Genealogy activity - Finding more information at the B.C. Archives

Provided by the Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS), Victoria, BC, Canada

If you don’t know all the dates and places where your ancestors were born, married or died, there are some possible ways to find this information.

If your family has lived in British Columbia (B.C.) for several generations, you can get some of this information from the B.C. Archives.

This site gives vital events in B.C. after 1872. Because of privacy concerns, events in more recent years are not yet available. You can access births up to and including 1903, marriages up to and including 1935 and deaths up to and including 1990.  Each year more records will be available so the latest years that births, marriages and deaths are available may be different than those given in this activity.

The site is an index so it does not give full information such as parents’ names for births or cause of death, but the actual certificate can be accessed and printed at the B.C. Archives next to the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria B.C., or at the VGS Library for the cost of a photocopy.

The instructions are easy to follow. If you don’t know the place or date you can just enter the name. Sometimes the event may not have happened where you think it did. The family may live in a town but a child might be born in the nearby city. A marriage may be in the town where the bride lived but not where the groom lived. The names of places may change. Without a place or date there will usually be several entries so search until you find the one you want.

For births, the index will tell you: Full name, Date and place

For marriages, the index will tell you: Full name of the groom and bride, Date and place

For deaths, the index will tell you: Full name, Date and place, Age at death

If you decide to get the certificate, you will need the Registration # and Microfilm #. Volunteers at the Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS) or workers at the B.C. Archives can assist in getting the certificate.

A birth certificate will give the names of the parents and the occupation of the father.

A marriage certificate will give the ages of the bride and groom, their birth places and residences at the time of marriage. The names of the parents of both bride and groom and where they were born and names of witnesses to the marriage are also given. Witnesses may be siblings, cousins or friends of the bride and groom.

A death certificate will give the date of birth and age at death and occupation, the parents’ names and birthplaces and the name of the informant.  The cause of death is also given as well as the residence at the time of death.



B.C. Archives Online Vital Events Index:,Marriages,Deaths



The next genealogy project in this 1-2-3 Go! series is My Own Time Machine.



Download a printer friendly version of this Finding the People activity sheet in PDF format.