09 July 2020

Curiosities of Ancestry's Ontario Marriage Collection

Searching Ancestry's database Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1938 year-by-year yielded the data for the blue line in the graph.

The red line is from data in Province of Ontario - Vital Statistics available in annual reports at the Internet Archive - https://archive.org/details/ontariovitalstats.

Why averaged over the length of the records does Ancestry have more records than in the official record from which it's derived?

For the period after 1900 Ancestry is counting the number of marriage partners whereas the official record is the number of marriage events. The curious bump to over 100,000 marriage records on Ancestry for 1911 is unexplained. Any suggestions?

Ancestry includes records from two sources prior to 1900 both of which go back to the official Registrations of Marriages (MS 932). Combined with the difference in counting individuals rather than events accounts for the approximately 4 times as many marriage records as the official count.

As early as 1880 the annual report was praising the clergy for their diligence in reporting marriages, although it isn't clear if this extended to all denominations.

A curiosity in the 1877 report:

The oldest man married in 1877 in Ontario was 88 years; his wife was only 48, there being the extraordinary difference of 40 years between the two. Two youths entered wedlock at the early age of 17 years. They married girls of 17 and 20 respectively. Six girls of 14 married youths from 17 to 20, and 32 girls married at fifteen.

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