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Following are genealogy research tools and tips to access free ancestral birth, marriage and records.

Tracing birth/marriage/death records of early to middle 1800's can be a real challenge because there were no legal requirements to report or maintain official records. In Ontario, July 1869 marked the beginning of official records.  For earlier deaths, you'll have to reply on church records and for this you'll need to know where your ancestor lived and their religious affiliation (Census records will be useful here since people didn't move around much back in the day). Browsing dusty old pre-computer-days hard copy books at the archives can uncover some real gems too. And old news paper's social columns were always rich in detail. 


FamilySearch is a great place to start. They've scanned a massive amount of records. Login to your free site to SEARCH.  Lots of easy to follow options. Many images are available to view or download. FamilySearch has partnered with third parties and you may be able to find an image that way. It's well explained at their site.  

For Ontario birth/marriage/death records, go HERE.   Ontario Archives records are not yet fully available at FamilySearch online. You may have to visit the Archives at York University and use the reels and binders. The staff there are very helpful so just ask them to steer you in the right direction.  


Library and Archives Canada (LAC) includes genealogy records from a few source records. It's worth a look.   Check out LAC here.  Or go directly to LAC birth/marriage/death records SEARCH.  

Keep your name search loose. Sometimes ancestral names on official birth/marriage/death records don't match.  We know of a case where a baby was offically named Charles but was known socially as Harold. His kids and descendants had no idea.  That's why adding parents names and dates to your search may help you can't find your 'Harold'.  


Note that death records were registered in the location where the person died, not where they lived. This could be why you're having difficulty finding a record.  If your ancestor died in a hospital, this list of Canadian Hospital Directories might help  narrow the possible location where your ancestor died.  


If still no luck, try death notices newspapers of the day.  You can browse by last name at the Ontario Community Newspapers Portal.   


Some Genealogy Societies and Ancestry sites offer fee-based access to records and some provinces have pay-per-view and download as well. Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics is the best.  Saskatchewan, the worst. If you can't prove you are related to someone who's been dead for 100 years, it's creek time. Very annoying.


Ontario (Upper Canada) and History Databases have tons of ancestry information in their searchable database. Registration is required but access is free.

St. James Cemetery Museum and Archives has BMD records dating from 1800 and are happy to help with your genealogical search. Access is free but a modest donation  is requested to help with expenses. For more information or to arrange an appointment, email the archives.

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