A note on language:
Archival records use the language of their time, which can be incorrect, inaccurate, or offensive to current sensibilities. To represent these records impartially and without interpretation, archivists transcribe records as they were originally written. The language used to describe or refer to Indigenous people is part of the colonial history of the Halifax area, and part of the Archives’ function is to represent the reality of this history as accurately as possible. As a result, no language has been changed in the description or presentation of original records in the database or in this source guide.
Table of Contents
Bedford Petroglyph Advisory Committee
Caldwell Road Servicing
Dartmouth Mayor’s Subject Files
Much of what the Halifax Municipal Archives has for family history research comes in the form of billing records, lists, or registers. These records can be valuable if you are looking for a particular person, but they are not specifically focused on the Indigenous population of Halifax. Please see the Municipal Archives’ guide to genealogical sources for more information.
Records from the Halifax County Home, Halifax City Home, and Halifax City Prison do contain information that explicitly pertains to the Indigenous people of the area.
Halifax County Home (312-64-1)
Halifax County operated the Poor Farm from 1887, which later became the County Home. The County Home kept billing records for the individuals, municipalities, and government departments who were responsible for paying the boarding rates of County Home residents. Discussion over this rate, and the billing of the Department of Indian Affairs, can be seen in this County Council minutes from 1968. Minute from Council 1968-07-16
Similar discussions of billing the Department of Indian Affairs can also be seen in Council minutes from the following year. Minute from Council 1969-04-15
County Home billing records from even earlier show the forms used specifically for billing the Department of Indian Affairs. These include name, band or residential school, diagnosis, who admitted the resident, the number of days they resided in the home for each monthly billing period. See here for an example of County Home billing records (312-64-1).
Halifax City (Rockhead) Prison (102-18B)
Prison registers contain the following types of information: inmate name, country, crime, sentence length, religion, age, physical description, date of discharge, conduct and other general comments. Early volumes sometimes have notes on ethnicity such as "Indian,” shown below.