Church records, especially the registers of baptisms, marriages and burials, are perhaps the single most important source for the personal and family-based information needed in genealogical research and community history. The largest collection of these church records within Nova Scotia, available in one central repository, is the microfilm research collection held at Nova Scotia Archives (Halifax, NS).
The fully searchable database presented here provides critical background information about this collection — over 900 reels of microfilm, containing the surviving records (or a portion thereof) for 512 distinct parishes, congregations and faith communities in this province. Having access to this online, fully searchable database will help you to....
- identify what church records are available for the communities you're interested in
- identify whether the date coverage fits with the time period you're researching
- plan your onsite visit to the Archives, including which microfilm reel numbers to ask for
- explore what other church records might be useful in your research
Most of the records described in the database fall between 1780 and 1920. The earliest dates from 1679 — very brief and incomplete records for Beaubassin, the Acadian French community at the Isthmus of Chignecto, between modern-day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The most recent are those for a select few congregations around the province who have arranged for independent filming of their historical records, up to the late 20th century.
To accompany the database, we've included a section called Exploring This Web Resource, to provide guidance in using the product and to answer some frequently asked questions about church records in general. We've also provided a small Virtual Exhibit highlighting some of Nova Scotia's best-known and earliest church structures — for example, the photograph of St. John's Anglican, Lunenburg, from 1869, is one of the earliest surviving photographs taken in Nova Scotia, and shows a church then already 115 years old.
This project was made possible in part through the Young Canada Works Program of Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Council of Archives.