The below notes were compiled in the late-1990s when I was briefly working as a freeelance researcher. These are random gleanings, and not intended to be a comprehensive survey of the records. The focus is on highlighting some lesser-known Cumberland County sources held at the Nova Scotia Archives.

Please note that I am NOT actively researching any of these families or individuals, and so I am unable to do look-ups or provide any additional information on persons listed here.

This document is part of the Nova Scotia Genealogy Resources Page.


John Atkinson (s/o William Thomas)
m1. Susan Eliza Stewart (d/o William), (1842 - 1859)
m2. 1864 Margaret [Stewart?]

All parties lived at Westchester. Oddly, the second marriage is not recorded in the civic registration for Cumberland County.

This is not an especially remarkable genealogy except for the fact that Margaret was the AUNT of John's first wife and the couple was subsequently expelled from the (Acadia) Presbyterian Church. There was a lengthy debate in the religious press of the day about the morality and/or legality of such a marriage and the subsequent actions by the church.

[William Stewart] to unnamed minister, May 17 1866
Stewart Family Papers, PANS MG 1 v. 1057A, #621
Somewhat surprisingly, he supported this union.

McKIM (of Westchester)

Westchester Township Book (PANS Mfm# 13497)
p. 122
Andrew and Jane McKim of Slago, Ireland
1. Philip McKim b. ----
2. Amanda McKim b. 12 May 1811
3. Donald mcKim b. 18 December 1812
4. Agnes McKim b. 30 January 1816

This list is probably not complete; the WTB has proven to be reasonably accurate but it tends to provide only partial lists of children. I do not know why the discrepency exists.

I also checked out the listings for the Purdy Cemetery, Westchester PANS MG 5 v. 20, #25

p. 22 Priscilla McKim d. Nov. 6, 1883, ae. 76
p. 23 Hannah McKim, d/o Andrew McKim; w/o James D. Purdy
d. Dec. 29, 1891 in her 74th year

The Westchester cemetery listings are not especially accurate, but they are all that is available at the present. They were indexed and published by the North Cumberland Historical Society a few years ago -- in a volume seperate from the Cemeteries of North Cumberland.


On December 12, 1799, Elizabeth PORTER of Westchester entered into an aprenticeship agreement with John TOTTEN and his wife Jane, both of Amherst, to take her son Isaac, Jr. as an aprentice until he reaches the age of twenty-one. He is to be taught how to read and write, as well as the art of the husbandman [i.e. farmer]. They are also to provide him with sufficient food, clothing, etc. during the term of his aprenticeship.

Elizabeth's husband was Isaac PORTER, Sr. and he was "now a soldier in the Government Regiment" and was unable to provide for his family. Isaac, Jr. was born June 6, 1794 at Westchester, and so he was only five years old when he was indentured. There is some evidence that this decision was "encouraged" by the Overseers of the Poor for the district, probably in an attempt to remove another body from the rolls.

I have no idea what the "Government Regiment" was. There are no PORTER's on the 1783 Return of the Westchester Refugees, but a John TOTTEN, single man, is enumerated at Remsheg.

A copy of the indenture agreement can be found in the Baker collection at PANS: MG 1 v. 2764, #20. The Baker family were active in local government in Cumberland county (eg. magistrates, JP's, registrar of deeds, etc.) for two or three generations (roughly from the 1770's to the 1820's) and the family records at PANS contain many legal documents and similar records that are nowhere else available. For anyone with an interest in Cumberland County, especially the Amherst area, it is worth examining the collection in detail. There is no file list or other nominal index available.

From about the 1780's until the 1860's, the functions of municipal government in many counties of Nova Scotia was provided by the Court of Quarter Sessions. This body handled a very wide range of local government matters ranging from allocating funds for the construction of roads and bridges to trying and sentencing petty criminals.

Detailed minute books and related records are available for several counties, including Cumberland County (1789 to 1859; the records for 1795-1807 are missing). These records are of relevance and interest to genealogists for several reasons. Most significantly, every year large numbers of ordinary citizens were appointed to one of the juries empaneled for a matter -- and all of the names are listed. Even in very small communities, there were numerous appointments to be made including fence viewers, hog reeves, and "surveyor of thistle".

Finally, a close reading of the records turns up some more traditional vital statistics information. Unfortunately, such entries are few and far between as it was not the main function of the Court to record these types of events.


10 August 1791: Mrs. Jean SIMPSON [a widow?] laid a complaint against William BLACK, Esq. for marrying her daughter, Nancy, (a minor) without her permission. Mr. Black claimed that he was told that Mrs. Simpson was of unsound mind, and so she could not give her consent to the marriage. The Court accepted the defense and dismissed the charge.


29 Oct. 1793: William CLARKE was called upon to put up a bond for support of his illegtitimate child with Ann BLINKHORN. He was relieved of the responsibility when Nathan HOEG (res. Maccan, a prominent member of the community) agreed to take the child.


27 June, 1814: Matthew SHARP was accused of having an illegitimate child with Elizabeth BURK. The Grand Jury reviewed the evidence, and concluded that he was not responsible.

NSARM RG 34-309, series P, volumes 1 and 2.
These are in original format at the Nova Scotia Archives; as far as I am aware, they have not been microfilmed.

Oxford Funeral Home Records

The Nova Scotia Archives holds copies of the burial records for the Oxford Funeral Home, 1905-1918 and 1936-1944. These are only a very few extracts. See MG 4 v. 362, #4 for the complete list.

Name Born Died
Dobson, Charles Edward April 27, 1866 May 24, 1942
Henderson, William Sherman May, 1900 July 25, 1941 at Amherst
Matheson, Kenneth ca. 1851 November 5, 1939
Matheson, Matilda May 23, 1853 April 22, 1937
Thornwaite, Joseph W. ca. 1857 December 20, 1911

Last Modified: July 25, 2013