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Ontario Church Records

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Canada Gotoarrow.png Ontario Gotoarrow.png Church Records

Overview of Church Records[edit | edit source]

Consult church registers for records of baptisms, marriages, and burials before 1869—the year civil vital registration began in Ontario. These registers may be useful to 1930, when complete civil vital registration was finally achieved. Religious affiliation can be determined from family sources or census records beginning in 1851.

You should search the registers of all denominations in the area where your ancestor lived, since many baptisms were performed in the nearest church, regardless of the family's religious affiliation. At certain periods of Ontario's history, only some denominations were allowed to perform marriages. In many cases an individual had to be married by a priest or minister of a religion other than his own. The following history traces these changes:

1793: Before 1793, only Anglican and Roman Catholic clergy could legally perform marriages.

1793-1798:  Marriages could be performed by Anglican and Roman Catholic clergy and district clerks if the couple resided more than eighteen miles from an Anglican minister. Despite legal restrictions, a few Lutheran and Presbyterian ministers performed marriages before 1798 and recorded them in church registers.

1798-1831:  Anglican, Calvinist, Church of Scotland, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic clergy could perform marriages.

1831-1858:  All denominations mentioned above as well as Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians could perform marriages. Only non-Catholic and non-Anglican clergy were required to keep marriage registers for the inspection of civil authorities, separate from regular parish records.

1858-1869:  Clergy of all denominations could perform marriages. Clergy of all faiths were requested to transcribe information into county marriage registers; many did not comply.

The Family History Library has many parish records of the Roman Catholic Church and some church records for smaller denominations, notably minutes of various Baptist conferences. 

Many denominations have collected their records into central repositories. Some national church headquarters or archives are described in Canada Church Records. Addresses of many church archives in Ontario are in Brenda Dougall Merriman's Genealogy in Ontario, pages 243-46.

You can write to the following churches to learn where their records are located.

Anglican[edit | edit source]

The Anglican Church in Canada, sometimes called Church of England or Protestant Episcopal Church, has published an inventory of church records and their locations at diocesan archives in Ontario:

Guide to the Holdings of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario. Agincourt, Ontario: Generation Press, 1990. (Family History Library book 971.3 K23g.)

Further information is available from:

Diocese of Ontario[edit | edit source]
Contact Information:
90 Johnson St.
Kingston, ON K7L 1X7
Diocese of Ontario Website

Using the Archives: The Archives page of the Anglican Diocese of Ontario gives the following information: The current fees for entrance, genealogical research, photocopies and Certificates of Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage or Burial. The page also includes information on the Parish Registers, Guides and Indexes, their Research Policy and the Reading Room Procedure.

Diocese of Algoma
[edit | edit source]

The records of this diocese are held at Algoma University in the Archives and Special Collections.

Contact Information:
Arthur A. Wishart Library
Algoma University
1520 Queen St. East :
Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 2G4
Phone: 705.949.2101
Diocese of Algoma Website

Using the Archives: The Archives page of the Anglican Diocese of Algoma gives the following information: The policy on accessing parish records, accessing the Archives, search requests and fee schedules.

Diocese of Huron
[edit | edit source]

The records of this diocese are held at Huron University College.

Contact Information:
Diocese of Huron Archives
Huron University College
1349 Western Road
London, ON  N6G 1H3
Phone:  519-645-7956
Diocese of Huron Website

Using the Archives: The Archives page of the Diocese of Huron gives the following information: Contact information, fee schedules, Privacy Act information, and the research policies of the Anglican Church.

Diocese of Moosonee
[edit | edit source]

The records of this diocese are held at Laurentian University Archives.

Contact Information:
J.N. Desmarais Library
First Floor
935 Ramsey Lake Road
Sudbury :ON P3E 2C6
Tel: 705.675.1151 ext. 3306
Diocese of Moosonee Website

Using the Archives:
Access policy.
List of locations for the Anglican parochial records for the Moosonee Diocese.
Search request for the parochial records.

Please note that an appointment is necessary to look at the archival fonds, and they are only offered on Thursdays and Fridays.

Diocese of Niagara[edit | edit source]

The records of this diocese are held at Mills Memorial Library, McMaster University, under the William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections.

Contact Information:
Mills Memorial Library, Lower Level
McMaster University
1280 Main St. W.,
Hamilton, ON,
Canada  L8S 4L6
Phone: (905) 525-9140 ext. 22789
Diocese of Niagara Website

Using the Archives: The Archive page has the following information: The records of the diocese and individual churches, maps of the diocese, a list of churches with records that pre-date 1869, and a list of clergy before 1991.

Diocese of Ottawa[edit | edit source]

The records of this diocese are located in the lower level of Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa.

Contact Information:
Anglican Diocese of Ottawa,
71 Bronson Ave.
Ottawa, ON K1R 6G6
Phone: 613-232-7124 Ext 234
Diocese of Ottawa Website

Using the Archives:
The Archives page has the following information: the Diocesan Archives has been closed for about a year. It is now open (as of September 4, 2012) with limited capacity. Also included on the page is information on how to find the Archives, hours for research, their acquisition policy, and fee schedule.

Diocese of Toronto
[edit | edit source]

Contact Information:

The Anglican Diocese of Toronto
135 Adelaide Street East
Toronto, ON
M5C 1L8
Phone: 416-363-6021 or 1-800-668-8932
Diocese of Toronto

Using the Archives: The Archives page has the following information: Information for researchers, guide to using the Archives and the fee schedule.

Baptist[edit | edit source]

Many Baptist records for Ontario are at the Family History Library. For further information write to:

The Canadian Baptist Archives
McMaster Divinity College
1280 Main Street West  Room 152
Hamilton, ON   L8S 4K1
Fax:  905-577-4782  
Phone: (905) 525-9140 x23511 or x23512
Canadian Baptist Archives Website

Catholic[edit | edit source]

Most pre-1910 records of Catholic parishes in Ontario have been microfilmed and are available through the Family History Library and its Family History Centers.

Exceptions are listed below.

Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall (Stormont and Glengarry Counties)
220 Chemin Montreal
P.O. Box 1388
Cornwall, ON K6H 5V4
Telephone: (613) 933-1138
Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall Website

Diocese of Hamilton
700 King Street West
Hamilton, ON L8P 1C7
Phone: [905] 528-7988
Diocese of Hamilton Website

This Catholic Church Records Collection is described in the following wiki article:

Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

The Drouin Collection
The Drouin Collection 1621-1967 ($) (Ancestry) is available online. This French-Canadian collection has over 15 million genealogical and vital records entries. The Drouin Collection is made up of six smaller collections. They were microfilmed by the Institut Généalogique Drouin. The types of records include baptisms, marriages, and burials as well as confirmations, dispensations, censuses, statements of readmission to the church, and so on. They are written mainly in French, as well as English, Latin, and Italian. For more details see the Wiki article:  The Drouin Collection: Six Databases.

Moravian[edit | edit source]

The Moravian Archives
41 West Locust Street
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018
United States of America
Phone: (610) 866-3255

The Reading room for the Moravian Archives is closed until the summer of 2013.

For information concerning missions to the American Indians visit Moravian Missions Among American Indians. For a map and list of missions visit Early Moravian Missions in Eastern Pennsylvania and Surrounding Areas 1740-1773.

Mission records are also available in the FHL Collection. The records are indexed in the FHL Collection Book 970.1 F642i.

Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

Only a few pre-1925 Presbyterian records are available through the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Some of these are on film at the Family History Library. Most such records are at archives of the United Church of Canada.

Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives
50 Wynford Drive
Toronto, ON M3C 1J7
416-441-1111 ext. 310 Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives Website

United Church of Canada Archives
73 Queen's Park Crecent East Victoria University Toronto, ON  M5S 1K7 Canada Phone: 416-585-4563 United Church of Canada Archives Website

United Church of Canada[edit | edit source]

United Church records include Methodist, most Presbyterian, and Congregational church records dating from before the 1925 merger which formed the church. Many records are still in the hands of local clergymen. Others are at:

United Church of Canada Archives
73 Queen's Park Crescent East
Victoria University
Toronto, ON M5S 1K7
Tel: 416-585-4563
Fax: 416-585-4584

This archive is being moved this summer (2013) to a new address and will be closed from 10 June through 15 September, 2013. The new address is:

40 Oak Street
Toronto, ON

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

Ontario Births and Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)