BC Archives widens services

Images of historical birth, marriage and death records 
available online via BC Archives

VICTORIA – A partnership between the BC Archives and the Vital Statistics Agency, as well as an in-kind donation by FamilySearch International, has resulted in original records being scanned, indexed and now available from anywhere in the world – free of charge – through the Royal BC Museum/BC Archives website.

“Open, free access to public records of an historic nature will help researchers and writers tell the story of British Columbia and assist citizens interested in genealogy or local history,” said Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Bill Bennett. “Congratulations to the partnership responsible for making this data available digitally online.”

The BC Archives is allowed to release personal information about deaths that occurred at least 20 years ago, marriages that took place at least 75 years ago, and births registered at least 120 years ago. In the past, the photographed images of actual documents were only available on microfilm.

“This free access to digital images of historical vital event records is long overdue,” said Kathryn Bridge, manager of centralized access, Royal BC Museum. “The upload of more than 700,000 scanned and indexed documents in the first few months of test operation is unique in Canada; no other province has made this much rich data available online.”

Provincial registration of births, marriages and deaths began the year after British Columbia joined Confederation in 1871. The registration records contain information that can be used to trace a family tree, determine medical history, reveal the history of a community or patterns of illness over time.

Each year more vital event records images will be scanned and uploaded as they become available.

 

To access the images of historical birth, marriage and death records go to:

http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/BasicSearch

 

 

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