Marriage Records Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia, Canada, Marriages, 1763-1935

Permanent European settlement in Nova Scotia began with the French in 1604. The area would alternate between British and French control into the next century, and war and politics would play a significant role in determining the eventual demographics of the province. Scottish settlers began arriving as early as 1621 and would become the dominant ethnic group in a province they would eventually share with the English, Irish, German, First Nations, Acadian French, African Nova Scotian, and others.

About the Records

Government-issued marriage licenses were available in Nova Scotia beginning in 1758, though "calling the banns" in church remained the preferred procedure. The adjunct series of marriage bonds provides an incomplete but accessible research resource. The bond was a £100 guarantee indicating both no legal obstacles to the marriage and the groom’s sincerity, as the bond would be forfeit if he backed out.

This database includes more than 12, 000 marriage bonds dating from 1763 to 1864. This represents only a fraction of marriages that took place during these years, and a marriage bond does not prove that the marriage took place or provide the marriage date.

Civil registration of marriages began in 1864. Unlike registrations for birth and deaths, which lapsed after 1877, the recording of marriages continued until 1 October 1908, when the province resumed registrations for all three. From that point on, the province has maintained consistent records.

Though details may be missing in early records, marriage records in this database typically include:

  • Groom’s name
  • Groom’s age
  • Groom’s marital status
  • Bride’s name
  • Bride’s age
  • Bride’s marital status
  • Marriage date
  • Marriage place
  • Registration year, book, and page number

Additional information may be found on the images themselves. This can include occupation, religious denomination, birthplace, and place of residence for the bride and groom and names and place of residence of parents. Bonds may also include information about the bondsman, the clergyman to whom a license would be sent, and letters of permission if the marriage involved a minor or a member of the military.

Use Agreement

This database connects users to images of records provided by Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (NSARM). Before using this database, you will be asked to comply with the Terms and Conditions of Access to and Use of the Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics Online Service. This will be effective for the duration of your browser session. After accepting the Terms and Conditions, you can search the database and view records; clicking to view an image will open the page on NSARM’s website with the corresponding image. Results from this database will not appear in a global search; this database must be accessed and searched separately.

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