Birth, baptism, marriage & death records 

Tracing birth, baptism, marriage and death  of early to middle 1800's, can be quite difficult as there were no legal requirements for counties to maintain official records.

In Ontario the requirement to maintain official records did not come into effect until July 1869. Prior to this,  you will have to rely on local parish records which means you have to know where your people lived and their religious affiliation. (religion can usually be found on a census).  I found a family death of April 1869 in a hardcover, dusty Methodist church book qhite by accident. (A reminder that not everything is online!)

FamilySearch has scanned a massive amount of ancestry records.  Set up a free account and start searching. It's easy. Some images are accessible online from home but some records require access through a 3rd party partner e.g. a library which is free or genealogy sites that require paid membership or per-view-fees. 

If you do end up using a paid site e.g. Ancestry, be sure to download a copy of the document because once you cancel your membership, they may (likely will) block your access.   

Family Search online records

Each year, additional records are made available from the Archives of Ontario in Toronto.  Learn more at  FamilySearch Ontario Vital Records Genealogy Wiki 

See also online Toronto death indices on SaveGraves Find a Grave page. It's an alpha listing of name and register number where full details can be found. (If the details haven't been transcribed, you may need to visit the archives at York University and view the reels of microfilm.  

Library and Archives Canada database includes only genealogy records from a few collections as described at the site.  They also talk about other sources of  records so it's worth a look.  

Check out LAC here

Search -  LAC online for Marriage Bonds, 1779-1858 - Lower & Upper Canada

Willy Jackson death certificate 1869

You can browse by last         SEARCH


Ancestral names on birth, death or marriage certificates may be quite different from the every-day name of your ancestor.  A birth certificate may list the child's name as 'Charles' but he may go through life and death as 'Harold'.  Keep this in mind if you come across a head scratcher or elusive ancestor.  

Be sure to use other ancestryinformation such as parents names to confirm the birth registration is actually your ancestor. Sometimes birth dates are different as well. You may need to expand your range of dates in your search.

Deaths are registered by location where ancestors died, not where they lived.  This might be why you're having trouble finding a death record.  If they died in a hospital, this list of Canadiian Hospital Histories might help.  Go here

Some Genealogy Societies offer paid access to birth, marriage and death copies. Check with your local society as they may have pay-per-view online service. 

Ontario Genealogy has tons of ancestryinformation in their searchable database. They require a registration, but it's free.  SEARCH 

Other sources of  records

Historical birth, marriage and death documents are a provincial jurisdiction and the rules of access vary for each province or territory. Check the relevant jurisdiction (below) for more specific information relating to fees, online access and years available.  

Rootsweb had published an excellent guide related to ancestry  birth, marriage,baptism and death records prior to 1869 when mandatory registration was introduced.  Checkout Rootsweb  HERE.

Knowing your ancestor's religion will help you focus on early church records for years prior to mandatory civil registration . Read more on old church records at Family Search . Estate files  are useful as well in determining dates of death. Archives of Ontario research guide 206 will help you with looking up a will in court records that are stored on microfilm at the archives.

At FamilySearch you can explore the online records by collection type or location.  SEARCH

Ontario GenWeb offers a treasure trove of free information relating to Ontario genealogy.  Visit  their site for more information and guidance on finding birth, marriage and death records.

St. James Cathedral Museum and Archives has BMDMrecords dating from 1800 that are available for research and reference for members of the congregation and the public. Access is free but they do ask for a modest $20 donation to help with expenses.  For more information or to arrange access, email the archives: