Nova Scotia: Genealogy resources

A​re you researching ancestors who lived in Nova Scotia? On this page, you will find information about records held at Library and Archives Canada and the provincial archives. There are also links to online resources and to other institutions, societies and government agencies.

Nova Scotia was one of the original provinces that founded the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867.

Before that:

  • The first peoples were Mi'kmaq.
  • In the 1600s, the area was called Acadia by the French and Nova Scotia (New Scotland) by the British.
  • Halifax was founded in 1749 as a British settlement and naval base.
  • In 1753, Lunenburg was established by German immigrants.
  • The expulsion of the Acadians began in 1755.
  • By 1763, the entire colony was under British control. Many Loyalists arrived after the American Revolution.
  • Until 1784, New Brunswick was part of Nova Scotia.

Civil registration (birth, marriage and death records)

Civil registration is a provincial jurisdiction. In Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Archives holds the following records:

  • births (1864 to 1877 and 1908 to 1919)
  • marriages (1864 to 1944)
  • deaths (1864 to 1877 and 1908 to 1969)

Nominal indexes and digital images to those records are available online:

Records after those dates are held by Access Nova Scotia: Vital Statistics.

Adoption and divorce

Courts and criminal records

Land records

The province is divided into counties.

Wills and estate records

The administration of wills and estates is a provincial jurisdiction. Most records are held at the provincial archives.

Other resources

Visit Public Libraries Map to find a library in the province.

There might be a local archives, genealogical society or historical society in the area where your ancestors lived:

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