British Columbia Civil Registration
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A government civil registration and vital statistics system usually registers all births, marriages, and deaths for citizens and residents, issues certificates for each, and compiles the resulting vital statistics. Also included may be name changes, divorces, and adoptions. In British Columbia, this responsibility lies with the Vital Statistics Agency of the Ministry of Health. British Columbia became a province of Canada in 1871 and began civil registration in 1872. However, Vital Statistics Agency records also include some delayed registration of pre-1872 events, colonial period marriages, and overseas war casualties.
Online Collections with Images
The following FamilySearch collections have images of the original registration documents when allowed by privacy laws of the province. For a detailed description of a collection, after opening it click on the "Learn more" link located under the collection description.
- British Columbia Birth Registrations, 1854-1903: Records include birth registrations, delayed birth registrations, and delayed registrations of Native American births.
- British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938
- British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993: These registrations include overseas casualties, delayed death registrations, and delayed registrations of Native American deaths.
The FamilySearch British Columbia, Victoria Times Birth, Marriage and Death Notices, 1901-1939 collection offers newspaper clipping substitutes for original birth, marriage, and death records. The collection is described as follows: "Newspaper clippings pasted onto cards and arranged chronologically. Includes the date (year, month, day) and page number on each card. The newspaper was variously known as the Victoria Times, Victoria Weekly Times, and Victoria Daily Times."
Online Index Collections
British Columbia Archives, Royal British Columbia Museum
675 Belleville Street
Victoria, BC V8W 9W2
Genealogy and Family History Web page: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/genealogy/Pages/introduction.aspx
Indexes of births (1854-1903), marriages (1872-1941), deaths (1872-1996), colonial marriages (1859-1872), and baptisms (1836-1888) can be viewed online at the Genealogy search page. A guide for searching the records can be opened by clicking on the help link.
Ancestry index collections are listed below. Information regarding record release periods is noted for those with original vital records. ($)
- British Columbia, Canada, Birth Index, 1851-1903: "The Vital Statistics Agency has released registrations of births that are at least 100 years old..."
- British Columbia, Canada, Marriage Index, 1872-1935: "The Vital Statistics Agency has released registrations of marriages that are at least 75 years old..."
- British Columbia, Canada, Death Index, 1872-1990: "The Vital Statistics Agency has released registrations of deaths that are at least 20 years old..."
- Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948 The collection can be browsed by province.
- Canada, Obituary Collection, 1898-2015: This collection of substitute vital information was compiled from hundreds of newspapers.
- Central Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, Newspaper Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes, 1911-1990: This substitute vital information was extracted from three newspapers serving the Campbell River, British Columbia, area in central Vancouver Island.
British Columbia indexes are also found in the FamilySearch Canada Births and Baptisms, 1661-1959 collection.
Ordering Register Copies from the Vital Statistics Agency
British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency
PO Box 9657, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Telephone: (Victoria & Outside B.C.) 250 952-2681, (within B.C.) 1 888 876-1633
Web page with ordering forms and information: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/order-certificates-copies
Copies of original registration documents are available on microfilm at the British Columbia Archives, at several libraries in the province, and at the FamilySearch Library (see below). To order copies from the Vital Statistics Agency, click here to open an online fillable Application for Genealogy Certificate. Included with the application are relevant instructions, including the address to which the application is to be sent and the fee. Event records are available when the individuals have been dead for at least 20 years. Attach a copy of the entries you found in indexes to avoid errors.