British Columbia Marriage Registrations (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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British Columbia, Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938 .
This article describes a collection of records at
British Columbia,  Canada
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Flag of Canada
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Location of British Columbia, Canada
Record Description
Record Type Marriages
Collection years 1859-1938 (1933-1937 not included)
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
British Columbia Division of Vital Statistics, Victoria

What is in the Collection?

This collection includes records from 1859 to 1932, 1937 and 1938.

The set contains 8 volumes but v. A1 (A to J surnames, 1859-1872, British Columbia mainland) was missing at the time of filming and is not included in this set.

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. These restrictions did not apply to pre-confederation marriages.

Early registration records are very incomplete chiefly due to the fact that a majority of the population lived great distances from the registry offices and communication was difficult. The coverage of these records is small.

Provincial vital registrations are considered a reliable source in family history research because they contain a record of an event usually registered very near the time the event occurred. The reliability, of course, depends on the accuracy of the informant.

Collection Content

Sample Images

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Names of bride and groom
  • Ages of bride and groom
  • Residences when married
  • Places of birth
  • Marital status
  • Names of parents (father’s name only in most pre-confederation records)
  • Names of witnesses and their residences
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Religious denominations of bride and groom
  • Name of person performing the marriage
  • Whether marriage was by license or by banns

How Do I Search the Collection?

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page.

See Images, in this collection by visiting the Browse Page.
Once you've reached the browse page, follow these instructions to get to the images:
⇒ Select the appropriate "Digital Folder Number" which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one, comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

What Do I Do Next?

What Does this Record Tell Me?

The pre-confederation marriages occurred in the colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island and were submitted to the Colonial Secretary by clergy. The two colonies were united in 1866 prior to the entry of British Columbia into the Confederation of Canada. British Columbia became a province of Canada in July 1871. The registration of vital events began in 1872.

The marriage registrations, begun in 1872, are recorded on individual, printed forms. They consist of completed statements regarding marriages submitted to district registrars and registered by the director of Vital Statistics. Note that these forms are not marriage certificates but registrations of marriages. Marriage certificates contain information from the original registration records and are only available through the British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency. The records prior to 1872 are pre-confederation (or colonial) marriage records.

Pre-confederation marriages were gathered and registration of marriages begun in order to keep a written record for use by the government. Pre-confederation records consist of certified marriage certificates, or returns of marriages, submitted by clergy of various denominations, as well as typed certified extracts (ca. 1933) from marriage registers maintained by churches and missions.

Marriage registrations were registered by the Director of Vital Statistics and include delayed registrations of marriages (1933-1977), registrations of Indian marriages (1917 -1956); and registrations of Doukhobour marriage(1959 - 1982).

Registration images are arranged in order of registration number, which is often a red sequential number in the upper right-hand corner of the image. An alphabetical index by last name of groom has a "finding number" listed which is used to find the individual registration number. Be sure and click "View Image" to bring up the actual image. There is often additional information that might be valuable in your research.

I Found Who I was Looking for, Now What?

  • Use the place of birth for the bride and groom to search for a birth record.
  • Use the names of the parents for both the bride and groom to search for a marriage record.
  • View the image on the record. The image usually tells you more information than the indexed record.

What if I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For?

  • Your ancestor might have lived in a different place from where you were looking for the birth, marriage, or death.
  • Your ancestor might have lived at a slightly different time from the years you were looking.
  • Not every birth, marriage, or death was registered.
  • Look in the Canada Census Records for the residence of the parents.

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 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 Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938" Database with Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016. Citing Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Vital Statistics Agency, 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, Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for British Columbia, Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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