Ontario Deaths and Overseas Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Ontario Deaths,1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Ontario,  Canada
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Location of Ontario, Canada
Record Description
Record Type Deaths
Collection years 1869-1947
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archives of Ontario

What is in this Collection?

This collection includes an index of death records from July 1869 through 1937 and overseas deaths of Ontario military personnel from 1939-1947.

Registrations were kept on printed forms and then bound into volumes. The entries are arranged chronologically by date of registration.

A provincial act to register births, marriages, and deaths went into effect on July 1, 1869. This act created the Office of the Registrar General, and in each county or incorporated city or town, a clerk of the peace acted as the district registrar. Each municipality (city, village, town, township, or district) had a division registrar who sent all their books to a district registrar. This district registrar then transmitted the records to the registrar general at the provincial level. In 1875, the office of district registrar was eliminated, and the division registrars began sending their registrations directly to the registrar general.

In 1896, the process was altered. Division registrars received a copy of the registration forms from the person who reported the event. These forms were then indexed and entered into new registers. The division registrar made a copy of the form and sent it to the Office of the Registrar General every six months. After 1908, the division registrar made two copies of the original forms, who then kept one locally and sent the other quarterly to the registrar general. Later, the registrar general began indexing the registers.

Deaths were recorded in Ontario to better serve public health needs. They were also used in connection with the probate of wills and the administration of estates.

The information pertaining to death is usually reliable. This includes the cause of death, the name of the attending physician or medical professional, the name and address of the funeral home, and the exact date and place of burial. The accuracy of other information depends on the reliability of the informant (often a family member).

Collection Content

Sample Image

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Before 1908, the death records may contain the following information:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Death and registration date
  • Birthplace of the deceased.
  • Either the spouse's name of deceased or, if single, the father's name (1907-1908)
  • Age at death
  • Gender
  • Name of the informant
  • Informant's relationship to deceased (often a relative)
  • Former residence of the deceased (1896–1906)
  • Residence of the informant (1869–1896)

After 1908, the death records added the following information:

  • Full name of the father and maiden name of the mother
  • Parents' birthplace
  • Place of death. The place of death was implied by the divisions and county where the event was registered

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The approximate year of death.
  • The place where your ancestor died.
  • The names of other family members and their relationships.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search this collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse Images" on the initial search page
⇒Select the "Record Type" category
⇒Select the "Year" category
⇒Select the "Registration Number Range" category which takes you to the images

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s death record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the age to calculate the approximate birth year
  • Search for the names of the parents in the Ontario Marriage collections.
  • Death registrations are the best source of death information for an individual. These records may list a person's age, occupation, religious affiliation, and birthplace. You can use this information to then search for additional records. In addition, death records may provide clues for searching for other individuals related to your ancestor. Usually the person who provided the death information was a child or other relative of the deceased. Death registrations after 1907 list the names and birthplaces of parents.

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

  • Try using wildcards in your search.
  • Don't forget to search for someone using name variations. Spelling wasn't always standardized, meaning that people writing these records may have spelled the name using a different spelling.

Known Issues with This Collection

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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, please 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:

"Ontario Deaths,1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947." Database with image. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Registrar General. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

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 Ontario Deaths,1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947.

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 Ontario Deaths,1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.