Unlike primary sources, which are created at the time of an event, usually by someone directly involved (e.g., a marriage registration, a census return, a land grant), secondary sources are produced after an event and can include interpretation of what occurred. Secondary sources may also be compilations or lists of primary-source information. Typically, secondary sources are published (e.g., a biography, a history textbook, a county history, articles in a magazine or scholarly journal).
Secondary sources are useful in genealogical research for providing quick access to elusive or additional family information, perhaps even providing your family's genealogy compiled by someone else, or for providing background information about the community your ancestors lived in. County and Community Histories and Provincial and City Directories described on this website are good examples of secondary sources.
The Nova Scotia Archives maintains a substantial Library of secondary source materials intended to support scholarly, academic and family history research.
The secondary sources listed below and available at the Archives have helped many researchers get started with basic family information and research strategies:
- Terrence M. Punch, Genealogical Research in Nova Scotia; (rev. ed. 1998).
- Terrence M. Punch, Genealogist's Handbook for Atlantic Canada Research; (rev. ed. 1998).
- Terrence M. Punch, Religious Marriages in Halifax, 1768-1841, from primary sources; 1991.
- Heather Long, Marriages in Nova Scotia (excluding Halifax City), 1752-1841; 2009 (4 vols.).
- Allan Everett Marble, Deaths, Burials and Probate of Nova Scotia, 1749-1799, from Primary Sources; 1990 (2 vols.).
- Allan Everett Marble, Deaths, Burials and Probate of Nova Scotia, 1800-1850, from primary sources; 1999 (4 vols.).
Look at our library catalogue, especially the Genealogy/Reference Collection, to explore more possibilities. Our secondary sources are available at the Nova Scotia Archives. See Hours and Location to plan a visit.