Historical Parish Registers
Parishes maintain records of administered sacraments. Historically, Baptisms and Marriages were recorded; however some registers also list First Communion, Confirmation and Deaths.
Burial registers for Catholic Toronto cemeteries are kept by Catholic Cemeteries. Historical burial records for rural parish cemeteries - if they exist - are usually kept by the parish that administers the cemetery. We do not have duplicate copies of rural cemetery registers.
Elmbank Cemetery (a.k.a. Toronto Township Cemetery #29, Gore Cemetery, 5th Line Cemetery) was formerly located within the confines of Pearson International Airport and relocated to Assumption Cemetery, Brampton in 2001. View photos and transcriptions of the headstones at www.archtoronto.org/elmbank
Ontario Ancestors (formerly Ontario Genealogical Society) has transcribed headstones from various Catholic cemeteries within the current boundaries of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
Access to the records
In the Archdiocese of Toronto, original parish registers are not available to the public. Please DO NOT contact parishes for access to these registers.
Due to limited staff and facilities, the archives is not available for genealogical research.
The Archives is pleased to provide access to our Historical Parish Registers via our digital collections portal, ARCAT Online.
Dynamic digital images of pre-1910 parish registers are available, and users have the option to download PDF copies of individual pages.
The registers you will find on ARCAT Online include records from parishes within the boundaries of The Archdiocese of Toronto: the City of Toronto; the regional municipalities of Peel, York, and Durham; and Simcoe County. Record dates range from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century.
Click HERE to access our Historical Parish Registers and to view the unique artifacts and other materials showcased on ARCAT Online.
What are Sacramental Records?
Sacramental registers include records of baptisms, confirmations and marriages, listed chronologically in a book. Though today’s records typically share a common format, 19th century records may have slight differences in the types of information recorded. For example, some marriage records list age rather than date of birth. The records are handwritten and can sometimes be difficult to read (especially older records).
Baptism records include information like name, date of birth, place of birth, date of baptism, parents’ names, mother’s maiden name, and sponsors’ names. In some cases, they may also contain added notations of other sacraments like marriage.
Marriage records include information like the bride and groom’s names, dates of birth or age, places of birth, locations of residence, parents’ names, witnesses’ names, and date of marriage.
Death and burial are not sacraments and are therefore not formally recorded by all parishes. In Ontario, official death records are kept by the Office of the Registrar General.
If you are looking for a burial, and you know that the individual was buried in a Catholic cemetery in the Archdiocese of Toronto, please contact Catholic Cemeteries & Funeral Services – Archdiocese of Toronto.
Record keeping practices changed over time, and some earlier records may not contain all of the information found in later records.
Please note that not all of each parish's records have been digitized, therefore, there may be gaps in the records available.
Birth, Marriage, and Death Records
Vital Statistics Records (Registrations of Births, Marriages and Deaths) come under the jurisdiction of the Province of Ontario. These government records (or 'civil records') often contain more genealogical information than Church records.
Vital Statistic Records are transferred from the Office of the Registrar General of Ontario to the Archives of Ontario after a certain date. A new year is released to the general public on an annual basis.
Visit the Archives of Ontario website to find out more about accessing Vital Statistics Records.