A partnership between the BC Archives and the Vital Statistics Agency, as well as an in-kind donation by FamilySearch International, has resulted in original records being scanned, indexed and now available from anywhere in the world for printing — free of charge — through the Royal BC Museum/BC Archives website.
Since 1997, the Vital Statistics Agency has provided the BC Archives with annually updated indexes to publicly releasable vital event information.
The BC Archives is allowed to release personal information about deaths that occurred at least 20 years ago, marriages that took place at least 75 years ago and births registered at least 120 years ago.
In the past, the photographed images of actual documents were only available on microfilm at the BC Archives reading room, at a FamilySearch International centre or through a number of libraries across the province.
Provincial registration of births, marriages and deaths began the year after British Columbia joined Confederation in 1871.
The registration records contain information that can be used to trace a family tree, determine medical history, reveal the history of a community or patterns of illness over time.
Birth registrations include name, date and place of birth, parents’ names and the mother’s maiden name.
Marriage registrations include the name, age, birth place and marital status of the bride and groom, the date and place of the ceremony, names of the couple’s parents, names of witnesses and the person who performed the ceremony.
Death registrations include the name and birth date of the deceased person and date, place and cause of death.
Phase 1 of the data upload is substantially complete. Phase 2, now underway, will add more images and indexed information, including pre-1872 records and deaths that occurred overseas during the Second World War between 1939 and 1945.
Go online to http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/BasicSearch.