Dartmouth Genealogical Sources

The following types of records are of interest to those exploring their family history in the former town/city of Dartmouth. Each series contains fuller descriptions of the records in the Archives Database.

Statute Labour Books 1843–1844

File 101-2J: Statute labour 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 101-74: The docket books of the Municipal 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 the name of the accused and settlements. The Municipal Archives can also put you in touch with a local association of retired police officers, who have a huge databank 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: Contracts name 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 censuses were undertaken for all children aged 6–16 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 eligible to vote in Dartmouth municipal elections, which included male ratepayers 21 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 18 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 Dartmouth residents affirming that they were over the age of 65 and thus exempt from paying a poll tax.

Property Assessment Rolls, 1873–1978

Series 101-19: Property assessment records for property, school, and poll taxes can give a sense of the location and economic level of individuals. The information recorded varied over the years; however, generally the rolls record the following information for each property owner: name, address, ward, description of property (house, land, shop, etc.), and the valuation of real and personal property. Some rolls also have a section on personal property valuations for tenants (name, whose house they live in, street, ward, valuation, description of property such as furniture, stock, etc.). Rolls also have the tax rate given at the beginning of each year, and a list of exempted properties. Some volumes have loose pages, mostly correspondence about appealing assessments. In early years, entries in the rolls are alphabetical by surname within each year. From 1948–1978 the entries are numeric by ward and lot or assessment number. There is no index to the lot or assessment numbers; however, the ledgers can be scanned geographically as streets tend to be recorded together.

Lists of firemen from tax rate books, 1885, 1888, 1891–1903, 1909

Sub-series 101-19C lists of the names of active and honourary firefighters and the widows of deceased firemen, supplied by the Dartmouth Engine Co., the Union Protection Company of Dartmouth, and the Dartmouth Axe and Ladder Co. Lists give the name of the person and the relevant Ward Number for assessment purposes. There are additional years in the assessment rolls (101-19A).

List of jurors, 1900

Sub-series 102-5-2 lists residents eligible to serve as jurors for Dartmouth, including given name, residence, and occupation.

List of water users, 1896

File 101-79 is an alphabetical list of all households using town water in Dartmouth in 1896. It also contains a list of households where two families were living in the same residence.

Assessment records for water and sewer rates, 1893–1894; 1907–1908

Sub-series 101-19B: Books include the name of the property owner, street, assessed value of the property, and the domestic rate, pipe rate, and hydrant rate. Special items recorded include a number of the following that would have been used to assess the water usage rate: "W.C.", shops, barber shops, horses and cows, livery and boarding stable stalls, hoses for cleaning windows or wagons.

Assessment records for school tax, 1892; 1893; 1907; 1908

Sub-series 101-19D contains records related to collection of school tax for "O.D." or “out-of-district families.” Out-of-district school tax was paid by families who lived in areas of Halifax County that bordered Dartmouth, such as Preston and Woodside. Books include the person’s name, school district, real property amount, personal property amount, total tax assessed, poll tax, and date of payment. Records are organized alphabetically by the resident's surname.

Place of Settlement Examinations 1893

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: 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. Similar records for 1891,1922–1924 are in File 101-81K-27.

Housing Commission financial accounts, 1922–1947

Series 101-70: The Dartmouth Housing Commission was created by the town in 1919 to administer provincial loans for home construction. Ledgers list the names of borrowers with details of the loans. To protect privacy, these records cannot be viewed until 90 years after the date of creation, or 20 years after the death of the identified individual. See details in series description.

Directory of Householders, 1944

CR43.16: The directory lists all householders receiving mail at rural post-offices, their names, occupations, and if they were 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 property assessment rolls or the census.

City Directories

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

  • a business directory (by type of business)

  • a name 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)

  • information about city and provincial government and services, including names of senior officials

  • lists of clubs, societies, associations, etc. and names of officers

  • advertisements

The Municipal Archives has:

Digitized versions of McAlpine's Halifax City Directories for 1869-1927, can be searched here.  Halifax Public Library also has city telephone books 1915-present.