Series - Cape Breton County Registry of Deeds records

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Cape Breton County Registry of Deeds records

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  • Textual record

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  • 1786-1951, predominant 1786-1948 (Creation)

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Physical description

81 m of textual records (462 volumes)

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Scope and content

Series forms part of the Nova Scotia Registry of Deeds fonds and consists of 450 land transaction registers recording the sale or transfer of land between grantor (seller) and grantee (buyer), mortgage assignments and releases, quit claims deeds and many other types of records relating to land transactions.

Series also includes: Crown Land Grant books, 1786-1949, which provided a local copy of land grants also recorded in the Crown Lands Office.

The Sydney Registry is the earliest one on Cape Breton Island and initially recorded land transactions from across the island prior to the establishment of other registries in Richmond County (1821), Inverness County (1825) and Victoria County (1851). The Registry records also include land grants from the period in which Cape Breton was a separate colony (1784 to 1820).

As a separate colony, the island of Cape Breton had its own small colonial administration. In 1785 Abraham Cuyler was appointed Secretary and Registrar of the colony and, as such, was responsible for maintaining the land registration books for the colony. Exchanges of land were limited from 1790-1817 as grants of land were only issued to Loyalists or discharged military personnel. Other persons would have to seek a licence of occupation which would then be registered in a manner similar to that of a land grant. Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1820/21 reunited Cape Breton to Nova Scotia as a county and provided for the registration of deeds in Sydney and Arichat. Chapter 33 of the Acts of 1823 divided the county into three districts: Northeastern (1st), Southern (2nd), and Northwestern (3rd). An Order-in-Council on December 10, 1824 authorizedthe creation of a registry in Port Hood. In 1835 the districts became the counties of Cape Breton, Richmond, and Just au Corps (since renamed Inverness). In 1851 Victoria County was separated from Cape Breton County and given its own registry at Baddeck. From 1854 onwards the Crown Lands Act required the registration of grants in the appropriate county registry. Asthe registry office dated from the time when Cape Breton Island was a separate colony, there are two Crown Land Grant books covering the years 1786-1791. Land Grants issued from 1822-1837 for land situated in Cape Breton Island were registered in Halifax and copied into Grant books in the Cape Breton (Sydney) Registry office in 1969.

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Physical condition

Volumes are extremely fragile due to brittle pages and broken spines.

Immediate source of acquisition

Records were transferred to the Archives from the Land Registry Office in Sydney in 2011.


Documents are primarily arranged in chronological order, by date of registration, in numbered volumes.--Was entered in "inventory system" as series list 1369.

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Availability of other formats

The indexes, some land transaction registers, and the Crown Land Grant books were microfilmed in 1968-1969. Several volumes of land transaction registers, and Crown Land Grant books were microfilmed later in 2005.

Restrictions on access

Access is restricted to original volumes for preservation reasons. See reference copies on microfilm. Contact a Government Records Archivist for information about obtaining access to volumes not available on microfilm.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

To locate a particular document it is necessary to search the microfilmed index by name of grantor (seller) or grantee (buyer) to identify a book and page number.

Volume list available.

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No further accruals are expected.

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