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Canadian Birth, Marriage and Death Records
Article updated: 15 April 2008
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai Biography & Archived Articles
Intro | Alberta | British Columbia | Manitoba | New Brunswick | Newfoundland & Labrador | Northwest Territories | Nova Scotia | Nunavut | Ontario | Prince Edward Island | Quebec | Saskatchewan | Yukon
The government registration of births, marriages and deaths in British Columbia began in 1872. As with most provincial registration beginnings, records for the early years are notoriously incomplete. (There are also some baptismal records as early as 1849).
Indexes to historic records of early birth, marriage and death registrations can be searched online at the British Columbia Archives website: http://www.bcarchives.gov.bc.ca/textual/
As of August 2001, the following years are available:
BIRTHS : 1872-1900 (events over 100 years old)
MARRIAGES : 1872-1925 (events over 75 years old)
DEATHS: 1872-1980 (events over 20 years old)
Note: The 2001 release of death registrations includes four additional reels containing World War Two overseas casualties covering the years 1940 to 1945. The 3423 names also appear in the updated online deaths index.
The British Columbia Vital Event indexes contain only the basic index information to historical birth, marriage, and death registrations, but not the actual registrations. The indexes are available online for research purposes only. Microfilm copies of original registration documents for those years covered by the indexes at the BC Archives are available for on-site consultation in the reading room(s) of the British Columbia Archives, and at several other locations, including public libraries and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) through the Church's local Family History Centers. Individuals may view the microfilm at the BC Archives or order rolls through local LDS Family History Centers. The microfiche indexes are also available at additional locations in British Columbia and other jurisdictions.
Some Vital Event registration records are now available in digital image format for on-line purchase, and delivery via E-mail. See the British Columbia Vital Event Image Gateway Frequently Asked Questions for more details at: http://www.bcarchives.gov.bc.ca/services/inquiry/faqs/vchekfaq.htm
The provincial archives can be contacted as follows:
British Columbia Archives
655 Belleville Street, VICTORIA, British Columbia
or by mail: P.O. Box 9419 Station Provincial Government
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9V1
Telephone: (250) 387-1952
Fax: (250) 387-2072
The Archives' collections include a variety of other sources for vital records such as:
For detailed information about modern records and registrations contact:
British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency
818 Fort Street, Victoria, B. C. V8W 1H8
Telephone: (604) 952-2681 Fax: (250) 952-2527
In Canada toll free at 1-800-663-8328
Additional contact information and locations for the Vital Statistics Agency is available from their website at: http://www.vs.gov.bc.ca/admin/
ADDITIONAL LINKS & SOURCES
For more information on these and other family history topics in British Columbia visit the websites noted below.
City of Victoria Archives: http://www.city.victoria.bc.ca/depts/archives/ is responsible for acquiring, preserving and making accessible archival material in the form of civic and private records documenting the history of Victoria. The following searchable links are available 1. Obituaries From the Victoria Daily Times Newspaper, 1901-1939; 2. Marriage Notices From the Victoria Daily Times Newspaper, 1835-1953 (predominantly 1901-1939) and 3. Ross Bay Cemetery Burial Records, 1872-1980.
Guide to Archival Repositories in British Columbia: Entries for 173 archives in the province and includes the name and location of each repository, contact information, and a brief description of the extent, nature and scope of holdings at each institution. http://www.aabc.bc.ca/aabc/bcguide.html
British Columbia Genweb project: http://www.rootsweb.com/~canbc/
British Columbia Museums Association British Columbia Museums Association provides a unified voice for the institutions, trustees, professional staff and volunteers of the BC museum and gallery community. The website includes an index to all of the museums, art galleries, historic sites, cultural and science centres in BC known to the BCMA. http://www.museumsassn.bc.ca/
Doukhobor Collection, University of British Columbia The collection includes printed and manuscript material relating to Doukhobor life in Canada and the former Soviet Union. http://www.library.ubc.ca/spcoll/sp_home.html
Esquimalt Municipal Archives http://www.mun.esquimalt.bc.ca/Main/archives.htm The Esquimalt Municipal Archives collects, preserves and makes available to the public archival material pertaining to Esquimalt from the earliest times to the present and within the current and historical boundaries of Esquimalt.
Surrey Public Library http://www.spl.surrey.bc.ca/SearchtheWeb/Genealogy/Default.htm The library site includes and online guide to its extensive collection of Canadian genealogical materials.
British Columbia Cemetery Finding Aid http://www.islandnet.com/bccfa/ The British Columbia Cemetery Finding Aid is a pointer database consisting of the surnames, cemetery name and location of more than 344,000 entries collected from records and headstone inscriptions associated with 264 cemeteries situated in the province of British Columbia, Canada and two from the state of Washington, USA.
Old Cemeteries Society http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/ This is a non-profit society to encourage the research, preservation and appreciation of 20 heritage cemeteries in Victoria, BC. Web site contains information on symbols used on stones, a database for Ross Bay Cemetery, and tips for recording cemeteries.
British Columbia Genealogical Society: http://www.npsnet.com/bcgs/
More British Columbia Resources - from Global Genealogy
BOOK - Finding Your Ancestors in British Columbia
By D. Jackson, assisted by J. White.
Finding Your Ancestors in British Columbia identifies everything you need to do to conduct an efficient and successful family history research project for families who called in the province of British Columbia their home.
BOOK - The Western Canada Photographers List (1860-1925)
By Glen C. Phillips
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton 2002, 2010
An invaluable guide to help you identify the place and date when a photograph was taken. Many family history researchers have boxes of photographs, but do not know who is depicted in the photo nor when or where it was taken. This book lists individual photographers, where they worked and when. That means that if you have a photograph that includes a photographer's stamp or other identification you can easily find out when and where that picture was taken. Oftentimes that will help you to identify who is in the picture.
ISBN 1-894378-56-3 More information
BOOK - Starting Out in Genealogy - Second Edition
By Ruth Burkholder
Building a family tree looks like a daunting taste to the unititiated, however it's easier than you think! Family history research is not complicated as long as you know which records are available, where to find those records, and how to organize the information that you gather. Though this guide is designed for beginners, it will also be of considerable help to those who have already started researching and recording family history, but want to improve their skills and results.
ISBN 9781926797441 More information
BOOK - Canadian Records of Birth, Marriage and Death: A Guide
By Fawne Stratford-Devai
This popular guide provides a province-by-province description of where to access provincial vital records, complete with contact information including postal addresses, telephone numbers (most are toll-free), fax, email addresses and websites. The categories addressed for each province and territory include: Modern Records; Historic Records; Additional Links and Sources. Several helpful maps are included.
ISBN 1894571894 More information
BOOKS - Notices of Births, Marriages, Conversions, Deaths & Obituaries From Methodist Newspapers 1830-1900 [Canada]
Compiled by Donald A. McKenzie
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2005-2013
This series of 12 volumes contains transcriptions of births, marriages, conversions, deaths, and obituaries as they were published in Methodist Newspapers between 1830 and 1900. You can buy individual volumes or save by buying the entire 12 volume set. The alphabetical format [alphabetical by surname] of these volumes will enable you to quickly find any of your ancestors whose vital events were reported in the Canadian Methodist newspapers from 1830 to 1900. Many of the entries are from Ontario and Quebec, however there are a significant number of entries from coast to coast across Canada, including Newfoundland. Of note is that some volumes also contain vital events records for people of faiths other than Methodist. Mr McKenzie's detailed and informative introduction to this work provides the reader with all the information necessary to understand and use the material.
Now available on CD too! More information
BOOK - Routes To Routes
By Ryan Taylor
A wide range of genealogical and research topics assist family historians with their quest to uncover their roots. Included is an essay describing how to effectively use libraries for family history research and how to best utilize the skills and training of professional librarians. The book is an entertaining read, however, before you know it, you will accumulate many sound research ideas from the vast experience of Mr. Taylor.
ISBN 0-9682524-0-0 More information
BOOK - The Scotch-Irish. Two Volumes in One
By Charles A. Hanna. This is the basic sourcebook on the Scotch-Irish in North America, a massive compilation of source records pertaining to the Scots who settled in the north of Ireland and their descendants in North America. The Scotch-Irish left Ulster as a result of neo-mercantilist British economic policy in the region, requirements that they pay 10% of their income to the Anglican Church, ongoing friction with their Catholic Irish neighbors, and greater economic opportunity in the New World.
BOOK - The Sash Canada Wore - A Historical Geography of The Orange Order in Canada
By Cecil J. Houston and William J. Smith
Originally published by Universtiy of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1980
This edition by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 1999 [CD 2011]
Significant migration of Protestant Irish to Canada in the early 19th century brought with it the establishment of the Orange Order in Canada. This work explores the role of the Orange Order in the unfolding settlement geography of Canada. Protestant Irish soldiers and emigrants, largely Ulster-born, introduced the organization into New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario within the first decade of the nineteenth century. At its zenith, he movement had a membership of as many as one in three Canadians.
ISBN 978-1-894378-31-4 (Hardcover Edition) More information
BOOK - The First Century of Methodism in Canada, 1775-1883. Two Volumes In One
By J. E. Sanderson
Originally published by William Briggs, 1908 (vol. 1) & 1910 (vol. 2)
This edition published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2008 (CD 2011)
Sanderson's fine history of the early years of Methodism in Canada has served as an essential resource for more than a century. Being out of print for over one hundred years, this new edition has been pubished to provide access for today's researchers. This editon is a facsimile reprint of both of the original volumes, bound into a single book.
ISBN 978-1-897446-34-8 (Hardcover) More information
BOOK - Getting From Here To There, Identifying the Origins of Immigrants to Canada Revised and Expanded Edition
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton 2005
One of the more difficult things to do in a family history research project is to identify where your original immigrant ancestor came from. Sometimes we know the country they came from, but not the specific place within that country. In order to find records in the "old-country" it is very helpful to know which town, parish, county etc that the person came from. This book identifies a long list of potential sources in Canada, where you may find that critical piece of information.
ISBN 1-897210-80-9 More information
BOOK - Canadian Family History in the 21st Century, Lessons, Links & ResourcesSecond Edition 2005
By Fawne Stratford-Devai
This newly updated and expanded second edition offers readers valuable lessons, links and recommended resources that will help you keep you family history research project on-track, saving time, effort and expense. The author is a popular genealogical lecturer, educator and author/co-author of more than 50 important genealogical and historical books.
ISBN 1-897210-68-X More information
BOOK - Lovell's 1873 Gazetteer of British North America
By John Lovell and Son, Montreal, 1873
Originally published by John Lovell and Son, Montreal, 1873
This facsimile reprint by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 1998 (CD 2010)
This facsimile reprint of The volume contains over six thousand descriptions and historical facts about cities, towns and villages across Canada, as they were known in 1873. Also included is a listing of over fifteen hundred lakes and rivers with their location, size and general information. A table showing the railway and steamboat routes within British North America in 1873, which will assist researchers in understanding the routes that their ancestors may have migrated over. The table lists the distance that each place in British North America is to the nearest railway station or port.
ISBN 0-9682524-5-1 (Hardcover) More information
BOOK - True Stories of New England Captives Carried to Canada During the Old French and Indian Wars
By C. Alice Baker
Originally published by E. A. Hall & Co., Cambridge, 1897
This edition by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2006 (CD 2010)
This thoughtfully written book provides the reader with the gripping history of Indian attacks in Maine; New Hampshire; and Massachusetts. Events leading up to the attacks and the attacks themselves are described in considerable detail with an emphasis on how those engagements affected specific people, especially those who were captured and removed to Canada.
ISBN 1-897210-98-1 (Hardcover) More information
BOOK - The Canadian Almanac of 1862
Originally published by W. C. Chewett & Co. 1862.
Many family historians value a carefully compiled almanac. Almanac's assist genealogists, historians, social historians and geographers locate information and records that affected the inhabitants of the area being researched.
ISBN 1-897210-98-1 More information
BOOK - Using Maps in Family History Research, Revised and Updated
By Fawne Stratford-Devai
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2005
his book provides insights into the use of maps for genealogical and historical research. The visual representation of the land and communities on a map can offer evidence in its own right. It is the task of the researcher to carefully evaluate every piece of the puzzle in order to identify and understand individuals, families, migration routes, and even settlement patterns. Examples used include Canada, USA, UK, world. Every family historian can benefit from this valuable booklet.
ISBN 1-894378-85-1 More information
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