Formerly published by GlobalGazette.ca
The Challenge of Locating Vital Records in Ontario / Upper Canada / Canada West
Article posted: January 11, 1998
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai & Ruth Burkholder
Part 4: Additional sources of information for vital records
There are many additional sources of information for births, marriages and deaths when the province of Ontario was known as Upper Canada and Canada West. We will attempt to highlight a few of these below. The following list is by no means exhaustive.
The Methodist Church in Upper Canada and Canada West provided religious comfort and ritual to many early settlers in the Province. There were many types of Methodists: Episcopal, Primitive, New Connexion, Bible Christians and Wesleyan Methodists. Searching for early Methodist records can be a real challenge, however there are a few indexes which makes this search somewhat easier.
WESLEYAN METHODIST BAPTISMS:
PRIMITIVE METHODIST BAPTISM REGISTER:
METHODIST EPISCOPAL BAPTISMAL REGISTER:
MARRIAGE LICENCES & MARRIAGE BONDS:
Thomas B. Wilson has published an index and partial abstraction of surviving Ontario Marriage Bonds for the years 1803 - 1834. There are some bonds available beyond 1834. The original bonds are held by the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa and are available on microfilm through Inter-Library Loan and through local Family History Centres of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Wilsons Ontario Marriage Bonds book is now available with many other invaluable vital records references on CD #204 from Family Tree Maker's Family Archives Series, produced by Broderbund.
Unfortunately marriage licences have been lost to us over time as have the records of most Justices of the Peace. Occasionally the records of a local J.P. will turn up in a private manuscript collection, however, there are no comprehensive collections of J.P. records available.
Death Notices of Ontario by William D. Reid was published in 1980 by Hunterdon House (Lambertville, N.J.) and includes death notices from many stray newspapers to 1830 and many other newspapers from across the province up to the late 1840s.
Ontario Marriage Notices by Thomas B. Wilson was published in 1982 by Hunterdon House and includes Marriage Notices from a variety of early Ontario religious newspapers including the Christian Guardian and The Church newspapers.
Originally published by Hunterdon House, this extensive collection of genealogical records references the names of approximately 230,000 individuals.
Many local genealogy and local history groups have published indexes or transcriptions of local newspapers in their areas. It is important to ask for a publications list of any local genealogy group in an area where you are researching. In addition, W. Craig Burtch of Stratford, Ontario has spent many years transcribing vital record information in Ontario newspapers. To date, Craig has published extracts from newspapers in all areas of the province. His publications are carried by Global Genealogy & History Shoppe. It would require a separate article to list all of Craigs work but a few of As we mentioned in our previous articles - whenever possible researchers should always check the parish registers for the Churches in the areas where their families lived/worked. Church records are really the primary source of information for any vital records. All other indexes, newspaper accounts and even official government records are secondary sources of information. What this means is that the actual details of the event were recorded first and foremost in the parish register. All other information and reports submitted to the government or transcribed by other people are secondary sources of information. Please refer to our earlier articles for suggestions of where to look for parish records.
If you are researching in Ontario, you would do well to purchase Brenda Dougall Merrimans invaluable, "Genealogy in Ontario: Searching the Records, 3rd edition.
Other sources of vital record information available to researchers include wills and divorce records. Unfortunately each of these would require a separate series of articles. The sources of vital records in early Ontario, to some degree, is limited only by the imagination and resourcefulness of the researcher!
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