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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 ($).

Locating Civil Registration After 1869


If the event that you are searching for occurred after 1869 in the Province of Ontario, there is a very good possibility that you will be able to locate the registration in the vital statistic registers held at the Archives of Ontario.

There will also be registrations of events prior to 1869 if the individual responsible registered the event. An example would be a birth that took place in 1866 but was registered in 1869. It’s always a good idea to check the registration index just in case the event was earlier than 1869, and registered anyway.

A listing of the microfilmed reel numbers of the indexes of all post-1869 birth, marriage and death records held by the Archives of Ontario is on their website, where you will also find detailed pathfinders for this collection. Birth registrations become available when they are 97 years old.

Birth registrations usually show the name of the child, sex, date and place of birth, names of parents, father’s rank or occupation and sometimes address, name and address of informant, name of accoucheur (physician, midwife or other birth assistant), date and county of registration.


This is a two step procedure. First, you must locate the name of the individual on the appropriate index (i.e.: birth, marriage or death). There is a finding aid, as well as handouts, describing how to access these records and their indexes at the Archives of Ontario. Go to the finding aid labeled Birth Registrations and turn to the index pages. Depending on the first letter of the last name, you will be directed to a microfilm reel number that contains the names beginning with that letter.

As all the names are indexed according to the date of the actual registration of the event, it is not necessary to know where in Ontario the event occurred.

Once you have located the name on the index, MS 931, then you must record the registration number and date of the registration. Note that the year of the registration may not be the year of the event. This will direct you to step two. You will go back to the finding aid again, MS 929 and you will now look for the right year of registration. If a person were born in 1895 but the birth wasn’t registered until 1896, you must look in the 1896 list.

Follow the numbering system until you determine which film has your registration number on it. When you obtain the correct reel you will find that the numbers are chronological. At this point, you will notice that the actual numbers are either hand written, printed in typeset or may have been changed. Look for the pattern used and follow the numerical order. Remember to record your source correctly at this time. Also, include all the information given on the registration.

To Find a Birth Registration Find the individual in the Vital Statistics Index. Make a note of the registration number and the registration year.

To Find a Birth Registration.jpg

Correction Book

The Correction Book (1869-1899) for birth registrations is found on microfilm MS931, reel 11, just after the index of births for 1899. It may be viewed in the Reading Room of the Archives or requested by inter-institutional loan. There is no Correction Book for marriages or for deaths at the Archives of Ontario.

If you cannot find the name on the computerized index but are sure that there should be a record, then your next step would be to search the Correction Book. This ‘computerized index’ is not available on a database on a computer, it is a printed paper index. The Correction Book serves two purposes. The first is to provide an index to the corrections that have been made by the Registrar General sometime during 1869-1960. A correction usually resulted in a creation of a second entry or the correction may have been made on the original entry.

At the time of writing this course, “Corrected” registrations dated 1902 onwards are only available from the Office of the Registrar General. In a few cases this book may index birth registrations for the years 1869-1899 that were not indexed in the main computerized printouts.

Example of a Correction Made to a Birth Registration
(See the centre entry.) Notice the year is changed from 1894 to 1893. Notice also at the bottom of the section the signature and the date of this correction.

Birth Registration Correction Example.jpg

Delayed Registrations

The second purpose is for Delayed Registrations (MS 930, 933). It indexes births that occurred between 1869 and 1899, but which were not registered within a year of the event. These registrations are not indexed in the main computerized printouts. Some of these delayed registrations may have been corrected later on, but the number appears to be very small. Most “50” series delayed registrations (RG 80-3-1) are indexed in this book, while most “90” series delayed registrations (RG 80-3-2) are indexed in the main computerized printouts. Some delayed registrations cannot be found in either index.

Example of a Delayed Registration
(See the first two entries.) Notice that the birth was in 1893 but the registration was in 1894. Example of Delayed Registration for Births.jpg


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian: Vital Statistic Records - Part 1 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.