Over the past few years, NEHGS has made a solid commitment to expanding its microfilm collection. The goal of the New England and Canada Microfilm Acquisitions Project is to acquire all available land, probate, and vital records for each New England state, as well as Québec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Since the project started the microfilm collection has expanded from 11,000 reels of film to over 40,000. The opportunities to document your research have been greatly enhanced with these records.
New BrunswickThe province of New Brunswick has recently expanded the number of vital records made available to the public. Birth records are available at NEHGS from 1888-1919. There are also late registrations of birth and documentation of those records for the period up to 1887 [CS88/N43/N433]. County marriage books start in 1806 and continue through 1919. Provincial marriage registrations start in 1888 and continue to 1919 [CS88/N43/N432]. Death registrations commenced in 1888 and are available up to 1951 [CS88/N43/N434].
Nova ScotiaNova Scotia mandated vital records registration starting in 1864, but continued only through 1877. At that point mandatory registration was discontinued and not started again until 1906. NEHGS has the records from this brief period of registration [CS88/N64/N64]. There are separate indexes for births, marriages, and deaths. They are filmed in alphabetical order for the entire province, and the indexes are broken down within each letter by county. The records themselves are organized by county.
Prince Edward IslandPre-1887 birth records in Prince Edward Island are composed of copies of baptismal records from the churches [CS88/P74/P71]. Marriage records from justices of the peace cover the time period 1831-1888 [CS88/P74/P712]. Marriage bonds for the period 1824-1902 are available, with a few dating as early as 1787 [CS88/P74/P717 ]. Deaths are available up to 1906 [CS88/P74/P713].
QuébecUntil the twentieth century, the churches in Québec registered vital records. The Drouin Microfilm Collection [CS88/Q4/I572] contains records of Catholic and Protestant churches and Jewish synagogues located within the province. While many of these records are indexed, there are a large number that are not. The marriages in the Catholic churches have been abstracted and compiled into a separate provincial-wide index. This index, which covers the period 1760-1930, is available on microfiche [CS88/Q4/I572]. There is also a three-volume set of books located on the fifth floor that covers the period 1608-1760 [CS81/D53/1979].
Land and Probate Records
New BrunswickIn New Brunswick both probate and land records are registered at the county level. The records of Albert County are the only land records held by NEHGS as of December 2001. The index covers 1846-1940, but the records are available only through 1887 [CS88/N431/A41]. All available probate records have been purchased and are available county by county as follows:
The records of Kent County are not available because they were destroyed by fire.
Nova ScotiaIn Nova Scotia, the land records are also recorded at the county level. Probate records are registered in probate districts. Some of the counties had two registration districts within the county. NEHGS has recently purchased all of the land records for the province and they are currently available in the microtext department. Following are the records and years available:
Prince Edward IslandMaterials in the Land Records Office in Prince Edward Island have been microfilmed for the period 1769-1872 [CS88/P74/L36]. Most of these records deal with land conveyances and mortgages between individuals. Probate records in Prince Edward Island were recorded for the entire island starting in 1771. Records for 1807-1901 are available on microfilm at NEHGS [CS88/P74/W55].
QuébecIn Québec, notaries recorded the mortgages and deeds as well as probate records. NEHGS has the notarial records for all areas outside of the cities of Montréal and Québec City. These records are part of the collection held by the Archives Nationales de Québec [CS88/Q4/R44]. The time frame available varies from area to area. There is also a separate set of microfiche with copies of many of the individual notaries' indexes to the records [CS88/Q4/R44]. There is a finding aid available in the fourth floor microtext room to assist you with locating specific notarial records and indexes. For additional information on researching the notarial records, see this article on Québec Recordkeeping.
Miscellaneous RecordsIn addition to the aforementioned records, there are a number of other primary source materials available. For example, there are almost a hundred reels of church records for Prince Edward Island, as well as a few for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Another invaluable Prince Edward Island resource is the Master Name Index [CS88/P74/P7]. Compiled from census records, cemetery transcriptions, newspapers, atlases, and many other sources, this index provides a look at all inhabitants on the island.
Many early Nova Scotia records were kept in township books. These books included all of the villages within the township. They are available for the following townships: Annapolis, Aylesford, Barrington, Cornwallis, Douglas, Granville, Guysborough, Horton, Liverpool, Maccan, Manchester, Parrsboro, St. Mary's, Shelburne, Westchester, and Yarmouth [CS88/N642/A93 through CS88/N642/Y31].
The microfilm collections of the Archives Nationales de Québec contain a vast number of resources and are also available at NEHGS. In addition to church records and notarial records one can find surveyor records from the Eastern Townships, court records, family records, and seigneurial records, as well as indexes to adoptions and guardianships in the cities of Montréal and Québec City. A finding aid to the entire collection is available in the microtext department.
For a more complete selection of materials in the NEHGS microtext collection, search the online catalog. If you are interested in donating to the New England and Canada Microtext Acquisitions Project, please contact the Development Office.
The Internet and published print materials are wonderful resources for your research, but verifying all statements in original source documents is imperative if you are to have an accurate view of your family. And it is a wonderful thrill to see copies of the actual wills and deeds that your ancestors signed so many years ago. I strongly encourage all members to visit the NEHGS Research Library and take advantage of these wonderful resources. The library is open Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. From December 1 through March 31 the library closes at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.