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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in April 2013. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian: Vital Statistic Records - Part 1 by Sharon L. Murphy. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
- 1 Nova Scotia (cont.)
- 2 Marriage Registration Books, 1864-1918
- 3 Marriage Bonds
- 4 Birth Registration
- 5 Death Registration
Nova Scotia (cont.)
Marriage Registration Books, 1864-1918
This series forms part of the Nova Scotia Deputy Registrar-General fonds and consists of marriage registration books prepared initially from quarterly lists of marriage licenses completed by local issuers of marriage licenses and forwarded to the Statistics Office in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The local officials would also forward the completed “marriage forms” that contained information on each marriage.
Marriage Registration Books record the names of those married, their ages, their place of birth and residence, their parents’ names and occupations, the name and church affiliation of the minister involved, the names of witnesses and the occupation of the groom.
Each county has separate registration books that start in 1864 and end, depending on the county, between 1906 and 1918.
This series has an alphabetical index arranged by county and year.
Marriage License Files
The marriage license files series contains the “marriage forms” used to create this series and may contain information absent from incomplete marriage registration book entries. Until 1876, the quarterly returns of marriage licenses issued and marriages solemnized series were also used to prepare the marriage registration books.
The series is arranged chronologically by county. A finding aid is provided on the website although the name index itself is not online.
Marriage Bonds 1763-1872
Alphabetical and chronological listings of marriage bonds are available in hard copy at NSARM. A volume list indicating the time period covered by each microfilm reel is available online. An index to the bonds is now searchable online, 1763-1864, as part of the searchable marriage records. A digital copy of the bond is viewable and electronic or paper copies may be purchased.
From the annual reports of the Commissioner of Public Records and the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, it appears the majority of the bonds were delivered by 1860 to the commissioner who then made a catalogue of them covering the years 1752-1855. With the passage of the Registration Act in 1864 another transfer of material was made to the commissioner who then extended his catalogue to 1864. In 1876 the two-volume catalogue and the bonds were transferred to the marriage license clerk.
This series forms part of the Nova Scotia Deputy Registrar-General fonds and consists of bonds attesting to the absence of legal impediments to a marriage. Bonds dating from 1763 to 1864 and from 1821 to 1872, record the name, place of residence, marital status, and the occupation of the groom.
Separate forms were used for adherents of the established church (Church of England) and for other Protestants or Dissenters (individuals opposed to the established church). Those for Dissenters included the name and religious affiliation of the minister, while those for the Church of England included only the parish name. If the parties involved were under the age of majority or in the military, letters of permission were attached to the bond.
The existence of a bond is not proof that the marriage actually occurred as the bond was furnished in application for a marriage license and not as a record of marriage. The bonds are arranged chronologically.
The Nova Scotia Government was involved in regulating the process followed for the solemnization of marriage from the beginning of British rule in the colony (1763). Through the provision of marriage licenses, the government provided an alternative process of marriage other than the reading of banns in church.
The Nova Scotia Provincial Secretary’s Office was responsible for the issuing of licenses under the Governor’s seal and signature. In practice, licenses were provided in bulk to local officials to issue upon receipt of the appropriate bond or application.
Bonds Dating from 1763-1863
These bonds were transferred by the Deputy Registrar General in 1959 to the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management office. Related records may be found in the marriage license files series which includes additional bonds, identical in form, to those found in this series but covering the period from 1848 to 1864. Many licenses issued as a result of these bonds, including many for marriages performed in other parishes may be found in the St. Paul’s Anglican Church (Halifax, Nova Scotia) Fonds.
Returns of Marriage Licenses Issued and Marriages Solemnized 1864-1875
This series forms part of the Nova Scotia Deputy Registrar-General fonds and consists of quarterly returns submitted by the local issuers of marriage licenses to the federal statistics office in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The returns are arranged by county, and then chronologically by date and then alphabetically by district within each county. The returns generally list the parties being married, those co-signing the marriage bonds, the minister and church involved and whether the license was returned. Returns of marriages solemnized give the full particulars of the wedding including names of witnesses, ages of those married and the names and occupations of their parents.
The returns were then used to compile the marriage registration books. Numbers found on the returns correspond to registration numbers on individual licenses and not to numbers generated for indexes. The Registration Act of 1864 provided for the appointment of deputy issuers of marriage licenses in all parts of the province. They were responsible for providing marriage licenses to the clergy in their areas, receiving the licenses after they had been used in performance of marriages and recording the marriages by license and also by banns. The quarterly returns were submitted to the federal statistics office in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
These records are also part of the searchable marriage records. A digital copy of the document is viewable and electronic or paper copies may be purchased.
Birth Registration Books 1864-1877
This series forms part of the Nova Scotia Deputy Registrar-General fonds and consists of birth registration books recording the name of the person born, the date and place of birth, the mother’s maiden name, the father’s name, residence and occupation, when and where the parents were married, the date the birth was registered and who provided the information. This series is indexed by surname of person being registered.
This series is searchable online as part of the Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics database. Digitial images of the records may be viewed and electronic or paper copies may be purchased.
Returns of Births Registered 1864-1877
This series forms part of the Nova Scotia Deputy Registrar-General fonds and consists of quarterly returns of birth registrations made by local registrars and forwarded to the federal statistics office in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For each birth the registration information includes the name of the person born, the date and place of birth, the mother’s maiden name, the father’s name, residence and occupation, when and where the parents were married, the date and birth was registered and who provided the information. The returns are in alphabetical order by the name of the registration district.
Death Registration Books 1864-1877
This series forms part of the Nova Scotia Deputy Registrar-General fonds and consists of death registration books which record the deceased’s name, age, occupation, marital status, birthplace, parents’ names and occupation, the deceased’s date and place of death and the informant providing the information. Some forms used to collect the information also include the cause of death, how long the condition was evident and the name of any attending physician. This series is indexed by surname of the deceased.
This series is also searchable online as part of the Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics database. Digitial images of the records may be viewed and electronic or paper copies may be purchased.
Returns of Registered Deaths 1864-1877
This series forms part of the Nova Scotia Deputy Registrar-General fonds and consists of quarterly returns made by local registrars of deaths to the federal statistics office in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This series also includes information recorded for each death which includes the deceased’s name, age, occupation, marital status, birthplace, parents’ names and occupation, the date and place of death and the informant providing the information to the local registrar.
Some forms reporting individual deaths include the cause of death, how long the condition was evident and the name of any attending physician. The returns are arranged by county, then chronologically by year and quarter and then alphabetically by district. Among the quarterly returns are found many forms used to report individual deaths. Death registration books series was compiled from this series and contains similar, more complete information.
Coroners' and Medical Examiners' Reports
Coroners' and Medical Examiners' Reports 1920-1974
This series forms part of the Nova Scotia Department of the Attorney General fonds and consists of reports filed with the Attorney General’s department by provincial magistrates judges concerning the advisability of holding a formal inquest or magisterial inquiry concerning a death, or containing the results of such an inquest or inquiry.
Under the Coroners Act and its 1960 replacement the Fatalities Inquiry Act, local coroners or medical examiners were required to report on all instances of death where there was reason to suspect foul play, the cause of death was unknown, the person died in jail, or another statute required a report. These reports give the name of the deceased, the cause of death, some particulars of identification such as age or occupation, and a recommendation about the need for a formal inquiry or inquest respecting the cause of the death.
These reports were then filed with the Clerk of the Crown in the county where the death occurred, and with a provincial stipendiary magistrate who would then decide on holding a formal inquest or inquiry. If no further action was indicated, this was reported to the Attorney General for review. When such an inquest or formal inquiry was held, the report was also forwarded to the Attorney General.
County Clerks' Files
Some coroners’ and medical examiners’ reports that were filed with county clerks of the crown are found in the Nova Scotia County Courts fonds, District Number Three (Digby County) inquest records, 1911-1969. Additional records are in the Coroners’ inquests and medical reports collection and include records for Halifax and Dartmouth (1755-1973), Halifax County (1828-1928), Cape Breton County (1906-1907), Colchester County (1885-1973), Cumberland County (1931-1959), Inverness County (1936-1971), Lunenburg County (1824-1907), Queens County (1818-1940) and Shelburne County (1786-1904)
A database searchable by the name of deceased in the reports of the Medical Examiner concerning deaths occurring within the City of Halifax or the Town of Dartmouth from 1895 to 1967. The database provides the full name, date and retrieval number. Digital images are not available but the records up to 1928 are available on microfilm.
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian: Vital Statistic Records - Part 1 offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.