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Nova Scotia

Historical Notes



The Atlas of Canada.

Nova Scotia joined Confederation on July 1, 1867.

The first inhabitants of Nova Scotia were Mi'kmaq, whose dwellings extended from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to the southern coast of the Gaspé Peninsula.

The French established the first European settlement in 1604, calling it Acadia. By 1750, they had a community of 12,000 inhabitants.

The only English-speaking inhabitants before 1749 were in Annapolis and Canso, but in that year, Halifax was founded with the arrival of 2,500 settlers. In 1753, Lunenburg was established by German immigrants.

Nova Scotia grew rapidly in the second half of the eighteenth century with the arrival of many immigrants from New England. The advent of the Loyalists after 1782 resulted in the division of the territory into two separate colonies, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Researchers interested in ancestors who lived in Nova Scotia use the main kinds of genealogical sources. Attention focuses mostly on records related to the Acadians, Loyalists and Mi'kmaq.

Provincial Websites

ArchWay, Council of Nova Scotia Archives

Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia


Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management
[]. The guide Getting Started with your Genealogical Research
[w] provides further information on how to do genealogical research in Nova Scotia.

Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library, New Glasgow

The Nova Scotia Genealogy Network Association

The official provincial government Web site
[] contains useful information about the province and its historic records.

The Canadian Encyclopedia Online
[] allows you to learn more about the history, geography and people of Nova Scotia.

Many libraries hold reference books, local histories, family histories and other books on genealogy. Library and Archives Canada allows you to Browse Lists of Canadian Library Web Sites and Catalogues by province.

The sections on What to Search: Topics and Genealogy Links of this site can provide more useful information about how to do genealogical research in Nova Scotia. You can also access databases from our Directory of Canadian Genealogical Resources - AVITUS.

To Learn More

You can also consult the following books:

Genealogist's Handbook for Atlantic Canada Research, edited by Terrence M. Punch with the help of George F. Sanborn, 1997. Genealogical Research in Nova Scotia, by Terrence M. Punch, 1998.