Difference between revisions of "Nova Scotia Vital Records"

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| valign="middle" align="left" bgcolor="#ffff99" |Not all couples who intended to marry actually married. You should look for proof that they married.  
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<br>Proofthat a marriage actually took place may be:  
Proofthat a marriage actually took place may be:  
 
  
 
*A note on the bond or license.  
 
*A note on the bond or license.  

Revision as of 17:10, 10 September 2010

Background

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

For Nova Scotia, many kinds of vital records of marriages were kept:

  • Township books began in 1760. Some ended when the townships were discontinued after 1860. Marriages recorded in the books may be as early as 1702 and as late as 1920.
  • Provincewide records of marriage bonds were kept between 1763 and 1864. There a few for later years to 1871.
  • County marriage records of licenses and bonds began in 1849.
  • Provincewide records of marriages began in 1864 and are still being kept.

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.

Births, marriages, and deaths began to be recorded in township books about 1760, when settlers from New England came to Nova Scotia. Townships were never established on Cape Breton Island, and the township books covered only part of the rest of the province. The township books were discontinued beginning about 1860.

Marriage bonds began in parts of Nova Scotia in 1763. Marriage licenses began in most Nova Scotia counties in 1849. Gradually other records were added. Just because a bond or license exists does not mean the marriage took place. You should look for proof of marriage in church records and other records if possible.


Birth and Death

Indexes Birth and death records from 1864 to 1877 are indexed by and within the family name by county.

Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management has put many vital records online. To see these go to:


The Family History Library has the following birth and death records:

  • Nova Scotia. Board of Statistics of Marriages, Births, and Deaths. Births, 1864–1877. Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1983. (On 37 Family History Library films beginning with film 1318341) The records organized are by county, then town, then year.
  • Nova Scotia. Board of Statistics of Marriages, Births, and Deaths. Death Records 1864–1877. Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1980. (On 38 Family History Library films beginning with 1293436) The records organized are by county and then by year.


Marriage

While there are many Nova Scotia marriage records, the two basic kinds of government marriage records are:

  • Marriage intentions: records that show a couple intended to marry.
  • Marriage returns: records that show a couple actually married.

The terms intentions and returns are not always the terms used in the records. These terms are ways to describe the records. Marriage intentions and marriage returns for your ancestor may be found in several groups of Nova Scotia government vital records. See Tip 2.

Marriage Intentions

Marriage intentions may include bonds and licenses to marry, which show the government allows the marriage to take place.

Marriage intentions may include some or all of the following information:

MARRIAGE INTENTIONS 1763–1918
_
USUALLY CONTAIN MAY CONTAIN

Name of man and woman who intended to marry Ages of the man and woman who intended to marry Residences of the couple Date and place of bond or license Name, residence, and religion of clergyman to perform ceremony

Occupation of man who intended to marry Places of birth of the couple Name, residence, and occupation of a bondsman (who may be a relative) Name of the woman's father, if she was underage and his permission to marry was required

If the couple proclaimed banns, that is, they announced in church that they intended to marry, there may be no record of it in government vital records. However, there may be a church record.

Not all couples who intended to marry actually married. You should look for proof that they married.


Proofthat a marriage actually took place may be:

  • A note on the bond or license.
  • A separate marriage return certificate in the same file as the bond or license, or in another government file.
  • An entry in a township book.
  • A record in a church parish register.
  • A newspaper notice.
  • A note in a family Bible.

Only some of these kinds of proofs are government vital records. Church records, newspaper notices, and notes from family Bibles are not usually included in government vital records.

Marriage returns are notices in government vital records that the marriage actually took place. A government marriage return may be:

  • A note on the bond or license.
  • A separate document signed and dated by the minister and sent to the government.
  • After 1864, a marriage "slip" that includes detailed information about the couple and their parents.
  • After 1864, marriage register books or loose pages that list the names of several couples.

There are only a few marriage returns for years before 1849.

The Public Archives of Nova Scotia has marriage licenses from about 1849–1851 to the county cutoff dates. These are available at the Family History Library on the following microfilms:

  • Nova Scotia. Board of Statistics of Marriages, Births, and Deaths. Marriages Licenses, 1849–1918. Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1981–1982. (On 535 Family History Library films beginning with 1301853). The records are organized by county and then by year.
The cutoff dates for the above records are:
  • Annapolis 1908
  • Antigonish 1910
  • Cape Breton 1912
  • Colchester 1914
  • Cumberland 1913
  • Digby 1909
  • Guysborough 1906
  • Halifax 1916
  • Hants 1916
  • Inverness 1908
  • Kings 1909
  • Lunenburg 1908
  • Pictou 1917
  • Queens 1910
  • Richmond 1918
  • Shelburne 1908
  • Victoria 1918
  • Yarmouth 1908

Marriage bonds exist for 1763–1863 (specifically for the years 1763, 1765, 1770–1780, 1782, 1784–1799, 1801–1850, 1854–1856, and 1858–1863). They are arranged in chronological order, and no index is available. They are located in the Public Archives of Nova Scotia and are on the following microfilm at the Family History Library:

Marriage Records

Marriage records from 1864 to 1908 are indexed by county and (within the county) by the family name. The Family History Library has the following records:

  • Nova Scotia. Board of Statistics of Marriages, Births, and Deaths. Marriage records, 1864–1875. Salt Lake City; Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1982–1983. (On 17 films beginning with 1317402) The records organized are by county and then by year.


Vital Statistics Office

Later records of births, deaths, and marriages can be obtained from:

Vital Statistics Offices
Department of Business and Consumer Services
P.O. Box 157
Halifax, NS B3J 2M9
CANADA
Telephone: 902-424-4381 Fax: 902-424-0678
Internet: http://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/vstat/history.asp