Nova Scotia Archives

An Acadian Parish Remembered

The Registers of St. Jean-Baptiste, Annapolis Royal, 1702-1755


The Surviving Registers

Various documents and records must have been created by the several parishes of old Acadia. In Nova Scotia today, however, the only associated materials to have survived and remained in the province are two original pre-Deportation parish registers from Annapolis Royal — authentic evidence of the lives lived and the events which occurred there, so long ago. One of the Annapolis registers is held by Nova Scotia Archives in Halifax, the other by the Diocese of Yarmouth.

The first volume, inscribed 'Registres des baptêmes mariages et sepultures de la paroisse de St Jean Baptiste du Port Royal...,' covers the years 1702-1728. The second is titled 'Registre de baptêmes mariages et sepultures pour la paroisse de St Jean Baptiste à Annapolis Royale...'and continues from 1727 to 1755. Together the two books serve as the official surviving record of baptisms, marriages and burials within the parish at Annapolis, up to the time of the Expulsion.

The pages of these registers are a treasure trove for genealogists, demographers and social historians, since they provide priceless original and authentic documentation about the early Acadian and Mi'kmaq parishioners of St. Jean-Baptiste. For family historians who can trace their ancestry to Port-Royal, these two registers provide tangible links to the last generations of Acadian French living there before the Expulsion.

As well, many entries include information for families or individuals who had migrated from Port-Royal to newer communities such as Beaubassin (Amherst, NS) on the Isthmus of Chignecto, La Hève (LaHave) on Nova Scotia's south shore, and Les Mines (near Wolfville, NS) — the latter node of settlement centred around Grand-Pré, perhaps the best-known of all Acadian communities.

Nova Scotia Archives gratefully acknowledges the Chancery Office, Diocese of Yarmouth, for making available on temporary loan the later parish register (1727-1755), in order to expand and enhance this project.