Tracing Your Servant Ancestors – A FFHS Review

The British Columbia Genealogical Society is a member of the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) which now publishes reviews of new genealogy books and CDs on the FFHS website:

Tracing Your Servant Ancestors by Michelle Higgs - cover imageI was asked to review Michelle Higgs’s new book, Tracing Your Servant Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians, and found this very readable, well organized and nicely illustrated. Higgs chose to define her topic broadly as including domestic, farm and institutional servants, and I appreciated this as among my own family there are parlour maids and general domestics, gamekeepers and gardeners.

The full review is in the December 2012 issue of The British Columbia Genealogist, Vol. 41, No 4, page 143 or follow this link to the Federation of Family History Societies review pages to see this review and others. A copy of this book is in the BCGS Walter Draycott Library, call # 942 HIG

M. Diane Rogers, reviewer.



Genealogy, Family History and the Younger Set

The August-September 2012 issue of Canada’s History magazine has an article by Paul Jones entitled “Genealogy Can Be Child’s Play” with some good ideas for interesting children in their own genealogy and family history. You can read this at the BCGS Walter Draycott Library or on-line as Canada’s History has posted the entire article complete with links here.

It’s a shame that the excellent youth resources at the Victoria Genealogical Society (BC) website aren’t mentioned though. For that link, and links to other resources on-line for children and teens, see the BCGS own page of suggestions for interesting and encouraging the younger genealogists and family historians. If you know of other resources, please let our webmistresses know. We’ll soon be listing some books there too, including the Victoria Genealogical Society’s Who’s In Your Family Tree: A Step-By-Step Guide For The Detective In Your Family and Jennifer Holik-Urban’s Generations Branching Out book series.

Counting Canada: A Genealogical Guide to the Canadian Census

Counting Canada by Dave Obee - book cover

Counting Canada: A Genealogical Guide to the Canadian Census by Dave Obee (Victoria: 2012) gives genealogy and family history researchers ‘all the facts’ about Canada’s census from 1604 to 1931 and even beyond. The author is one of Canada’s most experienced researchers and the author of several other books on related topics, including Canadian directories, voters’ lists and immigration records.

In this book, along with a census timeline, he’s included chapters on each Canadian census, including representative questions asked, and information about census legislation and administration – even  how confused instructions and then the weather affected the 1861 enumeration in Lower and Upper Canada, for instance.

Throughout are the best tips and strategies for searching for ancestors in the Canadian census – whether on film, paper, or on-line – all nicely illustrated with photographs, maps, even cartoons, and census entry examples for famous Canadians like Chief Dan George, and others far less well known, like Walt Disney’s paternal ancestors.

The chapters entitled “De jure or de facto” and “Why aren’t they there?” explain the more frustrating errors and omissions census researchers may come across including the use of the [dreaded] ‘ditto’, and some misunderstandings and practices that happily resulted in additional details being listed for some individuals. The “Supplementary Sources” chapter will assist researchers in following up on census details or ‘missing’ individuals in other records, like voters’ lists and directories.

An attractive book of 220 pages with a bibliography, index and a list of useful Internet sites, Dave Obee’s Counting Canada will be a handy addition to all Canadian researchers’ bookshelves. Available now from the BCGS Boutique. ($30.00) at meetings and events, or by contacting the BCGS Boutique Chairperson, Cathy Magee.

Reviewed for the BCGS website by BCGS Editor, M. Diane Rogers, July 2012.

BCGS General Meeting – 13 June 2012 – Burnaby

2012 marks Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee, the 60 year anniversary of her ascent to the throne. At the June general meeting, BCGS members will be celebrating with a strawberry tea and members with connections to her or memories of her reign so far are invited to bring displays. On display will be a photograph of the Queen from the collection of Ford Hill.

The winners of the BCGS Family History Book Award Competition for 2011 will be announced at the meeting, and some of the authors will be present and will have books to sell and sign.

BCGS General Meetings: the second Wednesday of every month, 7:30 pm at Edmonds Community Centre, 7282 Kingsway (Kingsway & Edmonds), Burnaby V5E 1G3.

BCGS members are now collecting pennies to contribute to the fund for a Coat of Arms for the Society. Any pennies will be accepted at all general meetings. Volunteers will roll them, if need be.

Burnaby Heritage Schools

A volunteer group is writing and compiling the history of Burnaby Schools – from 1894 to the present day.

The committee members are Janet White, committee chair and retired languages department head, Harry Pride, retired high school vice-principal, Dave Carter, retired school principal, Gail Yip, local historian and author, and Rosemary Cooke, retired elementary school teacher. Janet, Dave and Gail are also former Burnaby high school graduates.

The Committee is supported by the Burnaby School Board and B.C. Retired Teachers.  In addition, the City of Burnaby, through the Heritage Commission, has been a passionate sponsor from the start and will be doing graphic layout and publishing of the book.

Each school library will receive a complimentary copy.

Profits from the sale of the book will go to scholarships for Burnaby High School students.

The focus of this coffee table-style book is not just to publish the histories of the school buildings, but to ‘humanize’ the book by including interesting stories, anecdotes, and personal pictures of sports teams, social events, unusual school rules and customs.

One special section will be dedicated to ‘celebrity sons and daughters’ who attended  school in Burnaby.

Contribute a short narrative or picture of either a school experience or memory.  It need not be long, 100 words is fine.  Please make your submission by April 30, 2012. Send your narrative to

Target date for publication is early next year.