On my last visit to the Archives of Ontario I had the chance to try out the new Archives of Ontario Vital Statistics Database. At the moment the only years available are: births 1915; marriages 1930 and deaths 1940. It is hoped that either later this year or early next year that they will add: births 1916, 1917; marriages 1931, 1932 and deaths 1941, 1942.
This database is only available in the Archives on the microfilm scanners. They have hooked them up to the internet and when the Archives homepage comes up you click on the star on the tool bar for Favourites. Then on the right hand side you will see a list and you can choose Archives of Ontario Vital Statistics Database.
It takes a while to load the database. You can do an advance or basic search. You can tick a specific search for birth, marriage or death or you can search all three. You are prompted to put in the first, middle and last name but only the last name is a required field.
The search results include: first, middle, last name; date of event; place of registration; type of event (if more than one is ticked on the search form); registration number; and details. The basic search gives you 10 search results per page.
When you click on details this takes you to a colour digital image of the document. If more than one page is linked to the document it will say page 1 and page 2 across the top. There is also a link to view the original index page. It is a good idea to view the index page as well.
Across the top of the digital image you get: registration number; name; event; date and place. So you would get something like “John Smith married 1/1/1930 in Hamilton.” The digital image is clear and the fact that it is in colour can help with the clarity.
There is a back to search button which takes you back to the original search page. You can’t get back to the search results so you have to keep repeating the search. So if you are looking for someone and don’t have much information on them you have to keep repeating the search every time you look at an image.
You can still view the vital statistics indexes on microfilm and get a copy of the registration from microfilm.
They are digitizing and creating a database for the Ontario Land Patent Plans but there is no timeline on when it will be released.
The printers in the reading room are gone. There are only two rows of microfilm readers that you can use to print a hard copy. You just hit print and it automatically prints out at the reception desk in the main hall. It is $.25 a copy and you can still use your copy card.
They are encouraging people to use thumb drives. I use both systems depending on the project.
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