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.