Birth, marriage, and death dates are the cornerstones of any family history, and government vital records are the first place you will look for them. “Civil registration” refers to the government registration of all births, marriages, and deaths. In Canada, civil registration is a provincial or territorial responsibility. Access to and availability of records varies from province to province.
Birth, marriage and death records (usually called “vital records”) can provide a wealth of genealogical information. Depending on the record, you may find not only dates but important clues about parents, occupation, birthplace, residence, religion etc. Death records are often the most informative.
Many vital records have been digitized and are available online. Ancestry Library, FamilySearch, or Généalogie Québec are good places to start your search.
Where to find vital records
Ancestry Library (In-Library use only)
- Vital records from Canada, United States, and many other countries
Généalogie Québec (In-Library use only)
- Quebec baptism and death certificates (1621-1849); Fonds Drouin registries (1621-1967); and marriage and death certificates (1926-1997)
PRDH (Programme de recherche en démographie historique) (In-Library use only)
- Quebec baptisms, marriages, and burials, 1621-1799
- Includes some marriages prior to 1858. Anglican and Catholic marriages are not included.
- Includes all denominations
Website of LDS Family History Center, with billions of genealogy records that can be searched for free. Includes vital records from Canada, United States, and many other countries.
Newfoundland: The Rooms
- Records not available online
- Birth, marriage, and death records 1800 – 1965
- Births to 1914; marriages to 1939; deaths to 1964
- Digitized records are available on Ancestry, FamilySearch, and Généalogie Québec.
- Archives of Ontario hold vital statistics records on microfilm. Most records are also digitized and available on Ancestry and FamilySearch.
- Index to births over 100 years ago; Marriages 80+ years; Deaths 70+ years
- Index to births over 100 years ago; deaths over 70 years ago
- Online indexes only
- Index and digitized images; births 1854-1903; marriages 1859-1940; deaths 1872-1993