Looking for your School Teacher Ancestor?



Happy Heritage Day today Everyone. I’m celebrating by heading off with my History Nerd Friends Kent, Denise and Wilber (Willard!) today to the Admiral Digby Museum to hear a talk about Brinley Town, the original settlement of the Black Loyalists in what was then Annapolis County. It was located just outside of the town of Digby. The town lost nearly 75% of it’s inhabitants when the exodus to Sierra Leone happened in 1792. The remaining citizens expanded out into what became known as Jordanville and Acacia in what is now known as Digby County. When the province put the 101 highway through to Yarmouth in 1993, they cut right through this historic community. This is what is known as the geography of racism and environmental racism. You can still see the where the 101 Highway cut through the community today, nearly 30 years later. It is astounding that they would do that to a community.

Today I am putting up a post that is not so much about poor houses as poor school districts. And I hope I am not violating any copyrights today or annoying any other organizations. My apologies again. I am posting a link, however, to documents that are 100+ years old and are shared online so I believe I am safe. I like to share history….apparently too much. đŸ™‚

I also like to tackle history that has not been recorded as evidenced by my book about Poor Houses in Nova Scotia. When seeking unrecorded history, I look for what I call ‘puzzle pieces” that I put together to show the whole picture of the unrecorded history. These puzzle pieces are little jewels that, brought together,  make a beautiful piece of jewellry.

Lately I have been working on a piece about Birch Town, Annapolis County. Yes, Annapolis County had a Birch Town that was not nearly as famous or as old or historically significant as the Birchtown of Shelburne County. It was, however, historically significant to those who ancestors lived there and to Annapolis County as there has been very little written about the predominantly African Nova Scotian settlement. It is a piece of history that has disappeared…until you put the puzzle pieces, the little jewels, together.

One of the jewels I discovered was the School Records for Nova Scotia. These records often have little astericks (*) beside the school districts to indicate a “poor district” where a school was located. Not surprisingly, the astericks often show up next to an area where a poor house was located and in communities of African Nova Scotians as our culture of colonization kept both First Nations and African Nova Scotians locked in a grid of racism and poverty.

For those of you seeking the jewels, the puzzle pieces, these online documents may be very helpful to you. Not only are towns, hamlets, settlements and school districts named but also they contain the names of school teachers in many of the areas and, occasionally, some of the names of students.

Journals of Nova Scotia Education 1880-1920




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