How to Use This Resource
The central feature of this website is the Chipman family database containing item-level descriptions for each of the 12,670 documents in the collection. The descriptions were first prepared about twenty years ago as a hard-copy catalogue or 'finding aid'; they accompany the high-level archival description which is also available here.
The database has been arranged in rough chronological order, beginning in 1760 and running to 1921. Over 50% of the documents are undated, however, and a decision was therefore made to have the electronic database display the records in their original order — dated and undated, so that the undated ones can be associated contextually with neighbouring documents in the sequence.
A Search Box is available for searching on specific words and phrases. Since the 12,670 descriptions in the database require 845 screen pages to read through, it's likely you'll want to use the search tool! Interested, for example, in how many times 'fires' are mentioned in the documents? Enter the word 'fire' in the Search Box and you'll get 20 returns.
Esther Clark Wright, an early and important historian of the New England Planters, once remarked, "There is one warning I would like to pass on to all who study the Planters and other contemporary groups: hang on to your spelling." Use the search feature to look carefully for family or community names scattered through the descriptions.
If the first spelling you enter doesn't work, try any phonetic variation you can think of. 'Modern' spelling did not become standardized until the early 20th Century, and in constructing the database we weren't able to identify or remedy all the variant spellings contained in the documents themselves.
We've currently digitized 160 original records from the Chipman family papers for this website, selecting those we thought to be of special interest and importance; many of them are multi-page documents. You can view them either by clicking on the thumbnails that appear as you scroll through the database, or in the separate Digitized Documents section, where we've segregated the digital content for easy access. We've also applied Zoomify© magnification software to the documents, so you can explore them 'up close' and in detail — some of the handwriting may be a challenge otherwise!
So what are the research 'gems' in this collection? Try searching for: Assessment Rolls, Dyke construction and maintainance, Ferry Service, Inquests, Licenses and Town Officers. Out of the 160 we've digitized, try Chipman Family Nova Scotia Archives Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 Vol. 181 No. 185 Assessment roll for proprietors of Cornwallis Township; Chipman family Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 Vol. 205 No. 39 a letter from Rebecca Chipman to William H. Chipman; and Chipman family Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 Vol. 183 No. 218-219 where Justice of the Peace Handley Chipman was called "an old Rebel dog" by Timothy Newman. As an aid for those of you interested in further research, we've digitized and included here a portion of Barry Cahill's survey article (1988) on New England Planter primary sources at Nova Scotia Archives .
Lastly, a complementary Virtual Exhibit presents twenty-two historical photographs, maps and documentary art items, selected from our holdings and presented here in digitized format to enable you to explore 'Planter' Nova Scotia as the Chipman family knew it. Detailed note areas accompany many of the images, providing additional historical information. Enjoy!