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Searchable Online Data
Nova Scotia, Canada
Genealogy & History


Nova Scotia Coat of Arms

The links in this section are to useful, searchable online genealogical and historical information for those researching their Nova Scotia roots.

Most links are free online resources ( free ) however there are also links to some commercial resources ($) that were recommended by satisfied users.


  • Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics Online (free) (Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management) When you enter the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management website, you’ll find a fully searchable database containing one million names. Every name is linked to its original record. Births 1864-1877; Marriages 1864-1930; Deaths 1864-1877 & 1908-1955 (more years to be added as released). View the actual record in digitized form. Read every detail entered on the original registration. Physical copies of the records can be ordered from the N.S. archives online and securely.
  • Genealogical and Historical Records of Nova Scotia ( $ ) Ancestry.ca This is the main directory page at Ancestry.ca where the list of available records for Nova Scotia reside, complete with links to the data.
  • Halifax Explosion of 1917 Remembrance Book, A Searchable List of Those Who Died ( free & $ ) Gov. of Nova Scotia
    The database contains 1,950 names – an enduring record of the men, women and children known to have died either in the 06 December 1917. Explosion, in the days immediately after, or in the following months as a direct result of the events of 6 December. The supporting information provided in the database is fully referenced and sourced in this online version.
  • Death Registers, City of Halifax, 1890-1908 ( free) Gov. of Nova Scotia
    Two death registers for the City of Halifax, 1890-1908, containing 17,890 entries. Names have been inputted into an fully searchable database, linked directly to the corresponding digitized pages in the registers.
  • Nova Scotia Marriage bonds, 1763-1849 ( free) Gov. of Nova Scotia
    Bonds, indicating the absence of legal impediment to marriage, were completed in application for marriage licenses. Surviving records from 1763 to 1864 and 1870 to 1871 are available at NSARM. Records from 1763 to 1849 are available in this database. Additional years will be added as records are entered into the database. Names, occupations, marital status and residency of the parties and the sureties confirming such information were recorded. Sometimes, usually when permission was required, notes were attached to the bonds.
  • Ward Chipman, Muster Master's Office (1777-1785) (free) Library and Archives Canada
    Ward Chipman the Elder, (1754-1824), a Massachusetts lawyer, was also an army administrator in the State of New York between 1777 and 1783. In 1784, he settled in New Brunswick, where he served as solicitor general until 1808. The Ward Chipman Papers contain muster rolls of Loyalists, and their families, who were members of demobilized regiments and who settled in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This research tool provides access to nearly 19,000 references to Loyalist families.
  • Registers of St. Jean-Baptiste, Annapolis Royal, 1702-1755 ( free) Gov. of Nova Scotia
    A fully searchable database containing information for over 3500 baptisms, marriages and burials recorded in the parish registers of St.-Jean-Baptiste, Annapolis Royal, 1702-1755. These two volumes are Nova Scotia's earliest surviving church registers, and a tangible link to the last generations of Acadian French living at Annapolis before the Deportation.
  • Nova Scotia Land Petitions 1769-1843 ( free) Gov. of Nova Scotia
    Search the expanded Land Petitions database to access the personal names and information contained in 3,338 petitions from Cape Breton Island (1787-1843) and 839 petitions from mainland Nova Scotia (1769-1799).
  • Nova Scotia Court of Appeal Casebooks 1890-1947 ( free) Gov. of Nova Scotia
    Forms part of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal fonds; search for the appellant and/or respondent in appeal cases heard between 1890 and 1947.
  • Medical Examiner for the City of Halifax and Town of Dartmouth 1895 - 1967 ( free) Gov. of Nova Scotia
    Search for individuals whose deaths were reported on by the Medical Examiner between 1895 and 1967.
  • Nova Scotia Poll Tax Rolls, 1791-1793 ( free) Gov. of Nova Scotia
    Poll Tax Rolls form part of the Commissioner of Public Records collection: Census and poll tax series. Search for the names of over 10,300 individuals taxed in Nova Scotia, 1791-1793.
  • Court for Nova Scotia Divorce and Matrimonial Causes case files, 1759-1960 ( free) Gov. of Nova Scotia
    Forms part of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Halifax County collection; search for names and dates of divorce cases heard between 1759 and 1963. In the two centuries following Nova Scotia's first recorded divorce in 1759 nearly 7000 divorce cases were heard by this court.
  • McAlpine’s Nova Scotia Directory, 1907-08 ( free) Gov. of Nova Scotia
    An invaluable tool for researching family or community history through alphabetical listings of residents living in the principal cities, towns and rural areas of Nova Scotia at the turn of the last century. Scanned and searchable, every page in the 1907-08 Directory - all 1556 of them!
  • Nova Scotia Government Administrative Histories Online ( free) Gov. of Nova Scotia
    A fully searchable database containing over 140 historical sketches of all Government departments, past and present, as well as all current agencies, boards, commissions, offices and crown corporations.
  • Books, Maps, and other useful resources ( free & $ ) Global Genealogy & History Shoppe
    Browse through hundreds of physical and online resources for this province and other provinces and territories. Books, maps, CDs, online searchable databases, useful links and Global Gazette articles.


More Searchable Online Data - Canada/Canadian

The following links are to searchable online data that concerns this province and others across Canada

Census & Blank Extraction Forms:Vital Records:
  • Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes of British Military Chaplains 1760-2004 ( $ ) FindMyPast.com
    Many Canadians are descended from retired British men who may have served in Canada or elsewhere in the world. This site has the indexes to the births, marriages and deaths of British military men and their families, where those events happened outside of England. Once at the site, scroll down to any Birth, Marriage or Death listing that includes the words "British overseas".
Land Records:
  • Western Land Grants (1870-1930) (free) Library and Archives Canada
    The records refer to grants issued in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the railway belt of British Columbia, c. 1870-1930.
First Nations - Aboriginal:
  • Métis Scrip Records (free) Library and Archives Canada
    The records generally consist of the following: affidavits and applications, land and money scrip notes, scrip certificates, receipts, and a number of textual files consisting of letters and memoranda outlining government policies, rulings, and procedures.
  • Administrative records of Aboriginal people from 1872 to the 1950s from Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Currently [June 2006], volumes 1855 to 2151 in the Red Series are available in digital format; these volumes were scanned in black and white from microfilm reels C-11103 to C-11169. The remaining Red Series and the entire Black Series will be digitized in the upcoming year and added to this database. There are textual records for all of the volumes that were not digitized this year, which can also be searched in this database.
  • Aboriginal Treaties, Surrenders and Agreements An essay by John Leslie. Contents include: Introduction • The Origins of the Treaties, Surrenders and Agreements Collection • The Organization of the Collection • Terminology and Conventions • Published Versions of the Collection • Completeness of the Collection • Treaties in Historical Perspective • Notes • Comprehensive and Specific Claims: The Modern Treaties • References • Appendix A - Peace and Friendship Treaties
  • Aboriginal Soldiers in the First World War. An Essay by James Dempsey. Contents: Introduction • Why Enlist? • Voluntary Service • Military Service Act • Government Response to Recruits • Experiences of War • Life on the Home Front • Post-war Experiences • Post-war Rise of Political Organizations • Conclusion • Notes • References
Chinese Canadian Records:Employment Records:
  • Post Offices & Postmasters (free) Library and Archives Canada
    The Post Offices database documents changes of postmasters at individual post offices located across Canada. The data relate to open and closed post offices located in the ten provinces and territories.
  • Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Biographical Sheets (free) Hudson's Bay Company Archives
    Biographical sheets outline the person's employment history with HBC and may also include the parish of origin or place of birth; positions, posts and districts in which the person served; family information, if available; and references to related documents, including photographs or drawings. Sheets have not been created for every employee. The project is ongoing.
Biography / Biographies:
  • Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (free) Library and Archives Canada
    This resource presents prominent persons who died between the years 1000 and 1930 or whose last known date of activity falls within these years.
  • Papers of The Bibliographical Society of Canada (free) McGill University
    Past issues of the Papers of The Bibliographical Society of Canada. The papers have been digitized and are accessible on this site. Searchable by name or other details.
United Empire Loyalists
  • Lists of United Empire Loyalists (free) United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada
    Lists of many of those who came to Canada as United Empire Loyalists as a result of the American Revolutionary War, including some details about each individual.
  • The Loyalist Collection (free) Harriet Irving Library, University of New Brunswick
    This extraodinary search tool points to specific records and Finding Aids using the search criteria set by the user. More than 3400 microfilm and 700 microfiche are indexed here. The Loyalist Collection Inventory was designed and composed by Kathryn Hilder, the author of the Database, Inventory Text, Finding Aids, and the Classification Schedules.
  • Ward Chipman, Muster Master's Office (1777-1785) (free) Library and Archives Canada
    Ward Chipman the Elder, (1754-1824), a Massachusetts lawyer, was also an army administrator in the State of New York between 1777 and 1783. In 1784, he settled in New Brunswick, where he served as solicitor general until 1808. The Ward Chipman Papers contain muster rolls of Loyalists, and their families, who were members of demobilized regiments and who settled in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This research tool provides access to nearly 19,000 references to Loyalist families.
Canadian History
  • The Champlain Society Digital Collection (free) The Champlain Society
    The collection contains eighty-three of the Champlain Society's most important volumes (over 41,000 printed pages) dealing with exploration and discovery over three centuries. It includes first-hand accounts of Samuel de Champlain's voyages in New France as well as the diary from Sir John Franklin's first land expedition to the Arctic, 1819-22.
  • Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) Digital Archives (free) CBC
    Relive Canadian history through radio and television. CBC has developed an online archive of CBC radio and television broadcasts beginning in 1930 and running up to present-day. Search by name, topic, date, timelines etc.
  • Arctic Blue Books Online (free) University of Manitoba
    Arctic Blue Books online is a searchable, World-Wide Web version of Andrew Taylor's unique index to the 19th Century British Parliamentary Papers concerned with the Canadian Arctic. The Arctic Blue Books have been digitized, so that the index now includes links to each page on which an index term appears.
Military
  • Diaries & Letters WW II (free) Veterans' Affairs Canada
    The letters and diaries of World War Two soldiers provide a first-hand account of the experiences of those who served.
  • WW II Soldiers Who Died in Japanese POW Camps (free) POW Research Network
    During World War II, over 35,000 prisoners-of-war (POWs) were transported to Japan, where they were confined to work camps and forced to labour under horrendous conditions. More than 3,500 POWs died in 130 such camps.
  • Diaries & Letters WW II (free) Veterans' Affairs Canada
    The letters and diaries of World War Two soldiers provide a first-hand account of the experiences of those who served.
  • Faces of War (free) Library and Archives Canada
    Search a database of almost 2,500 images of men and women who served in the Canadian Forces in the Second World War. The photographs, taken from the Department of National Defence (DND) collection at Library and Archives Canada, depict every aspect of military life during this conflict.
  • Soldiers of WW I (free) Library and Archives Canada
    Over 600,000 Canadians enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the First World War (1914-1918). This is an index to those personnel files. To date, over 800,000 images of Attestation papers have been scanned. Attestation papers survive for most applicants, even if they were not enlisted.
  • Unit War Diaries - WW I (free) Library and Archives Canada
    This database contains the digitised War Diaries of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) units. From the start of the First World War, CEF units were required to maintain a daily account of their “Actions in the Field.” This log was called a War Diary. The War Diaries are not personal diaries, rather they are a historical record of a unit’s administration, operations and activities during the First World War.
  • Oral Histories of the First World War: Veterans 1914-1918 (free) Library and Archives Canada
    The site offers insight into the horrors of the Great War through the first-hand accounts of Canadian soldiers and airmen. Digitized audio recordings capture the sentiments of Canadian veterans who experienced war in the trenches at the great battles of Ypres, the Somme and Passchendaele as well as in the air. Transcripts of these moving stories and a selection of remarkable photographs are also provided online.
  • Images and Essays of a Forgotten War - WW I (free) National Film Board of Canada in co-operation with the Imperial War Museum in London, England, the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian War Museum
    This database contains still images, video, authoritative essays and other relevant content to support researchers' need to understand the conditions and context of the events surrounding the experiences of our ancestors who fought in the "war to end all wars".
  • Executed Soldiers 1914-18 (free) Canadians Shot at Dawn
    During W.W. I, twenty-three young Canadian men were executed for desertion. This is their story.
  • WW I Veterans Interviews (free) Veterans' Affairs Canada
    With its focus on excerpts from interviews with First World War veterans you will learn about the war from those who actually fought it. By listening to their recollections and personal experiences, we can gain a unique perspective on the realities of war.
  • Internment of Ukrainians in Canada 1914-1920 (free) InfoUkes Inc.
    This site, though not genealogical in nature, contains valuable lists of people who were held in the camps, camp locations, photographs, video and historical accounts.
  • Soldiers - S. African War (free) Library and Archives Canada
    The South African War, 1899-1902 marked the first occasion for which Canada dispatched troops to an overseas war. 7,368 Canadians and 12 Nursing Sisters served in South Africa. This research tool provides access to the service files, medal registers and land grant applications.
  • Canadian Letters & Images [of War] (free) Malaspina University & College, Naniamo, BC
    The Canadian Letters and Images Project is an online archive of the Canadian war experience, from any war, as told through the letters and images of Canadians themselves.
  • Books of Remembrance (free) Veterans' Affairs Canada
    The Books of Remembrance contain the names of Canadians who fought in wars and died either during or after them.
  • Commonwealth War Graves (free) Commonweath War Graves Commission
    Includes 1.7 million men & women of Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations world-wide where they are commemorated. Also includes details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action in WW II.
  • Gravestones of Canada's War Dead ( free ) The Maple Leaf Legacy Project
    The Maple Leaf Legacy Project volunteers are photographing all Canadian War Graves from the South African War, World War 1, World War II, Korean War and UN Peacekeeping Missions. 93,000 records [May 2006] and growing. NOTE: be sure to include the country of burial or you will get a "0 results" response.
  • Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes of British Military Chaplains 1761-1994 ( $ ) findmypast.com
    Many Canadians are descended from retired British men who may have served in Canada or elsewhere in the world. This site has the indexes to the births, marriages and deaths of British military men and their families, where those events happened outside of England.
Maps
  • The W. H. Pugsley Collection of Early Canadian Maps (free) McGIll University
    The Map Collection in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections contains over 6,000 historical maps, dating from 1556 to the 1940s. The major strengths of the collection are the discovery and exploration of North America, works by sixteenth century European cartographers (i.e. Hondius, Ortelius and Speed), and Canadian and Montreal maps from the nineteenth and twentieth Century.
Newspapers
  • Paper of Record. (free) Paper of Record
    More than 21 million scanned pages of historic and modern newspapers in Canada, and other countries around the world. Any-word searchable. Now free to use. All you have to do is register your email address for full access. World's largest repository of online newspaper pages!
  • Colorado's Historic Newspaper Collection (CHNC). (free) CHNC contains over 291,000 digitized pages that are searchable online. The relevance for Canadians is quite staggering... thousands of Canadians settled in Colorado. Still others ventured through Colorado on their way to settle in other points west.
  • "Missing Friends" 1831-1921 - Family & Friends Seeking "missing" Irish to North America (free) Boston College's Irish Studies Program
    From October 1831 through October 1921, the Boston Pilot newspaper printed a "Missing Friends" column with advertisements from people looking for "lost" friends and relatives who had emigrated from Ireland to North America. This extraordinary collection of 31,711 records is available here as a searchable online database, which contains a text record each ad that appeared in the Pilot. Includes inquiries on Irish to America and Canada.
Home Children - Child Immigration
  • Home Children (1869-1930) (free) Library and Archives Canada
    Between 1869 and the early 1930s, over 100,000 children were sent to Canada from Great Britain during the child emigration movement. This database includes individuals included on passenger lists of arrivals to Canada.
Immigration, Ships, Passengers
  • Passenger Lists, 1865-1922 Search (free) Library and Archives Canada
    Passenger lists (RG 76) were the official immigration documents from 1865 to 1935. The lists contain information such as the name, age, country of origin, occupation and destination of each passenger. The lists are organized by port and date of arrival. This database provides access to passenger lists for the ports of Québec (1865-1921), Halifax (1881-1912, to 1922 shortly), to Saint John (1900-1912), North Sydney (1906-1908), Vancouver (1905-1912) and Victoria (1905 to 1912), shortly. This database is growing, so be sure to check it frequently for new entries.
  • Inbound Passengers to Canada 1900 to 1921
    (free) Nanaimo Family History Society
    Quebec Ports for the periods 2 Jul 1908 to 13 Oct 1910 has been completed, with 284,365 listings from 586 ship arrivals. The project is ongoing with more years to be added soon. Searching the index is free. The online index includes several fields of information sorted alphabetically by surname. For a small fee the Society will photocopy the complete microfilm image of the passenger list you are interested in, and mail it to you.
  • Immigrants at Grosse-Île (Quebec) ( free ) Library & Archives Canada This database includes information on 33,026 immigrants who stayed on the Grosse-Île Quarantine Station (near Quebec City) between 1832 and 1937, upon arrival in Canada.
  • St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. Passengers 1819 - ? (free) The ShipsList.com
    After arriving by ship at the port of Quebec, most passengers continued by steam ship from Quebec City to Montreal. Oftentimes passenger lists do not survive for the ocean portion of the trip, however the passenger records of the St. Lawernce Steam ship Company do. They are being transcribed by volunteers on this web site.
  • Passenger arrivals: The Battery & Castle Clinton 1820-1912 (NY) (free) CastleGarden.org
    Before Ellis Island became the primary immigration port in New York, thousands of immigrants to USA and Canada arrived at 'The Battery'.
  • Ellis Island Arrivals 1892-1954 (NY) (free data, fee for printed certificates) Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.
    From 1892 to 1954, millions of people arrived in North America via Ellis Island.
  • Cdn Naturalization Records (free) Library and Archives Canada
    The Canadian Naturalization databases contain references to about 200,000 people who applied for and received status as naturalized Canadians from 1915 to 1932.
  • Immigrants at Grosse-Île 1832 and 1937 (free) Library and Archives Canada
    This database includes information on 33,026 immigrants whose names appear in surviving records of the Grosse-Île Quarantine Station between 1832 and 1937. Grosse-Île is an island in the St Lawerence River near Quebec City where passenger of inbound ships had to pass health inspections. Those who were judged to have a contageous disease were held at the Quarantine Station until they recovered or died.
  • Immigrant Ancestors Project (free) Brigham Young University
    The site assists family historians to identify emigration records and their current repositories in a a free access online database of all the emigrants extracted from the records. Volunteers working with scholars and researchers at Brigham Young University are creating a database of millions of immigrants based on these emigration registers. The database of individual immigrants is growing rapidly.
  • Immigrants - Likacheff-Ragosine-Mathers collection, 1898 - 1922 (free) Library and Archives Canada
    The Likacheff-Ragosine-Mathers collection (LI-RA-MA) contains documents created between 1898 and 1922 by the consular offices of the Russian Empire in Canada. The series on passports and identity papers is comprised of about 11,400 files on Jewish, Ukrainian and Finnish immigrants who came to Canada from the Russian Empire. The series includes passport applications and questionnaires containing general information. Nearly half the database is now available online, with the rest to be added shortly.
  • Montreal Emigrant Society Passage Book (1832) (free) Library and Archives Canada
    Organizations such as the Montreal Emigrant Society were founded to help immigrants. This research tool provides access to 1,945 references to people who received aid from the Montreal Emigrant Society between May 12 and November 5, 1832.
  • Port of New Westminster (British Columbia)- Register of Chinese Immigration (1887-1908) (free) Library and Archives Canada
    The Department of Immigration created documents specifically for new arrivals from China The research tool provides access to 470 references to Chinese immigrants who arrived at the port of New Westminster between 1887 and 1908.
  • Immigration Records 1925-35 (free) Library and Archives Canada
    Pier 21 Society in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has input the information from the passenger list indexes into this database. Over 500,000 records.
  • Immigrant Diaries and Guides (free) Library and Archives Canada
    Nearly 15,000 pages of digitized immigrant diaries and immigration guides. They demonstrate the full range of the Canadian immigrant experience: emigration, the trip, migration and travel within Canada, as well as life in Canada as told by Canadian settlers. The diaries and guides were written or published at various times, from the mid-18th century to the beginning of the Second World War; some diaries are incomplete and may end abruptly.
  • Maritime History of... Great Lakes (North America) This site contains a collection of documents intended to be of value to those researching Great Lakes History. Great Lakes Images; Newspaper Transcriptions ; Documents; Vessel Extracts; Shipwrecks; Ship Enrollments; People; Vessel Renamings.
  • Canadian Convicts on the HMS Buffalo 1839-1840 (free) Convicts to Australia From 1839 to 1840 a number of convicts were transported from Canada to Australia for taking part in the rebellions against the British crown in Canada. 82 were American's who had crossed into Canada to fight, and 58 were French prisoners from Lower Canada. 5 civil prisoners were also transported.
  • Ships on the Great Lakes, 1755-1875 (free) Ken R. Macpherson List of vessels employed on British naval service on the Great Lakes, 1755-1875. Records include: Ship Name, When Built, Where, Type, Remarks.
Misc Canadian Online Records and Documents
  • Canadian Pamphlets and Broadsides Collection (free) University of Toronto Library
    This site provides access to the pre-1930 Canadian pamphlet and broadside holdings of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. The collection includes items printed in Canada, by Canadian authors, or about Canadian subjects, mainly of a non-literary nature.
  • Canadian Patents (inventions), 1869-1894 (free) Library and Archives Canada
    This database covering the years between 1869 and 1894 enables viewing of over 14,000 full patents with digitised images, registered in Canada by Canadian citizens or residents. Only patents issued to Canadian citizens and residents are available in this collection.
  • The Canadian County Atlas Project (free) McGill University
    The County Atlas Digital Project is a searchable database of the property owners' names which appear on the township maps in the county atlases. Township maps, portraits and properties have been scanned, with links from the property owners' names in the database. Some County Atlases have been recently reprinted on paper and are available from Global Genealogy

ARTICLES - Global Gazette Articles - Nova Scotia
LINKS - Nova Scotia Genealogy and History

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