Family History at the Archives of Ontario - The Records

The Records

The Archives of Ontario holds many different kinds of records, with a few of the most heavily used being listed below. They are the starting point for most genealogical investigations. Such records are generally indexed, and they are usually available on microfilm at the Archives or through Microfilm Interloan.

The Archives of Ontario has published a series of in depth research guides on a variety of specific topics to help you with your research.

Vital Statistics - Birth, Marriage and Death Registrations

The Archives of Ontario has the following Vital Statistics microfilm available in the Reading Room and through our interloan program:

  • Births registrations and indexes [Word, PDF] – 1869-1916

  • Marriage registrations [Word, PDF] - [ca. 1801]-1931

  • Death registrations [Word, PDF] - 1869-1941 plus deaths of Ontarians overseas, 1939-1946.


The Archives of Ontario also holds the index books and registrations for the 1916 and 1917 births, 1931 and 1932 marriages and 1941 and 1942 deaths, all of which are closed for scanning. It is planned that the 1916 births, 1931 marriages and 1941 deaths will be available to the public in a microfilm format later in 2013.

Estate Files

Wills, which are available at the Archives cover the years from roughly. 1793 to about 1966 provide important information on family relationships and property.

  • How to Find a Will [[Word, PDF]
  • Research Guide 206 - How to Find a Will in Court Records Word, PDF]

Land Records

Ontario land records fall into two main categories: (i) Crown land records (for property owned by the Crown), which document the history of a property until it was granted or sold by the Crown; and (ii) land registry records (for privately owned property), which document the history of a property after it was granted or sold by the Crown. A few of the most important of these numerous and varied land records are the Ontario Lands Records Index (relating to land grants), Land Patents and Land Petitions.

Other Records and Resources

After you have taken these initial steps, be prepared to go further. At the Archives of Ontario you may consult naturalization records, passenger lists, maps and tombstone recordings, as well as church, court, military, hospital and school records. You may also consult city directories and voters’ lists.

Family History Centres

The Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), a Branch of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) has done extensive microfilming of family history-related records. This includes microfilm of records held by Archives of Ontario as well as Library and Archives Canada and some religious and local archives. This microfilm can be consulted at any of the GSU’s Family History Centres worldwide. All GSU microfilm of Archives of Ontario records is also available in our Reading Room, and your library can order Archives material for you from through Microfilm Interloan.

For more information on the GSU microfilm holdings, or to find the nearest Family History Centre, please visit Addresses can also be found in the Yellow Pages, under “Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints”. It is best to contact them before your visit as they have limited hours of opening, and microfilm reels may need to be ordered from the GSU’s central repository in Salt Lake City, Utah.