British Columbia Marriage Registrations (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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British Columbia, Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
British Columbia,  Canada
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Location of British Columbia, Canada
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Record Description
Record Type Marriages
Collection years 1859-1938 (1933-1937 not included)
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
British Columbia Division of Vital Statistics, Victoria

What Is in the Collection?

This collection includes records from 1859 to 1932, 1937 and 1938. The set contains 8 volumes but v. A1 (A to J surnames, 1859-1872, British Columbia mainland) was missing at the time of filming and is not included in this set. The only persons excluded from the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Act of 1872 were Chinese and Aboriginals. This was changed by an amendment in 1897, stating the registration would apply to all races. These restrictions did not apply to pre-confederation marriages. Early registration records are very incomplete chiefly due to the fact that a majority of the population lived great distances from the registry offices and communication was difficult. The coverage of these records is small.

The pre-confederation marriages occurred in the colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island and were submitted to the Colonial Secretary by clergy. The two colonies were united in 1866 prior to the entry of British Columbia into the Confederation of Canada. British Columbia became a province of Canada in July 1871. The registration of vital events began in 1872.

The marriage registrations, begun in 1872, are recorded on individual, printed forms. They consist of completed statements regarding marriages submitted to district registrars and registered by the director of Vital Statistics. Note that these forms are not marriage certificates but registrations of marriages. Marriage certificates contain information from the original registration records and are only available through the British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency. The records prior to 1872 are pre-confederation (or colonial) marriage records.

Pre-confederation marriages were gathered and registration of marriages begun in order to keep a written record for use by the government. Pre-confederation records consist of certified marriage certificates, or returns of marriages, submitted by clergy of various denominations, as well as typed certified extracts (ca. 1933) from marriage registers maintained by churches and missions.

Marriage registrations were registered by the Director of Vital Statistics and include delayed registrations of marriages (1933-1977), registrations of Indian marriages (1917 -1956); and registrations of Doukhobour marriage (1959 - 1982). Registration images are arranged in order of registration number, which is often a red sequential number in the upper right-hand corner of the image. An alphabetical index by last name of groom has a "finding number" listed which is used to find the individual registration number.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Names of bride and groom
  • Ages of bride and groom
  • Residences when married
  • Places of birth
  • Marital status
  • Names of parents (father’s name only in most pre-confederation records)
  • Names of witnesses and their residences
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Religious denominations of bride and groom
  • Name of person performing the marriage
  • Whether marriage was by license or by banns

Collection Content

Sample Images

How Do I Search the Collection?

You can search the index or view the images or both. To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The name of a relative or date of the event

Search the Index

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page then:

  1. Fill in the search boxes with the information you know.
  2. Click Search. This will provide possible a list of matches.

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page then:

  1. Select Digital Folder Number

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found Who I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Cite the record. See below for help citing this collection.
  • Look at an image of the original record. The original may contain information that was not recorded in the index. To find a copy of the original record, visit the British Columbia Division of Vital Statistics, Victoria page.
  • To help keep track of your research, you may want to keep a research log. FamilySearch has an example example research log which you can download.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name, especially French versions.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of British Columbia, Canada Genealogy.
  • Search in the British Columbia Archives and Libraries.
  • Search in the FamilySearch Library Catalog

Known Issues With This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, plea se email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:

"British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938" Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for British Columbia, Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938.

Image Citation:

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for British Columbia, Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938.


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