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

This Collection will include records from 1854 to 1903.

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 information published in Historical Record collections. Sources 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.

Record Content

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

  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Name of child
  • Gender of child
  • Name of father
  • Name of mother, including maiden name
  • Date and number of registration

How to Use the Records

Beginning Your Search

To begin your search, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Ancestors name
  • Approximate birth year
  • Names of parents

Keep in Mind:

This collection has only a small number of records. Your search may be limited because of the number of records in this collection.

Searching 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.

Be aware there may be inaccuracies such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

If there is an image to view, be sure and click on it to bring up the actual image. There is often additional information that might be valuable in your researching.

Using the Information:

  • The names of the parents in the birth record will help you in researching the censuses.
  • Birth records may list the maiden name of the wife. If the record does have the maiden name, you may be able to find the name of the mother's parents in the collection or in Canada, Births and Baptisms

Can't Find Information?

If you can't find the information that you are looking for, the following tips will help you in your research:

  • Search the Canada, Births and Baptisms collection for more information about your ancestor's place of birth.
  • If you can't find the parents of your ancestor, you may want to try the Canadian Censues to find a birth year and the names of the parents.

Known Issues with This Collecton

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 Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to 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.

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.