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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian Vital Statistics Records Part 2  by by Sharon L. Murphy. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (NSARM) has recently placed some historical vital records, searchable index and digital images, online. See their Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics website. At the time of publication of this course (January 2014) the website listed the following records as available:

1864-1877, 1908-1912 (delayed registrations 1830-1911)
Marriages Bonds 1763-1864 Registrations 1864-1937
Deaths 1864-1877, 1908-1962 City of Halifax 1890-1908

Present day vital statistics records (beyond the above dates) are in the department called Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Vital Statistics Division. But please note that birth certificates of deceased persons born less than 100 years ago or married less than 75 years ago cannot be issued for genealogy. Death certificates can be released if the death occurred more than 20 years ago and the deceased would be 75 years of age or more.

Genealogical information is available from the Division by applying for certificates (short form or long form) or for three-year searches. This can be done via their online service, or mailing the application form found on the website. Both methods are processed within ten days—a faster service than many. Applications are also accepted at local Motor Vehicle Registry Offices. Payment is made to the Minister of Finance by cheque, credit card or Interac direct deposit. Cash is only acceptable when paying in person.

Birth records are the most restricted, and can only be issued to the person named on the certificate, the parents, or a legal guardian. To apply, you must provide your own full name; date and place of birth; names of your parents (and mother’s maiden name); your address and daytime phone number. The latest notice about birth certificates says, “Some people may be asked to provide additional documentation or information—such as a passport, SIN or driver’s licence—as further proof of identity.” There are absolutely no exemptions for other kin or genealogical research.

Marriage records are only available to the bride or groom, or to a third party with their written consent.

Death records have a bit more leeway. In view of all this, a three-year search may be the best option.

Service Nova Scotia - Access Nova Scotia - Vital Statistics
Physical Address:
300 Horseshoe Lake Drive
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3S 0B7
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 157
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2M9
Phone: 902-424-4381


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Canadian Vital Statistics Records Part 2 offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 4 November 2014, at 17:14.
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