For many early settlers in Nova Scotia, land was often the only possession of real value. As a result, land records have been carefully documented and maintained since the first days of colonial government. A large, complex system quickly evolved, serving various purposes: documenting the land-granting process, whereby free land was offered by government to intending settlers; providing a continuous record of property transactions (sellers to buyers, and the reverse) over time; and protecting landholders' ownership and occupation of property.
Land records collectively provide a significant resource for family history research. The collection maintained at the Nova Scotia Archives is voluminous and complex; because of its size, little has been digitized, and most research must be done onsite, accessing the records via microfilm. Visit the Land Records section of the Genealogy Guide for some additional background information.
A few resources are available online to start your exploration of land records.