Citing a manuscript marriage register and microfilm ID question--Nova Scotia Archives

 
 
 
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snesnow
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Citing a manuscript marriage register and microfilm ID question--Nova Scotia Archives

I just returned from a lovely research voyage to the Nova Scotia Archives and I am working through my finds to create source citations and add information to my genealogy databases. Most of the items I located are taken from microfilm, some created by the archive itself and others acquired from other places like GSU. The microfilmed records have their own issues, but aren't really that tricky, I think. Should I identify them by the roll numbers assigned by the Nova Scotia Archives, even if they are filmed by GSU or FHL? Should I include both if necessary?

One manuscript record I saw was a record of marriages performed from 1852-1872 by Rev. A. L. Wyllie, a Presbyterian minister in Great Village, Colchester, Nova Scotia. The register was apparently found and donated to PANS (Public Archives of Nova Scotia, now simply Nova Scotia Archives or NSA) in 1912, by a person whose name is only given in a cover letter as A. W. H. E. The cover letter identifies the minister's name, church and provenance. The church does not appear to have a formal name beyond "The Presbyterian Church in Great Village" until 1882, when it was rebuilt following a devastating fire and dubbed St. James Presbyterian Church. In 1925, it joined the United Church of Canada and is now called St. James United Church of Canada.

This marriage register and one other from 1795-1835 are the only early records that survive. Other records for St. James and a daughter church, Acadia Presbyterian have been microfilmed and are part of MG 4, Church and Cemetery Records. The 1795-1835 records were transcribed into the Londonderry Township Book and I will cite them as part of that.

Where this gets tricky:

  1. The name of the church at the time of the original marriage records creation is not what it was later or now
  2. This manuscript is not easily located in the archives unless you have its call number (I found it because some kind soul had transcribed it online and listed its call number--it is not identified as belonging to this church in any of the paper or electronic catalogs/finding aids in NSA)
  3. The numbering scheme used when originally accessioned at NSA is not the one used now (but you HAVE to use this number on a request slip or they won't find it)
  4. NSA does not have an online catalog available outside the repository.

While I thought I took good notes, and I requested a photocopy of the cover page, I neglected to get a copy of the first page of the actual manuscript or its containing folder, and I am relying on my memory for those items. (I've become too accustomed to being able to photograph everything!) The title is taken verbatim from the cover letter.

My original stab at the citation is:

[Note] "Record of Marriages performed by Rev. A. L. Wyllie, minister of the Presbyterian Church at Great Village, Colchester County, N. S., between 23 Nov 1852 and 24 Sep 1872," MG 4 no. 35, p. 2, entry 2, McLellan-Wilson marriage, 31 Jan 1854; Manuscript Group 4, Church and Cemetery Records; Nova Scotia Archives, Halifax. This manuscript consists of a cover letter dated 1912 signed "A. W. H. E." and loose pages taken from a notebook originally kept by Rev. A. L. Wyllie and later inherited by his son Robert Wyllie of Glenholme, Colchester County, Nova Scotia. The cover letter notes that the remainder of the book was destroyed.

[Source list] "Record of Marriages performed by Rev. A. L. Wyllie, minister of the Presbyterian Church at Great Village, Colchester County, N. S., between 23 Nov 1852 and 24 Sep 1872." Manuscript Group 4, Churches and Cemeteries. Nova Scotia Archives, Halifax.

Should I include the record identification no. (MG 4 no. 35) in the source list? The Archives has two main divisions of records RG (Record Group) and MG (Manuscript Group). Is it OK that MG appears in two places? Similiar to how the British Archives numbers like BT 162/32/114 need to be kept all together, the MG 4 no. 35 needs to be kept together. I have to verify the official title of MG 4 with another source.

Do I need to include the current name of the church (St. James United Church of Canada) to clarify that "the Presbyterian Church at Great Village" is the same as St. James Church (verified from reading several histories of the church and local area at NSA)?

Hopefully, I covered everything! I just don't want anyone coming along behind me to have to fight through as much stuff to see these records as I did. Thanks for any help.

Sarah Nesnow

Charleston, SC

EE
EE's picture

snewnow, what a wonderful research trip that must have been!  

With regard to your first four questions:

1. The name of the church at the time of the original marriage records creation is not what it was later or now

This can be handled easily. In the citation you created, after the name of the original church, just use editorial brackets and say [now St. James United Church of Canada].  Or, given that you've added a discussion at the end of the citation, you could add another sentence there to note the change of the church's identity.

2. This manuscript is not easily located in the archives unless you have its call number (I found it because some kind soul had transcribed it online and listed its call number--it is not identified as belonging to this church in any of the paper or electronic catalogs/finding aids in NSA)

Ah, yes. That’s perzactly why, with records in archives, we have long citations that identify the file, the collection, the series, and the record group.

3. The numbering scheme used when originally accessioned at NSA is not the one used now (but you HAVE to use this number on a request slip or they won't find it)

Yes, we definitely need to cite the current archival identification, rather than one from the past that has been abandoned.

4. NSA does not have an online catalog available outside the repository.

Which is why it’s very good that you took care to make your notes as precise as possible.

After your “stab at the citation,” which is a very good stab, you asked, “Should I include the record identification no. (MG 4 no. 35) in the source list.  Yes. This would be useful.

You also ask “Is it OK that MG appears in two places”? 

Well, no one will stab you back for doing so, but it is redundant. It’s also confusing when placed where you have the first reference to it.  You are citing p. 2, entry 2 of the original book.  Whatever call  number the archives assigns to it is not part of the ID of the original register. That archival ID belongs in the part of the citation in which you iID the archives.

Normally, when citing an old manuscript register, we cite the elements in this order:

Author, “Title of Manuscript Register [with dates],” page and/or entry numbers and specific data;  Collection, Series, Record Group, etc; Name of Archive, City, State/Province.

The QuicKCheck Model on p. 312 of EE3r “Church Books: Named Volume Archives Off-Site,” follows that pattern.

In your case, the name of the author is embedded into the title of the register, so the author field can be skipped. The dates are also embedded.  If we eliminate the redundancy and clarify what "MG 4 no. 35" represents, we'd end up with this:

        1.  “Record of Marriages performed by Rev. A. L. Wyllie, minister of the Presbyterian Church at Great Village, Colchester County, N. S., between 23 Nov. 1852 and 24 Sep. 1872," p. 2, entry 2, McLellan-Wilson marriage, 31 Jan. 1854; Manuscript Group 4, Church and Cemetery Records, Item 35; Nova Scotia Archives, Halifax.

 

 

The Editor