Between about 1886 and 1930, Dr. William Rockwell practiced medicine
and dispensed drugs in the River Hebert/Joggins area of Cumberland
county. The Public Archives of Nova Scotia (PANS) collection includes
his day books for the years 1886 to 1930. These volumes record
the doctor's daily transactions, mainly visits to patients and
payments received. The records can be found in PANS MG 3, volumes
1855 to 1864. They are in original format and have not been microfilmed
I have examined all of the records from July, 1886 to the end
of December, 1900 and extracted all of the entries that appear
to be birth records. The usual entry notation was "to attend wife
in accouchement", later shortened to just "to attend wife". Correspondence
preserved within the ledgers, as well as comparing the dates to
known births indicate that the assumption is correct. Undoubtedly
a few erroneous entries have crept in. Corrections would be most
Because these are accounting records and not patient files,
there is less information than other sources consulted by genealogists.
Only about five of the 879 entries list a woman's name (presumably
the Mother). The Doctor used these account books to keep track
of his billing records, not the names of his patients and it would
be the Husband who most often paid he bill.
The column headings are largely self-explanatory. The volume
and page numbers refer to the specific account book the entry
will be found in. I have done my best to decipher the surnames,
the handwriting is far from clear. The location is only rarely
specified in the original record. In an attempt to make the records
more useful, I have cross-referenced the names against the Cumberland
county listings in McApline's provincial directories for 1890-97,
1896, and 1902.
As noted above, the records continue until 1930 but I have stopped
at 1900 because the size of the database was becoming unwieldy
and because beyond the 1901 census, there is no easy way to determine
the names of the children whose births are recorded.
This file may be freely copied and distributed in any format
provided that credit is given to the original compiler. Please
let me know if any errors are found.
Jonathan H. Davidson
Halifax, Nova Scotia July 30, 1997