Searching for Birth, Marriage and Death Records in the Canadian Province of Ontario
Birth, marriage and death records are important documents carrying details of significant events in everyone’s lives. Whether you are seeking to apply for a copy of your own birth or marriage certificate or whether you are tracing your family tree, it is important to know how to seek and gain access to birth, marriage and death records. These step-by-step guides should help you in your quest for documentation issued in the Canadian province of Ontario.
Older Birth, Marriage & Death Records
Civil registration in the province of Ontario began on July, 1 1869. The Archives of Ontario is the repository for:
- Birth records from July, 1 1869 to 1909 inclusive
- Incomplete marriage records from around 1801 to 1869
- Marriage records from July, 1 1869 to 1924 inclusive
- Death records from July 1 1869 to 1934 inclusive
None of these records are available online. They are available on microfilm and can be accessed in several ways:
- By visiting the Main Reading Room of the Archives of Ontario at 77 Grenville Street, Toronto. The opening hours are given on this webpage: http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/interloan/vsmain.htm#intro
- Through an inter-library loan requested at your local public library. If you wish to do this, you will need to specify the MS and reel number of the microfilm you require. For instructions on how to find out the MS and reel numbers, go to http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/interloan/vsmain.htm#intro and scroll down to the section headed ‘Looking Up a Registration.’
- By purchasing the microfilm from the Ontario Genealogical Society. Information on how to do this and an order form are given on this webpage: http://www.ogs.on.ca/publications/microfilm/first.html
- By visiting a Family History Center run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. See http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/geneal/fmlyhist.htm for further details.
The Archives of Ontario does not offer an individual search service and does not provide copies of records by mail. Assistance with the research process is, however, available, if you visit the Archives in person. As an alternative to carrying out research yourself, you may wish to engage the services of a professional researcher. A list of Ontario-based genealogical researchers can be consulted at: http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/guides/csg_111_genea_researchers.htm
More Recent Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates
The Registrar General of Ontario holds the following documentation:
- Birth records from 1910 to the present day
- Records of marriages that took place from 1925 to the present day
- Death records from 1935 onwards
Under privacy legislation, only certain people are eligible to apply for birth and marriage certificates dating from these years, and, although death certificates are available to any applicant, certified copies of death registrations can only be issued to those who are eligible. Before beginning the application process, ensure that you are entitled to apply for the certificate in question by checking the criteria on this webpage: http://www.cbs.gov.on.ca/mcbs/english/4UMPCQ.htm
If you are applying for a birth certificate for a person aged nine or above, you will need to include the details of someone who can act as a guarantor. A guarantor is a person of a particular profession, who is known by the person named on the certificate and who has given permission for his or her personal information to be used on the application form. The guarantor may be contacted to verify the identity of the person on the birth certificate. For further information on guarantors, consult this webpage: http://www.cbs.gov.on.ca/mcbs/english/guarantors.htm
It is possible to apply for a birth, marriage or death certificate online by following these steps:
1. Go to: https://www.orgforms.gov.on.ca/eForms/scr02_BeforeYouBegin.do?eformsId=0 and click on ‘birth,’ ‘marriage’ or ‘death’ at the top of the page.
2. A new window will open containing all the information you will need in order to complete your online application
3. Gather together all of the required information
4. Go back to https://www.orgforms.gov.on.ca/eForms/scr02_BeforeYouBegin.do?eformsId=0 and click on the ‘next’ button at the foot of the page
5. Read the ‘use of personal information notice’ and select either ‘I agree’ or ‘cancel’ at the foot of the page
6. If you select ‘I agree,’ the first page of the online application form will appear
7. Fill in the application form on screen by navigating from page to page using the ‘next’ button at the bottom of each page.
8. Once you have completed and electronically submitted your application form, a payment receipt will appear on screen. It is a good idea to print and retain the payment receipt as proof of your application
Alternatively, you may apply for a birth, marriage or death certificate by mail or fax. Here is the procedure to follow:
- Download an application form by going to http://www.cbs.gov.on.ca/mcbs/english/4U4V5Z.htm and clicking on either ‘print a birth certificate application form,’ ‘request for marriage certificate,’ or ‘request for death certificate.’
- Print and fill in the application form
- Find the applicable fee on the application form and arrange for this amount to be paid by either credit card, money order or check made payable to the ‘Minister of Finance.’
- You may submit your application by mail or by fax. Fax applications are only accepted if payment is made by credit card. The mailing address and fax number for the submission of applications are:
Office of the Registrar General
P.O. Box 4600
189 Red River Road
Thunder Bay, ON
With the online and offline resources available, it should not be too long before you obtain a copy of the Ontario-issued birth, marriage or death record that you are searching for.