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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in April 2013. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian: Vital Statistic Records - Part 1  by Sharon L. Murphy. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Baptismal Registers

The United Church of Canada Archives in Toronto houses microfilmed baptismal registers for the Wesleyan Methodist Church. There are four rolls of microfilm with an accompanying printed index to towns and townships (not a nominal index). The films are available on inter-institutional loan, with more information at their website. A different website provides a searchable database of these registers (as of 2013).

“From the 1840s through the 1890s Wesleyan ministers were instructed to send copies of their baptismal registers to a central authority, where they were copied into large bound volumes which were arranged by township or city. Needless to say not all baptisms were returned, but it is safe to state that returns were made from most townships on at least one or two occasions, and sometimes the record is fairly complete for decades at a time.”

This excerpt was found in Bruce S. Elliott’s “Utility and Variety of Early Church Records” in Families, Vol. 16, No. 4 (1977).

The baptismal register for the Niagara Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1849-1886, is housed at the United Church Archives. There is an index of this register at the United Church Archives, Toronto. This index has also been published the Ontario Genealogical Society and is titled Index to Niagara Conference Methodist Episcopal Church Baptismal Register 1849-1886, Part 1: A to K, Part 2: L to Z, A Guide for Genealogists by Louise I. Hope, BHSc.

Geographically the Niagara Conference consisted of various regions located in the southwestern part of the province. A very general description would include the following areas: London, Niagara, Toronto (until 1863), Brantford, Oxford, Chatham and Hamilton. The content includes: Name, Born, Baptized, Parents and Birthplace..

Published Church Records

There is another index published by Edwin A. Livingston, C.D., U.E., Baptisms and Marriages, Brockville and District 1812-1848. The introduction states “The Ontario Historical Society (OHS) published A Record of Marriages Solemnized by Reverend William Smart, Minister of the Presbyterian Congregation, Brockville, Elizabethtown, Upper Canada, 1812-1841 in the year 1904, Volume 5, pages 187-236 of their Papers and Records. This is available online on Bill Martin’s website.

“Later in 1929, the OHS Published ‘An Early Baptismal Register, Brockville, By Reverend. William Smart, 1831-1848’ edited by H. R. Morgan in their vol. 25, pages 367-384.” This is also available on Bill Martin's website.

“Again in 1946, the OHS Published ‘ Parish Register of Brockville and Vicinity,1814-1830’ edited by H. R. Morgan in vol. 38, pp. 79-108.” Again, Bill Martin has made this available on his website.

Geographically the location of these events is in the old Johnstown District of the province. As you can see from this description, there are both baptisms and marriages in the above sources.

One cautionary note: these have been copied from the Ontario Historical Society transcripts and then have been indexed and every time something is recopied there is an additional chance for errors. Over the years, the OHS transcribed and published many early church registers.

As with marriages, many ‘Répertoires’ have been compiled for French Catholic churches. Volunteers from the Société franco-ontarienne d’histoire et de généalogie have compiled a large number of registers of baptismal and death records found in the parish registers at French Catholic churches.

Cemetery Records

These records were described in Module 1 but it is important to note that the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) has been busy for years working on this province’s cemetery transcriptions and records. The OGS has its collection stored at the North York Central Library in Toronto and updates this collection regularly. Microfilms have been created from some of this collection by the Archives of Ontario.

Other sources would be the local Genealogical Society branch where the cemetery exists or existed. They would be able to advise you regarding the cost of purchasing a copy of the cemetery recordings of interest. They can also advise you regarding the procedure of searching their areas.

The Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid (OCFA)

The Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid (OCFA) is an index of the names of those recorded in the cemetery records. This index will direct you to the appropriate branch or society that holds the actual complete transcription of the cemetery. You can then access the rest of the information through them. The goal is to provide an index for all names recorded in Ontario cemeteries. Naturally, not all records are indexed yet. You can access this index on the site. Every possible cemetery or transcription has not necessarily been entered into this database.

The Canadian Headstones

The Canadian Headstones website is available. It features hundreds of thousands of pictures of Ontario headstones and their transcriptions. It is searchable by name or cemetery and relies on individuals submitting photographs and transcriptions.

If you’re not sure where to locate the cemetery records in your research area, the local municipal office or library would be able to direct you to their location.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian: Vital Statistic Records - Part 1 offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.