Nova Scotia Archives

Nova Scotia Births, Marriages, and Deaths

Birth Registrations ~ 1864-1877, 1908-1923

Civil registration of births in Nova Scotia began in 1864, continued to 1877, then lapsed until 1908, when the province resumed record-keeping. Registrations for 1864-1877 are incomplete. Since 1 October 1908 the records have been maintained without interruption.

Birth registrations normally include the following information, although many details will be missing from the early records:

  • surname and given name
  • date of birth
  • place of birth
  • sex of child
  • name of parents
  • birthplace of parents
  • date and place of parents’ marriage (1864-1877 only)
  • registration date
  • registration number
  • date issued
Delayed Birth Registrations ~ 1830-1923

Creation of these records began in 1908, when modern-day civil registration commenced in Nova Scotia. Individuals born in the province before 1908 who wanted their births officially recorded, or who required proof-of-birth in later life when applying for passports, pensions (e.g. federal old-age pension system began in 1927, became universal in 1952) and similar evidence-based records were able to do so for many years after 1908 via a 'delayed registration' procedure at the Vital Statistics Office.

Over 100,000 records survive from this process, for individuals born between 1830 (the earliest we have been able to identify) and 1909 (the year most recently released), who chose to register sometime after 1908. By their very nature, these records are incomplete and scattered, with the majority (90,000) capturing information for individuals born after 1880.

Delayed or 'late' registrations used the same form required for routine birth registrations and captured the same information (see list above). Many of the 'late' registrations, however, included additional information submitted to support the application, such as family Bible extracts, census abstracts, and copies of church-register entries. As many as four items of supporting 'evidence' might accompany a single registration form — all documents in each of the 100,000 record files have been digitized and are included in this online product.


Records remain with Vital Statistics, Service Nova Scotia. Please contact them for further assistance.



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