Ancestry Canada
CanGenealogy Canadian Genealogy British Columbia
British Columbia is the only province on the Pacific Ocean, and has a population of about four million people. It became a province in 1871. The province is made up of two former British colonies, British Columbia and Vancouver Island. The major cities are Vancouver and Victoria on the coast, and Kelowna, Kamloops and Prince George in the Interior.

See also British Columbia newspapers | British Columbia directories

Census records

1881: Library and Archives Canada | FamilySearch | FindMyPast | MyHeritage

1891: Library and Archives Canada | FamilySearch | FindMyPast | MyHeritage

1901: Library and Archives Canada | FamilySearch
Automated Genealogy | | FindMyPast | MyHeritage

1911: Library and Archives Canada | FamilySearch
Automated Genealogy | | FindMyPast | MyHeritage

1921: Library and Archives Canada | | MyHeritage

1931: Library and Archives Canada | Ancestry

Southern Interior Census Data
Searchable data from various census databases including Yale District 1881 and 1891, Indian Reserve Commission Census 1877 and OMI Census 1877.

Birth, marriage and death records

Births: B.C. Archives (1836-1888) | B.C. Archives (1854-1903) | FamilySearch (1854-1903) | Ancestry (1872-1903)
Marriages: B.C. Archives (1859-1872) | B.C. Archives (1872-1946) | FamilySearch (1854-1932; 1937-1938) | Ancestry (1872-1935)
Deaths: B.C. Archives (1872-2002) | FamilySearch (1872-1986; 1992-1993)
Ancestry (1872-1990) | FindMyPast (1872-1992)

Cemeteries: B.C. Cemetery Finding Aid | Vancouver - Mountain View
Victoria - Pioneer Square | Victoria - Ross Bay | Kamloops - Pleasant Street
Prince George | Vernon - North Okanagan | Burnaby
North Vancouver | Abbotsford | South Okanagan

Cemetery Index - Abbotsford area
The Abbotsford Genealogical Society has compiled an index to eight cemeteries in the city of Abbotsford and one in Sumas, Wash.

Find a Grave British Columbia cemeteries
A great finding aid by Bruce Gordon makes searching for burials much easier.

Billion Graves
International cemetery site includes British Columbia.

Canadian Headstones
A national cemetery site.

Recent obituaries
More than 116,000 obituaries from Black Press newspapers around the province.

Victoria Daily Times birth, marriage and death notices, 1901-1939

Vancouver Island births, marriages, deaths - Ancestry

Thompson-Nicola newspaper index
Includes obituaries from the Kamloops Daily News after 1987.

Wills: 1860s-1940 | Stray wills 1860s-1939 (PDF) | FamilySearch 1859-1949

Civil registration documents -- offering more information that you will find on the B.C. Archives site -- plus census indexes.

Court Services Online
Includes divorce and probate cases from the past two decades.

Geography and land records

Crown Land Grant Search 1869-1930
An index for grants issued between 1869 and 1930, providing volume, grant and numbers of the microfilm reels at the B.C. Archives.

FamilySearch browse images 1851-1874
FamilySearch browse images 1860-1971
FamilySearch browse images 1869-1930
FamilySearch browse images 1885-1949

British Columbia Geographical Names Information System
Searchable database of B.C. place names, including a display of digital maps.

Vintage Air Photos of British Columbia

Other sites for genealogy

Newspapers on microfilm at B.C. Archives

British Columbia Archives
A superb site, with vital events, maps, photos and more. It includes lists of probate documents as well. Just search under Textual Records for the person you're looking for.
Deaths to 1998, Births to 1903, Marriages to 1943
Colonial Correspondence
Pioneer Medallion Application Forms
Transcription site

Directories: Victoria 1860 | Victoria 1860 | San Francisco 1860
British Columbia 1863 | Victoria 1868
Victoria 1869 | Victoria 1871 | Victoria 1874 | British Columbia 1882-1883
Nanaimo 1882 | Victoria 1882 | British Columbia 1884-1885
British Columbia 1887 | Puget Sound 1887 | Vancouver 1888
British Columbia 1889 | British Columbia 1889
Vernon 1889-1924 | British Columbia 1890 | Vancouver 1890
Victoria 1890 | New Westminster and Burrard Inlet 1890
Vancouver and New Westminster 1890 | Victoria and Nanaimo 1890
British Columbia 1891
British Columbia 1891 Part 1 | British Columbia 1891 Part 2
British Columbia 1892 Part 1 | British Columbia 1892 Part 2
Nanaimo 1892 | Victoria 1892
British Columbia 1893 | British Columbia 1894 | British Columbia 1895
Vancouver 1896 | British Columbia 1897
Revelstoke 1897 | Rossland British Columbia 1897 | British Columbia 1897-1898
British Columbia 1898 | Revelstoke City Directory 1898 | Revelstoke 1899
British Columbia 1899 | British Columbia 1899-1900 | Vancouver 1899-1900
Nelson Trail Rossland Grand Forks Greenwood 1900 | British Columbia 1900-1901
British Columbia 1901 | Victoria 1902 | Victoria 1920

For links to more directories:
British Columbia directories on the Internet

British Columbia GenWeb
Records of note include census indexes, a list of voters from 1898, and much more.
Victoria 1871 census
Victoria and area 1901 census
Victoria divorce and matrimonial causes 1877-1931
Searchable database for the 1881 and 1891 census of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. Also includes the 1882 and 1892 directories for Nanaimo and Victoria.
Victoria 1871 census
Vancouver Island 1881 census
Vancouver Island 1891 census
Vancouver Island 1901 census
Victoria and Nanaimo 1882 directories
Victoria and Nanaimo 1892 directories
Victoria 1902 directory

Okanagan History index
Searchable database of entries in the publication of the Okanagan Historical Society.

Naturalization records 1859-1926
Browse images on FamilySearch

City of Victoria Archives
Includes vital statistics database (Ross Bay Cemetery plus marriage notices) as well as references to many documents.

Guide to resources in Greater Victoria
Compiled by Dave Obee

R.E.Gosnell's B.C. Year Book, 1901
This excellent work provides a snapshot of the province at the start of the 20th century.

Victoria's Victoria
Focuses on Victoria during the reign of Queen Victoria, and includes a remarkable transcript of the Daily Colonist from 1858 to the 1920s.

Doukhobor Genealogy Website
The primary internet source connecting researchers of Doukhobor genealogy. This site is dedicated to the reclamation, discovery, collection, preservation and free sharing of information related to Doukhobor family history.

Archives and libraries in British Columbia

The British Columbia Archival Information Network
A searchable database of fonds and collection level descriptions of records held at 174 publicly-accessible archival repositories.

Vancouver Public Library
Many resources here, including Northwest history collections, Vancouver building register, historical photographs, indexes and finding aids.
Chinese Canadian Genealogy
Historical photographs

City of Victoria Archives
With references to many documents.
Ross Bay Cemetery search 1872-1980
Death notices 1901-1939
Marriages notices 1901-1939

University of British Columbia Library Digital Collections and Services
A vast collection of photographs and documents that represent a superb primary source for researchers.

New Westminster Public Library - Genealogy and local history
Special sections on genealogy and heritage buildings, with a superb collection of photographs of one of the most important cities in B.C.'s history.

Surrey Public Library - Family History collection
The Cloverdale branch houses the library's extensive collection of Canadian genealogical materials. The website has detailed information on current book and microform holdings.

City of Vancouver Archives
The City of Vancouver Archives, a division of the City Clerk's Department, is responsible for acquiring, organizing and preserving Vancouver's historical records and making them available to the widest possible audience.
Search archives database

City of Richmond Archives
Search the full archives database, or follow the links to other resources

New Westminster Funeral Home Records 1932-1956
From Bowell's Funeral Home, courtesy the New Westminster Public Library

Saanich Archives
The largest municipality on southern Vancouver Island
More than 7,000 photographs online

B.C. Legislative Library
The core collection consists of political science, parliamentary procedure, law, public administration, economics and Canadian history. Search the collection online.

Langley Centennial Museum
Owned and operated by the Township of Langley, its collections date to the 1920s. A collection of more than 1,200 archival photographs, 8,500 objects, and 500 works of art are searchable online.
About 5,000 photographs online

Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia

Armstrong Spallumcheen Museum and Art Gallery

Boundary Historical Society

Boundary Museum & Interpretive Centre

Greater Vernon Museum and Archives

Vernon Historic O'Keefe Ranch

The Chinese Canadian Artefacts Project
Includes 1948 Chinese Directory of Vancouver, Okanagan and New Westminster, 1960 Chinese Directory of Vancouver and New Westminster, 1965-1966 Chinese Yearbook B.C. Mainland Edition

Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre

Oliver and District Heritage Society

Fernie Museum

Trail Museum and Archives

Creston Museum

Kelowna Public Archives

Revelstoke Museum and Archives

Peachland Museum

Naramata Heritage Museum

Westbank Museum

Libraries: University of Victoria | Simon Fraser University | University of British Columbia
Search the online catalogues to find additional resources that are not available elsewhere.

Family History Centre, Victoria
Centre is at Mann and Wilkinson in Saanich.

Genealogical societies in British Columbia

British Columbia does not have one society that covers the entire province. It's important to find a society that covers your area of interest.

Greater Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Fraser Valley:

Abbotsford Genealogical Society
British Columbia Genealogical Society
Mennonite Historical Society of B.C.
Powell River Genealogy Group
United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada - Vancouver Branch
United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada - Chilliwack Branch

Vancouver Island:

Campbell River Genealogy Society
Comox Valley Genealogy Group
Nanaimo Family History Society
Qualicum Beach Family History Society
Victoria Genealogical Society
Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria
Friends of the B.C. Archives
United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada - Victoria Branch


Bulkley Valley Genealogical Society
Kamloops Family History Society
Kelowna and District Genealogical Society
Kitimat Family History Society
Okanagan Historical Society
Prince George Genealogical Society
South Cariboo Genealogy Society
South Okanagan Genealogical Society
Vernon and District Family History Society
United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada - Thompson-Okanagan Branch

Nation-wide sites worth checking

Library and Archives Canada (Free)
A huge amount of information, including census, immigration and military information. A key resource for all Canadian genealogists.

FamilySearch (Free)
From the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Includes an index to several censuses, civil registration extracts, a guide to the library catalog, submitted and extracted records, and more.

Canadiana (Free)
Quick access to about millions of documents held in Canadian libraries, museums and archives, compiled into one resource for convenient searching. This site has many resources not found elsewhwere. (Commercial)
Ancestry has an extensive collection drawn from census indexes, immigration sources, and other material from different provinces.

FindMyPast (Commercial)
A collection of sources that is still being developed. FindMyPast includes census indexes, birth indexes, and many scanned books, as well as newspapers.

MyHeritage (Commercial)
The Canadian arm of a site known for its strong European material. It includes the major resources found on other sites.

Automated Genealogy (Free)
Includes free indexes to the 1851/2, 1901, 1906 and 1911 censuses.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (Free)
Notable people who died before 1930.

Discover your family history through historical newspapers at

Ancestry Canada

Books by
Dave Obee

Counting Canada


The ultimate guide to the Canadian census
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Destination Canada


All about Canadian immigration sources
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