[Wrapping up a week of special guest posts on the theme of East Coast roots, is the always lovely and talented Lauren. If you missed out on the series, check out the rest of the East Coast Guest Posts. Special thanks to everyone who shared their stories here.]
By Lauren Oostveen
If you follow @ns_archives on Twitter, you may catch me saying that we’re often very busy here at Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management. Besides our normal day-to-day activities like helping researchers, arranging and describing records, archival appraisal, corporate records management support, and conducting tours and training, since 2007 we’ve been busy bringing thousands of birth, death, and marriage records to the web.
In Nova Scotia, 100 years after a person’s birth, 75 years after a marriage, and 50 years after a death, records get transferred from the Vital Statistics Office to be held permanently at the archives. These records are the key to discovering your past. Knowledge that may have been lost through the passing of generations remains in the form of birth, death, and marriage certificates.
We’ve made building your Nova Scotian family tree a lot easier with the NovaScotiaGenealogy.com site, which upon its launch in the spring of 2007 had almost 1,000,000 records available in a fully digitized format–for free. Last year, we added over 120,000 files to the website, and are now in the final stages of adding a further 28,000 names. This involved scanning. A LOT of scanning.
A full-time scanner and a full-time transcriptionist have been going strong since early 2009, digitizing birth, death, and marriage records from around the province. We’re also adding almost 18,000 Halifax City death records from our main website to NovaScotiaGenealogy.com, giving us a total of over 46,000 new records. All this new material will be uploaded to the existing website sometime in the next couple of months.
If you want to try looking up your Nova Scotian relatives on NovaScotiaGenealogy.com, you need to know a few things about the person you’re looking for. First and foremost is, obviously, their name. You should also have a rough idea of when the person was born, when they were married, or the year of their death. If you are looking for a common name (for example, there are almost 400 results for Angus MacDonald), you might want to try and find out where they lived and/or their middle name. Mis-spellings of names can be very common, especially with “Mc” and “Mac” names, so be sure to try various spellings.
As for my family history… it’s not in Nova Scotia, unfortunately, so I can’t take advantage of NovaScotiaGenealogy.com. My father’s family came to Canada from Holland in the 1950s (by way of Pier 21), and settled in Chatham, Ontario. My grandfather’s people immigrated to PEI in the 1800s from Ireland, and my grandmother’s family came to New Brunswick from England, Scotland, and Ireland. Typically Canadian, but I enjoy having an odd last name. Fittingly, the “Oost” in Oostveen means “East”… and for the time being I also remain East Coast by choice.
Lauren is a 20-something communicator and social media fan meditating on life from the back of the film. You can find her blog at The Dartmouth Soundsystem.