BCGS Research Tip – February 2014

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The BCGS Members’ Tip for 1st February 2014 is: Scan yourself!

Experienced researchers always tell beginners in genealogy and family history to ‘start with yourself'; work carefully backward so as to ensure you knit each of your families’ generations together’. But starting with yourself means more than collecting a few certificates. Be sure to collect and share your favourite photographs of yourself and your friends and family too. And do let the family know which one(s) are your very favourites.

At Flip Pal’s 52 Suggestions blog this week is a moving Mary V. Danielsen and her article, “The case for photo scanning in estate planning”, pointing out how vital it is to see that the favourite family photos, including those of ourselves, are preserved and easily accessible. As she warns, “A few things happen in the hunt for funeral photos.”

Mary V. Danielsen’s own website is: Documented Legacy

In 2014 Flip is hosting a series of “52 Suggestions” for safeguarding documents and photographs. You can catch them all here.

BCGS Research Tip – January 2014

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The BCGS Members’ Tip for January 1st, 2014 is:  Automate many of your searches.

New Years clock

What better time than New Year’s to add more Internet search power to your genealogy tool kit. For years, many have entered their key surnames and place names into Google Alerts and kept an eye out for incoming e-mails with links to mentions of these on the web. Google Alerts still functions, but not as well as it did, so I’m now also trying out Talkwalker Alerts – another free service, although not perhaps quite as comprehensive.

If you haven’t used a service like this before for your genealogy searches, it’s easy. You will need to give an e-mail address. (I use a more private one for this type of service.)  Choose some of your more unique surnames and enter each as alert key words. I do not suggest entering very common surnames unless you can also enter a less common place name along with the surname. I’d get far too few useful results entering just ADAMS, for instance, but “ADAMS” and “Shipham Somerset” gets me results.

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.