MUSEUM OFFERS HISTORY AT YOUR FINGERTIPS (February 18/05)

I just spent the better part of the morning looking at lists containing thousands of deceased people.

This isn’t as macabre as it seems at first glance and actually it was interesting reading and to some extent, educational. Loaded into my computer are files with the birth and death dates of thousands of former residents of Kings, Annapolis, Hants and Digby County. The files contain the ages of the deceased at time of death, their marital status, birth place, parent’s names and occupation, and the cause and place of death.

Information such as this is invaluable if you’re tracing your ancestors. In my case, I was looking for information on the children of my great-grandfather. A couple of his offspring were shown as being alive at the time a census was conducted but they didn’t appear in later records. The file told me what happened to one of them. My great-aunt, Esmorilda, succumbed to a mysterious ailment, inflammation, when she was 13, dying in Hall’s Harbour.

As I said, this information is stored on several files in the hard drive of my computer and I can access it with a few clicks of my mouse. You can find the same sort of information by going downstairs into the genealogy section at the Kings County Museum and delving into family history files, census and probate records, birth, death and marriage records, cemetery records, a massive compilation of obituaries, community profiles, history books and that like. Or you can contact the museum, purchase the disc containing thousands of Valley birth and death records and load it into your computer.

With a computer you literally have local history, or genealogy actually, at your fingertips. The Museum has many of the counties vital records on computer discs and for a few bucks you can take one or two or all of them home and at your leisure search for information on your ancestors.

As well birth and death records of Kings, Annapolis, Digby and Hants from 1864 to 1877, other compact discs available at the Museum are Kings County probate records, 1785 to 1950, an index of Kings County Deeds, 1764 to 1951, Kings County Marriages, 1864 to 1909, Kings County Cemetery Records, Kings County Census dated 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901. All of the above are available on separate discs and on one CD called Kings County Vital Statistics. There is also a CD with Acadian Church records and the early Acadian census of 1671 and 1758. This is in English and includes 30 early Acadian maps.

Most of the above discs are fairly comprehensive. For example, the cemetery disc contains records from all 100 of the county burial grounds, complete with tombstone inscriptions, and the marriage disc has nearly 6,000 records giving bride, groom, age, parents, and so on; the probate records disc contains over 25,000 records.

Individual CDs sell for $25. However, you can save yourself a few bucks. The combination disc, Kings County Vital Statistics, is a genealogical bargain at $99. The combination disc doesn’t include Acadian records, however.

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