERVILLE  Roman Catholic Cemetery Bonavista Bay 

Surname Given Name Born Died Age INSCRIPTION
NEWELL Thomas 1889 1972 Thomas Newell, 1889-1972,
NEWELL Johanna Sept 20, 1964 85 years Wife of Thomas Newell, Johanna Newell, , Died Sept 20, 1964, Age 85 years
NEWELL Felix September 25, 1917 March 23, 1957 Vet of WW II, Felix Newell, Born September 25, 1917, Died March 23, 1957,
NEWELL Annie September 4, 1889 Annie Newell, Died September 4, 1889,
NEWELL Jane Ann February 27, 1894 Erected by William & Mary, Jane Ann Newell, Died February 27, 1894,
BROWN Joseph April 12, 1894 66 years Erected by Jane Brown in Memory of, Joseph Brown of Trinity, Died April 12, 1894, Age 66 years
BROWN Jane November 14, 1904 72 years Erected by Elizabeth and Mary Newell in Memory of Mother, Jane Brown, Died November 14, 1904, Age 72 years
NEWELL Catherine February 10, 1921 29 years Wife of Abraham Thomas Newell, Catherine, Died February 10, 1921, Age 29 years
NEWELL William & Mary Erected by Thomas Newell, William & Mary Newell
NEWELL Joseph August 18, 1884 ? December 15, 1956 Joseph Newell, August 18, 1884 ? , December 15, 1956,
NEWELL Bridget June 1, 1966 76 years Bridget Newell, Died June 1, 1966, Age 76 years

Other Obits:

Passed peacefully away at the Dr.G.B.Cross Memorial Hospital, Clarenville on August 3, 2021, Albert Newell, age 94, from Summerville, originally from Sacramento, Ca.  Predeceased by wife, Erika; brothers, Dominic, Ed and William; sisters, Gertrude, Margaret and Mary. Leaving to mourn are his daughter, Maria; sons, Gary, Pete, Karl and Steve; many grandchildren and great grandchildren, all residing in USA; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and special friend, Scott Abbott.

Albert Newell of Summerville, Newfoundland, who passed away at the age of 94, on August 3, 2021. Leave a sympathy message to the family in the guestbook on this memorial page of Albert Newell to show support.  He was predeceased by : his wife Erika; and his siblings, Dominic, Ed, William, Gertrude, Margaret and Mary.  He is survived by : his children, Maria, Gary, Pete, Karl and Steve; and his close friend Scott Abbott. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins.

I have contacted several decendants of this family, none of which have done DNA test, and they don’t claim to be decended from the Newells of Bonavista. The original death record for Abraham Newell who died at Summerville in 1917 gives his place of birth as Brigus. This suggest that they are an offshoot of the Newells of Brigus (see my page on that family).

Name: Abraham Newell
Gender: Male
Death Age: 71  [Born Brigus]
Record Type: Death
Birth Date: 1846
Death Date: 5 Jul 1917
Death Place: Summerville, Newfoundland, Canada