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Dartmouth Genealogical Sources

The following types of records are of interest to those exploring their family history in the old town/city of Dartmouth. Click on the blue series link to view fuller descriptions of these records in the Archives Database:

Statute Labour Books 1843-1844 (File 101-2J)
These books contain alphabetical lists of the names of the Dartmouth citizens who worked on roads, as part of their payment of municipal taxes.

Municipal Court Records 1873-1955 (Series 101-75)
The docket books of the Muncipal Court list all decisions that went before the court, and includes the names of parties involved (usually a debtor and debtee).  There is a name index for part of this series.

Police Court Records 1872-1919 (series 101-16)
The Dartmouth Police Department kept records on cases coming before its police court, which include name of accused and settlements.

The Archives can also put you in touch with a local association of retired police officers, who have a huge data-bank of photographs of police officers.

Dartmouth School Savings Bank Ledgers 1887-1921 (series 101-62)

Teachers recorded the names of students and their weekly deposits and monthly withdrawals to pay for their schooling. At the end of each year the ledger records where the account was transferred (to the next grade) or closed. Some ledgers include the "Pupil's Pass Book" where the teacher noted all payments for each child's family to keep. Ledgers exist for the following schools:

  • Central School - 1902-1912
  • Greenvale School- 1887-1892
  • Greenvale Grade 1 - 1891-1899
  • Greenvale Grade 2 - Teacher E. DeVan - 1906-1916
  • Greenvale/Park Grade 4 Teacher F.J. Corkum - 1918-1922
  • Park/Central grade 5 - Teacher Miss Allen - 1893-1910
  • Park School Grade 4 - 1906-1921
  • Woodside School -#13 - 1887-1893

Teachers' Contracts with the Dartmouth Board of School Commissioners

1889-1897, (series 101-62)

Name of the teacher and their rate of pay. Arranged chronologically

Truancy Officer's Census registers 1904-1905 (series 101-62)

In search of school truancy, these census were undertaken for all children aged 6 to 16 residing in the Dartmouth School Section, and gives their name, age, name of parent or guardian, street of residence, school last attended and name of the person giving the information.

Electoral Lists 1886, 1891, 1893-1894, 1928, 1966 (Sub-series 101-78A)
Electoral lists contain names of people eliglible to vote in Dartmouth municipal elections, which included male ratepayers twenty-one years or older who had been residents or owned property in Dartmouth in the previous year. Female ratepayers became eligible to vote in municipal elections in 1886. By 1961, the requirement had changed so that anyone over eighteen who had lived in Dartmouth for one year was eligible.

Poll Books 1874-1881, 1901-1931, 1951-1978 (Sub-series 101-78B)
Poll Books contain lists of people who voted in Dartmouth elections, and are organized by ward. Some of the lists include voters' addresses.

Poll Tax Exemption Declarations, 1884, 1893 (Sub-series 101-2K)

Declarations signed by Darmouth residents affirming that they were over the age of sixty-five, and thus exempt from paying a poll tax.

Property Assessment Records, 1875-1978 (series 101-19)

Tax assessment records for property, school and poll taxes.  Some ledgers are alphabetical by property owner's sur-name.  Gives information about property and sometimes property owner, such as if living outside of Dartmouth, when moved, etc.)

Tax Collection ledgers (series 101-19B):

  • 1873-1875 - chronological entry of collection of taxes and fines.
  • 1910-1918 - alphabetical entries of property owners with property tax owing and received (does not give location of property)

List of Jurors, 1900 (sub-series 102-5-2)

List of residents eligible to serve as jurors for Dartmouth: gives name, residence and occupation

List of Water Users, 1896 (File 101-79)
This is an alphabetical list of all households using water in Dartmouth in 1896. It also contains a list of households where two families were living in the same residence.

Place of Settlement Examinations 1896 (Sub-series 101-1L)

Examinations made by a Justice of the Peace verifying people's status as residents of Dartmouth.

Dartmouth Ferry Commission Personnel records 1904-1949 (101-81K-28)
Personnel records contain information for each Dartmouth Ferry Commission employee, including name, date and place of birth, marital status and number of dependents, residence, phone number, occupation, pension and insurance information, and retirement date. They are organized by last name.

Dartmouth Ferry Labour Books 1862-1885 (Series CR-21G) and 1891, 1922-1924 (File 101-81K-27)
The labour books for the Halifax Steam Boat Company and the Dartmouth Ferry Commission record the name, occupation, hours worked and amount of payment for all employees. They are organized chronologically.

Housing Commission financial accounts, 1922-1944  (series 101-70)

The Dartmouth Housing Commission was an created by the Town in 1919 to administer provincial loans for home construction. Ledgers list the names of borrowers with details of the loans. Records are restricted for 90 years.

Directory of Households, 1944 (CR43.16)                                                     The directory lists all householders receiving mail at rural post-offices, their names, occupations and if French-speaking; it covers the entire County and rural delivery routes for Bedford and Dartmouth. People who weren't property owners or permanent residents would be captured in this directory but not on other listings like propety assessment rolls, census.

City Directories         

Even more than today’s Yellow Pages, these McAlpine directories are a wealth of information about what was where and who was doing what at certain times in our history.  The directories have:

  • a business directory (by type of business),
  • a City directory (listing people and their profession, business and organizations),
  • a street directory (what was at every address on every street and which ward it is in),
  • nformation about city and provincial government and services, including names of senior officials
  • lists of clubs, societies, associations, etc. and names of officers
  • and of course, advertising and much more!

Municipal Archives has:

             McAlpine’s: 1889, 1893-1916, 1920, 1921, 1923
             Halifax and Dartmouth: 1932, 1934, 1936 - 2000

A fuller set is located at the Halifax Public Libraries.


Compilation of these sources was done as part of a Provincial Archival Development Project funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.