Guide to Birth, Marriage & Death Records
This guide has had minor revisions in January 2017.
Note: This research guide provides general information regarding birth, marriage and death records for conducting genealogical research.
If you are trying to locate specific personal information and require research assistance, please send an e-mail to Toronto Public Library.
Library staff will then reply to you directly. Please do not post personal information in the Comments section of this guide.
Birth, marriage and death records may include information such as the event date and place, parents' names, occupation, residence and religion. The cause of death is also included in most death records. The records may be created by a religious institution or a government authority.
Searching the Website
Search within these subject headings
- Baptisms [place name] e.g. Baptisms Truro
- Obituaries [place name] e.g. Obituaries Saskatchewan or for more general listings try obituaries indexes
- Registers [place name] e.g. Registers British Columbia
- County marriage registers of Ontario, Canada, 1858-1869.
- Guide to Quebec's parishes, civil registers and census: Catholic, Protestant and other denominations, 1621-2000.
- International vital records handbook
- Marriage registers of Upper Canada/Canada West [1 or more volumes per district]
- Phillimore atlas and index of parish registers (Great Britain)
- Répertoire des actes de baptême, mariage, sépulture et des recensements du Québec ancien
- Researching Canadian vital statistics records: births, marriage and deaths
- Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register [county name]
- FamilySearch Ontario births 1869-1911
- FamilySearch Ontario marriages 1869-1927
- FamilySearch Ontario deaths 1869-1937 and Overseas deaths 1939-1947
- Archives of Ontario research guides
- Ancestry Library Edition (available in any Toronto Public Library branch) has the following:
Ontario Birth Registrations 1869-1913
Ontario Marriage Registrations from 1801-1928, 1933-1934
Ontario Death Registrations 1869-1938, 1943-1944, Deaths Overseas 1939-1947
Ontario Roman Catholic Marriages in 6 counties for 1827-1870
Various French Canadian databases (see "French Ancestors" section in this guide)
Free BMD Index England and Wales
JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry
- Globe and Mail Historical Newspaper Archive TPL library card required to login.
- Toronto Star Historical Newspaper Archive TPL library card required to login.
In Library Resources
Cemetery Transcriptions from the Ontario Genealogical Society's Provincial Library (collection is in closed storage on the 2nd floor of Toronto Reference Library -- Humanities & Social Sciences Department -- please ask at the information desk).
Index to Ontario Vital Statistics to 1913 for births, 1928 for marriages, and 1938 for Deaths (microfilm located on the 2nd floor of Toronto Reference Library -- Humanities & Social Sciences Department -- please ask at the information desk).
Images of the registrations themselves are also on Ancestry Library Edition. Indexes and registration forms for 1917 births, 1934 marriages, and 1943 deaths are presently only available on microfilm at the Archives of Ontario.The 1915 births, 1930 marriages and 1940 deaths are also available online only in the Archives of Ontario reading room.
York County Surrogate Court Indexes, 1940-1967 (microfilm located on the 2nd floor of Toronto Reference Library -- Humanities & Social Sciences Department -- please ask at the information desk).
- Ancestry Library Edition has added several useful databases (Drouin Collection) whose records are primarily from 1621 to the late 1940’s.
- Quebec Vital and Church Records 1621-1967 which contains records for all religious denominations
- Ontario French Catholic Church Records 1747-1967
- Acadia French Catholic Church Records 1670-1946
- QuebecRecords.com database, available at North York Central Library and Toronto Reference Library, has a wealth of databases including:
- Parish Records: church records from origin to 21st century. Cropped records of baptisms, marriages and deaths
- 1926 - 1966 Quebec Marriages and Deaths
Deposit Collections at the Humanities and Social Sciences Department, 2nd floor of the Toronto Reference Library:
- Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants Deposit Collection
- Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto Deposit Collection
- Ontario Genealogical Society Deposit Collection
For further assistance contact:
Humanities and Social Sciences, Toronto Reference Library 416-393-7175