Visit the Archives

The Colchester Archives contain a wealth of local information to assist you with your historical and genealogical research. As a non-profit with a small staff, most of our holdings (records collected over the past 70 years!) will never be available online to download and are therefore only accessible by contacting us or visiting. We strive to be as accessible as possible, year-round. Please reach out anytime by email, phone, or in-person.

Winter Public Hours (September until the 3rd weekend in May)
Tuesday – Friday, open 10am – 12 noon (closed for lunch), open 1 – 4pm

Summer Public Hours (3rd weekend in May until the end of August)
Monday – Friday, open 10am – 4pm daily

Access to the Archives, on the second floor, is included with your $6 entrance fee, and free of charge for Colchester Historeum members. Archives walk-ins are welcome, but if you wish to meet with Archives staff regarding a specific request, an appointment is recommended. Call (902) 895-9530 or email research@colchesterhistoreum.ca to discuss your topic or to make an appointment.

If you are unable to visit us in person, we offer prompt, remote research services via internet. The archives staff will spend up to 30 minutes on your request at no charge, after which a $25 per hour fee (no tax) will apply. No funds are charged unless agreed beforehand. We are a non-profit organization and all funds collected go directly towards the preservation of Colchester history. Call (902) 895-9530 or email research@colchesterhistoreum.ca to discuss your research request. Hourly fees are paid in advance of research and easily payable by contacting staff. We are happy to help and exist for the sole purpose of sharing what we have in both resources and knowledge.

Our spacious reading room is available for the public to do self-research, with the guidance of staff. We welcome you to browse our collections, use our microfilm machines, and copying/scanning services are available too. Spend an hour, spend a day…you never know what you might find!


Archival Resources:
Some are publicly accessible – others require the assistance of Archives staff.

  • Hundreds of Family surname files and History files covering many topics such as businesses, railway, industry, agriculture, sports, education, religion, heritage homes, etc.
  • Family resource files pertaining to the Planters and Grantees of Cobequid, from 1761-1780.
  • Browsable binders containing printed obituaries and marriage notices published in the Truro Daily News from 1891-1959.
  • Browsable binders containing funeral records from Mattatall’s Funeral Home from 1935-1973
  • Over 2500 reels of microfilm containing most of the Truro Daily News from 1891-2018, the Halifax Chronicle Herald from 1892-2007, as well as other newspapers, church records, township books, vital statistics, and more.
  • Over 700 maps of Colchester County communities, including over 125 hand-drawn originals.
  • Full size copies of the A. F. Church county maps: Colchester (1874), Hants (1871), Halifax (1865), Pictou (1867) and Cumberland (1873), with extra detailed extracts pertaining to Colchester County.
  • Over 10,000 photographs, many digitized and available for purchase.
  • A library of almost 4000 books, including published works on Colchester communities, buildings, and churches; biographies; scrapbooks; diaries and journals of Colchester people; and over 700 genealogies of families with Colchester County connections.
  • A collection of approximately 16,000 school registers from Colchester County spanning 1868-1986. Not all dates and schools are represented.
  • An extraordinary, 8-box, 60-year collection of Ross Graves, dedicated to the genealogy of the Stewiacke Valley.
  • Transcriptions of over 160 Colchester cemeteries, many done in the 1970s and 80s, which contain valuable records of headstones which are no longer legible or standing.
  • Vital statistics from the Presbyterian Witness newspaper, 1848-1908.
  • Countless more unique resources kept safely in our archival holdings, including ledgers, diaries, letters, certificates, records of clubs, businesses, schools, and much more.
  • New: We are currently adding to our extensive genealogy collection by creating 20+ Family Surname Binders, featuring information about African Nova Scotian families of Colchester.
    We welcome your input anytime if you would like to add information about your ancestors!