Nova Scotia Vital Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Nova Scotia Vital Records, 1763-1957 .
This article describes a collection of records at
Nova Scotia,  Canada
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Location of Nova Scotia, Canada
Record Description
Record Type Births, Marriages, Deaths
Collection years 1763-1957
Languages English
Title in the Language Nova Scotia Vital Records
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Nova Scotia Archives

What is in this Collection?

This collection is an index for the years 1763-1957 that was created by the Nova Scotia Archives. These records include registered births from 1864-1877 with some birth entries as early as 1810, delayed births 1836-1907, marriages 1763-1932, and deaths 1864-1877, 1908-1957. Images for these records are on the Nova Scotia Genealogy website.

In 1864, an attempt was made to register vital statistics in Nova Scotia. These records are fairly complete from 1867 to 1874. In 1877, birth and death registration was discontinued, but it began again in 1908.

Nova Scotia was settled by the French in 1605. The French did not keep vital records. Instead, they recorded similar information in Catholic Church records. Very few church records of baptism, marriage, and burial for the French settlers exist before 1702. Church of England records for British settlers began in Halifax in 1749.

The various records in this collection may contain the following information:

Birth records

  • Name of child
  • Date of birth and place of child
  • Gender
  • Names of parents
  • Birthplace of parents
  • Registration date and number
  • Names of witnesses

Marriage records

  • Name of groom
  • Name and maiden name of bride
  • Grooms father’s occupation
  • Bride’s father’s occupation
  • Names of parents for both bride and groom
  • Place of birth for parents
  • Place and date of marriage
  • Names of witnesses
  • Age at marriage

Death records

  • Name of deceased
  • Date and place of burial
  • Date and place of death
  • Occupation
  • Gender
  • Cause of death
  • Date and place of birth
  • Age at death
  • Marital status
  • Name of spouse
  • Name of parents

How Do I Search the Collection?

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page.

Look at the images one by one, comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found Who I was Looking for, Now What?

  • When you have found the information that you have been looking for, search in the Nova Scotia Church Records. Church records were detailed and kept many years before government records. Search for all people with the same last name as your ancestor and record these in a separate place to review possible relationships to your family. The church records may contain all births, marriages and deaths for an entire family.
  • Search in the Birth, Baptism and Marriage collections to find the names of the parents, the date of baptism, and the year and place of marriage.
  • Use the age in the marriage records or death records to find an approximate birth year to begin your search in church or civil records.
  • Find more detail about death or burial information by searching for cemeteries, grave markers, sexton's records, or a civil or religious death record. Look for an obituary in a local newspaper archive. Sometimes a person is buried in a city or town in which they did not die. Do not assume that a burial place is the same as a death place. Look for death records in the place of death. The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records, which often include the names and residences of other family members.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For, Now What?

  • Try looking in the census records for the possible place of residence at the time of the event. Census records may also list family and household members.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they were born, married or died, then try searching records of a nearby locality.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.  

Collection Citation:

"Nova Scotia, Vital Records, 1763-1957." Database. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016. Citing Nova Scotia Archives.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Nova Scotia Vital Records, 1763-1957.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.