Family History

Nova Scotia Archives

Family History

Nova Scotia has welcomed people from all over the world since Samuel de Champlain, the first European visitor, stepped ashore in 1604. As a result, genealogical research in Nova Scotia runs deep, includes many cultural threads, and is both challenging and rewarding.

As well as our native Mi’kmaq, Nova Scotia’s founding cultures include Acadian, English, German, African Nova Scotian, Scottish, Irish, and American. It’s said that 25 million people living in North America today can trace their families back to Nova Scotia sometime over the past 400 years. Are you one of them?

To help you start exploring your family history in this province, you’ll want to read our Genealogy Guide, a compact handbook describing the principal sources available at the Nova Scotia Archives, along with suggested strategies for designing your research journey.

Luckily for you, Nova Scotia is one of the few Canadian jurisdictions to digitize its Historical Vital Statistics and put them online. Two centuries of surviving birth, marriage and death records registered with the provincial government are available on our companion website, That’s one million names in a searchable database, each name linked to the corresponding digital record of the event – you’re going to be busy!

Take a look at the Historical Vital Statistics home page to review complete date coverage for records now open to the public, and to learn where more recent registrations, not yet released, are held. We’ve also shared name indexes for the Historical Vital Statistics with , where they’re available along with a variety of Canadian research collections.

There are many other resources available on our website to help with your family history research. Visit the Virtual area to discover dozens of online exhibits, searchable databases and special thematic guides. Remember though – what we’re able to offer on this website is only a small portion of the research materials available if you visit in person. We hope you’ll make plans to do exactly that!

banner image: Len Wagg - Wagg-6842   Nova Scotia Archives by Len Wagg

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