LUNENBURG IS HOME
I never lived there, but because virtually all my ancestors of the past nearly 250 years did, it seems like my Home Town.This page is dedicated to Lunenburg and its special people.
I was baptised there at age 3 months 21 days and for each of the next 12 summers returned to visit my grandparents. Thus I've been imprinted for life.
This picture was taken at the entrance to Lunenburg some years ago by my late uncle Charles E YOUNG, who was, like his father before him, the General Manager of the Lunenburg Foundry.
The snug harbour as viewed from the golf course.
This picture was taken August 1997 by Cathy DiPietro and is used with her permission.
Some notable land marks in the picture include:
across the horizon from left to right
- Lunenburg Academy (above the twin water-line storage tanks)
- Zion Lutheran Church (above the bright red building)
- St John's Anglican Church (above bow of black trawler docked at right end of the bright red building)
- Presbyterian Church - formerly Dutch Reform Church (just right of center)
- Central United Church - formerly Methodist Church (above sail boat)
and along the waterfront
- Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic (the bright red building)
- South Shore Genealogical Society (top floor of the Fisheries Museum)
The land across the harbour is the site of the original town settlement (see below).
INTERESTED IN FINDING YOUR ANCESTRY?
Below is a description of the Indexes to Lunenburgers, primarily those at this web site, but also at others. Links are then provided to these indexes.
To speed things up, you can go directly to the Master Index to Lunenburg's First Families 1749-1784. Basically, this Index provides links to some 40 web pages that provide details on those individuals who first settled in Lunenburg, and their ancestors.
- Were Any of Your Ancestors from Lunenburg County?
- Here is an Index to about 6,000 family names as recorded in about a dozen records over the past two and a half centuries. Individuals are not mentioned.
- You can find out if a name has been recorded and in which document. Internet links to some of these documents are provided.
- You can also find out what other spellings have been or are still being used. Some family names appear in more than two dozen variants!
- Were Any of Your Ancestors Among Those Who Founded Lunenburg?
- Here is an Index to about 700 family names who were present within the first 20 years of the founding of Lunenburg as noted in Civil (e.g. Victualing Lists, Land Registries, Military Lists) or Church (Birth, Marriage, or Death) records.
This index covers only Lunenburg Township and not Chester or Dublin Townships.
The information (in the process of being uploaded) is in four sections:
- Family Name and variations in spellings.
- Documents where the name has been cited (e.g. Books, Cemetery Inscriptions, Census Records, Church Records, Maps, Military Records, Monuments, Obituaries, Probated Wills).
- Where they came from in Europe, on what ship they came over, and what land they were given upon arrival. (data to come)
- Family Group Records for those who were born before arrival. (data to come)
Did any of Your Ancestors Help Build Zion Lutheran Church in Lunenburg?
Here is an Index to over 200 individuals who contributed by their financial donations, labour, and/or membership between 1770 and 1787. Aug 2000
Did They Leave You Anything in Their Will?
Here is an Index to the some 15,600 Wills that have been Probated in the County over the period 1770-1999.
- Names are recorded as printed (thus the Name Index, to convert seemingly unconnected names such as UELSHE to HILCHIE).
- You can use the probate year given to estimate the year of death.
- For the actual wording of the will, you will have to view the probate records in Bridgewater or view by microfilm (details given).
- Texts of Selected Wills are available.
Where Were They Buried?
If you know the name of the community and cemetery in which they were buried, here you can see a map that will show you the exact location of the cemetery. Among other things, you could then plan a visit to that spot and view and photograph your loved one's headstone.
- Is North West anywhere near Northwest Cove?
- No, they are 32 km (21 miles) apart as the crow flies and rows a dory, or 58 km (35 miles) if the crow is pushing a flat tire.
- Are they near any place you know about?
- ¤ North West is 4 km (3 miles) south east of Mahone Bay and 6 km (4 miles) north west (hence its name) of Lunenburg.
- ¤ Northwest Cove is about 14 km (8 miles) south of the Lunenburg-Halifax County line on the east shore of the Blandford Peninsula.
- How can you find the location of these small communities?
- ¤ Simple. Go to the Index of Lunenburg County Place Names, which lists nearly 200 communities. This will then give you a grid designation, which you use to find the place on the Place Names Map of Lunenburg County.
¤ You can also view a "proper" Lunenburg County Topographical Map
¤ Now you can answer the burning questions: Is First South east or west of Second Peninsula? or Is Upper LaHave up- or downstream of Lower Branch (LaHave)?
Were Any Communities, Land or Water Features Named after Your Ancestors?
Here you can find a listing of over 500 communtites, land features, and water features in which part of the name is derived from a Family Name.
Who were our initial ancestors and where did they live in Lunenburg County?
- We should first look at the Passenger Lists of the ships
Speedwell 1751, and
Speedwell 1752 that brought our ancestors to this land. People from southern Germany, south-eastern France, and northern Switzerland gathered at Rotterdam, Holland. In the summers of 1750-1752, about 2400 left Europe to cross the stormy north Atlantic to Halifax. About 10% failed to survive the voyages.
These folks congregated in Halifax until it was decided where to place them. Those that required provisions showed up on victualling lists in 1752 (Gale Facini-Edwards site) and
Eventually the site of a former French encampment called Merligash was chosen and plans were made for transport. By the time they arrived in June of 1753, the name Lunenburg had been chosen.
- Next we should look at the initial records of the some 1350 individuals who finally landed. They needed to be supplied with food and other necessities. Three such records are the Victualling Lists for Lunenburg in
1755 (Bryan Keddy's site)
1756 (taken from Ruth E Kaulback's book "Historic Saga of Lehève (LaHave)" and 1757.
- Another record is that of Lunenburg Town Lots Grantees in 1754 & 1762. This lists who were given what plots of land (see picture above) "downtown". There is also a Map of the organization of the town into Divisions and Sections, and Maps of the 48 Sections showing who lived there in 1754 and then 1762. There was considerable turnover of lot ownership. finally, there are Bird's Eye View Maps prepared in 1879 and 1890 that show the location of buildings in the "old town".
- So that the new settlers could start to provide for themselves, Garden Lots were provided at the eastern edge of the town. In this list you will find assignments to about 500 of the nearly 600 lots available and a Garden Lots Map showing the layout. The initial registration was made about 1753 and an assessment of vacant plots (owners moved on) was recorded in 1762.
- To entice continental Protestant Europeans to settle in the new world, the British authorities promised them 50 acres of free land per member of the household. When push came to shove in Lunenburg, the initial result was a 30 acre plot out in the country. These 30 Acre Lots were assigned per family by lottery in 1753/4. A follow-up registration made in 1760 showed that again there was considerable turn over of ownership. See Maps of the the location of individual lots or of the occupants of 30 acre Lots by Division:
- 1st Peninsula A,
- 2nd Peninsula A,
- Center A,
- Clearland A,
- Indian Point
- LaHave River A,
- Mahone Bay A,
- Middle Range A,
- North West Range A,
- South A,
- Once the conflict with the Indians had been resolved and more countryside land was surveyed, further 300 Acre Lots were handed out. See Maps of the location of individual lots or of the
occupants of 300 acre Lots by Division:
- Ever Wonder if the Early Folks Held On to Their Land Grant Allotments?
Well, they didn't. To prove it, here is an Index to the nearly 1200 land transfers that occurred between November 1759 and March 1775 in Lunenburg Township. The data was taken from Volume 1 of the Listing of Land Deeds for Lunenburg County.
The index lists individuals who sold or bought land. In about half the entries, there is an indication if the land was a Town, Garden, 30 Acre Farm or 300 Acre Forest Lot.
- With the passage of time and the naturalization of the new citizens, there came time to formally transfer ownership to the land holders. This was done in 1784. The Land Grants list only who received a specified acreage corresponding to land holdings at that time. These holdings ranged from 5 to 2000 acres. The locations of these grants were not specified.
All of the above Land Grant information has been pulled together in a Consolidated Land Grant Index covering 1754 to 1784. Aug 2000
Who Was Living in Lunenburg County in 1838?
This alphabetical index for the 1838 Census lists:
- - the names of heads of households (for 1872 families)
- - the total number of individuals in the family (range 1-18; average 6.4)
- - the head of household's occupation (82% were farmers and there was 1 beggar)
- - where the family resided.
- The next available document surveyed was the Map prepared by the Ambrose Church Company. They made maps of all of the 18 counties of Nova Scotia, including Lunenburg beginning 1864. It is not absolutely certain when the Lunenburg map was prepared but the best estimate seems to be about 1880. Their mandate was to show the locations of towns and villages, basic topographic features, and the names of residents. The Lunenburg County Index of Heads of Households lists about 3900 individuals (First Initial, Last Name only). This index is organized by name and by community, with cross references to location on the Lunenburg County Place Name Map.
Not all of the links given above are mine: The Maps to Community Cemeteries are found on the South Shore Genealogical Society's web site, the Ship Passenger Lists is found on Gail FACINI's site, and the 1784 Land Grant List is from Cathy DiPietro's site.
Are there other Sources of Information on the Internet?
The First MUST SEE site is the monumental Lunenburg GenWeb Site assembled by Gail FACINI. It is literally a One-Stop Shopping area loaded with lots of raw data, references to Microfilm sources for lots more data (e.g. Probated Wills), and links to the "outside world".
The next stops are with the multitude of web sites of others interested in Lunenburg genealogy. As time permits, they will be listed below.
Also to come here are links to other wonderful sites associated with other aspects of life in Lunenburg. Stay tuned!