Canada, British Columbia Death Registrations - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Canada, British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993
This article describes a collection of records at
British Columbia, Canada
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Flag of British Columbia
Location of British Columbia, Canada
Record Description
Record Type Deaths
Collection years 1872-1993 (1987-1991 not included)
Languages English
Title in the Language
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
British Columbia Division of Vital Statistics, Victoria

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The registration of deaths began in 1872, soon after British Columbia became a province of Canada. This collection contains death registrations, 1872-1986 and 1992-1993. First Nations death registrations, 1917-1956 (with delayed First Nations death registrations, 1916-1950); and overseas casualties, 1940-1945. Due to privacy legislation by the government of British Columbia, some images have been restricted from viewing. The death registrations are recorded on individual, printed forms. They consist of completed statements regarding deaths in British Columbia submitted to district registrars and registered by the registrar or director of Vital Statistics. Each death registration should include a supporting record called “Medical Certificate of Death,” which states the cause of death as determined by a physician or coroner, but this statement was not regularly included until 1896 and not with every registration until 1912. Depending on the time period, the medical certificate may be a separate form or printed on the same form as the death registration. Death certificates contain information from the original registration records and are only available through the British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency. A stillbirth may have been registered as either a birth, death, or both.

The only persons excluded from the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Act of 1872 were Chinese and Aboriginals. This was changed by an amendment in 1897, stating the registration would apply to all races. However, the Act was amended in 1899 to once again exclude First Nations from provincial registration until another amendment was passed in 1916, which authorized registration of First Nations to begin again in 1917 with information submitted monthly.

From 1917 to 1956, the First Nations death registrations were recorded in separate volumes. After 1956, the registrations were recorded with the main series. Beginning in 1872, official government registration of deaths applied to the whole province of British Columbia except for the Chinese (until 1897) and First Nations (until 1917).

The “Overseas Casualties, 1940-1945” series contains 3,423 deaths of British Columbians who died overseas during World War II. Registration of deaths began in order to keep a written record of the population for use by the government. Death registrations are the best source of death information in British Columbia beginning in 1872.

When independently indexed these records, they indexed certificate numbers (which FamilySearch omitted). Thus, it is necessary to refer to's subscription index, in addition to FamilySearch's index, in order to find death certificates in the Family History Library's microfilms.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:


  • Name, age, and gender of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Date and place of birth
  • Cause of death
  • Marital status
  • Parents' names
  • Name of spouse
  • Name of physician
  • Registration district name or number
  • Date and number of registration
  • Religious affiliation

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The name of a relative or date of the event

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Consult the British Columbia Record Finder to find other records
  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names
  • Search the indexes and records of British Columbia, Canada Genealogy
  • Search in the British Columbia Archives and Libraries
  • Search in the FamilySearch Catalog

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in British Columbia.

Related Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]

Known Issues[edit | edit source]

Click here for a list of known issues with this collection.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.