Nova Scotia Archives

Church Records

Church Records

Given that the Nova Scotia government did not consistently register births, deaths, and marriages prior to 1908, church registers, which record the baptisms, marriages and burials of parishoners and their children, are an important source of information for family history.

Baptism records help genealogists identify a previous generation because the parents’ names are usually given. Baptism registers typically include the child’s name, date of birth, date of baptism, parents’ names, father’s occupation, residence, and names of sponsors/godparents.

Marriage records usually give only the names of the bride and groom, and not their parents’ names. The exceptions are Roman Catholic Church registers, which frequently list parents’ names and the mother’s maiden name; and the Zion Lutheran Church register, Lunenburg, which identifies the name of the bride’s father.

Burial records are incomplete for many congregations, and usually provide only the name of deceased, age, sometimes an occupation, residence, and date of burial.

An online index and full information about Church Records at the Nova Scotia Archives is available on this website; the database provides details for over 500 distinct parishes, congregations and faith communities. The church registers themselves remain the property of their parent parishes or congregations; most are unindexed, and many of them are available in microfilm format only, for onsite research at the Nova Scotia Archives. See Hours and Location to plan a visit.

An online database for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish, including Pictou, Guysborough, Antigonish, Cape Breton, Inverness, Richmond, and Victoria counties is available on the Family Search website.