This spring my daughter celebrated her First Holy Communion. It got me thinking about church records.
If you are fortunate enough to track your family tree back several generations, you may find there are limited official documents available.
Many birth, marriage and death records before 1867 (when Canada officially became a country) can only be found in the documents kept by church officials, according to FamilySearch.org’s research on Canadian Church Records.
According to the FamilySearch.org wiki, Canadian provinces began recording vital records as early as the 1860s, and as late as the 1920s. Taking into account where your ancestors lived, you can find out how early their province began keeping track of birth, marriage and death information. Plus, the wiki offers a provincial link to tell you what records are available, and if they can be accessed on-line.
The article “The Three R’s of Researching Roman Catholic Church Records” gives some helpful, detailed advice. And the Ontario Genealogical Society offers a number of links to various religious resources.
If you’re not sure what parish or faith your ancestors may have belonged, Church Records: Genealogical Clues offers interesting historical information that explains what religion people from certain ethnicities tended to belong.