Diocesan Archives Documents



Parish Records of Permanent Value - what to Save and Archive or destroy

Inventory Method Details

What a Heritage Committee can do

Archives Policy Statement Revision 6.0 - October 2019

ADDENDUM to Report to DC April 2013 -Protection of privacy and controlled access to Anglican Parish Records

Archives Mandate:

The purpose of the Archives of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island is to collect, arrange, describe and preserve the permanent records and related papers of the Diocese, at the termination of their active life, and make them avail­able as required. This includes all records that were created within the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island by any person while performing official or quasi-official duties. Where a schedule for deposit or disposal has been established, this should be adhered to, any queries being directed to the Records Manager and/or the Diocesan Archivist.

NOTE: Because of limited space the Archives reserves the right to decline material that does not fit its man­date.

Contact us: 

Diocesan Archivist :  
Lorraine Slopek [email protected]       902-406-8982 (direct)
Diocesan Archives         1340 Cathedral Lane, Halifax, NS  B3H 2Z1

"For genealogical enquiries please send your enquiry in writing directly to our Diocesan Archives Genealogical Researcher,Taunya Dawson.

Taunya Dawson   2571 MacDonald St.   Halifax, NS B3L 3G3  [email protected]

Hours and Services:

Effective April 13, 2015, the Diocesan Archivist is in the Archives: 

  • Mondays, 1:00 to 5:00 pm ;
  • Wed. and Thurs. – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

We have a small workspace that is shared between conservation, technical services, and research, so please call or write ahead of time to make an appointment to do research or to consult with the Archivist.

The Archivist will answer requests from the public, from the groups and associations of the Diocese, and from the Synod office, clergy, parish staff and parishioners needing information in the Diocesan Archives’ holdings.

If you have questions concerning the preservation and management of your records, or the policies and procedures of the Archives, please see the pamphlets and documents posted on this page, designed to be downloaded and printed for use in the parishes. This list will grow as we continue to research topics of interest to our diocesan family in its efforts to preserve its recorded history and heritage.  

The Diocesan Archives is the place of deposit for all records of the Diocese of NS and PEI, its regions and parishes, its clergy, institutions and societies.

The Diocesan Archives does not do genealogical requests or research, but can help direct your search to institutions holding microfilm of Anglican records and other genealogical resources.


Creating a Church Archive: (presented at Charlottetown, 2008)

The Diocesan Archives: What you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask:

This intoduction to the history, work and vision of the Diocesan Archives was presented at Diocesan Council on December 7, 2006, along with the brochure "Preservation at the Point of Creation". It was intended to inspire preservation practices, to inform the parishes about our work and to answer questions received from all over the diocese in 2006, so we are making it available here to all in the following formats: Microsoft PowerPoint, Acrobat PDF, use your left mouse button to advance the slides in the powerpoint presentation. The brochure re preservation at point of creation in Rich Text Format:"

Notes for the above presentation


Other Archives Documents:

Archives General Information Brochure - April 2016 Revision

Parish Records -- Guide to Storage and Handling

Parish Registers -- A note from the former Primate

Tips on Disaster Prevention, Preparedness and Recovery for Churches and Parishes

The Dangers of Water -- pamphlet

Managing Parish Records - booklet

Managing Parish records Birch Cove Recovery

Archives Newsletters:

Diocesan Canons governing the Archives:

General  Synod Archives Manuals and Guidelines for Parishes:

Other Sources for Anglican Church Records:

  •  St. Paul’s Church Archives, Halifax, NS holds the records of St. Paul’s Church dating back to 1749, and the archival custodians there will answer public research requests for a nominal fee (all revenue goes directly to the preservation of these, the oldest parish records of our Diocese).   Send your enquiries to Amy Mackay or Fiona Day at the St. Paul’s Church Office: [email protected] or telephone: (902) 429-2240.
  • Almost all of our parish records of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials up to the last fifty years, as well as other parish records, are on microfilm that is deposited to the Public Archives of Nova Scotia (Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management – “NSARM”) and are accessible to the public there.   For more information, visit their website or Email: Public Archives of Nova Scotia
  • For more help and connections to genealogical resources in Nova Scotia, visit the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia
  • In Prince Edward Island, some Anglican Church records are held at the Public Archives and Records Office (PARO) in Charlottetown.
  • The Robertson Library of the University of PEI also has a large amount of genealogical reference material.
  • At the University College of Cape Breton, the Beaton Institute holds copies of Anglican parish records on microfilm.
  • The Diocesan Archives is an institutional member of the Council for Nova Scotia Archives; for a complete listing of other member institutions, visit their website.
  • For a complete directory of museums and heritage institutions in Nova Scotia visit:
  • For more information about other Anglican archives across Canada, visit the General Synod Archives website to access the complete list of Diocesan Archives in the Anglican Archives Network

Anglican Diocesan Archivists Network:

Development of the Diocesan Archives:           

The first reference to the establishment of a Diocesan Archives may be found in the Synod Journal of the Diocese of Nova Scotia, 1916. In that year Reginald V. Harris placed before the Synod a proposal that "a standing Committee, including the Bishop of the Diocese, be appointed and charged with the collection and preservation of docu­ments and manuscripts relative to the history of the Diocese of Nova Scotia". It was not until 1960 that a room was set aside in the new Diocesan Centre for use as an Archives. An Archives Com­mittee was established and Mr. Inglis Wainwright was appointed first Archi­vist.

The Chancellor of the Diocese, R. V. Harris, presented the core of the Archives’ Reference Library as well as a quantity of archival material to the Archives. In recognition of his gifts to and inter­est in the Diocesan Archives, Bishop Waterman presented a brass plaque in­ scribed "R. V. Harris Room" on June 1962. As of Dec. 2012, the main room for the Archives collection is a temperature and humidity controlled vaulted room inside the Archives office, located in the Synod Offices at Parkland at the Gardens, 1340 Cathedral Lane, Halifax. This room now contains a compact mobile shelving system of the highest quality, big enough to house the entire collection and more, thanks to a grant from the Anglican Foundation, and many generous donations from parishes and individuals, including the Archives Committee and former Archivists of the diocese.

The main office of the Archives houses the Reference Library collection, and is named “Archives Research and Reading Room, The Church of England Institute”.   It is still furnished with some of the original furniture from the Church of England Institute, as a memorial to Leonard Weldon Mosher, who had also been known for his contribution to education and historical knowledge of the Diocese.

Acquisitions Policy :

Archival materials are generally acquired through donations and deposit required by Canon Law.  Normally the Diocesan Archives does not pur­chase archival material.

Canon 40 states that baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials and service registers must be kept, and if they cannot be protected in the parish by a dry, fireproof vault in a secure room or facility, they should be “sent to the Registrar of the Diocese for safekeeping”. Today the Archives’ vault serves this purpose.

For Access Policies and Preservation Strategies, See the Archives Policies expanded and revised, in effect as of April 2008.


The Diocesan Archives collects:

Records of the Diocese , its Ecclesiastical Regions and Parishes; Minutes, ledgers, documents and registers, specifically;

  • Parish Records : Registers of Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, and Burial, Vestry books (registers of services), minute books, ledgers, and documents, specifically;
  • Parish documents: Deeds, mortgages, and other property documents, boundary descriptions, petitions and sentences of consecration, decrees of formation and division, annual reports. (Parish office files, weeded and arranged, may be deposited in the event of a church closing.)
  • Church related photographs, maps and plans;
  • The personal papers, diaries, letters, manuscripts of Diocesan Bishops, clergy, layper­ sons, institutions and societies;
  • Parish histories , published, collected, or manuscript;
  • Clerical biographies and significant publications by Diocesan clergy and lay people;
  • Records of church related institutions, societies, organizations and clubs;
  • Diocesan and General Synod publications ; serials relating to the Church of England, the Church of England in Canada and periodical journals of related societies and church history.
  • Oral histories


The Diocesan Archives does not collect Bibles, prayer books or hymnbooks at this time, with the exception of a rare edition or an historically dedicated volume.

Because of limited space, the Diocesan Archives does not collect artifacts.

 Preserving the records that bear witness to the life and ministry of our Church         

Appeal for the new Archives shelving
click here to read more about it



Diocesan Archives
1340 Catheral Lane, Halifax, NS  B3H 2Z1

Tel.    902-420-0717  |  Email: