BCGS Research Tip – July 2013

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

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

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

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

BCGS Research Tip – March 2013

BCGS Group at Vancouver, BC's CelticFest Parade

BCGS Group at Vancouver, BC’s CelticFest Parade.

The BCGS Members’ Tip for March is:


Looking for a date of death in England?

For deaths from 1858 to most current date available, check for your ancestor’s name in the National Probate Index (formally known as the the Calendar of Grants of Probate Letters of Administration). Most listings state the date the deceased passed away, their place of residence at the time of their death, the size of their estate, and often the names of the individuals who served as executors to the estate, which can include wives, sons and daughters.

The Index is available through Ancestry Library Edition, available at many libraries, including the BCGS Walter Draycott Library.