British Columbia Death Registrations (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
British Columbia,  Canada
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Location of British Columbia, Canada
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Record Description
Record Type Deaths
Collection years 1872-1993 (1987-1991 not included)
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
British Columbia Division of Vital Statistics, Victoria


What is in the Collection?

The registration of deaths began in 1872, soon after British Columbia became a province of Canada. This collection contains death registrations, 1872-1986 and 1992-1993. First Nations death registrations, 1917-1956 (with delayed First Nations death registrations, 1916-1950); and overseas casualties, 1940-1945. Due to privacy legislation by the government of British Columbia, some images have been restricted from viewing. The death registrations are recorded on individual, printed forms. They consist of completed statements regarding deaths in British Columbia submitted to district registrars and registered by the registrar or director of Vital Statistics. Each death registration should include a supporting record called “Medical Certificate of Death,” which states the cause of death as determined by a physician or coroner, but this statement was not regularly included until 1896 and not with every registration until 1912. Depending on the time period, the medical certificate may be a separate form or printed on the same form as the death registration. Death certificates contain information from the original registration records and are only available through the British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency. A stillbirth may have been registered as either a birth, death, or both.

The only persons excluded from the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Act of 1872 were Chinese and Aboriginals. This was changed by an amendment in 1897, stating the registration would apply to all races. However, the Act was amended in 1899 to once again exclude First Nations from provincial registration until another amendment was passed in 1916, which authorized registration of First Nations to begin again in 1917 with information submitted monthly.

From 1917 to 1956, the First Nations death registrations were recorded in separate volumes. After 1956, the registrations were recorded with the main series. Beginning in 1872, official government registration of deaths applied to the whole province of British Columbia except for the Chinese (until 1897) and First Nations (until 1917).

The “Overseas Casualties, 1940-1945” series contains 3,423 deaths of British Columbians who died overseas during World War II. Registration of deaths began in order to keep a written record of the population for use by the government. Death registrations are the best source of death information in British Columbia beginning in 1872.

When Ancestry.com independently indexed these records, they indexed certificate numbers (which FamilySearch omitted). Thus, it is necessary to refer to Ancestry.com's subscription index, in addition to FamilySearch's index, in order to find death certificates in the Family History Library's microfilms.


What Can these Records Tell Me?

Death registrations may contain the following information:

  • Name, age, and gender of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Date and place of birth
  • Cause of death
  • Marital status
  • Parents' names
  • Name of spouse
  • Name of physician
  • Registration district name or number
  • Date and number of registration
  • Religious affiliation

Collection Content

Sample Image


How Do I Search the Collection?

You can search the index or view the images or both. To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The name of a relative or date of the event

Search the Index

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page then:

  1. Fill in the search boxes with the information you know.
  2. Click Search. This will provide possible a list of matches.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images.


For more tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?


I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of British Columbia, Canada Genealogy.
  • Search in the British Columbia Archives and Libraries.
  • Search in the FamilySearch Catalog

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, plea se email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing Division of Vital Statistics, Victoria.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993.


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