British Columbia Church Records

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British Columbia Research Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
British Columbia Background
Ethnicity
Local Research Resources

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The earliest denominations in British Columbia were Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational. Roman Catholic records for the Diocese of Victoria date from 1864 and from 1892 for the Diocese of Vancouver. The Anglican Church records date back to 1837 in the Victoria area and to 1859 in the Vancouver area. The Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational Churches were combined in 1925 to form the United Church of Canada.

Information Found in the Records[edit | edit source]

To effectively use church records, become familiar with their content. Click on these links to learn about a specific record type:

Finding the Records[edit | edit source]

Look for online records.[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com, FindMyPast.com, and MyHeritage.com can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Online databases are incomplete. This can lead to two common errors:

  1. Near matches: Researchers might mistakenly accept an entry very similar to their ancestor, thinking it is the only one available. Only use information that matches your ancestor in date, place, relationships, and other details.
  2. Stopping research: Researchers might assume the database proves church records do not exist. Actually the record is still out there, just not in this incomplete collection of records. Keep searching!


Look for digital copies of church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]

Family History Library
Salt Lake City, Utah
  • The Family History Library (FHL) has microfilmed and/or digitized records for churches in the Canada.
  • Online church records can be listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under the province or a town.
  • If you find a record that has not yet been digitized, see How do I request that a microfilm be digitized?
  • Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations.
  • To find records:
a. Click on the records of Canada, British Columbia.
b. Click on Places within Canada, British Columbia and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town or the town where the church was, if different.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Correspond with or visit the actual churches.[edit | edit source]

Some records are still held in the local churches. Contact the current minister to find out what records are still available.

  • Make an appointment to look at the records. Or ask the minister of the church to make a copy of the record for you.
  • To find church staff available, you might have to visit on Sunday.
  • Ask for small searches at a time, such as one birth record or a specific marriage. Never ask for "everything on a family or surname".
  • A donation ($25-$40) for their time and effort to help you would be appropriate.
  • If the church has a website, you may be able to e-mail a message.
  • See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

Addresses[edit | edit source]

Check the church records collections in archives and libraries.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been deposited for preservation in government archives or in libraries. Watch for links to digitized, online records offered by the archives. Some archives provide research services for a fee. For others, if you cannot visit in person, you might hire a researcher.

Here you will find archive information unique to the province. Many more archives are kept by denomination. For denominational archives, go to Searching for Church Records by Denomination.

British Columbia Archives[edit | edit source]

British Columbia Archives
675 Belleville Street
Victoria, BC V8W 9W2
Canada
Phone:1-250-356-7226
Toll free:1-888-447-7977
E-mail:reception@royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

Vancouver Public Library[edit | edit source]

Vancouver Public Library


Anglican Church of Canada[edit | edit source]

Diocese of New Westminster and the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and the Yukon Archives
Diocese of New Westminster
1410 Nanton Ave.
Vancouver, BC V6H 2E2 Canada
Phone: 604-684-6306 x 230
E-mail: mriley@vancouver.anglican.ca

How do I request a copy of a baptism/confirmation/marriage/burial record? Simply contact the archives by telephone or email and be sure to state our full name (maiden name if applicable), the date of the event, and the parish in which it took place. Please note that Privacy legislation applies to all registers, so you can only request your own records unless it is:
A baptism more than 100 years old
A marriage more than 75 years old
A burial more than 20 years old
If you are requesting a record on behalf of someone else, please be sure to have them send written permission to the archives so that the archivist can release the record to you.

Anglican Diocese of British Columbia Archives
900 Vancouver Street
Victoria, British Columbia V8V 3V7
Telephone: 250-386-7781 ext. 253
Toll Free: 1-800-582-8627
Email: darchives@bc.anglican.ca

Information Request Form
The completion of a signed Information Request Form is required for the release of records of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials, and/or other documents containing personal information. In order for us to comply with church policy and BC privacy laws; the form is designed to establish the requestors right to the personal information contained in the record. Download.

Diocese of Caledonia Archives
Synod Office
201-4716 Lazelle Avenue
Terrace, BC V8G 1T2
Canada
Phone: 250-627-2243
Fax: 250-635-6026
E-mail: caledonia@telus.net


Diocese of Kootenay Archives

  1. 201 – 380 Leathead Rd.,

Kelowna, BC V1X 2H8
Canada
Phone: 778-478-8310
Fax: 778-478-8314
E-mail: admin@kootenay.info


Territory of the People (called the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior until 2016)
360 Nicola Street
Kamloops, BC
V2C 2P5 Canada

Phone: 778.471.5573
Fax: 778.471.5586
Email: office@territory.anglican.ca


Evangelical Lutheran Church[edit | edit source]

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)
302 - 393 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 3H6
Telephone: 204-984-9173
Toll free: 1-888-786-6707

  • Congregations that have ceased to exist (with this Church) have their records held at this facility. Records such as marriage, baptism, confirmation and burial are all housed here. These records are arranged by congregation so you must know the name of the congregation that your research subject belonged to. Specific written inquires will be answered by staff. All existing congregations hold their own records.

Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver Archives
150 Robson Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 2A7
Telephone: 604-683-0281 ext. 302

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver Chancery Office Archives
For genealogical research individuals should contact local parishes which will normally hold the required records. For information about parishes, contact the Catholic Information centre at (604) 443-3234. Researchers are requested not to contact the Archives by phone looking for research to be done.

United Church of Canada and Presbyterian Church Records[edit | edit source]

The United Church of Canada Archives holds the local church records of the United Church and its uniting denominations (Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian (1925 union); and Evangelical United Brethren—joined in 1968).

Bob Stewart Archives
312 Main Street, Suite 320
Vancouver, BC V6A 2T2
Canada
Phone: 604-431-0434, ext. 6358
Toll Free: 1-800-934-0434, ext. 6358
Email: bgalston@united-church.ca

The holdings of this facility include a wide variety of records such as, historic membership rolls, registers of vital events, minutes of church meetings, correspondence and photographs for over 500 congregations across British Columbia. The publication, Guide to Family History Research in the Archival Repositories of the United Church of Canada, is available from the United Church and may be useful to researchers interested in such records


The records of the churches which did not join at union but remained part of the continuing Presbyterian Church in Canada after 1925 are held in Toronto.

Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives and Record Office
50 Wynford Drive
Toronto, Ontario M3C 1J7
Telephone: (416) 441-1111 or toll-free at 1-800-619-7301
Their website has a button on the homepage for genealogists.


Go to the Wiki article for your ancestors' denomination to find more archives.[edit | edit source]

There are frequently additional, nationwide or regional archives for each denomination. Find the article for your ancestors' denomination and follow the instructions there to access these sources. This is especially important if local archives are not given above.

Wiki Articles for Records of Major Churches in Canada

Correspond with genealogical or historical societies.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been given to historical societies. Also, historical societies may be able to tell you where the records are being held. To find a society near you, consult these lists:


Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor[edit | edit source]

You will possibly find many different people with the same name as your ancestor, especially when a family stayed in a locality for several generations, and several children were named after the grandparents or aunts and uncles. Be prepared to find the correct church records by organizing in advance as many of these exact details about the ancestor as possible:

  • name, including middle name and maiden name
  • names of all spouses, including middle and maiden name
  • exact or closely estimated dates of birth, marriage, and death
  • names and approximate birthdates of children
  • all known places of residence
  • occupations
  • military service details


Dark thin font green pin Version 4.pngCarefully evaluate the church records you find to make sure you have really found records for your ancestor and not just a "near match". If one or more of the details do not line up, be careful about accepting the entry as your ancestor. There are guiding principles for deciding how to resolve discrepancies between records that are seemingly close. For more instruction in evaluating evidence, read the Wiki article, Evaluate the Evidence.

Aboriginal Records[edit | edit source]

Secwepemc Cultural Education Society
274A Halston Connector Road
Kamloops, British Columbia V2H 1H1
Telephone: 778-471-5789

  • The Secwepemc Cultural Education Society holds some records of relevance to aboriginal genealogical research including baptismal records, oral histories and family groupings documents.

References[edit | edit source]