Nova Scotia Archives

Built Heritage Resource Guide

Assessment Rolls

Most researchers exploring the history of their home or property will be interested, at some point, in tracking its assessed value over time, since this information can indicate improvements (or otherwise) to the premises, as well as changing circumstances in the surrounding neighbourhood and community. Assessment records ('rolls') are compiled annually for taxation purposes; they are only useful if explored and compared across a number of years to ascertain increases or decreases in value, thereby learning that something has happened to the property over time. Researchers should also remember that the records do not provide specific values for individual houses, because land, outbuildings, vessels, etc. are all factored into a total assessed value for each property.

In the early days, assessment was a municipal responsibility; the surviving records at the Nova Scotia Archives have been arranged alphabetically by name of the township or municipality, and are available as Series A within Record Group 34. A finding aid is available, but the records are scattered and very incomplete. Modern assessment activities are administered by the Government of Nova Scotia, and a large collection of annual records, 1979-98, is available at the Nova Scotia Archives on microfiche, within Record Group 23 (the former Department of Municipal Affairs).

Assessment records for the former City of Halifax and Halifax County are included within Record Group 35 (Municipality of Halifax). Rolls for the city begin in 1817, but are very incomplete; the earliest roll for the county is 1835, but almost no others have survived until the 1890s. These records have all been transferred to the Halifax Regional Municipality Archives in Dartmouth and are available there for consultation.

"Copy of Assessment Rolls and Rate Paid for County of Pictou"

Date: 1843

Reference: Court of General Sessions of the PeaceNova Scotia Archives RG 34-318 A.1

Topic: Assessment Rolls

"Front Street, Now Pictou Club"

Date: August 1949

Photographer: George MacLaren

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Photo Collection: Places: Pictou: Stone Houses

Topic: Assessment Rolls


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