Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada

Nova Scotia Archives ~

Cemetery Records at NSARM: A Searchable Database

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For over a century now, genealogists, historians, societies and local museums throughout Nova Scotia have carried out 'cemetery inscription' projects. Braving swarms of insects, thorns and brambles, waist-high grass, tangled roots, slippery moss, and lichen-covered tombstones, these determined and hardy individuals have sallied forth into burial places across the province, determined to transcribe the precious information carved into surviving and sometimes almost illegible tombstones.


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There has never been a requirement for this information to be deposited with Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management. Over the years, however, a sizeable body of records has accumulated here — the occasional published book, but usually handwritten, typed or computer-generated lists of inscriptions, sometimes accompanied by cemetery maps or plot plans and other miscellaneous records. Almost all the records have since been microfilmed by NSARM and are used in that format by visiting researchers. Taken as a whole, the Cemetery Records Collection provides a wealth of information for family and community historians.

The database presented here offers background information about the 2000+ cemeteries, graveyards and burial grounds in Nova Scotia for which tombstone data has been transcribed, listed, and copies deposited at NSARM. You can search the database by community name, county name, or by the name of the cemetery or church. Please note that while we say '2000+ cemeteries', many of these have been explored and listed twice (or more) over the years, with different results each time. Exploring the database will help you to....

  • identify what cemetery records are available for the community you're interested in
  • plan your onsite visit to NSARM, including which microfilm reel numbers to ask for
  • determine what other cemetery records might be available and useful in your research

The Cemetery Records Collection at NSARM 'is what it is' — geographical coverage for the province is uneven and incomplete; the transcriptions themselves are of varying quality; information about cemeteries is often held locally instead; and there are many, many more graveyards in Nova Scotia than the 2000+ for which records are available at NSARM.

To accompany the database we've included a section called 'Exploring This Web Resource' to provide guidance in using the product and to answer some frequently-asked questions about cemetery records in general. We've also provided a small Virtual Exhibit highlighting cemeteries and churchyards around the province, plus a separate virtual tour of Lunenburg's Hillcrest and Old French cemeteries, two of the oldest in the province.

This project was made possible in part through the Young Canada Works Program of Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Council of Archives.