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Frequently Asked Questions

Information About Searching and Viewing Records in the Database

1) What are these records and why are they called Historical Vital Statistics?

2) What Historical Vital Statistics for Nova Scotia are available on this Website?

3) What are the Terms and Conditions of Access and Use for these online records and why do I have to agree to them?

4) Why do some index entries have more information than others?

5) Why can't I find the person (or event) I'm looking for?

6) I found the entry in the index, but I can't open and view the online image of the record.

7) I clicked on an index entry and a totally different record appeared. What do I do?

8) Why can I only view two or three lines at a time when I look at the online image?

9) The online image doesn't appear as a single record, but as a ledger-book with several entries written across one or two pages. How do I find the entry I'm looking for?

10) Why can't I print the online image?

11) I found the birth, marriage or death registration I was looking for, but I know the information given in it is wrong — e.g. the date is wrong, or names are spelled incorrectly, or information is missing, etc.

12) Why aren't there more Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics available on this Website?

13) Where can I find more recent Vital Statistics records?




Ordering Online

14) What can I order?

15) What are the fees for ordering these Historical Vital Statistics?

16) How do these fees convert into my country's currency?

17) Is it safe to order using a public-access computer terminal?

18) What credit cards can I use?

19) Can I pay for this service by any method other than credit card?

20) Is my credit card transaction secure?

21) What is Card Verification Value (CVV) and where do I find it?

22) When is my credit card charged?

23) How will the item(s) appear on my credit card statement?

24) What are you doing with the personal and credit-card information you collect from me?




After Placing an Order

25) What happens after I place an order?

26) How do I request a refund?

27) I ordered the wrong record. What do I do?

28) I want to change or cancel my order.

29) I want a certified record. How do I request this?

30) I haven't received the paper copies I ordered.

31) I didn't receive an e-mail containing my receipt and the electronic file(s) I purchased.

32) I can't open the electronic file(s) from the link on the download page, or from the link in my e-mail receipt.

33) How do I print the electronic file(s) after I receive and open them?

34) How long will the electronic file(s) remain available after I receive the e-mail?

35) My number of days for access expired before I could download my electronic files(s). What do I do?

36) What can I do with my electronic or paper copies once I've purchased them? Can I share them?




Information About Searching and Viewing Records in the Database


1) What are these records and why are they called Historical Vital Statistics?

These are the records resulting from the legal requirement to register all births, marriages and deaths occurring in Nova Scotia. The records for these life-events are known as 'Vital Statistics' and have been collected in the province, with varying degrees of compliance and completeness, since 1864. The modern record-keeping era dates from 1908, after which time the records are more complete.
They are called 'Historical Vital Statistics' because so much time has elapsed since their creation and life-span that they have been released into the public domain.


2) What Historical Vital Statistics for Nova Scotia are available on this Website?

Births, 1864-1877, 1908-1912
Delayed Births — late registrations for individuals born 1830-1912
Marriages, 1763-1864, 1864-1937 (see below)
Deaths, 1864-1877, 1908-1962 (see below)
Please Note: Modern record-keeping in Nova Scotia began in October 1908. Birth registrations are released 100 years after the end of the year in which the birth was registered. Marriage registrations are released 75 years after the end of the year in which the marriage was registered. Death registrations are released 50 years after the end of the year in which the death was registered.
A series of 'delayed' or 'late' birth registrations also accumulated at the Vital Statistics Office for many years after 1908, to accommodate individuals born in the province before 1908 who wanted their births officially recorded, or who required proof-of-birth in later life when applying for passports, pensions and similar evidence-based records. The surviving 'delayed' registrations include individuals born as early as 1830 (the earliest we have been able to identify) but by their very nature (optional, voluntary registration) these records are incomplete.
Marriages include surviving Marriage Bonds, 1763-1864. Bonds were an optional formality in use until mandatory civil registration of marriages was inaugurated in 1864. They were used to demonstrate the absence of legal impediments to an intended marriage. Bonds are NOT official Vital Statistics records, but are included in this database because of their immense research value. The surviving bonds reflect only a small percentage of marriages solemnized in the province during the years 1763-1864. The existence of a bond is NOT proof that the wedding actually occurred, as the bond was posted in advance of the ceremony and NOT as a record of the event. Likewise, the date on the bond reflects the date it was taken out, NOT the date of any subsequent marriage ceremony.


3) What are the Terms and Conditions of Access and Use for these online records and why do I have to agree to them?

Please click here to read our Terms and Conditions of Access and Use.
You are required to agree to these Terms and Conditions because there are restrictions governing your use of the information obtained or purchased after you have gained access to the database and the digitized records.


4) Why do some index entries have more information than others?

The index entries you see are based on information from a number of sources which, combined together, provide a complete index to all of the records.
The Registrar General's Office had separate index systems for different periods of records' collection. The more modern systems tend to be for records created after 1925 and contain more information, often including details relating to age and gender. Also, if the Office received a request for an older record, it was often re-indexed into the modern system. Thus some records appear in the index more than once.
Researchers may notice as well that a number of birth records from the 19th century, and some death records from after 1908, include no given names. In most cases these relate to instances of infant death or stillbirth. After 1930, such events were recorded as a subset of the birth records, and thus are not included in this database since they are less than 100 years old.
Many of the 'delayed' birth registrations (a separate series of records created after 1908) include additional documentation submitted to support the application, such as family Bible extracts, census abstracts, and copies of church-register entries. As many as four items of supporting 'evidence' may accompany a single registration — all tendered to support the accuracy of the birth-date claimed by the applicant, many years after the event.


5) Why can't I find the person (or event) I'm looking for?

Are you searching within the specific time periods included in the database?
Births, 1864-1877, 1908-1912
Delayed Births — late registrations for individuals born 1830-1912
Marriages, 1763-1937
Deaths, 1864-1877, 1908-1962
The spelling of last names did not become standardized in North America until the early 20th century – therefore, name variations will frequently occur.
Try different spellings of the last name. Try narrowing your search to last-name-only for the year(s) you're interested in. Try broadening your search to include additional years around the date you're looking for. Try looking in the neighbouring county or search all of Nova Scotia.
Try the Advanced Search box – choose 'contains', 'exactly', 'starts with', or 'ends with' – using the appropriate portions of the name you're looking for.
Looking for Mc's and Mac's? Again, the spelling of last names did not become standardized in North America until the early 20th century – name variations will frequently occur. Try the 'ends with' option in the Advanced Search box.
Human errors in the indexing process have occurred over the years – we've discovered quite a few while preparing the records for online presentation. Quality control work has remedied most of these deficiencies, and will continue until we are confident that the product meets researcher satisfaction standards.
The year of registration is not always the year of the event. For example, in the 1860s when the registration of births was getting underway, parents sometimes registered all their children at once, usually when the most-recently-born was being recorded; thus the index might include all of them under 1868 — but examination of the actual ledger-page will show them entered in a list, each with a separate birth-date and year. Random errors were also made in the registry office affecting all three types of vital statistics — for example, events happening late in one year were sometimes interfiled and indexed with records from the following year.
The year of registration is not always the year of the event. A 'delayed' registration-of-births procedure was available at the Vital Statistics Office for many years after 1908 (resumption of civil registration of births) to accommodate individuals born in the province before 1908 who wanted their births officially recorded, or who required proof-of-birth in later life when applying for passports, pensions and similar evidence-based records.The surviving 'delayed' or 'late' registrations include individuals born as early as 1830; by their very nature, however (optional, voluntary registration) these records are incomplete.
The records aren't complete. Registration was mandatory, but this wasn't strictly enforced until well into the 20th century — some births, marriages and deaths simply were never recorded. The civil registration of marriages was especially problematic, since in the years after 1864 many Roman Catholic clergy, especially in the Diocese of Antigonish, refused to acknowledge the intrusion of government ('the state') into church affairs; for many years in some parts of Nova Scotia, Roman Catholic marriages continued to be solemnized only after the banns were called three times in the parish — few civil records of marriage were ever filed from these jurisdictions.
The records aren't complete. Marriage Bonds (1763-1864) pre-date the beginning of official Vital Statistics in the province; they were optional and reflect only a small percentage of marriages solemnized in the province during those years.


6) I found the entry in the index, but I can't open and view the online image of the record.

We use Zoomify to view the images. You need Adobe Flash installed and supported by your browser. Flash is available at www.adobe.com. Click here for system requirements for Adobe Flash Flash will also automatically install when you try to view an image.
Please note that Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics Online has been developed to work best with Internet Explorer© 6. Firefox and Safari may also function well, but are not officially supported at this time.
Occasionally we have missed linking an entry in the index to the corresponding digitized record image. When this happens, you will click on the 'view' button — but nothing will appear in the image box, even with Adobe Flash installed and activated. If this happens, please make a note of the occurrence and contact our Support Desk.


7) I clicked on an index entry and a totally different record appeared. What do I do?

If you encounter incorrect linkages from the name-in-the-database to the digitized record, please make a note of the occurrence and contact our Support Desk.


8) Why can I only view two or three lines at a time when I look at the online image?

The online presentation of these Historical Vital Statistics has been designed to ensure continued integrity of the original records and their use for authorized purposes only.
You will not be able to view the digitized image properly without Adobe Flash. Click on the image to zoom in or out on the details. Click and drag your mouse over the image — left, right, up or down — and the image will move likewise, enabling you to navigate around the box, plus move to areas of the image not immediately visible. There is a tool bar at the bottom of each image that allows you to zoom in, zoom out, navigate left, right, up and down.


9) The online image doesn't appear as a single record, but as a ledger-book with several entries written across one or two pages. How do I find the entry I'm looking for?

Some of the records were very challenging to digitize. The earliest, for example, were written into large ledger-books, several entries to a page or with the entry spread across two facing pages.
To find your way around, first look immediately above the image box at the line which reads 'Item can be found in...' The item number given at the end of this line corresponds to an item number appearing (usually) in the far left margin of the ledger page. Use the scroll bar at the right of the image box to move down the register page if necessary.
Pieces of paper with additional information were sometimes added to the records as well, either folded or glued into the ledgers. All these scraps have been digitized, but you may have to keep scrolling (and scrolling!) down the right-hand side of the image box to retrieve all the components that make up a specific page.


10) Why can't I print the online image?

Our product has been designed to provide free and open access to the information contained in the original records, and to enable the purchase of paper copies and/or downloadable and printable views of the records.
Please Note: Our Terms and Conditions of Access and Use state that "The use of this Service and viewing, downloading or purchasing of any content, information or document grants you only a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable licence for use solely by you for your own personal use for the purpose of valid historical and genealogical research, and not for republication, distribution, assignment, sublicense, sale, preparation of derivative works or other use. No part of the Service or any content, form or document may be reproduced in any form or incorporated into any information retrieval system, electronic or mechanical, other than for your personal use (but not for resale or redistribution) for the purpose of valid historical and genealogical research..... Bulk downloads of the content, information or documents contained on this Web site are prohibited."


11) I found the birth, marriage or death registration I was looking for, but I know the information given in it is wrong — e.g. the date is wrong, or names are spelled incorrectly, or information is missing, etc.

These are official government records and we are unable to alter them. They were created a long time ago, by officials who did not always capture complete details or exact information at the time of registration. Family members weren't always accurate either, when reporting the details — for example, event dates or family relationships may be incorrect. Often when individuals died without close next of kin, no one knew the answers to some questions on the registration forms. As well, the spelling of last names did not become standardized in North America until the early 20th century — therefore, name variations will frequently occur.
Researchers may also notice that from 1908 to ca.1920, the death records do not consistently record the parents of those who died, because the question asked was gender-dependent: if the deceased was a married woman, the form asked for the name of her husband rather than the names of her parents; for an unmarried woman, the form asked for the name of her father.


12) Why aren't there more Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics available on this Website?

Responsibility for collecting and maintaining current records lies with Vital Statistics, a division of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Responsibility for preserving and providing access to historical records lies with Nova Scotia Archives.
Records schedules are developed by Vital Statistics in order to ensure the security, integrity and confidentiality of the records for which they are responsible, and to determine appropriate legal requirements for the active life of these records. Records become inactive and are transferred annually to the Archives as follows:
• Births: 100 years after the end of the year in which the birth was registered
• Marriages: 75 years after the end of the year in which the marriage was registered
• Deaths: 50 years after the end of the year in which the death was registered


13) Where can I find more recent Vital Statistics records?

All Vital Statistics more recent than the dates covered by the service provided on this Website are held by the Vital Statistics division of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Affairs. Inquiries should be made directly to that office.



Ordering Online


14) What can I order?

You can order electronic or paper copies of the digitized birth, marriage and death registrations. Please note:If the original record included multiple items, such as the supporting documents required for the delayed or 'late' registration of births — then the purchase price and delivery will include all pages from that record file.
Electronic copies are superb quality, high-resolution jpeg image files, four (4) times' higher resolution than what is displayed online. Upon purchase, you will be presented with a Web page where you can read your receipt and immediately download any electronic files you have ordered. You will also be sent an e-mail message containing your receipt, plus links to an online access site where your purchase will be accessible for three (3) days. Once you have downloaded and saved these images, you will be able to print them.
Paper copies are high-resolution images, laser-printed on quality bond paper, certified, signed, embossed, and suitable for framing, scrap-booking or long-term preservation purposes. They will normally be processed within two business days of order receipt and sent to your mailing address via Canada Post.


15) What are the fees for ordering these Historical Vital Statistics?

In Canada, electronic files delivered to you by download are CAD $10.84 each, plus the GST/HST tax applicable in your province or territory. Paper files mailed to you through Canada Post are CAD $21.74 each, plus the GST/HST tax applicable in your province or territory, plus shipping and 15% HST (tax levied at point-of-origin - Nova Scotia).
For customers living in the United States and for International customers, electronic files delivered by download are CAD $10.84 each. Paper files are CAD $21.74 each, plus shipping and 15% HST (tax levied at point-of-origin - Nova Scotia)
What are the fees for shipping paper files?
In Canada – CAD $1.22 + $ 0.18 HST = $1.40
To the United States – CAD $2.00+ $ 0.30 HST = $2.30
International – CAD $4.00 + $0.60 HST = $4.60
Courier Delivery is also available; rates vary according to destination. Contact our Support Desk for further information.
These shipping rates are based on Canada Post's current charges for oversized envelopes weighing up to 100 grams; they include the 15% HST tax levied at point-of-origin (Nova Scotia) and required on all our mailings.


16) How do these fees convert into my country's currency?

Follow this link to the Bank of Canada's online Daily Currency Convertor.


17) Is it safe to order using a public-access computer terminal?

Specific security measures have been integrated into the design, implementation and operating practices of the complete electronic operating environment for this service. For example, to ensure the security and integrity of information contained within electronic transactions accessed from this service, we employ standard Web-browser certificate and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology which permits the secure encryption of information sent on the Internet.
We have also worked to provide security in the use of a public-access computer terminal for this service. When you complete an order, all personal information including credit card information is automatically deleted from the computer session. If you begin to enter personal information and wish to end your session you are strongly encouraged to click the 'end session' button. By clicking 'end session' all personal information including credit card information is deleted from the computer session. Local browser settings, however, can override the non-caching capability built into our application and we are not able to control these settings on public-access computer terminals.
While we take strong measures to ensure the security of your transactions, it is extremely important that you also take precautions to ensure that your information remains safe and secure. For all these reasons, responsibility for accessing and using this service via a public-access computer terminal rests finally with you.


18) What credit cards can I use?

We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express.


19) Can I pay for this service by any method other than credit card?

Orders may be paid by cheque or money order for paper copies of the records only; cheques and money orders must be made payable to 'Public Archives of Nova Scotia'; payment may be made onsite at the Archives Building, or through the mail to:
Nova Scotia Archives
6016 University Avenue, Halifax, NS Canada B3H 1W4


20) Is my credit card transaction secure?

The Province of Nova Scotia has taken several steps to safeguard your personal information, as well as the integrity of its telecommunications and computing infrastructure. These steps include various forms of authentication, monitoring, auditing, and encryption. For example, to ensure the security and integrity of information contained within electronic transactions accessed from this service, we employ standard Web-browser certificate and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology which permits the secure encryption of information sent on the Internet. Please click here to read our Privacy Statement.


21) What is Card Verification Value (CVV) and where do I find it?

CVV is an anti-fraud security feature designed to help verify that you are in possession of your credit card. For Visa and MasterCard, the three-digit CVV number is printed on the signature panel on the back of the card immediately after the card's account number. For American Express, the four-digit CVV number is printed on the front of the card above the card account number. Your transaction will be declined if the CVV on record does not match the information you have provided.
  Visa & MasterCard
CVV for Visa and MasterCard
A 3-digit number in reverse italics on
the back of your credit card
American Express CVV for American Express
A 4-digit number on the front,
just above your credit card number


22) When is my credit card charged?

Your credit card is authorized in real-time and settled the same day. You should see it on your statement within a couple of days.


23) How will the item(s) appear on my credit card statement?

Charges on your credit card statement will appear as 'NS Archives.'


24) What are you doing with the personal and credit-card information you collect from me?

Please click here to read our Privacy Statement.



After Placing an Order


25) What happens after I place an order?

Immediately upon purchase, you will be presented with a Web page where you can read your receipt and download any electronic file(s) you have ordered. You will also be sent an e-mail message containing your receipt and directing you to an online access site, where your purchase will be accessible for download for three (3) days.
If you ordered paper files, your order will normally take two (2) business days to process. The copies will be high-resolution images printed on quality bond paper, certified, signed, and suitable for framing, scrap-booking or long-term preservation purposes. They will be mailed to you via Canada Post; delivery time will depend on where you live. Courier delivery is available if you need the copies faster; rates vary according to destination.
Please contact the Support Desk for further information.


26) How do I request a refund?

Refunds for both electronic and paper records will be provided only: 1) if the record received does not match that viewed and ordered through the Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics Online Service; or 2) in the event of an electronic system malfunction during the transaction process.
Contact our Support Desk to report the error and request a refund.


27) I ordered the wrong record. What do I do?

You have received or will receive either an electronic or paper copy of the record that you viewed, ordered and confirmed through the transaction service available on this Website. The image you viewed was a digitized representation of the original record. Refunds will be provided only if the record received does not match that viewed and ordered.
Contact the Support Desk to report the error and request a refund.


28) I want to change or cancel my order.

Orders are delivered immediately and therefore cannot be changed or cancelled
.


29) I want a certified record. How do I request this?

As part of the standard purchase price, all paper copies are certified by the Provincial Archivist to be true copies and may be admitted in evidence as prima facie proof of the authenticity and correctness of the record and of the contents of the record without proof of the signature or appointment of the Provincial Archivist, as per Section 21 of the Public Archives Act (S.N.S.1998, c.24).


30) I haven't received the paper file(s) I ordered.

Copies ordered in paper format are sent via regular Canada Post mail; processing your order normally takes us two (2) working days; postal delivery time afterwards will depend on where you live.
Please contact the Support Desk for further information.


31) I didn't receive an e-mail containing my receipt and the electronic file(s) I purchased.

Immediately upon purchase, you will be presented with a Web page where you can download electronic files and print your receipt. If you do not receive the e-mail that follows directly afterwards, confirming your purchase and providing electronic links for the file(s), please make sure that you gave us a correct and working e-mail address. Filters on your system may also block delivery – please check your junk mail folder to determine if this has happened. The e-mail will be sent from donotreply@novascotiagenealogy.com and the subject line will be 'NS Archives Order.' Please note that this e-mail address is not monitored and cannot be used to contact us.
If this doesn't solve your problem, contact the Support Desk. They will resend your receipt and download link.


32) I can't open the electronic file(s) from the link on the download page, or from the link in my e-mail receipt.

If you are using the link displayed on the download page presented as the last step in the online ordering process: After you have clicked the 'Download Now' link, you will be prompted by your browser to save the file on your computer, at the location of your choice. Depending on your browser, the service may provide you with a pre-named file, or you may be asked to accept a default name or to name the file yourself. If you have ordered more than one copy, each will be in a separate file. Please be careful not to overwrite your purchases by giving them the same name.
If you are using the link provided in the e-mail receipt sent to you: Each file purchased will be displayed as a separate link. Different e-mail programs may react differently. You may be able to click on the link and proceed directly to a download page (see preceding paragraph for additional help). It may be necessary to copy the given URL into the address bar of your browser, which will then take you to a page from where you can download the file.
The download page will remain available for a period of three (3) days after purchase.
Please contact the Support Desk if you have additional questions.


33) How do I print the electronic files(s) after I receive and open them?

The files you have purchased are high-resolution images with RGB (Red Green Blue) colour, a file resolution of 300 dpi, and an average file size in excess of 1 Mb. Although they may be displayed in a browser, this is not recommended for viewing or printing.
When you right-click on the file, your operating system will present you with a choice of programs to use in order to view the record. The Windows operating system is generally packaged with Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. Any image-handling software, such as Adobe Photoshop or MS Office Picture Viewer, will allow you to adjust the image and paper size for optimum printing. If you use a program for handling digital images from camera, this will work for these images as well, although such programs may not allow printing on larger pieces of paper.
Records which display as one-event-per-displayed page will fit on standard letter-sized paper.
The original death records from 1908 to ca.1919 were recorded in ledger books that could record up to six events on each page. These will print well on legal-sized paper although the originals are larger than this.
Records such as the available birth and death registrations from 1864-1877, and the early marriage records, were copied into large ledger books in which the record entry spanned both visible pages. These are best printed on ledger-sized paper, or as two paper images using smaller paper.
Please contact the Support Desk if you have additional questions.


34) How long will the electronic file(s) remain available after I receive the e-mail?

Files delivered in electronic form remain accessible for three (3) days after you receive notification of how to access them.


35) My number of days for access expired before I could download my electronic file(s). What do I do?

Contact our Support Desk for assistance.


36) What can I do with my electronic or paper copies once I've purchased them? Can I share them?

Please Note: Our Terms and Conditions of Access and Use state that "The use of this Service and viewing, downloading or purchasing of any content, information or document grants you only a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable licence for use solely by you for your own personal use for the purpose of valid historical and genealogical research, and not for republication, distribution, assignment, sublicense, sale, preparation of derivative works or other use. No part of the Service or any content, form or document may be reproduced in any form or incorporated into any information retrieval system, electronic or mechanical, other than for your personal use (but not for resale or redistribution) for the purpose of valid historical and genealogical research."
This means that you can use the document(s) you have purchased, for your own personal use in historical and genealogical research. You can display them, scrapbook them and give them as individual gifts. If you are writing and compiling a family history, strictly for limited distribution free-of-charge, you can include a copy of the document(s) in your work; limited distribution is defined as ten (10) copies or less. You cannot duplicate and/or circulate multiple copies of the document(s), post them to a personal Website or to the Internet, or purchase copies of them for redistribution and sale. If you are writing a book intended for publication and sale, please contact the Nova Scotia Archives directly, for further assistance in the use of the documents.





www.novascotiagenealogy.com

What's New
| Technical Requirements | System Availability Notices |
| Background | Release Policy |
| Birth Registrations | Marriage Registrations | Death Registrations |
| Order Information and Fee Schedule | Frequently Asked Questions |

Contact Us / Support Desk

Privacy Statement




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