Devonna and Don Edwards. The Little Dutch Village: Historic Halifax West: Armdale Fairview (Halifax: Nimbus, 2003) 142 pages. ISBN: 1-55109-400-2, $19.95

Devonna and Don Edwards’ book chronicles over two hundred years of history of the Halifax communities of Fairview and Armdale from the first European settlement in the 1750’s until the early 1960’s. Major sections are devoted to the original settlement of Dutch Village, Armdale, and Fairview. Fairview receives the most coverage, at slightly more than half the total pages of the volume.

While this book is not just a compilation of genealogies, it does include varying amounts of genealogical information on several area families (see Table 1 for a partial list). There are also anecdotes from and about many other families and individuals who have lived in the area. In addition to the people, the history of local businesses, churches, railways, schools, sports teams, post offices, and even historic buildings in these communities are all discussed.

The greatest strength of the book is definitely the use of photographs. It is profusely illustrated. Many of the images have not been previously published as they have been contributed by local residents. Other illustrations include historic maps and reproductions of documents.

Unfortunately, the greatest weakness of the book is its organization, or the lack thereof. There is no index, and the material is presented in neither chronological nor geographical order. The history of Fairview United Church, for example, starts on pages 62-63, and it is picked-up again on page 76 where some of the same information is repeated again.

More worrying for genealogists are the outright factual mistakes. The authors report, for example, that Arthur Webb died in 1919 (p. 41). He actually died ten years later in January 1929 (see the Acadian Recorder January 10, 1929 p. 2 for his obituary). There also are other minor errors (such as mis-identifying local businesses) that raise questions about the quality of the research.

Table 1

Some of the genealogies included in this book




95, 98


9, 46-48


50-55, 67-68, 74, 138








88-93, 138



Family oral tradition and community lore may be useful sources of information, but human memory is fallible and mistakes will be made. As with any published book, conscientious researchers will do well to verify the information presented here against the primary sources. For example, the names and locations of former community residents can be checked against such sources as the McAlpine’s Halifax Directories. Old business names can also be checked against the Directories, as well as with the Registry of Joint Stock Companies. Dates of death can frequently be verified by checking internments in the local cemeteries. Most of these sources are readily available at the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management.

My old house on Dutch Village Road in Fairview, Summer 2001

Last Modified: November 11, 2004