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Date created: 23 November 2005
By: J. Caddick

Genealogical Research in British Columbia
A Resource Guide for the World Wide Web


Genealogical research is one of the fastest growing hobbies in North America with an ever-growing amount of resources produced to assist the first time and advanced family tree researcher alike. This guide is intended as an introduction to some of the resources available for conducting genealogical research in British Columbia.

Use the links below to navigate through the sections of the guide.

Keyword Searching


Print Resources


Discussion Lists

Electronic Resources - Special Directories


Electronic Resources - Primary Information Pages

   Keyword Searching

       The following are some keyword search terms that you can use to find information on genealogical research when 
       using library
catalogues, index databases, or the Internet.

    Library Catalogues

  • Baptismal records - British Columbia
  • Genealogy - Computer network resources - Directories
  • British Columbia - census, 1881
  • Genealogy - Dictionaries
          Search also by a more specific geographical location, e.g.
  • Genealogy - Periodicals 
    • Victoria (B.C.) - Census, 1891
  • Inscriptions - British Columbia
  • British Columbia - Directories
  • Marriage records - British Columbia - [further geographical subdivision]
  • British Columbia - Genealogy
    • Marriage records - British Columbia - Coquitlam
  • British Columbia - Genealogy - Handbooks, manuals, etc.                     
  • Newspapers - British Columbia
  • Canada - Genealogy
  • Obituaries - British Columbia
  • Canada - Genealogy - Handbooks, manuals, etc.
  • Registers of births, etc. - British Columbia -[further geographical subdivision]
  • Cemeteries - British Columbia
    • Registers of births, etc. - British Columbia - Burnaby   
  • Church records and registers - British Columbia
  • Ships - Passenger lists - Indexes
  • Death notices - British Columbia
  • Victoria (B.C.) - Genealogy

    Index Databases

  • Genealogy
  • Genealogy AND Internet
  • Genealogy AND British Columbia            
  • Genealogy AND Research                               
  • Genealogy AND Canada
  • Genealogy AND Vancouver            
  • Genealogy AND History


  • British Columbia Genealogy
  • British Columbia Genealogy Census
  • British Columbia Genealogy Baptismal             
  • British Columbia Genealogy Cemeteries                

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   Print Resources

          The following list of print resources include books, magazine titles and magazine articles to get you started
on your family research or to help you find information about a particular record you may be seeking.


This guide, from one of North America's leading genealogists, provides clear and detailed information regarding the records that are
available to family history researchers and tips for tracing your ancestral roots in Canada.

Certified genealogist Althea Douglas provides comprehensive how-to for conducting genealogical research in Canada.  Douglas explains
such useful things as how microfilm is produced, how to read older handwriting styles and the whys and where's of records in Canada.
This guide to online research is a good reference source providing information for organizations such as genealogical, historical and
cultural societies,
libraries, and archives.  Gagné also provides information regarding mailing lists and includes a handy Internet/computer

This guide is great for the beginner and is intended to be a general listing of available information, providing contact information for
organization's and institutions, useful for those conducting research in B.C.
This research tool provides detailed information about the types of information available in the Province of British Columbia and how
researchers can obtain these materials.  The book begins with a brief history of the province to allow
researchers a better understanding
of how records were made, why they might not be available, where they are archived, etc.  This book covers all of the main types of
records available as well as information about which institutions (libraries, archives, etc.) have access to specific materials.

Ryan Taylor, longtime genealogist, librarian, editor of the Ontario Genealogical Societies journal Families (1988-1997) and lecturer,
shares his experience in this sourcebook that will help researchers determine what is available and where records can be found.


This publication from the British Columbia Genealogical Society provides articles coverning genealogical research in British Columbia
as well as research tips, books reviews, listings of the society's publications for sale, highlights of resources available at various British
Columbia institutions, and events listings.  Quarterly.
This publication provides general information for conducting research with an emphasis on American research.  The articles cover
all aspects of interest to genealogists.  Issues also contain information highlighting websites and software, book reviews, letters from
readers, upcoming events, and questions posed by readers with answers by its staff.  Each issue contains a helpful surname and
locality index that provides easy access to see if your particular surname or location is covered in the issue.  Bimonthly.
This British magazine offers authoritative and friendly advice for family history and genealogy research.  It covers all the areas of
interest to those researching their family histories and provides information on a wide range of interests and activities, such as
ethnic heritage, family reunions, oral history, and scrapbooking.  Its mission is to provide readers with as many resources as
possible to help them discover, preserve and celebrate their family histories.  Monthly.
Issued by Fine Arts and History of the Vancouver Public Library, this newsletter is available in both print and electronic formats.
Each issue includes a list of new genealogical materials recently acquired by the library, information regarding upcoming
genealogy workshops at the library and at other Lower Mainland locations, articles, and other information for genealogists. 
Publication dates:  2002-present.  Quarterly.

     Selected Articles

This newsletter article shares the very basic concepts of appropriate and quality genealogical research practices.  A great place
to start for the beginner and a good reminder for the expert alike.  Daily.

Author Alisa Smith describes research she conducted that unravels her family stories that had been in circulation for generations.  
Written with humour and heart that anyone hooked on genealogy will enjoy.

This article reviews the website for the British Columbia GenWeb produced by Hugh Armstrong.  The article highlights some of the
features of the site such as the 1901 Census for Victoria and the websites other databases, also noting how information on the site
is of interest for those seeking general history for British Columbia.
This article reviews the 1915-1932 Canadian Naturalization database launched on the Canadian Genealogy Centre website in 2003. 
The database was created by two volunteer groups to provide access to over 200,000 names of immigrants who became Canadian
citizens between 1915 and 1932.  The information available through the database allows researchers to apply for the naturalization
file from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and makes this type of research easier than ever before.

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  Discussion Lists

        Connect with other people working on genealogical research.  Post your questions, help others, and
        share your genealogical research.

     Message Boards

This message board is hosted by the British Columbia Genealogical Society and is open to all.  Post your genealogical related
queries and join discussions for British Columbia research. 
Hosted by this message forum provides a place to post your questions and comments regarding Canadian
genealogical research.  The forum does not appear to break the country down into regions/districts but does provide a site
search.  At the time this guide was created the forum contained 68150 messages
and a search for "British Columbia" returned
631 results.
              provides many message boards for genealogical researchers and this board allows those conducting research
concerning British Columbia to connect with others and find answers to their questions.  Select a sub-category for regions/districts
(e.g. Kootenay or Vancouver Island) from the main page and browse the listings or use the search tool to look for something more

      Mailing Lists

A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in women in British Columbia, Canada.
This website provides subscription information and archives to the list.   Click on the links below if your browser is set up for e-mail,
or copy and paste the address into your e-mail program and enter  the word
subscribe into  the  message subject and body.

A mailing list for the posting of daily obituaries from the Province of British Columbia, Canada.
This website provides subscription information and archives to the list.   Click on the links below if your browser is set up for e-mail,
or copy and paste the address into your e-mail program and enter  the word
subscribe into  the  message subject and body.

A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in British Columbia, Canada.
This website provides subscription information and archives to the list.   Click on the links below if your browser is set up for e-mail,
or copy and paste the address into your e-mail program and enter  the word
subscribe into  the  message subject and body.

Note: for other Canadian RootsWeb mailing lists see: Canada Mailing Lists1998-2005.  22 Nov. 2005.  <>.

        Blog's / Wiki's

This newsletter, produced by Dick Eastman, provides genealogists with information regarding the use of technology for genealogical
research.  Although his focus is on technology the newsletter provides broad ranging information that will help any family history
researcher keep up to date.  Daily.
A free online genealogical encyclopedia created by its readers.  The aim is to provide "a clearinghouse of techniques: where to find
records, how to organize the data found, what the terminology means and how to plan your next research effort."  The encyclopedia
is hosted by Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.   Use the search function to find information or look through the index for entries
that may interest you. 

Only a few entries are entered in the British Columbia section of this genealogy blog.  The four entries are current and relevant to
British Columbia genealogical research.  Perhaps a blog to keep an eye on!

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  Electronic Resources - Special Directories

       Here are some Internet websites that are collections of resources and information related to genealogical
       research in British Columbia and Canada.

This website provides information about archival institutions in British Columbia including hours of operation, holdings information,
links to related websites,
and contact information.

This website provides links to genealogical websites, including British Columbia Genealogical Society members personal home pages. 
The Canadian portion contains sections for genealogical and history societies, archives, libraries, databases, general history, and

Cyndi's List is a gateway site for all things genealogy.  The British Columbia section nicely categorizes and cross-references the resources
available on the Internet for those seeking sources in British Columbia.
Find out what genealogical resources are available at the Vancouver Public Library.  The website provides search tips as well as
information and guides for conducting specific research (getting started, civil registrations, and obituary research).
               has produced these research guides covering a wide variety of topics relevant to genealogical research.  There are 18
guides relating to British Columbia genealogical research.  Use the various sorting options to see which guides are available either by
place, title, subject, or document type.  This is an excellent starting place for those who are beginning their research

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  Electronic Resources - Primary Information Pages

       Here are some Internet websites that provide information and/or databases concerning specific records that
       are useful for genealogical research.

Census records are an important source of information for genealogists and this volunteer project provides valuable access to the
Canadian censuses.   The 1901 Canadian census has been completely transcribed and work has begun to transcribe the newly released
1911 Canadian census.  Search by surname and then use the filters to narrow down your results.

The site includes links to other genealogy projects that are revolutionizing online searching for Canadian genealogical records.
Volunteers have begun working in collaboration to produce a comprehensive collection of multiple records relating to a given
individual.  Once you find one record for an individual you will also find, if available, other records relating to the same individual.

This website provides over 344,000 entries from 262 British Columbia cemeteries.  Use the search capabilities to locate gravesites. 
Entries provide the
name of the deceased, the name of the cemetery, the location and a reference number.
British Columbia GenWeb is hosted by volunteers and is part of the GenWeb project.  The aim of GenWeb is to help answer genealogical
questions and provide a gateway to the information available in every country of the world.  This website provides access to various
databases including the indexes to the 1871 and 1901 Victoria City census, extracts from early British Columbian newspapers  (
1861 to 1875),
and more.
The Canadian Genealogy Centre is part of the Library and Archives Canada and was launched in March of 2003.   The Centre's
mission and vision are to "facilitate the discovery of our roots and family histories as a basic part of our Canadian heritage" and to
"encourage the use of genealogy and the resources available in libraries and archives as tools for life-long learning."
The How To section will help people get started and organize their materials.  There is an extensive Internet Research section that
provides tips for conducting research on the World Wide Web and a useful Frequently Asked Questions section to guide researchers.
The databases section provides a variety of records including census, immigration, military, and naturalization. 
Some databases, such
as the census records and the Soldiers of the First World War (1914-1918) provide access to digitized versions of the records online. 
The site provides "Online Help"
that provide tips for conducting online searches for each subject, as well as explanations of the type of
information contained in the records, and details 
for obtaining copies.
This resource from the Church of Latter-Day Saints provides access to indexes for various genealogical records including birth, marriage
and death registrations, census, and the International Genealogy Index (IGI).
The British Columbia Archives websites provides details of the archives holdings and detailed study aids for accessing the records.
The archives holdings include "government records, maps, newspapers, as well as personal, family, and other non-governmental
records."  Their main genealogical collections include census records, voter lists, and vital events registrations (birth, marriage, and
This is an excellent resource for anyone conducting family research in Canada.  This guide from the Library and Archives of Canada is
available in both print and electronic formats (requires Adobe Acrobat) and provides information for civil registration, census, immigration,
citizenship and naturalization, military, and employment records, among others.
This website was designed to serve as a history, research, and teaching tool and provides access to census records, directory listings,
property tax assessment rolls, street maps, fire insurance plans and other documents, all which are of interest to those researching
their family histories.   The transcription databases for 1881 and 1891 Vancouver Island censuses along with the 1901 City of Victoria census are
valuable resources that will provide all the details contained in the censuses as well as provide specific details for seeking out the
original records to verify the information.

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This page created by: J. Caddick
         Date created: 23 November 2005

E-mail: J. Caddick
  (jcaddick at shaw dot ca)
Last updated: 6 August 2006

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