Series GR-2985 - Marriage registration index

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Marriage registration index

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  • textual record
  • microform

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  • 1872-1942 (Creation)
    British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency

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Physical description

Microfilm (neg.), 16 mm, 9 reels [B13379-B13383, B14449-B14452]

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Biographical history

The British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency (BCVSA) is responsible for determining and registering births, deaths and marriages and for issuing certificates related to these events. The agency also performs civil marriage ceremonies through private marriage commissioners, issues marriage licences, administers legal changes of name, files and searches for wills notices, performs genealogical tracing, and maintains a special purpose registry for registering cases of congenital anomalies and various handicapping conditions. In addition, the agency provides statistical and research services for various government programs, universities and special interest research groups. The registration of births, deaths and marriages in British Columbia was entrusted to the Registrar General of Titles under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act of 1872 (SBC 1872, c. 26). Until 1911 the Registrar reported to the Department of the Attorney General, except for the years 1899 to 1901 when the office was under the Department of the Provincial Secretary. In 1911 the Registrar General of Titles became the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages under the Provincial Board of Health, which reported to the Department of the Provincial Secretary. The Vital Statistics Branch was created within the Provincial Board of Health under the control of the Provincial Health Officer in 1933, and was renamed the Division of Vital Statistics in 1936. The Division of Vital Statistics became the British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency in 1996. The Provincial Board of Health was removed from the Department of the Provincial Secretary to become the Department of Health and Welfare in 1946. It was subsequently renamed the Department of Health and Hospital Insurance (1959), the Department of Health (1973), and the Ministry of Health (1976). The Division of Vital Statistics remained part of this organization throughout these changes.

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Scope and content

Index to marriage registrations compiled on an early computerized system by the Registrar's office in Victoria from indexes created in regional offices. It was printed out sometime in the early 1960s and the pages were bound into volumes which have been microfilmed for public reference purposes.

This index consists of two separate alphabetical listings of all persons married and registered within the Province of British Columbia, from the beginning of 1872 to the end of 1929. The first listing is by the surnames of grooms, and the second listing is by surnames of brides. However, unlike the fiche index (GR-3033), there is no single alphabetical sequence (they are grouped by date) and a conversion list at the beginning of each reel must be used to locate the microfilm reel number for the actual registration.

Each entry contains, from left to right: the last four digits of the record (or registration) number; the name of the groom or bride; the name of the spouse (bride or groom); the place of the marriage; the date of the marriage (format is month/day/year, e.g., 05/21/1885); the volume number in which the registration is found; and the full record (or registration) number.

On each reel the index is preceded by a volume list that shows the BCA and GSU microfilm reel numbers on which each volume of marriage registrations is filmed. This list shows, from left to right: the accession number; the box number; the volume number; the volume description (this consists of the record title "marriage registrations", the range of registration numbers in the volume [also called "record number" in the index] the communities or regions covered in the volume, and the alphabetic range covered in the volume); the date range covered in the volume (this is referred to as the "start date" and "end date" (which are recorded in this format: year/month/day, e.g., 1885/05/21); the number given to the microfilm reel by the British Columbia Archives (BCA); followed by the number given to the microfilm reel by the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU).

To find an individual registration using this index, first look up a person's name in the bride or groom index. These are alphabetical within date groupings (see finding aid for reel list). When the right name and marriage has been found, make note of the volume number, the date of the marriage, and the record number. Then return to the volume list at the beginning of the microfilm reel. Look first for the volume number, then make sure that the record number (called registration number on the volume list) and marriage date fall within the ranges shown in the entry for that volume. If they match, make note of the microfilm reel number to the right of the date range. The BCA number consists of six digits beginning with the letter "B". The GSU number consists of seven digits Instructions for locating the actual registration can be found in the Finding Aid for GR-2962.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred by British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency, 1997.


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There are no access restrictions.

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General note

Accession number(s): 89-0790; 91-0451; 91-3858

General note

Please note that the information on this index is provided only for the purpose of locating registration documents and should not be taken as authoritative. The final authority for all registration information is the document itself.

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