Midsummer 2013 Gallery

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Scandinavian Midsummer June 2013, Burnaby BC at the Scandinavian Cultural Centre. Thank you to all the BC Genealogical Society and Scandinavian Cultural Society genealogy volunteers. The Scandinavian Genealogy group will meet at the Centre again starting this fall.

If you are interested in a trip on the Viking ship, the Murin, get the details at http://www.scandinaviancentre.org/munin



BCGS Editor’s Chat 7 pm May 27, 2013

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Update: May 27, 2013 8:04 pm. Our first chat has just finished. There was a glitch or two – I am sorry – but next time we will know better how this works. You can still click the chat box above to read the comments from tonight. Mdr
This will be our first BCGS Editor’s Chat – Monday, May 27th, 7 pm, right here. (We will open a bit early to make sure all is working.)Join us to chat about the British Columbia Genealogical Society, the BC Pioneers or the BC War Memorials projects, or how to submit an article for the BCGS journal or website, or to ask a question about BC research in general.

This is our first chat experiment, so please do bear with us!

We hope it’s a simple process for you – it’s a text chat, so you should be able to just type into the box above. This year, we will be trying out a number of ‘new to us’ communication tools – via live chat, Skype, Google Hangout, maybe even a Facebook or Twitter text chat.

BCGS Research Tip – May 2013

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BCGS Library - Canadian military section

BCGS Library – Canadian military section

2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and already a number of research and display projects are underway.

Take the time now to review the World War I participants in your family tree and to enhance your research or understanding of their roles whether at home or in service.

Consider submitting an article to a genealogical or historical journal or a photograph to a website. If you have Canadian relatives who died in service during World War I, check to see if you have digital photographs or other memorabilia to add to the Canadian Virtual War Memorial, sponsored by Veterans Affairs Canada.


BCGS Research Tip – April 2013

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The BCGS Members’ Tip for April is:

Share your strays!

If you have information or photographs about people who don’t (yet?) seem to fit into your family tree, share this with others by posting in your genealogical society’s on-line or published queries, on Rootsweb or other bulletin boards, or on specialized websites, like ‘Dead Fred’ for photographs.

Mr. and Mrs. John Cassidy, Ontario, Canada.

Mr. and Mrs. John Cassidy; photograph taken at Brantford, Ontario, Canada.


You will likely make another genealogist very happy and you may in turn receive that ‘lost link’ that will let you place the stray in relation to your own family or your family’s stories.

And an extra tip – to add a query to this BCGS website or to a BCGS publication, please contact webmaster@bcgs.ca

Rootstech 2013 – Join in from home – March 21-23, 2013

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As requested, there is now a Rootstech 2013 Twitter box on the right hand of this page so those not on Twitter can follow along. Our BCGS Editor is at Rootstech (mdianerogers) and she is tweeting from this 3 day genealogy event as are hundreds of others – some 7,000 people are attending.

As last year, a number of events will be streamed, so go to the Rootstech.org website to see schedule and view live sessions. (All times given are Mountain time.)

If you are on Twitter, do join in with comments and questions. The Rootstech hashtag is #rootstech.

Rootstech 2013 banner



BCGS European Day – BCGS Library March 2013

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March 2, 2013 was the European Group’s Day at the BCGS Walter Draycott Library.

BCGS Library - European SectionA very good day with lots of discussion and sharing of resources – and homemade muffins too. A good turnout – and some new people.

Most of the group are currently looking for families in Eastern Europe – from 1700 through to post World War II. Among the places and countries represented were: Austria, Belarus, France, Galicia, Germany, Hanover [Germany], Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, Württemberg [Germany]– most with family emigrating to Canada and the US (Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania).

Collecting as much information as possible about your immigrant families is vital. Our access to the Library’s subscription databases, Ancestry Library Edition, the Genealogical Research Library and the New England Historic Genealogical Society is helpful for this. In one case, although the original entry into the US has not yet been found, on a passenger list for a later trip home we saw birth dates and places for 3 of the children, as well as the mother’s date and court of naturalization, and her US passport number.

Deciphering place names of origin from these records is often a challenge due to changes in jurisdiction and spelling. To look for places we used a mix of maps and gazetteers from the Library’s collections, Internet maps (some printed out so we could more easily compare distances) and a good number of websites – particularly the on-line maps and information at the Federation of East European Family History Societies and the Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, but even Wikipedia.com was of assistance, as were GeoNames.org, JewishGen.org (with database links to Communities Database and Gazetteer, and to the JewishGen Kehila Links Project), and the Główny Urząd Statystyczny (GUS), an information portal for the Central Statistics Office for Poland.

For those with German families of Germanic origin migrating ‘back’ into Germany during World War II, the EWZ or Einwandererzentralstelle records could be helpful. Dave Obee has articles about these on-line, “East European Emigration and the EWZ”, 51, FEEFHS Journal, Volume IX) and a guide to using them at his website Volhynia.com as does FamilySearch, “Using The EWZ Records for German and Eastern European Research” by NishimotoSR (2011).

Recommended highly was the Poznan Marriage Indexing project for the Prussian province of Posen, now Poznań, Poland and the Poznan State Archive.   There are similar projects for Pomorze, Lublin and Geneteka.

For Württemberg, there is an article at ProGenealogists with information and good links: http://www.progenealogists.com/germany/baden-wurttemberg/

And learning how ancestors may have pronounced their own names or place or origin could help us look for more spelling variations in the many pubished and Internet indexes.

Forvo.com is great for this. Already there are lists of names/places that you can hear spoken, but submit yours, if not already there.

And try Pronounce Names too

The need for translation can often an issue both on-line and off. Google Translate certainly does a good job, but many times, terms we are looking for are older or specialized words or phrases and do not translate well ‘automatically’.

Books in the Library collections with lists of often seen words are very useful, for example,  Finding Your German Ancestors by Dr. Hans W. Rerup and Finding Your Ukrainian Ancestors by Muryl Andrejciw Geary.
(Both were published by Heritage Productions and available at the BCGS Boutique as well as at the Library, as are similar books for other parts of Europe.)


Legend, Hamburg Map, 1943


Some of the Library’s maps, the WW II U.S. Army ones, had lists of translated terms too as this image shows.

For writing letters, the guides at FamilySearch are helpful. https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Category:Letter_Writing_Guides


Map of Hamburg, Germany, First Edition AMS1 Army Air 1943 Sheet L54. BCGS Map Tube #1