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Nova Scotia Archives

Virtual Archives, Resource Guides and Databases

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/archives/maclaughlan/ - 201726096

Still Standing: W.G. MacLaughlan Albums of Buildings Damaged by the Halifax Explosion

Presented here for the first time in 100 years are 123 MacLaughlan photographs of damaged buildings in and around the devastated area. Some locations have been identified based on notations on the images and/or the research work by Archives staff, however, the majority remain unidentified.


/archives/explosion/stillstanding/ - 201726105

Still Standing

Listen and watch videos based on the stories of five survivors. Hear their accounts of the disaster voiced and see what they saw, as life began again, through the images by W. G. MacLaughlan in January and February of 1918 as he photographed what was still standing in these neighborhoods.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PImhLMxTXc - 16

Halifax Explosion Film

View thirteen minutes of black-and-white moving images attributed to professional cameraman W.G. MacLaughlan. The film is an early news documentary from the silent-screen era, capturing in eerie silence the waste and devastation of a city destroyed, and the efforts that went into rebuilding it. Newly re-mastered in digital format and running in close to 'real time', these film clips provide the clearest views and the closest details ever seen of the terrible days immediately following 6 December 1917.


/archives/explosion/personal.asp - 201760001

Personal Narratives and other material from the Halifax Explosion

Explore one of the defining events in Halifax’s long history, through on-the-scene documentation generated in the days immediately following the disaster.


/archives/remembrance/ - 200200106

Halifax Explosion Remembrance Book

The Nova Scotia Archives is pleased to host the online version of a project sponsored by the Halifax Foundation. The 'Halifax Explosion Remembrance Book' is the first really definitive listing for those killed in the disaster of 6 December 1917. The online version features a searchable database with detailed information for 1946 casualties – more than 300 of whom have been confirmed and identified in recent years.


/archives/explosion/ - 200200013

Halifax Explosion: 'A Vision of Regeneration'

The dynamic story of how Halifax was rebuilt in the years immediately following the disaster is re-created through 150 heritage photographs, maps, architectural plans and documents, plus useful background information. An ideal source for school projects – and a powerful visual memory of a city destroyed and rebuilt.


https://memoryns.ca/halifax-relief-commission-fonds - 200200171

Halifax Relief Commission

The most important archival resource for studying the Halifax Explosion is the nearly 60 meters of records accumulated by the Halifax Relief Commission, 1917-1978. View a brief description of this material to plan for in-depth research.


/archives/cooking - 201309186

What's Cooking? Food, Drink and the Pleasures of Eating in Old-Time Nova Scotia

We’ve opened our pantry to share 1000 old recipes, 17 Nova Scotian cookbooks, and a variety of pictures showing food, food preparation, and the pleasures of eating. Enjoy!


/archives/creed/ - 201627710

George Creed - Mi'kmaq Petroglyphs

In 1887-88, George Creed, the postmaster in South Rawdon – but also a keen amateur ethnologist – spent time in Queens County, where he carefully made some 350 tracings from the Mi'kmaq petroglyphs cut into the rocks at Fairy Lake, Kejimkujik. These petroglyphs record and illustrate the period in history, just after European contact, when the Mi'kmaq were turning from traditional beliefs and old ways to a new faith and new ways.


/archives/ross/ - 20160204

New Ross: From Family to Community

Correspondence, newspaper clippings, deeds, etc. accumulated by Captain William Ross, the diaries of Edward Ross, the second son of William and Mary, and land papers relating to the military settlement and the property in New Ross.


/archives/communityalbums/bridgetown/ - 201610190

Nova Scotia Community Albums: Coward Album, Bridgetown

Nova Scotia Archives is pleased to be part of the Nova Scotia Community Albums project. The Coward Album of Bridgetown includes photographs and postcards of houses, businesses, churches, County Home, streetscapes, school and students, individuals, vessels, bridges, cartoons, buggies, horse racing (1890s) and snow drifts following the great snowstorm in 1905.


/archives/communityalbums/portmedway/ - 201610002

Nova Scotia Community Albums: Letson Album, Port Medway

Nova Scotia Archives is pleased to be part of the Nova Scotia Community Albums project. The Letson photograph album of prints held at the Nova Scotia Archives depicts buildings, houses, and properties in the village of Port Medway, Queens County, Nova Scotia.


/archives/deschamps/ - 200603448

Isaac Deschamps

Isaac Deschamps was born circa 1722, presumably of Swiss descent, and arrived in Halifax, N.S. in 1749. He was employed by Joshua Mauger and in 1754 he ran Maugher's truckhouse at Pisiquid (Windsor) where he traded with local Acadians and First Nations.


/archives/mikmaq/ - 200100114

Mi'kmaq Holdings Resource Guide

In honour of Heritage Day 2017 – Mi'kmaq documents and other materials including the Peace and Friendship Treaties as well as 470 newly digitized documents (many available to transcribe). An exhibit with 34 photos are highlighted in Community Gatherings. Genealogical resources for tracing Mi'kmaq ancestry and determining band status. An important resource for anyone interested in Mi'kmaq culture, heritage and traditions throughout Atlantic Canada.


/archives/2construction/ - 20160201

No. 2 Construction Battalion: Nominal Roll

In honour of African Heritage Month 2016, the Nova Scotia Archives is pleased to present a digital version of the Nominal Roll of Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men, No. 2 Construction Battalion (March 1917), the only battalion of Black soldiers raised in Canada during the First World War.


/archives/newspapers/ - 201113000

Nova Scotia Digitized Historical Newspapers

Newspapers are, and always have been, a mirror held up to reflect who we are, how our communities came to be, how we live our daily lives, and how we view the world around us. 'Old' newspapers have special value, because they enable us to look back and see what the world was like 20, 50, 100 or even 200 years ago.

Presented in this resource are fifteen different newspapers published in seven very different Nova Scotia communities over a span of 230 years — from The Nova Scotia Chronicle and Weekly Advertiser in 1769, to Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse in 2002. Begin exploring the surviving issues for each newspaper, for the years indicated — 163,000 digitized pages in all!


/archives/diaspora/ - 201112053

African Nova Scotian Diaspora

This significant new online resource features unique documents reflecting the struggles and survival of African Nova Scotians, as the world marks the United Nations' International Year for People of African Descent. It contains over 500 digitized and fully searchable government documents relating to early African Nova Scotian immigration and emigration. Many of the documents are rich in the names and reflect the experiences of Black Refugees who came here at the close of the War of 1812.


/archives/africanns/ - 200402239

African Nova Scotians

Nova Scotians and Web users worldwide now have an exciting new way to find out about African Nova Scotian history. A virtual exhibit and online resource providing access to a wide variety of documentary sources, including government documents, letters, newspaper articles, maps and works of art. Includes a fully searchable database containing names of about 5000 African American immigrants who came to Nova Scotia in 1783 and 1815-16. Also a virtual exhibit featuring photographs of early black settlements and descendants of original settlers, 1880-1955.


/archives/africville/ - 200715044

Gone but Never Forgotten: Bob Brooks' Photographic Portrait of Africville in the 1960s

Come revisit Africville, through nearly 60 remarkable images by photojournalist Bob Brooks that capture the look and spirit of the community on the eve of its demolition. The exhibit also features Brooks' compelling photographs of the public meeting at Seaview African United Baptist Church in August 1962, where residents stated their opposition to the elimination of Africville.


/archives/newspapers/microfilm/ - 201501083

Nova Scotia Newspapers on Microfilm

Explore this searchable database to plan onsite newspaper research at the Nova Scotia Archives – information about 8,951 reels of microfilm, for 536 different Nova Scotia newspaper titles.


/archives/desmond - 20150206

Viola Irene Desmond – 2015 Honouree, Nova Scotia Heritage Day

Nova Scotia's first Heritage Day statutory holiday recognizes and celebrates Viola Desmond, an African Nova Scotian businesswoman who in 1946 experienced and challenged the province's systemic racial discrimination of the time. Explore this thought-provoking story through surviving court documents, newspaper articles, and background information.


/archives/warletters/ - 201611036

Letters Home: Correspondence from the First World War - Angus L. Macdonald

Letters, photographs and maps telling the story of Angus L. Macdonald, Nova Scotia’s legendary premier, 'at the front' in war-time France.


/archives/mikmaq/treaties - 201606298

Treaties of Peace and Friendship

In honour of Treaty Day and Mi’kmaq History Month 2016, the Nova Scotia Archives is pleased to present online, the Peace and Friendship Treaties Collection held at the Archives Building in Halifax. These twelve original documents, 1725-1779, have been freshly digitized with new background information, and are offered in high-resolution format for exploration, download and re-use.


/archives/newspapers/results.asp?nTitle=Courrier - 201561798

Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse (1937-2002)

Online access to the first 66 years of Nova Scotia’s weekly French-language newspaper – 68,352 pages. Explore everyday life, significant events, and Acadians in the larger world.


/archives/sable/ - 201526023

Footprints in the Sand: Pre-1867 Government Records for Sable Island

Fascinated by Sable Island? Explore 2600 digitized records describing settlement of the Island, 1801-1867.


/archives/gaelic/ - 200501146

Gaelic Resources: Goireasan Gàidhlig

Visit our expanded Gaelic Resources site to explore the newest section - the Maclean, Sinclair family papers, one of the finest collections of original Gaelic material in Canada.


/archives/Jubilee/ - 201211090

The Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II: The Queen Tours Nova Scotia, 1951 - 2010

Come celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee by looking back at five Royal Visits to Nova Scotia in the last six decades, captured in a selection of over 100 digitized photographs, documents and tour memorabilia.


/archives/howe/ - 20160215

Sydenham Howe's Scrapbook: Joseph Howe and His World

Step back in time, to explore Joseph Howe and the world that he lived in, captured on the pages of his son's very Victorian scrapbook.


/archives/census/ - 201121200

Census, Assessment and Poll Tax Records, 1767-1838

Census, assessment and poll tax lists compiled across a seventy-year period in colonial Nova Scotia, yielding a total of 70,000 named individuals. Maybe your ancestors are among them!


/archives/digbywomen - 201306531

Women of Digby County, 1950

Take a step back in time and explore over 40 photographs of women in Digby County, taken by the renowned American photographer John Collier. These remarkable images honour the daily lives of women, working in their homes, caring for their children, and sharing special occasions with family and friends. The images reveal both change and continuity in the patterns of community life in rural Nova Scotia during the years immediately after the Second World War.


/archives/creighton/ - 200213026

Helen Creighton

Over 900 black-and-white photographs taken by pioneer folklorist Helen Creighton have now been digitized and added to the existing online resource exploring her life and career. Taken between 1914 and 1951, these images cut a wide geographic path from small communities throughout Nova Scotia to Toronto, Trinidad and Mexico, and reveal a life filled with family, friends and meaningful work.


/archives/messer/ - 200505013

Don Messer

Remember 'Don Messer's Jubilee'? Back in the 1960s, it was one of the most popular programs on CBC Television. Come now for a stroll down Memory Lane! Read about Don Messer, view lists for his personal papers and his rich library of recordings and sheet music and tour a virtual exhibit presenting 'Don Messer and His Islanders' as Canadians remember them best. ''Goin' to the Barn Dance tonight' ....


/archives/washington/ - 2014042770

A Nova Scotian Observer at the Burning of Washington, August 1814

Dr. John Fox, a native of Cornwallis Township, was present when the British burnt Washington on the night of August 24th 1814, during the War of 1812. Read his letter written home just afterwards, describing how the city went up in flames and how British soldiers ransacked the White House, stealing President Madison's clothing before they torched the building.


/archives/warposters/ - 201406118

An Act of Remembrance: First World War Publicity Posters at the Nova Scotia Archives

In a world predating radio, television and the Internet, large, brightly-coloured propaganda posters began appearing across Canada immediately after the declaration of war on 4 August 1914 – the highly visible manifestation of a government strategy designed to influence public thought and action. The posters were produced initially to encourage military enlistment, but their themes quickly expanded to include building public support for war industries, food production and the sale of war or 'Victory' savings bonds.


/archives/highways/ - 201315076

Nova Scotia’s ‘Paving Programme’: Highway Reconstruction in the 1930s

Take a road trip back in time and explore Nova Scotia's highways in the 1930s. One of the province's earliest paving ventures, undertaken in the bottom years of The Great Depression. Over 350 black-and-white images taken as work rolled out across the province – is your community here?


/archives/gorham/ - 191

Colonel John Gorham's Account Book

Step back in time to explore Col. John Gorham's financial activities in Nova Scotia, 1747-1750 – everything from providing his soldiers with rum and molasses, to attempting a settlement on Sable Island. The account book is a recent and significant acquisition by the NS Archives.


/archives/Piers/ - 201302510

Harry Piers: Museum Maker

The Nova Scotia Archives and the Nova Scotia Museum are pleased to present 'Harry Piers: Museum Maker' – our first jointly-produced virtual exhibit. Come and explore a selection of the earliest items collected by Mr. Piers in his dual capacity as Keeper of the Public Records and Museum Curator. View Harry Piers: Museum Maker on YouTube.


/archives/mccully/ - 201216006

Nova Scotia from the Air: The Richard McCully Aerial Photograph Collection, 1931

You've never seen Nova Scotia like this before….!  Join Harold Reid and Marty Fraser as they fly over Nova Scotia during the summer of 1931, taking aerial photographs along the way – 221 black-and-white images showing 39 different communities from Amherst to Yarmouth, and across from Truro to Halifax and down the South Shore. Maybe your own home property is included!


/archives/landpapers/ - 201100616

Nova Scotia Land Papers, 1765-1800

If you're searching for online information about early land settlement in Nova Scotia, you've come to the right place! A searchable index of land petitions with 11,464 names, linked to 1890 land grant files, digitized in their entirety and just a click away. Includes background information on the land-granting process and a Short Guide to Land Records.


/archives/titanic/ - 200501035

RMS Titanic Resource Guide

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the loss of RMS Titanic, we've added newly-digitized content to our existing Resource Guide. Read the diary of Clifford Crease, a crew member on the Mackay-Bennett, and explore 328 Fatality Reports compiled for bodies retrieved at the disaster site. We are proud to make this contribution towards honouring the memory of those who died in Titanic's catastrophic end.


/archives/townships/ - 201104202

Township Records at the Nova Scotia Archives

Detailed information about the contents of 34 township books or record collections  documenting the early history and founding families of Nova Scotia's oldest English-speaking communities. Use this database to plan in-depth family or community history research, and visit the Selected Items section to explore original documents digitized for online viewing.


/archives/yarmouth/ - 201104107

'Seeing Yarmouth': Celebrating 250 Years of Community Life

Hop aboard the 'Seeing Yarmouth' touring car from the early 1900s and take a drive around town! Over 60 historical photographs, presented here in a partnership with the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives to celebrate the community's 250th Anniversary.


/archives/gaho/ - 200600958

Government Administrative Histories

Government Administrative Histories


/archives/acadian/reborn/ - 20110617

An Acadian Parish Reborn

Calling all those with family links to Yarmouth County! Explore this wonderfully rich research product created by the Argyle Township Court House and Archives, and hosted on this website — a searchable database providing the names of all Roman Catholics baptized, married or buried, 1799-1849, in the predominantly Acadian French township of Argyle.


/archives/maps/ - 200603437

Historical Maps of Nova Scotia

You asked for them and here they are! Many of you have told us that you would like more digitized historical maps of Nova Scotia available on this website. We've been listening!


/archives/woolford/ - 200715024

Woolford's Surveys: The Roads from Halifax to Windsor and Truro, 1817-18


/archives/CIS/ - 201002906

Charitable Irish Society

In celebration of the 225th anniversary of the Charitable Irish Society, we are pleased to launch a virtual exhibit celebrating the Halifax institution. It draws from minute-books, petitions and letters, photographs, print material and memorabilia to showcase the Society's activities and interests across its history. Nearly 100 items are featured and include photographs of parades and a gallery of presidents from over the years. Two background articles provide additional information on the long life of the institution.


/archives/lunenburg/ - 200300073

Lunenburg by the Sea

Take a second look at this virtual exhibit from 2003 – we've added an 88-page souvenir booklet, Lunenburg by the Sea: Views of Lunenburg Nova Scotia, published back in 1896 when the Academy on the hill was new!


/archives/eastcoastport/ - 200905910

'An East Coast Port': Halifax in Wartime, 1939-1945

Step back in time to explore a city at war with 'An East Coast Port': Halifax in Wartime, 1939-1945. East Coast Port is a collection of seven virtual exhibits that contain over 5,800 photos, film clips, and print material that documents the lives of Nova Scotians living with war. Highlighted topics include Halifax on the eve of war, wartime censorship, women and families responding to war, and entertaining the troops. A separate film clips section includes footage of a German U-Boat being captured off Shelburne, clips of the V.E. Day Riots, and more.


/archives/RCN/ - 201002595

The Royal Canadian Navy: First Half Century, 1910-1967

The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Navy, formally established in 1910 at Halifax on the East Coast, and at Esquimalt on Vancouver Island, on the West Coast. We are pleased to celebrate this year's landmark occasion by presenting 100 images that collectively tell the story of the navy's first half-century — from its earliest and formative years to Canada's Centennial Celebrations in 1967.


/archives/nsfilm/ - 20100921

The Way We Were: Nova Scotia in Film, 1917-1957

Calling all early film and home-movie fans! From the extensive collection of archival footage held at NSARM, we've selected 96 films that highlight the first forty years of amateur and professional filmmaking in Nova Scotia. Watch the Virtual Cinema here on our Website or on our new YouTube channel.... you'll be amazed and amused at what you find!


/archives/cemeteries - 20100907

Cemetery Records at NS Archives: A Searchable Database

Background information for over 2000 cemeteries in Nova Scotia for which tombstone data has been transcribed and copies filed at the NS Archives — plus a separate virtual tour of Lunenburg's Hillcrest and Old French cemeteries, two of the oldest in Nova Scotia.


/archives/chipman/ - 201002398

Chipman Family Papers: Planters of Cornwallis

The year 2010 marks the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the New England Planters in Nova Scotia. To celebrate this milestone, we are pleased to present an online resource built around the Chipman family papers, one of the largest and most significant document collections surviving from the Planter period.


/archives/meagher/ - 200700105

Aileen Meagher: Olympic Medallist and 'Canada's Flying Schoolmarm'

Celebrate the Olympic spirit by exploring the career of this outstanding Canadian athlete, artist, schoolteacher and world traveller. Over eighty digitized photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, event programs, and works of art showcase her accomplishments, including a bronze medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.


/archives/fundy/ - 200921204

Fishing Fundy Waters

A selection of 44 black-and-white photographs from the early 1950s, honouring and celebrating the people of southwestern Nova Scotia and the work of John Collier Jr., one of America's leading twentieth-century photographers.


/archives/buckler/ - 200837399

Ernest Buckler: A Remarkable Nova Scotia Novelist

Ernest Buckler's The Mountain and the Valley has been described as possibly 'the best novel written anywhere in the last 50 years.' Now, on the 25th anniversary of his death, explore the life and work of this remarkable author through our newest virtual exhibit.


/archives/mccurdy/ - 200837471

J.A.D. McCurdy and the Silver Dart: Canada's 'First Aerial Navigator'

Experience again the thrill of the first successful airplane flight in Canada, 23 February 1909 in Baddeck, NS! Explore photographs, contemporary documents, and the pilot's first-hand accounts of the event.


/archives/assembly/ - 20081003

'Voices of the People' ~ Nova Scotia House of Assembly: Petitions and Correspondence 1758-1850

Explore descriptions for nearly 1500 of the earliest records tabled in the House of Assembly, each entry linked to the digitized original document. View citizens' and community petitions asking for everything from economic assistance to new roads, then explore reports, resolutions, financial estimates and more. This is the first installment of our contribution to Democracy 250 Celebrations in Nova Scotia — more to come later this year!


/archives/white/ - 200715563

Gideon White Family Papers: Loyalists of Shelburne

Welcome to the Loyalist world of Gideon White and his circle of family, friends and colleagues — political refugees to Nova Scotia in the years after the American Revolution. Come and explore information about 1650 items of personal correspondence, bills, receipts, licences, powers of attorney, election papers and local government documents, covering 150 years of family and provincial history. Over 80 original records have been digitized in full, including extensive tax and assessment rolls for Shelburne, 1786 and 1787.


/archives/tourism/ - 200803346

'Canada's Ocean Playground': The Tourism Industry in Nova Scotia, 1870-1970

Take an armchair vacation back in time! Nine virtual exhibits present 6700 digitized images for you to explore — historical photographs, film clips, graphic art and dozens of early travel brochures, timetables and guidebooks, all telling the story of tourism's first century in Nova Scotia. View the Cabot Trail under construction, canoe the backwoods with Mi'kmaq guides, take a tour of Keltic Lodge, and much more. 'Ciad Mile Failte' ... Enjoy!


/archives/dennis/ - 200802007

Clara Dennis

A virtual exhibit showcasing the work of Clara Dennis, Nova Scotia's first woman travel writer. Dennis travelled extensively through mainland Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island during the 1920s and 30s. She had an observant eye, a keen sense of popular history, and captured in her work a Nova Scotia that no longer exists. Nearly eighty black-and-white photographs, along with selected pages from her published works, re-create that world again.


/archives/nsis/ - 16616

Nova Scotia Information Service

We're pleased to present this significant searchable image database for you to explore — 2200 photographs, 1945 to 1970, capturing Nova Scotia and its people at mid-century, plus a selection of eye-catching colour film clips produced in the 1950s and 60s.


/archives/black/ - 200714072

Mary E. Black

If you're a handweaver, you know who Mary Black is! Tour a virtual exhibit celebrating her life and career, then explore over 150 original textile samples based on her book, The Key to Weaving — still a classic, and the standard text for loom-controlled weaving. Each digitized textile sample can be magnified to enable close inspection. This online resource was developed by Atlantic Spinners and Handweavers, in cooperation with Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management.


/archives/builtheritage/ - 200803027

Built Heritage Resource Guide

Finally, help in tracing the history of your property or heritage home! Visit our 'Built Heritage Resource Guide' and explore Nova Scotia house styles, building materials, the impact of disaster and change on communities, and a long list of archival resources to kick-start your research. Lots of detail, plus dozens of historical photographs and maps showing what's quintessential, quaint — and sometimes even quirky — in our province's built heritage.


/archives/connors/ - 200700350

Tom Connors: 'The Old Sport'

Step back in time with Tom Connors, one of Nova Scotia's biggest sports-fans, and explore a collection highlighting amateur athletics in the province, 1830s to the 1940s — photographs, advertisements, engravings and artwork, showcasing star athletes of the day, sports events, a glimpse of the growing city of Halifax, and the natural beauty of Nova Scotia.


/archives/churches/ - 200400408

Church Records at NS Archives: A Searchable Database

At last! An online resource to help researchers identify what church records are held at the Nova Scotia Archives — which communities are represented, what kinds of records are held for individual churches, and date coverage for each. Come and explore a fully searchable database, containing information about the archival records for 510 distinct parishes, congregations and faith communities in Nova Scotia.


/archives/easson/ - 200601163

The Eassons and the Hoyts: Two Hundred Years of Family and Community Life in Nova Scotia

Explore two of Nova Scotia's founding families, 1734-1933, through correspondence, financial accounts, land records and maps. Investigate family and business connections linking Nova Scotia, New England and Jamaica; read about clandestine trade with Louisbourg and early interactions with the Mi'kmaq; compare annual costs for shoes, schooling and other household expenses; examine grocery lists, dressmaking invoices and records of house construction and equipment purchases; and then follow later generations involved with the arrival of telegraphy in Atlantic Canada.


/archives/halifax/ - 199900114

Halifax and Its People / 1749-1999

This is our first virtual exhibit, developed to commemorate Halifax's 250th anniversary. It presents some 150 images from NSARM holdings, with accompanying captions and text, and is designed as an educational, reference and general-interest tool.


/archives/rogers/ - 200600958

Rogers' Photographic Advertising Album (1871)

Step back in time and view downtown Halifax through the camera lens of Joseph Rogers, one of the city's early commercial photographers. Fifty-six local businesses paid for inclusion in his Advertising Album — a marketing strategy from the days when photo advertising was in its infancy. Many of the buildings are still standing, and twenty of them are included in the Nova Scotia Register of Historic Places.


/archives/march/ - 200603531

S. Edgar March: Nova Scotia Bird Watercolours

Ninety years ago, long before the term 'Atlantic Flyway' was coined or Nova Scotia became known as a 'birding destination,' an amateur artist and bird watcher in Bridgewater began a series of watercolour paintings depicting birds that were native to the province. This virtual exhibit celebrates the accomplishments of S. Edgar March (1870-1967) and introduces Internet visitors to nearly sixty images of Nova Scotia's rich bird population.


/archives/royalengineers/ - 200600709

The Royal Engineers in Halifax: Photographing the Garrison City, 1870-1885

Take a unique time-trip back to when Halifax was an outpost of the British Empire. Explore over 250 photographs taken by the Royal Engineers, capturing in minute detail buildings and fortifications at the Halifax Citadel and Dockyard, plus the perimeter installations at Bedford, Dartmouth, McNab's Island, Point Pleasant, York Redoubt and Sambro. You've never seen Halifax like this before!


/archives/prat/ - 200600208

The Prat Sisters: Free Spirits of the 1890s

Annie, Minnie and May Prat, adventurous sisters from Wolfville, N.S., began unusual artistic careers in the United States in the 1890s. Annie studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. Minnie and May apprenticed with North America's first fully-qualified woman bookbinder; by 1900 they had opened the Primrose Bindery in New York City. The sisters had a lively circle of friends, including poets Bliss Carman and Charles G.D. Roberts and Minnie's fiancé, Goodridge Roberts. This virtual exhibit features the sisters' careers; their watercolours, bookbinding, and leatherwork; and letters from Bliss Carman to Annie and Minnie, several never before published. Through an interesting mix of correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia, it illuminates the sisters' creative spirits, warm personal and family relationships, and passion for life.


/archives/meninmines/ - 200600518

Men in the Mines

Explore Nova Scotia's mining heritage via three exhibits featuring over 1100 photographs, personal records and published items. Visit coal, gold, iron and salt mines, gypsum and slate quarries; learn about life above ground; re-live frightening disasters. Search the Fatalities Database containing over 2500 names and use the Resource Guide to plan further research.


/archives/habitation/ - 200502646

The Port Royal Habitation: Four Hundred Years of European Settlement in North America

A virtual exhibit that introduces the concept of the 1605 Habitation, with extensive use of historical photographs to tell the story of its reconstruction and continuing significance as a provincial tourist attraction.


/archives/deportation/ - 200501853

Acadian Heartland: Records of the Deportation and Le Grand Dérangement, 1714-1768

The largest and most complete online presentation of primary-source documents relating to the Deportation of the Acadians from Nova Scotia, digitized and fully searchable.


/archives/directory/ - 1

McAlpine's Nova Scotia Directory, 1907-08

An invaluable tool for researching family or community history through alphabetical listings of residents living in the principal cities, towns and rural areas of Nova Scotia at the turn of the last century. We've scanned and made searchable every page in the 1907-08 Directory - all 1556 of them!


/archives/lighthouses/ - 200500584

Lighthouses of Nova Scotia

This virtual exhibit within 'Nova Scotia and the Sea' contains 775 period photographs and related documents, all telling the story of Nova Scotia's lighthouses and the people who lived and worked in them. Over 400 unique, rarely-seen photographs taken by the Department of Transport in the early 1900s provide the highlight of the exhibit, enabling visitors to experience a world which no longer exists.


/archives/macaskill/ - 200310644

W.R. MacAskill

Wallace R. MacAskill is one of Nova Scotia's best-known photographers, famous for his seascapes and images of sailing vessels. Search a database containing over 4600 digitized black-and-white photographs with accompanying item descriptions, and experience MacAskill's saltwater world of the early twentieth century.


/archives/brigsbarqs/ - 200400580

Brigs and Barques: Images and Artworks from the Age of Sail

A virtual exhibit focusing on the largest of the legendary 'Tall Ships' built in Nova Scotia and sailed around the world. Featuring over 200 period photographs and marine paintings in a searchable database, and complemented by an extensive selection of original letters, diaries and shipping records that tell the story of 'Life at Sea' in the twilight days of the Age of Sail.


/archives/degarthe/ - 200400395

William E. deGarthe

In 1977 William E. deGarthe (1907-1983), one of Nova Scotia's best-known marine artists, gifted a collection of his representative paintings to the Province of Nova Scotia. These works are on permanent display at the Public Archives Building in Halifax, but making them accessible on this Web site fulfills the larger intent of deGarthe's gift — to ensure that his legacy is available for all Nova Scotians to experience and enjoy.


/archives/ports/ - 200400417

Ports and Harbours

Take a time-tour of Nova Scotia's ports and harbours, via photographs, artworks, postcards, sea charts and early government records. Explore at least three centuries of the interface between land and sea, from Mi'kmaq petroglyphs to colour photographs, featuring wharves, shipping piers, shipyards and slipways, customs houses and merchants' stores, fishing fleets, fish plants, ferry services and all manner of related activities carried out at the water's edge.


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Spoils of War: Privateering in Nova Scotia

Enter the world of privateering and explore a long-forgotten chapter in Nova Scotia history! Original log-books and documentation from the privateers Charles Mary Wentworth, Nelson and Dart are presented online here for the first time, along with complementary digitized content from Halifax newspapers, 1793-1815. An introductory essay, extensive background information and study guides for further research provide rich context for experiencing Nova Scotia's war-at-sea in the Napoleonic Era.


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The Royal Navy in Nova Scotia Waters

A virtual exhibit containing 140 period photographs and documentary artworks, capturing the flavour and essence of naval life in Nova Scotia, 1751 to 1939. The parade of seapower ranges from men-of-war to the steel vessels of the twentieth century; other image selections bring vividly to life the men of the Royal Navy and the everyday world they lived in — from ratings to admirals, to seamen with their pet monkeys.


/archives/schooners/ - 200400919

Schooners: Workhorses of the Sea

A virtual exhibit with over 375 images of Nova Scotian schooners — from photographs taken in the 1880s to snapshots of a few remaining originals still afloat in the 1950s. Because the schooners' working world was not a romantic one, this exhibit also includes a variety of textual records documenting their everyday activities and upkeep.


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Where the Land Meets the Sea: Shipwrecks of Nova Scotia

The number of vessels which have foundered on the rocky Nova Scotia coastline over the past four centuries defies calculation. The 'On the Rocks' searchable database presented here provides extensive information for 5000 known wrecks. An accompanying virtual exhibit using historical photographs, documentary artworks, newspaper articles and original records, begins to tell the story of loss and destruction so common in Nova Scotia waters. A special section examines the almost-forgotten wreck of the SS Atlantic in 1873–the world's worst merchant shipwreck known at that time and for many years after.


/archives/heartland/ - 200400435

Acadian Heartland: The Records of British Government at Annapolis Royal, 1713-1749

A digitized, fully searchable online version of the earliest surviving records of British government in Nova Scotia, 1713-1749. A snapshot of everyday life in the colony under a civil administration, the records provide significant information about families and individuals, community history, economic history, land tenure, the administration of justice, trade and commerce, natural resources, relations with the Mikmaq—and above all, interaction between Acadians and the British authorities.


/archives/acadians/ - 200400413

This is Our Home: Acadians of Nova Scotia

A virtual exhibit celebrating the Acadian Experience in Nova Scotia over the past 150 years. Three dozen heritage photographs tell the story of reliance upon the land and sea, document the record of built heritage, provide insight into social activities, and showcase traditional dress and handcrafts—especially the world-famous Cheticamp hooked rug. The exhibit, in slightly expanded form, is also available onsite in the lobby of the Public Archives Building.


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Acadian Genealogical Sources

Planning a research trip to the Nova Scotia Archives in search of your Acadian ancestors? Wanting to know what general background books are available to provide more information about your Acadian heritage? Check out this brief guide to resources available onsite at NSARM. Don't forget that many of these items can be ordered, via your local library, from institutions participating in Interlibrary Loan Services.


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Bluenose: A Canadian Icon

A tribute to the greatest Nova Scotia schooner of them all. A virtual exhibit featuring over 350 heritage photographs, original documents, charts and miscellaneous items that tell the stories of Bluenose and Bluenose II, the people who sailed them and the times in which they lived.


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Place-Names and Places of Nova Scotia

Published in 1967, and still the best source available for basic, reliable and easily accessed information about Nova Scotia's cities, towns and villages. Over 2300 entries, searchable by community name or by county. Each entry provides community highlights, including first settlement, first churches, first schools, primary industries, significant events and notable citizens.


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Cape Breton Island Petitions 1787-1843

Search this database to access the personal names and information contained in 3,340 petitions from Cape Breton Island (1787-1843).


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Directories - City, Provincial, Telephone and Business

Ever think of using old telephone or city directories in your research? Long after their immediate shelf-life has ended, these published sources live on as significant research tools for family and community history, environmental studies, and for tracking home and property ownership.


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Court of Appeal casebooks, 1885-1900

Forms part of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal fonds; search for the appellant and/or respondent in appeal cases heard between 1890 and 1947.


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Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes case files, 1759-1960

Forms part of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Halifax County fonds; search for names and dates of divorce cases heard between 1759 and 1963. In the two centuries following Nova Scotia's first recorded divorce in 1759 nearly 7000 divorce cases were heard by this court.


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Medical Examiner for the City of Halifax and Town of Dartmouth

Search for individuals whose deaths were reported on by the Medical Examiner between 1895 and 1967.


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The Halifax Gazette

On 23 March 1752, the history of printing began in Canada. On that Monday, from a small print shop on Grafton Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia, John Bushell sold copies of the Halifax Gazette  — Canada's first newspaper.


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J.A. Irvine

John Irvine was an enthusiastic amateur photographer, active in the period ca.1895 to ca.1905. His views of Halifax and several nearby communities (Fall River, Purcell Cove, Waverley), plus the area around Annapolis Royal (Bear River, Clementsport, Granville Ferry, Smiths Cove) include buildings, street-scapes, picnics and outdoor activities, railways, farm scenes and informal portraits.


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Buckley Family

The Buckley family photographs depict Guysborough and vicinity, the Buckley family and their friends, and document the growth and development of Guysborough over a fifty-year period, beginning in 1889.


/archives/notman/ - 200714122

Notman Studio

The Notman Studio photographs cover the period ca.1869 to ca.1920, and include photo portraits, Halifax streets, buildings and general views, and similar landscapes from several other Nova Scotia communities.


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An Acadian Parish Remembered

A fully searchable database containing information for over 3500 baptisms, marriages and burials recorded in the parish registers of St.-Jean-Baptiste, Annapolis Royal, 1702-1755. These two volumes are Nova Scotia's earliest surviving church registers, and a tangible link to the last generations of Acadian French living at Annapolis before the Deportation.


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Eastern Eye: A Nova Scotia Filmography, 1899-1973

A new research and reference tool for film researchers, cultural historians and anyone interested in 'the movies'! Eastern Eye is a bibliography of film, video and selected television productions, created by, for or about Nova Scotians, 1899-1973. The file includes 'A Brief History of Film in Nova Scotia' and a database of over 2500 film descriptions, plus indexes.



Crown copyright © 2017, Province of Nova  Scotia.