British Columbia Birth Registrations (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: British Columbia Birth Registrations, 1854-1903 .

Record Description

The birth registrations are recorded on individual, printed forms. They consist of completed statements regarding live births in British Columbia submitted to district registrars and registered by the director of Vital Statistics. Note that these forms are not birth certificates but registrations of births. Birth certificates contain information from the original registration records and are only available through the British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency. A stillbirth may have been registered as either a birth, death, or both.

British Columbia became a province of Canada in July 1871; registration of vital events began in 1872. 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. However, the Act was amended in 1899 to once again exclude First Nations from provincial registration until another amendment was passed in 1916, which authorized registration of First Nations to begin again in 1917. Because of delayed registration, however, First Nation births in this collection are from 1868 to 1903 (v. 795, 995A-998A). Birth records are organized by birth year instead of registration year in order to enable the release of early birth information that might otherwise have been restricted because of a late registration date. On 4 June 2004, an amendment to the Vital Statistics Act changed the release date for birth records from 100 years to 120 years. 

The registration of births began in 1872, but because of delayed registration, this collection includes births from 1854-1903. 

Registration of births began in 1872 in order to keep a written record of the population for the new province.

Provincial vital registrations are considered a reliable source in family history research because they contain a record of an event usually registered very near the time the event occurred. The reliability, of course, depends on the accuracy of the informant.

Birth registrations are the best source of birth information in British Columbia beginning in 1872.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

Registrar General of Titles. British Columbia Birth Registrations. British Columbia Archives, Victoria, British Columbia.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

Key genealogical facts that may be found in the birth registrations are:

  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Sex of child
  • Name of child
  • Name of father
  • Name of mother, including maiden name
  • Residence and rank or profession of father
  • Name of the person who delivered the child
  • Reason the father did not report the birth if the report was made by another person
  • Date and number of registration

How to Use the Records

In order to search this collection, you should know the following information:

  • Parents names
  • Residence of parents at time of birth of child

Search the Index

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

If you can't find the information, you can try the following:

  • Your ancestor might have lived in a different place from where you were looking for the birth, marriage, or death.
  • Your ancestor might have lived at a slightly different time from the years you were looking.
  • Not every birth, marriage, or death was registered.
  • Look in the Canada Census Records for the residence of the parents.
  • Look in the marriage records, this will give you another clue as to how old the parents were at the time of marriage thus giving you information on how old they were when they bore the child.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles 

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"British Columbia Birth Registrations, 1854-1903." database, FamilySearch ( accessed March 4,2011),   Sarah Anneta Meston, 7 February 1891, citing Archive Records, FHL microfilm 2,114,717; British Columbia Archives, Victoria, British Columbia.