This database is a collection of 18 volumes of marriage registers compiled by the clergy under the Registration Act of 1896. These registers contain over 12,000 marriages and cover the years 1896 to 1948. Most of the registers were compiled by Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian ministers.
The Registration Act of 1896 mandated that clergymen report marriages within 30 days of when they took place. Under previous laws, marriages could be reported within 90 days. This act went into effect July 1, 1896.
What kind of information can I find in this database?
The registers consist of preprinted forms that the ministers simply filled out whenever a marriage took place. These forms had spaces to record the following information about the bride and groom:
- Whether bachelor/spinster or widow/widower
- Occupation (for the groom only)
- Religious denomination
- Names of parents
The record also indicated whether the couple was married by license or by banns, included the signatures of the bride and groom, and provided the names and addresses of the witnesses. At the bottom of each record the minister was to sign and date the record, certifying the authenticity of the recorded marriage.
About Marriages in Ontario:
Civil registration of marriages Province-wide began in 1869. Prior to that time, ministers, priests, and other persons qualified to perform marriages submitted copies of their documentation to county courthouses. The vast majority of these marriage documents included details about each spouse, including place of residence and birthplace. Additionally, each spouse had to supply names of their parents. In many cases the maiden name is supplied for the mother.
Many of these spouses were born in various European countries or in the United States. Thus, this information could be valuable for Canadians and Americans, as well as Europeans wishing to trace a family member who got married in Ontario before moving on to settle in other parts of Canada or America.