Printed & Digital Books    Newsletters   Upcoming Events   Contact Us  


Find topic, title or author:


   Genealogy Misc.

      - New Brunswick
      - Newfoundland & Lab.
      - Nova Scotia
      - Ontario
      - Prince Edward Island
      - Quebec
      - Western Canada
      - Military
      - Loyalists / UEL
      - Pioneers' Stories
      - Home Children
   England & Wales
   Ireland & N. Ireland
   United States

Featured Authors

   Carol Bennett-McCuaig
   Kenneth G. Cox
   Fawne Stratford-Devai
   Fraser Dunford
   Duncan MacDonald UE
   Stuart L Manson
   Ont. Genealogical Society
   Ron W. Shaw
   Dan Walker
   Gavin K. Watt

Archived Articles
Formerly published by

Published March 20, 1998

Research Resource - Published Law Reports, Atlantic Canada
By Sandra Devlin

If your ancestors fought among themselves over a family will or with their neighbors over property, and their legal battles touched on significant principles of law, published law reports (less well known legal sources than probate and land transfers) may prove to be a valuable genealogy research tool.

“While most experienced genealogists are familiar with the value of original court records, few are aware of the value of published case reports,” says Jonathan Davidson, a Halifax legal researcher who keeps a keen eye on genealogy.

Pre-1900 reports are richer in genealogy information than reports of more recent years.

Best of all, published law reports for all three Maritime provinces are indexed, individually by volume. Indexed cases are generally identified by the names of the parties and the year. The citation is given in the form, volume, report page; so the report of McDonald v. McKinnon (1865), 5 N.S.R. 527 will be found in volume 5 of the Nova Scotia Reports at page 527. Each volume is indexed individually. Davidson wrote in a detailed article about law reports in The Nova Scotia Genealogist, Summer 1994 issue.

The principle drawback of law reports is that the presentation of facts is secondary to the presentation of legal principles. So, the community (or sometimes even the county) of residence of the parties may not be specified.

It is important to note, that published law reports represent only a fraction of litigations. Each province has some of its reports published individually, while others are reported collectively.
  • New Brunswick Reports (1825-1929 and 1969-present)
  • Nova Scotia Reports (1834-1925 and 1965-present)
  • Prince Edward Island Reports (1850-1882, overlapping volumes)
  • Newfoundland and P.E.I. Reports (1971-present)
  • Eastern Law Reports (1906-1916)
  • Maritime Provinces Report (1929-1968)

  • Dalhousie Law Library in Halifax, N.S. has a complete set, publicly accessible.
  • University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown has a partial archival set in its P.E.I. collection.
  • University of New Brunswick, Fredericton is also a place to look.

Browse the resources at
Printed & Digital Books
Genealogy, Vital Records & History
Listed By Country or Topic Inc. 1992-2023
Sign up for our free newsletter!   |   Unsubscribe from our newsletter

New Books 2023

Sacred Ground
Volume Two

United Empire Loyalist

Denny Cemetery
Bastard Township

Leeds County, Ontario

St Augustine Cemetery
Beckwith Twp, Ontario

How WRIGHT You Are
Eastern Ontario & beyond

Dewar Cemetery
Ashton, Ontario

Early Ottawa Valley Records
Eastern Ontario & Western Quebec

Kennedy Cemetery
Ashton, Ontario

Prospect United Church Cemetery
Lanark County, Ontario

Stormont County, Ontario

The MATTICE Family
Stormont County, Ontario

The WALDORF Families
Stormont County, Ontario

New Books 2022

Pioneer genealogy
Lanark County, Ontario

St. John's Cemetery
South March
Carleton County, Ontario

Wardens of Renfrew
Renfrew County, Ontario

Leinster to Lanark
Irish settlers to
Lanark County, Ontario

Diary of Deaths

Glengarry County, Ontario

The Brevity 1838-1866
Tythes, Masses & Notes

Roman Catholic
Glengarry County, Ontario

Valley Irish
Ottawa Valley

In Search of Lanark
Lanark County, Ontario

The Loyalists of Massachusetts
(American Revolution - UEL)

The Kerry Chain
The Limerick Link

(Irish settlers to
Renfrew County, Ontario)

Invisible Women
(of Eastern Ontario)