Kelowna – Selected Genealogical Sources

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Collins_tobacco_field-Mission_Valley-Kelowna-1898Kelowna & District Genealogical Society. Currently the society has over 11575 obituaries indexed and available, as well as transcriptions, photographs and publications of Central Okanagan cemeteries. The Society publishes a newsletter, “Okanagan Researcher” quarterly and has partnered with the Kelowna Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library where the genealogical library collection is now located. See the Society’s website for indexes and details on these and other projects.:

Video about the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society and the Kelowna Public Library, ShawTV Okanagan, 2011:

Kelowna Branch, Okanagan Regional Library:

Kelowna and its Surroundings in the Province of British Columbia, Dominion of Canada (The Agricultural and Trades Association of Okanagan Mission Valley, 1898). A douwnloadable .pdf copy of Kelowna and its Surroundings, 1898 was digitized from a BCGS members’ private collections and is available free by clicking the link. This copy shows interesting effects of its age and includes the photo show above which was not apparently included in the original publication. Another copy is downloadable here from the Internet Archive in a variety of formats.

Names mentioned in this pamphet are

Lakeview Hotel, Arch. Macdonald – ad
Kelowna Shoppers Union – ad
Lequime Bros. & Co – ad
Growley & Downton – ad
D. W. Sutherland – ad

Mr. T. Woods
Wm. Postill
Mr. Swallwell
Mr. A. Postill (the late)
Mr. Whelan
Mr. J. Christian
Mr. Conroy
Mr. Price Ellison, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP)
Mr. J. T. Davies
Mr. La Belle
Mr. Dell
Mr. Watson
Mr. R.E. Chrichton
Mr. W.D. Hobson, Justice
Mr. G.G. Mackay
Messrs. Collins and Hotman, tobacco
Mr. Eli Lequime
Mr. Bernard Lequime
Mr. J. Corsorso
Mr. Fitzgerald Healey
Mr. Tidmarsh
Lord Aberdeen
Gusichan Ranch
Mr. Alan Chrichton
Mr. Crozier
Mr. Ray
Mr. J. L. Pridham, Justice of the Peace (JP)
Mr. Dundas
Mr. T. W. Stirling
Mr. Knox
Mr. Weddell
Mr. Bailey, postmaster, librarian
Mr. C.S. Smith
Mr. C.A.S. Atwood
Mr. Bailey
George Rose
Mr. Raymer

Photographs included are Kelowna and Okanagan Lake, The Wharf – Kelowna, T. W. Stirling’s Orchard, G. Whalen’s Orchard & House, Duck Lake, Episcopal Church, and separated, Mr. Collin’s Tobacco Field.

A Pictorial History of Kelowna BC:

BC Orchard Industry Museum, BC Orchard Industry Museum, BC Wine Museum, Okanagan Military Museum, Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame Museum, The Laurel Packinghouse:

Kelowna Public Archives:  Search Kelowna Public Archives collections at MemoryBC. See that entry below.

Vince Bezeau Military Library and Archives, Okanagan Military Museum:

Memory BC, The British Columbia Archival Information Network. Search by individual topics, places, people, repositories (Kelowna Public Archives, British Columbia Archives, Anglican Provincial Synod of British Columbia Archives, etc.): or all “Kelowna” entries:;search?query=kelowna

Kelowna Photo History, Castanet Forum – Kelowna photos from family collections posted to the forum discussions:

The Kelowna Story: An Okanagan History by Sharron J. Simpson (Harbour Publishing, 2011). Available at the BCGS Library.

Kelowna 100 Years History: One Hundred Years of History, edited by Diana Knowles (Kelowna Museum Association, 2005). Available at the BCGS Library.

Ham and Rail Fanning, The History of Present-Day of Rail Activities in Kelowna:

Kelowna Street Names, Their Origins: A Brief History, Okanagan Historical Society, Kelowna Branch (1994, 2010). Available at the BCGS Library.

Kelowna Streets, Kelowna,com, Marshall Jones, Managing Editor:

Index to articles about Kelowna people, places and topics published in Okanagan Historical Society (OHS) Annual Reports, No 1-76 (1926-):     Most OHS Reports have been digitized and may be read and searched as part of the University of British Columbia Library’s Digital Collections:

Okanagan Historical Society:


Historical Municipal Boundaries, City of Kelowna (.pdf format):,d.cGE

Kettle Valley Railway & Connecting Railway Trails:

The photograph above shows “Mr. Collins; Tobacco Field – Okanagan Mission Valley, Near Kelowna, BC”. found with a 1898 booklet, Kelowna and its Surroundings in the Province of British Columbia, Dominion of Canada, published by the Agricultural and Trades Association of Okanagan, Mission Valley. Private collection. Some 1890s residents of Okanagan Mission Valley petitioned the provincial government “to proclaim a parcel of land a public commons and that a road should be built”. Their names were extracted from the Sessional Papers of the British Columbia Government, 1890, by Hugh Armstrong and are published on the British Columbia GenWeb site.

Victoria becames British Columbia’s capital, 1868

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News of the Queen’s Birthday from Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, 1868.

“The annual races which are held on the 24th came off on Monday the 25th, in consequence of the Queen’s birthday falling on Sunday. The races on Beacon Hill were the most largely and generally attended of any which have hitherto taken place on Vancouver Island, over 1,5000 persons being present. The day was fine and pleasant….”

The same issue of the British Colonist reporting on the holiday horse races included the text of the Proclamation declaring Victoria the Capital of the United Colony of British Columbia. “There was no official ceremony used on the occasion, the Proclamation being posted at the High Sheriff’s office and othe public places in the city.”

The British Colonist, Tuesday morning, 26 May, 1868, page 2.

Residents at Yale, 1868

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Below is a list of 1868 residents of Yale, B.C., “nearly all the principal people of Yale”, from a document sent to Victoria to the Hon. P. O’Reilly and the Hon. Mr. F. J. Barnard, Yale representatives, supporting retention of New Westminster as the Capital of British Columbia. “Two or three prominent gentlemen” did not sign; it was said that they were absent at the time.

Extracted from an article in the British Columbian newspaper, Wednesday, 8 April 1868, page 1. Names here alphabetically.

We, the undersigned inhabitants of Yale, hereby express our wish that on the question of Capital, you will record your votes in favor of its retention at New Westminster:-

AlexanderW. L.
BarryJ. F.
BoothroydG. W.
BoothroydW. H.
BrouseJ. E.
BurgessJ. P.
FletcherH. J.
GladwinW. B.
KimballD. W.
Kwong Lee & Co.
MullenB. T.
OppenheimL. S.
RombratC. E.
RossC. L.
SampsonB. B.



This list was originally published in The British Columbia Genealogist, Volume 22 #1 March 1993, page 17.

Enumerators’ Problems – 1930 Vancouver BC Canada – Dogs, Unwilling and Know-It-All People

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Genealogists and family historians sometimes voice their frustrations with the work of enumerators on the historical census and voters’ lists. Why didn’t they…? How could they…? Didn’t they ask? Who on earth did they get that answer from?

Here’s an article from the Vancouver Sun newspaper, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Wednesday, 4 June 1930 (page 11), that may explain some of those missed, seemingly misspelt or cryptic entries.


Dogs, Unwilling and Know-It-All People Are Handicaps

Enumerators seeking to register on the voters’ list all adult British subjects of one year’s residence in Canada are having their troubles.

Some people don’t like to answer the door for “pedlars”. Others keep dogs that don’t like strangers. Others blandly assure the eunumerators that they are already on the list. Others –many of them—are out.

Proprietors of hotels and rooming houses have been none too helpful in some cases, although this is not the general rule.

Mr. R.M. Edgar, returning officer for Vancouver Centre, instructed his enumerators to call in a policeman if the keeper of a lodging house denied them access to his tenants.


People who don’t answer the door for “pedlars” and people who are quite satisfied that they are already on the list may find themselves without votes on election day.

Nobody is on the list, because there is no list.

The whole Election Act has been changed and the only list will be that compiled by the enumerators now canvassing the city. There is no compulsory voting in Canada, so people who refuse to give information to the enumerators will themselves be the losers.

Enumerators find that they have to work early and late. In one rooming house they found that the management specialized in night workers. The tenants sleep all day.

In residential districts many households where both man and wife go down town to business all day were discovered. Evening visits are necessitated at such places as these.

Down town where large apartment houses exist there are precincts containing the requisite 200 to 300 voters consisting of one apartment house and half a dozen private dwellings in the same block. Further off a precinct may cover many city blocks.


One of the problems of the enumerators is that of working in pairs. Each precinct has had one Liberal nominee and one Conservative nominee appointed to work together and keep check on each other.

In some cases, one enumerator is a day worker and the other’s a night worker. How to get together under these circumstances proves a difficult problem.

The enumerators must complete their work by Saturday and turn in completely typed alphabetical lists of the eligible voters in their respective precincts not later than Tuesday next.

A few days afterward registers will be appointed in whose possession the lists will be open to public inspection so that corrections, amendments and additions can be made.


From time to time, the BC Genealogical Society offers these kinds of Glimpses into BC’s Heritage in its journal and on the website. If you come across a suitable story like this, please do contact the BCGS Editor: