Nova Scotia, Antigonish Catholic Diocese Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Access the records: Nova Scotia, Antigonish Catholic Diocese 1823-1905 .

Record Description

In this set of parish registers, the births or baptisms, marriages, and deaths or burials are usually entered in separate volumes. A few volumes have intermixed entries; some are indexed. Early registers are written in paragraph format, while later registers are pre-printed with the information filled in by hand in each column.

The text is usually in English, although a few records are in Latin or French. This set also includes transcriptions of original registers for some parishes. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish was originally known as the Diocese of Arichat and was established on September 22, 1844. Previously, the diocese was part of the Diocese of Quebec.

On August 23, 1886, the see was moved from Arichat to the town of Antigonish and the diocese became the Diocese of Antigonish. The diocese covers seven counties in northeastern Nova Scotia: Richmond, Inverness, Victoria, Cape Breton, Antigonish, Pictou and Guysborough. Catholic records are traditionally kept on the parish level so the registers are usually found at the church where the event occurred. Based on statistics from the 1901 Canadian census, around 28% of the population of Nova Scotia was Catholic and 58% of the Catholics in Nova Scotia lived in the Diocese of Antigonish. About 68% of the pre-1906 parishes in the diocese are included in this record set.

These parish registers cover 1823-1905, dates vary for each parish. Parish registers are considered a very reliable source for family history research because they contain a record of an event usually entered into the register at or very near the time the event occurred.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"Nova Scotia Antigonish Catholic Diocese 1823-1905" Index and Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

These baptismal records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of baptism
  • Child's name and date of birth
  • Names of parents
  • Names of godparents

These marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of the groom and bride
  • Names of witnesses

These death records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of death and burial
  • Name and age of deceased
  • Birth place of deceased
  • Cause of death
  • Officiating priest
  • Name of cemetery

How to Use the Records

To begin your search in this collection, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of ancestor, bride or groom, or deceased
  • Date and place of event

Search the Collection

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

To search the collection image by image select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒ Select the appropriate "Name of County"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Name of Town"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Name of Parish"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Event Type" which takes you to the images

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.

Using the Information

When you have found the ancestor that you are looking for, the following will help you further your research:

  • Use the age on the marriage records to calculate a birth year.

General Information About These Records

Because civil registration of births and deaths was sporadic in Nova Scotia until 1908, church records are a very important source for birth or baptism, marriage, and death or burial information. Use parish registers to identify individuals, parents, spouses, event dates, places of residence, and possible relatives who may have served as witnesses. Parish registers were created to keep a written record of baptisms, marriages, and burials for the Catholic Church.

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

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Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

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.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"Nova Scotia, Antigonish Catholic Diocese 1823-1905" database, FamilySearch ( accessed 11 July 2012), Carrol K Fraser and Annie Fraser, 10 Nov 1897; citing marriage records; Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.