Descendancy and related searches

Selected sources for descendancy research, mainly related to British Columbia.

Genealogical descendancy research is often useful in legal cases, tracing heirs, for example, in genealogical cousin quests, in finding relatives who emigrated to Canada, or in adoption or related searches.

Initial sources could include older birth, marriage and death registrations and censuses, obituaries, certainly cemetery information, city directories, and voters’ lists, and perhaps probate records or land records.

The BC Genealogical Society (BCGS)’s BC Research Committee does offer lookup services for many types of BC records and for BCGS’s unique resources.
For BC Newspapers on-line, see the BCGS Newspaper and Obituaries page
For BC Cemeteries, see the BCGS Cemetery Committee page

Easy Steps to Descendancy Research, 4 min. video/handout, FamilySearch Learning Center lesson:

Descendancy Research, 40 min. video, FamilySearch Learning Center lesson:

BC Vital Statistics Agency.

Historical birth, marriage and death registration records are indexed and available on-line at both the BC Archives and FamilySearch websites. Neither website has all the records, so you may need to search both.
BC Archives, Genealogy:
Contact the BC Vital Statistics Agency for information on obtaining more recent documents and for adoption records:
Adoption Records:

BC Adoption Reunion Registry:
Adoption Reunion Registry Stories:

BC Directories to 1955, free at Vancouver Public Library in Online Resources, Local History: The BCGS Library has directories and telephone books – see the BCGS on-line directory catalogue. Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch and other libraries may have directories and telephone books which are not yet on-line. For BC local libraries, see the BCGS BC Public Libraries page

1921 Canadian Census, indexed. Free at

1901/1911 Canada census, also 1906 Canadian prairies census, Indexed; free, Automated Genealogy:

Canadian national voters’ lists, 1936-1980. $ The BCGS Library and some local libraries may offer free access to Ancestry Library Edition: Regional and local archives may have provincial and civic voters’ lists. See MemoryBC for contact details for archival repositories in BC and to search for record descriptions.

Forget Me Not Society:

Adoptive Families Association of BC:

Parent Finders:

DNA and adoption research, Richard Hill. Richard Hill is the author of Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA (2012) and Guide to DNA Testing: How to Identify Ancestors, Confirm Relationships, and Measure Ethnic Ancestry through DNA Testing (2014):

DNAAdoption – “A team of knowledgeable genealogists, citizen scientists, geneticists and IT professionals” offering information, advice and on-line classes to anyone looking for “unknown ancestors”:

Yukon man obtains citizenship despite no birth certificate, May 22, 2015, City News:

Happy British Columbia Day!

Today it’s British Columbia Day! Most around the province will be relaxing or otherwise enjoying our great summer weather.

Some may feel sad that archives and libraries are closed today, as is our own BCGS Walter Draycott Library, but there’s plenty to do on-line here if you have your device at the beach or elsewhere and need to get some research done.

On our own BC Genealogical Society website, among many other things, for free you can

  1. Check to see if one of our members shares your surnames.
  2. Search our BC Pioneer registry for your British Columbia families here before 1900.
  3. Use our database of on-line BC newspapers to find an obituary.
  4. Locate an article in our journal index for The British Columbia Genealogist.
  5. Copy a postcard image from our international Postcard Galleries for your personal use

And if you’re a BCGS member, sign-in to the BCGS Members’ Area for more indexes and information.

Not already a BC Genealogical Society member? Join on-line today – learn about our BCGS Membership Benefits.

Hawaii and Hawaiians – Links

Hawaii and Hawaiians Outside of Hawaii – Genealogy and Family History Links

Hawaii Genealogy, FamilySearch wiki. Hawaiian records on-line at FamilySearch include Births and Christenings, 1852-1933; Marriages, 1826-1922; Deaths and Burials, 1862-1919; Obituaries Index, ca. 1980-present; Honolulu Index to Passengers, Not Including Filipinos, 1900-1952; Honolulu Passenger Lists, 1900-1953 – all indexed. And unindexed records (2015) – California, Airplane Passenger Lists from Honolulu, Hawaii, 1947-1948; Index to Filipino Arrivals to Honolulu, 1946; Index to Filipino Passengers Arriving at Honolulu, 1900-1952; Passenger Lists of Airplanes departing Honolulu, 1942-1948:

Hawaiian Research, Locality Guide by Darcie M. Hind Posz:

Hawaii State Archives Digital Collections. Passenger, land, probate, book indexes; vital statistics and WW I service indexes:

Hawaiian Roots. Indexes (includes 1878/1895 census), history, naming practices, Northwest Coast Hawaiians:

Hawaii USGenWeb. State and County resources, guides, queries, etc., Portuguese Immigration to Hawaii 1878-1913, Cemetery Project:

Ulukau, Hawaiian Electronic Library:

Genealogical Resources in Hawaii, Honolulu Genealogical Society:

Native Hawaiian Genealogy Society:

Portuguese Genealogical Society of Hawaii:

Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy by Melody LaSalle:

Your Island Roots: Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy Genealogy and Heritage Website:

Hawaiian Historical Society:

Hawai’i Digital Newspapers:

BCGS – Members’ Jargon

Any successful group has at least a bit of vocabulary that’s all its own, and, as with most pursuits, we have ‘everyday’ jargon and use local slang. These terms can be confusing sometimes though, so this ‘BCGS Glossary’ may explain a few strange words overheard at meetings or the Library.

This list was originally posted in our members’ only area, but a couple of us thought that BCGS friends and prospective members might find this handy too.

Post any other unknown words or terms that come up and someone will (try to) explain them! Then we can add those here too.  (For more widely known genealogy and family history terms, see our BCGS genealogy glossaries and abbreviation lists section.)


1886 book – This is the BCGS book, Vancouver Voters, 1886: A Biographical Dictionary, edited by Peter Stephen Neil Claydon and Valerie Ann Melanson and others (Richmond: BCGS, 1994). A huge genealogical dictionary of those on the 1886 voters list for the City of Vancouver. This was a BCGS project to celebrate the City of Vancouver, BC’s Centennial. See ‘Vancouver Voters book’ below.

Anniversary book – this is the book published to commemorate BCGS’s 25th anniversary, British Columbia Genealogical Society 1971-1996: The First Quarter Century, edited by Barbara Rogers and compiled by Maureen Hyde (Richmond: BCGS, 1998).

BCARS – B.C. Archives and Records Service.

BC Gene – this is the BCGS Editor’s affectionate name for the BCGS quarterly journal, The British Columbia Genealogist.

BCPA – the British Columbia Provincial Archives, also known as just the BC Archives. Since 2003, part of the Royal British Columbia Museum.

Boutique – this is the BCGS Boutique, our Committee that looks after sales of genealogical books, tools and fun things at various events and at BCGS meetings and in the BCGS Library.

BC Pioneers – in BCGS, often meaning only people in BC before 1900 whose details have been submitted to the BCGS BC Pioneer Registry.

Card Files and Card Cabinets – Oh, my! meaning the many unique surname, cemetery inscription and other card files developed by BCGS members over the years – now at the BCGS Library.

CCAP – the BCGS Canadian Census Acquisition Programme. For many years, BCGS members contributed funds for the organized purchasing of Canadian census films for the Library. By 1995, the Library had 321 films. This programme started before local libraries had film collections, and there was then no thought of seeing censuses on-line, but these films are in the BCGS Library and still useful.

Cloverdale -Cloverdale Branch of the Surrey Public Library where the Surrey Public Library’s Canadian genealogy collections are housed.

Downtown – in the Lower Mainland this often means downtown Vancouver, as in ‘Downtown Genealogy Group’, but many places in BC do have downtowns.

Edmonds – Edmonds Community Centre on Kingsway in Burnaby where BCGS met for many years – till 2013.

FamilySearch –, the free website owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Federation or FFHS – this is the Federation of Family History Societies, based in England, but an international organization. BCGS is a member. Of course, Federation could also mean the British Columbia Historical Federation, of which BCGS is also a member :-)

FHL – the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Genealogical Cocktail Party – Periodically at BCGS meetings we ‘mingle’ – moving from table to table to talk to people who don’t always get to sit with and talk genealogy!

Genealogical Triangle – No, not the place in which your LIG (see below) is hiding. This is in Surrey, BC where there are three important genealogical centres: the BCGS Library, the Cloverdale Branch of the Surrey Public Library, and the Surrey Family History Center.

GSU – the Genealogical Society of Utah which originally was responsible for filming genealogical records around the world, including BC vital statistics records. See FamilySearch.

Irish Lending Library – a filing cabinet full of amazing information for Irish research collected by Irish group members. Now upstairs at the Library.

Irving K. Barber Learning Centre – a new library at UBC, really an addition adapted in 2005 from the old ‘Main Library’ (1925) at the University of British Columbia.

Kelowna Conference – the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society‘s genealogy conference, held every 2nd year – the next is in September 2014.

Koerner Library – now the ‘old’ (1997) library at UBC, the University of British Columbia.

LIG – a lying Irish grandmother (or grandfather).

monkey sheet – the BCGS pedigree charts we give away.

Mountain View – if someone is talking about cemeteries in BC, rather than a scenic day, this likely means Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, however, it could also mean Mountain View Cemetery in Trail, BC.

N.I.P. – the BCGS Newspaper Indexing Programme, the transcribing of early vital statistics in BC newspapers, resulting in the BCGS book, British Columbia Vital Statistics From Newspapers: An Index to Births, Marriages and Deaths Published from 1858 to 1872 in British Columbia Newspapers, edited by Brian John Porter (Richmond: BCGS, 1994).

non-gens – the grandchildren who’d rather play soccer than look at census film or a hearth tax database on a computer.

Pedigrees – in BCGS (and many other genealogical societies) meaning the completed ‘Pedigree’ charts collected from members which are indexed and made available to Library patrons.

RC – the BCGS Walter Draycott (Memorial) Library. It was called the ‘Resource Centre’ (thus the RC) until it was renamed in 1996.

Salt Lake City Trippers, or now Trekkers – members of BCGS research trips to Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

SFU or ‘ssssfu’ – Simon Fraser University

SLC or Salt Lake– ‘Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Stray – a person described in a record (like an obituary or a will) as being from, or connected with, a place outside the area in which the event took place. Especially useful now for more recent Canadian records. Genealogical societies often share strays’ details with other societies.

The Library – as in “We have that journal/book/CD/film at The Library. You should check it out.” – meaning the BCGS Walter Draycott LIbrary in Surrey, BC, owned and operated by the Society for its members and visitors.

Tri-Stake – the annual fall seminar put on by the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Family History Centers (Burnaby, Surrey and Abbotsford), now called the Finding Your Roots seminar.

UBC – University of British Columbia

UVic – University of Victoria

Vancouver Voters book – this is the Vancouver Voters, 1886 book, published by the BCGS. A huge genealogical dictionary of those on the 1886 voters list for the City of Vancouver. See John D. Reid’s review and a list of all the surnames here. The research files for the project are in the BCGS Library. See ‘1886 book’.

VPL – Vancouver Public Library