Large Research Projects
This is a volunteer organization, not just led by volunteers, but filled with volunteers at all levels - managing programs, leading committees, and implementing projects. This section tells you about the aspirations we have for the big projects we are working on.
We are currently working on the "Dartmouth Hopkins Map Project" and the "A. F. Church Mapping Project Project for Halifax County".
(a) Dartmouth Hopkins Map Project:
In 1878, G. M. Hopkins and Company published the the "City Atlas of Halifax" and the "Map of the Town of Dartmouth". Located in Philadelphia, the firm was led by two brothers, Henry Hopkins, who led the fieldwork, and his brother, Griffith Hopkins, who led the publishing. Henry was a land surveyor and civil engineer, and the company had become a specialist in plat maps (plat, variant of plot), "a cadastral map drawn to scale, showing the divisions of a piece of land". Pittsburgh was among the most famous of their projects, with an initial set of maps in 1872, followed by 46 other volumes through to 1940. The Hopkins' City Atlas is among their most beautiful set of maps with soft colours marking the buildings and good detail on their property boundaries.
The "Map of the Town of Dartmouth" is not as rich, but still provides lots of detail. GANS is the owner of one of the Dartmouth maps, which seem to be few and far between. It is pretty degraded, with considerable flaking, but almost all of the "parts" are there. It is presently with a document conservator, being repaired and preserved. We are grateful to the Halifax Regional Municipality for assisting with the financing of this conservation work. We plan to print copies of a digitally restored map, and make them available for sale. The content of the map itself, though, has information about property ownerships and parcel boundaries, and will be invaluable in matching genealogical records to property information. This is part of widespread efforts now to add geographical context to other historical information, improving our understanding of the past.
(b) A. F. Church Mapping Project Project for Halifax County:
GANS is part of a joint venture with four other heritage groups in work on the A. F. Church maps. Between 1864 and 1888, Ambrose Church, a Maine cartographer conducted large-scale topographical mapping of each of the eighteen counties of Nova Scotia. Apart from his efforts to map the roads and waterways, and the external coast, coves and inlets, Mr. Church also pinpointed the dwellings of residents, writing the first initial and surname of the principal family member in the empty spaces. In 1881, there were 74,154 dwellings in the province and, when properly digitized and geo-referenced, precise latitudes and longitudes can be calculated for essentially all of those dwellings. GANS has agreed to transcribe those names and match them to census information for the County of Halifax, the most populated of the province's counties.
Conservation work on the map has been completed and digitization of it is now underway. We are grateful to Library and Archives Canada for assisting with the financing of the conservation work. In June of this year, there are plans to hold a Public Workshop and make a Public Announcement about the work that has been done to that point, and call for volunteers and assistance to launch the genealogical-matching phase of the project. In what we expect to be the first of a series of project, different heritage groups will be taking action in Antigonish County, Hants County, and Halifax County. Under the leadership of the Maritime Institute for Civil Society, the Heritage Association of Antigonish, East Hants Historical Society, West Hants Historical Society, and GANS will be working with volunteers from throughout each county to map the historical geography of our people in these counties. The effort to preserve these beautiful historical maps and capture the unique information that they contain, will be a gift to future generations.