For the past 30 years, members of the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia have provided an invaluable service to thousands of people passionate about researching their families' histories.
Last weekend, the association held an open house at its recently updated Hydrostone office. The interest that sparked the formation of the association 30 years ago shows no signs of slowing down, said Allan Marble, the association's president.
"About 10 years ago when the internet really started to blossom, a lot of people turned to the internet convinced they could get most of the information they wanted from a genealogical point of view," Marble said. "That's true to an extent, but it's not the be all, end all..There's a limit to what you can find on the internet."
Documents like probate records, wills, church and cemetery records and land grants may require more digging, and that's where groups like Marble's play an important role.
"When they exhaust what they can find (online) they turn to the archives and consult people in genealogical organizations," he explained. "We're pretty familiar with what records are available."
As a 'portal of Canada' since the Acadians first arrived in the 1630s, Marble said many genealogical seekers (from Canada and the US in particular) find themselves looking to Nova Scotia to learn more about their ancestry.
"Nova Scotia's records are extensive. They are a fantastic set of records covering a period from the 1630s to (almost 400) years later," he said. "A lot of New Englanders came through Nova Scotia ... The Americans are very interested in Nova Scotia, so we get many."
In fact, about 50 per cent of the association's membership is made up of Americans. The other half are Canadians, with just a smattering of international members.
"The interest in genealogy has increased, but even in 1971 there was a tremendous amount of interest," Marble said.
Marble said membership with the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia does have its benefits, including access to a members only section of the group's website. That area contains a wealth of information that can only be otherwise accessed via the Nova Scotia archives.
They also get copies of The Nova Scotia Genealogist, a publication put out by the association three times per year. Each issue contains a wealth of genealogical materials beneficial to genealogical research.
From September through to May, members can also learn from a variety of speakers at the Nova Scotia Archives each month. Every year, the association also holds a popular "brick wall" evening.
"Members who have been researching and come up against a brick wall can send the information to us and there are a couple people, myself included, who try to solve the brick wall for them," he said.
Recently, the association secured the new lieutenant governor as its patron.
"That's a feather in our cap," Marble said.
Membership is $25 per year, and more information can be found at