Nova Scotia Archives

Census Returns, Assessment and Poll Tax Records 1767-1838

Census Returns, 1838

The original records include 31,702 names and are located in Record Group (RG) 1, volumes 448 and 449. Click here for the file list of communities included in this collective census.

This is the first census of Nova Scotia to have covered most of the province, and the first to have survived almost completely. Except for Cumberland County and parts of Shelburne County, most of the province is included.

The original records have been digitized and are presented here with a zoom function for closer examination. The newly created index has been constructed from the digitized records, and only the original documents held at the Nova Scotia Archives were scanned and indexed. The format of the 1838 census varies from county to county and even from enumerator to enumerator. Name of head of household (if female that name was sometimes captured), occupation, males under 6 years, females under 6 years, males 6 -14 years, females 6 -14 years, males over 14 years, females over 14 years, and a grand total for the household were the consistent information items gathered in the returns. The total numbers do not always add up. Sometimes the head of household (male or female) was included in the total, many times not. Some enumerators included widows as heads of households. A small number of districts included totals for other items such as livestock and acres in use.