BCGS Research Tip – December 2013

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The BCGS Members’ Tip for December 1st is: Do genealogy with the family during the holidays.

Christmas Tree CookiesMaureen Taylor in “Photographs and the Holidays” at has some great tips on hosting a fun family photo identification party with games and prizes too. Or you could host a scanning party and ask people to bring their family photos and albums along as one BCGS member did recently. Don’t forget the cookies and other treats; just don’t have them near the photographs please.

Be prepared to take genealogical advantage of impromptu get togethers too. Have some interesting or puzzling photographs ready to show on your phone or IPad and be ready to get down all the details on the new in-laws by having a few blank pedigree charts and family group sheets handy in your backpack. You might even have stamped self-addressed envelopes prepared in case they’ll need to get more details once back at home.


BCGS Research Tip – October 2013

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The BCGS Members’ Tip for October 1st is: Sometimes there IS just too much genealogy news!

Sun carriers-1933-VancouverIt’s true – sometimes it isn’t easy to keep up with all the genealogy news.

Better to choose a few trusted on-line genealogy news sites to check regularly.

The BCGS website always has the latest from these five websites (on your lower right side of the main page). If you start with these, you will usually have most, if not all, the genealogy news that matters and you will see a variety of topics covered and a variety of opinions expressed.

  • Genealogy Insider, Diane Haddad, Family Tree Magazine
  • FamilySearch Genealogy and Family History Blog
  • Your Genetic Genealogist, CeCe Moore
  • GeneaBloggers, Thomas MacEntee
  • Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, Dick Eastman

Check out the news they offer today including details and comments on Ancestry’s acquisition of FindAGrave, another Geno 2.0 chat coming up, the Italian Ancestors project and the TV show, Genealogy Roadshow, ( And you’ll see it’s Backup Day! Don’t forget to backup! )

This photograph shows newspaper carriers at the Vancouver Sun Carrier Services No 41 hut at 12th Avenue and Nanaimo in New Westminster, 1933. Photographer, Stuart Thomson. City of Vancouver photo, City of Vancouver BC Archives 99-4378.

BCGS Research Tip – September 2013

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The BCGS Members’ Tip for September 1st is:  Stop; Go Back in Time!

 Ringing alarm clock



When you come up against a genealogical brickwall, or see there seems to be a problem in a family line you’ve researched, stop. Take the time to go back and review your past work and the documents and other sources you relied on.



Sometimes a clue will be found in the details of documents you’ve already looked at, perhaps a surname that could be a married daughter’s husband’s, or a place name that might be a birthplace. When you first looked at the documents, other details may have seemed more important, or the names unfamilar.

Stopping to review your research can be very rewarding.

BCGS Research Tip – July 2013

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The BCGS Members’ Tip for July 1st, Canada Day, is: always check place names and locations!

In Canada, there are a few national place name indexes on-line. Try these first -

Geographical Names of Canada. Searchable:

Querying Canadian Geographical Names – alpha list to browse. Updated monthly:

Atlas of Canada:

First Nation Profiles Interactive Map, Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada:

Elections Canada, maps:

Canadian Geographic:

Canada – From Confederation To The Present Day in maps

Project Naming and Canada’s North, podcast, Library and Archives Canada:

The Great Canadian Geography Challenge:

And for fun – Geist Atlas of Canada,The National Playlist Map of Canada:

For smaller, locally named ‘unofficially named’ places,if not included in these sites, you may find directories or local histories or historical newspapers useful. Watch for an article on British Columbia place names and maps soon.

BCGS Research Tip – June 2013

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The BCGS Members’ Tip for June is: use timelines!

Have you found yourself with a thorny genealogical research problem?

Often working up a detailed timeline on your relative’s life will help you not only to see contradictions, but also to identify gaps in your research, a census you haven’t looked at, for instance. These gaps may lead you to think of new records you might search.

You can use simply a sheet of paper to write out a chronoloogical list of all known events in the individual’s life, including the dates and places. Add the names and any relevant brief details about other people who were involved in each event with your relative, for example, the age of the mother at the birth of any children, or the occupation of a father.

You can also use an Excel spreadsheet or a printed family timeline like this BCGS Chronological Chart. (.pdf format)

Always leave enough room in the timeline for additions and notes. This will be a ‘work in progress’. It might not be neat!

At RootsTech In April 2013, Lisa Louise Cooke interviewed British Columbia’s own Dave Obee, a genealogist who advocates timelines as a family history research tool.

“10 Top Tips for How to Bust Through Your Genealogy Brick Wall”, GenealogyGems, 13:29 minute video.

Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems on YouTube

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.