Birth, Marriage and Death Records for Ontario, Canada
- revised 02-22-1999
Many people seem to be searching for Birth, Marriage or Death information on people who should be on the Ontario Indexes for the years 1869-early 1900s.

This is an attempt to put all of my source information together into one master list to handle both the Archives of Ontario film numbers and the corresponding LDS (Mormon) Family History Centers film numbers.

The list should be helpful to anyone researching in Ontario, so feel free to pass it on. There are a couple of film #s I don't seem to be able to find, so if someone knows what they are please pass them on to me, at

The index films in these lists are in fact 16mm microfilms of all of the computer printouts that the Registrar Generals' office (in charge of all birth, marriage and death certificates and official enquiries) had created a number of years ago. They sorted the records by letter of the alphabet, surname and year, so what each film includes is an alphabetical list by surname, in groups of sequential years. That is, using the following marriage index film as an example:

Elliot, C 1879 - Hennessy, W 1890 - MS 934 Reel 3 - -- #1819489

contains all of the E surnames from Elliot,C in 1879 to (end) in 1910, all F, and G surnames from 1873 to 1910, and all H surnames from 1873 to Hennessy, W in 1890. If you wished to order the index from the Archives you would order film MS 934 Reel # 3 or if you wanted to order from the Latter Day Saints library you would order film # 1819489.

These indexes are easy to read (mostly) and include the following: surname,given names; place of event; date; and the registration # for the record in the master book. To read all of the details about the indexes and what they contain, proceed to the end of this page.

For instance, to look up Elliot you would find a separate group of that surname under each year, so you would have to look in the index for 1879, then spool ahead to 1880 for the name again, and so on.

You may find a number of entries for Elliot marriages, and if the surname is really common (ie Smith) you may find a whole bunch for each year.

You have to watch for misspellings, alternate spellings, and so on, but at least the printing is all the same, printed on some old line printer of probably 25 years ago. I have asked if the original computer files exist, as having this available at a web site would be ideal, but no one seems to know if they exist. Several government departments are involved, with the Registrar General, Attorney General, and the Archives all having a part in it. Myself, I think they don't exist, or they would have made new and fresher copies before microfilming perhaps, or certainly for their own use. Some were light and a few pages were torn and parts are missing. Not much is missing, but I have seen a couple of examples.

Each year a new years worth of these indexes are added to the files in the Archives, as privacy laws release them for public use. That is why a film for the index of a whole year is now made available. These films are alphabetically sorted (A-Z) from beginning to end, by surname.

Another example:
A 1869 - Cochrill, J 1883           - MS 931 Reel 1  -- #1819389
 |     |   |                         |                  |-LDS film to order
 |     |   |                         |-Film to order from Ontario Archives
 |     |   |-Includes all B surnames(1869-1895)
 |     |                   and all C surnames to Cochrill, J in 1883
 |     |-Continues with all names to...
 |-Starts at letter A in 1869 and covers all A surnames to 1895

Once you find a registration # for a Birth, Marriage or Death that you are interested in, the actual form can be seen by ordering the registration film from the Archives or LDS. You MUST note the COMPLETE registration number as the last 2 digits are critical to choose the proper registration film to order.

Information on how this registration number and the year of registration are used is located on each of the pages linked below.

-NEW- Information on how to order a registration.

I have separated the information for

to make it easier to follow. Choose the one you want information on, and click on the link.


You've checked the indexes and didn't find your ancestor? Check out the omitted records located by Donna Scott and included here for your information. Recent additions were provided by Mary-Ann Vanderloo. June 23, 2000.

Click here to get back to my main index page.

An Explanation of the RG 80 Birth, Marriage, and Death Index Codes

Each Index is sorted:

First, by surname initial (A; B; C; D; ...) Within, by year of event (D 1881; D 1882; D 1883) Lastly, alphabetically (D 1883; Doe, John)

              Each entry includes the following information: 

 1. NAME: copied from the original handwritten Registration. Women
 remarrying were indexed under their previous married surname. Check every
 variation, including phonetic spellings and typographical errors.

 2. DATE OF EVENT: e.g. 06 12 01 = June 12th 1901. Marriages 1873-1881
 were indexed with a single digit for the months and O, N, and D for October,
 November and December.

 3.  PLACE OF EVENT: town or township of event.

 4.  REGISTRATION YEAR: compare with #2 in case it is a Delayed
 Registration, not all of which are at the Archives of Ontario. Many births and
 some marriages were not registered until decades after the event.

 5.  REGISTRATION NUMBER: refers to the numbered entry in the
  Registration Book that contains the full record.
  Depending on the type of event, additional information may be given,

 6. CONTROL CODES: first digit refers to the nature of the Registration;
 second digit to any alteration made to it (see listing of "codes" below).
 For example:

      91 = Death Registration / Original unchanged entry

      38 = Marriage Registration / Entry information corrected

      14 = Birth Registration / Re-registered under guardian's name

      Births involving an act of guardianship may be listed twice: once as an
      "illegitimate" birth, often under the mother's surname
      (13 = birth / original registration), and again, under the guardian's
      surname (15 = birth / duplicate surname).


      1. Birth
      2. Stillbirth
      3. Marriage
      4. Divorce
      9. Death

      1. Original entry
      3. Cross index
      4. Adoption
      6. New entry
      9. Cancellation

      Cross Index of Name Changes:

      1. Original or previous
      2. Christian names
      3. Illegitimate identity
      4. Adopted name
      5. Duplicate surname
      6. Surname or when both are changed at the same time
      7. Long surname
      8. Correction

 7. "*": shows an altered Registration, as in a surname being correctly
 respelled or changed due to a guardianship. If altered before the creation
 of the Indexes in the late 1950s, only the corrected version is listed.

 8. MAIDEN NAME: women remarrying were indexed under their previous
 married surname. The maiden surname is listed here as a cross reference.

 9. "C.O.": IGNORE. An early data processing code for locations in
 Ontario (e.g. Toronto = 72, Waterloo Township = 61, etc.).

 10. "Sex Status"  "Event": IGNORE. These may be encoding checks
 done during the transcribing of 1873-1881 Marriages.

    Bill Martin, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
    My email  
    My Site Map