Nova Scotia Archives

Township Records at the Nova Scotia Archives

Exploring this Resource

Before You Begin....

  • This database is for township records available at the NS Archives
  • Use the Search Box to enter the name of a community, to determine if township records are available
  • The database displays in geographic order, from Annapolis Township all around the perimeter of mainland Nova Scotia, ending at Digby Township.
  • The database provides descriptive information about the records – the township books themselves and/or transcriptions of the records have NOT been digitized and are NOT available online here, except for selected pages from the Truro Township Book.
  • Township records held at the NS Archives are NOT available via interlibrary loan from the Archives. Researchers must visit the Archives Building, 6016 University Avenue, Halifax NS, to view the records. If you're not able to visit in person, you may want to Hire a Researcher to help you. Some of the township books may be available via interlibrary loan from Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa); if so, this will be noted in the database entries.

Some Additional Information

  • The database provides specific information about the types of documents found within the township records for each of 34 communities; the records may include:
    • minutes of township meetings (an important feature of the township concept)
    • vital statistics – birth, marriage and death dates, usually presented in family groupings and sometimes including information for life events happening before the individual or family emigrated to Nova Scotia
    • livestock marks – all horses, cattle, sheep and swine in the township were branded or marked, usually in the ear, to identify their owners; the markings, unique to each owner, were recorded by the town clerk 'in a book to be kept by him for that purpose.'
    • names of proprietors (those holding land in the township and eligible to participate in township meetings)
    • lists of township lots, land surveys, related property divisions
    • lists of officeholders for the township
    • various other township-based records
  • Researchers working onsite at the NS Archives will have access to microfilm copies and/or transcriptions of the original township books. These copies, their reference numbers and their contents are described in detail, in the database.
  • Surviving township records for some communities are incredibly rich and complex, especially when multiple copies and transcriptions are available, not all of them identical or complete. If the database entry says 'view more details...,' be sure to click on the link to open the expanded description.
  • The NS Archives holds original township books for six New England Planter communities – Cornwallis, Falmouth, Liverpool, Truro, Onslow and Yarmouth. Originals for the other townships, if they have survived, are held elsewhere in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or at Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa), and copies are held at the NS Archives.