News release

Cape Breton Genealogy Goes Electronic

A Cape Breton genealogical centre will soon begin an electronic make-over of its archives, easing the workload for researchers worldwide looking for Nova Scotia connections.

The Roots Cape Breton Genealogy and Family History Centre will hire nine employees to develop an interactive website and convert more than 90,000 records into electronic form over the next three years.

Funding for the project was announced today by Nova Scotia Economic Development Minister Gordon Balser and Senator Bernie Boudreau, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister responsible for Nova Scotia, on behalf of Jane Stewart, Minister of Human Resources Development Canada, and George Baker, Secretary of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. The government of Canada will invest $169,554 through Human Resources Development Canada and $105,625 through Enterprise Cape Breton Corp.

Roots Cape Breton will also receive $25,000 through the province's Community Opportunities Fund, a program of Nova Scotia Economic Development designed to support projects with significant long-term benefits to a local economy. The Municipality of Victoria County and the Nova Scotia Highland Village Society will each contribute $4,300 toward the project.

"Building a future on the foundation of our past is a smart economic venture, especially as interest in our personal roots grows across North America," said Mr. Balser. "Roots Cape Breton taps into that interest with a project that has the potential of leading the way for years to come in the area of electronic research."
"Working together, the government of Canada and its partners are committed to finding ways to help stimulate economic growth in Cape Breton," said Senator Boudreau. "Roots Cape Breton is an excellent example of our efforts to build sustainability in the area by creating long-term employment opportunities, expanding tourism activity and capitalizing on its strengths such as its heritage and culture."

The Nova Scotia Highland Village Society started Roots Cape Breton almost 10 years ago in response to the increasing popularity of genealogy in Victoria County. Among its archives are digital census records, conventional census accounts, birth and marriage records, formal and informal family histories, published and unpublished community records, and church documentation.

The funding announced today will help Roots Cape Breton to gain an advantage in using CD-ROM technology and in the world of e- commerce with online sales of genealogical publications, educational services, and records, data and information in digital format.

The Nova Scotia Highland Village Society, established in 1959, is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting, interpreting and furthering the buildings and artifacts at the Nova Scotia Highland Village Site in Iona, and to preserving and promoting the Scottish Highland culture in Nova Scotia. The village includes an Outdoor Pioneer Museum, the Roots Cape Breton Genealogy and Family History Centre and Highland Village Gift Shop and Outdoor Entertainment and Theatre facility.

The village attracted more than 43,000 visitors between 1998 and 1999, of which about half were from outside Nova Scotia. The highland village society currently employs about 20 people and is complemented by a board of directors and group of volunteers.

Support of the Roots Cape Breton project shows the government of Canada's commitment to partner with all levels of government and community organizations to provide meaningful projects that will help create economic sustainability and long-term employment opportunities for the people and communities of Cape Breton.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Researchers looking for family roots in Nova Scotia will soon find the task a little easier.

A Cape Breton genealogical centre is converting more than 90-thousand records in its archives into electronic form.

The Roots Cape Breton Genealogy and Family History Centre, in Iona, will also develop an interactive website for use by researchers worldwide.

The centre is hiring nine people to carry out the work.

The project is being supported by 275-thousand dollars from the federal government through the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation and Human Resources Development Canada.

The province will chip in 25-thousand dollars through the Department of Economic Development's Community Opportunities Fund. And Victoria County Municipality and the Nova Scotia Highland Village Society will each contribute 43-hundred dollars.

Roots Cape Breton began almost a decade ago in response to the growing interest in genealogy.

Since then, it has collected numerous census records, birth, marriage and death records, family histories, community records and church documents.

-30-

Contact:

Maggie Marwah
Nova Scotia Economic Development 902-424-1728 E-mail:
Alice Almond
Human Resources Development Canada 902-564-3467
Marcie Stanley
Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. 902-564-7876
Rodney Chaisson
Nova Scotia Highland Village 902-725-2272

AUX RÉDACTEURS EN CHEF: Ce communiqué est également disponible en français; appeler 902-424-4492 ou c. élec. Release@gov.ns.ca .

kjd                 November 30, 1999     9:56 a.m.