Civil vital records—for births, deaths, and marriages—mark the milestones of our lives, and are the foundation of family history research into your Canadian Genealogy. Chronicling the personal moments of our lives through the objective perspective of the public record, vital records can offer details often found through no other genealogical resource. They can be useful in proving or disproving other sources, give you a more complete picture of your ancestor, help you distinguish between two people with the same name, and help you find clues to earlier life events.
With this in mind, you can gain access to information regarding your ancestor's lives, such as the locations and causes of their deaths, the names of children or parents, their wedding dates and locations, and the many other details that help us record and remember the important moments in the lives of our families.
Types of Records
Birth, Marriage, & Death Records online reference a variety of records. This section explains some of the types of records you might find:
Birth records usually show the name of the child, gender, date and place born, parents' names, and sometimes other data, such as parents' birthplaces.
Civil registration began in Ontario on 1 July 1869. The Office of the Registrar General maintains the records and issues certificates for all vital events. Each year an additional year of vital records are transferred from the Registrar General to the Archives of Ontario where the records are then closed for a year while being microfilmed. The Archives of Ontario currently has births on microfilm from July 1869-1907. They received the birth records for 1908 in 2004 and are in the process of microfilming them.
Marriage records are great sources for genealogists because they document an individual in a particular place and time as well as provide details about that person's marriage. Civil registration of marriages Province-wide began in 1869. Prior to that time, ministers, priests, and other persons qualified to perform marriages submitted copies of their documentation to county courthouses. The vast majority of these marriage documents included details about each spouse, including place of residence and birthplace. Additionally, each spouse had to supply names of their parents. In many cases the maiden name is supplied for the mother.
In addition to the name of the person, death records usually provide marital status (single, married, widowed, or divorced), cause of death, date and place of death and burial, and sometimes the occupation, date and place of birth, age, parents' names and their birthplaces (usually county or country), and other useful information. The more recent the death record, the more information you will find.
Church records contain information about baptisms, marriages, burials, and membership. In addition to the name of the person, church records often provide information about family members.
Some of the cemetery records included are tombstone inscriptions, burial permits, and death indexes. These records usually show names, birth and death dates; sometimes, they include information on surviving family members.