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: editor@bgs.ca


Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery Walking Tours – Spring and Summer 2013

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Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery Walking Tours – Spring and Summer 2013

Walking Tour Poster Page

Saturday, April 27 – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm – Walking tour – Mountain View’s 1919 section

Mountain View Cemetery – meet at the Celebration Hall, 5445 Fraser Street (enter at 39th Ave.);  cost: $10 per person (cash only please)

Join Lorraine Irving from the BC Genealogical Society for a walking tour of the 1919 section of the cemetery. Located on the south side of 41st Avenue, this section is the last resting place for Joe Fortes, the best loved Vancouver lifeguard, and Janet Smith whose murder has never been officially solved. As well, tJoe Fortes - Vancouver beach, BC. Postcardhere are other murder victims, those that died in the sinking of the S.S. Sophia and Britannia Mine disaster, there’s the first memorial for the Sons of Italy, a memorial for firemen, and much more.


Monday, June 10 – 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Walking tour – Food Traditions at Mountain View

Mountain View Cemetery -meet at Celebration Hall, 5445 Fraser Street (enter at 39th Ave.);  $10 per person (cash only please)

Community historian Chris Mathieson takes you on a tour exploring the history of Vancouver’s relationship with food, through introductions to fishermen, farmers, hunters, shopkeepers, brewers and more. We’ll also discuss food traditions associated with death and cemeteries.

Sunday, July 14 – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm – Walking tour – Chinese, Japanese and Jewish sections of Mountain View Cemetery.

Mountain View Cemetery – meet at Celebration Hall, 5445 Fraser Street (enter at 39th Ave.);  cost: $10 per person (cash only please)

Historian Maurice Guibord leads a walk exploring the Chinese, Japanese and Jewish sections of Mountain View Cemetery. These sections are fascinating examples of the segregation that existed even in cemeteries during the 19th and 20th centuries. Each of these three areas evokes cultural traits of communities that were seeking a foothold in Vancouver’s society. We will discuss the disinterment of Chinese remains, until 1937, to be repatriated to China for reburial with their ancestors; the self-segregation of a burgeoning Jewish congregation; and the survival of an impressive swastika-decorated Japanese obellist through the Second World War.

Sunday, August 4 – Women’s History Walking tour of Mountain View with Lorraine Irving, M. Diane Rogers and Jolene Cumming, co-sponsored by the BC Genealogical Society and the Herstory Cafe.  Watch for details soon.

Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery tour information: http://vancouver.ca/your-government/visit-mountain-view-cemetery.aspx

E-mail contact: mountain.view@vancouver.ca
Telephone: 604 325 2646

New Scots in BC website – SFU’s Tartan Day 2013

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Simon Fraser University - Tartan Day 2013 poster

Simon Fraser University’s Scottish Studies Department celebrates Tartan Day, Monday, April 8th, 2013 at SFU’s Vancouver’s Harbour Centre Campus, Room 1410, at 7:30-9:30 pm.  Scottish Studies is launching an interactive website, “Scots in BC,” and the evening will feature music by members of the Vancouver Scottish Fiddle Orchestra and dancing by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.

Follow this link for more about the Simon Fraser University Scots in BC project. There will be a way to add information about British Columbia’s Scottish families to the new website. We will add that link here as soon as it’s announced.

See the SFU Scottish Studies webpages for more information, or to contact the SFU Scottish Studies Department. The poster is available here – SFU_TartanDayPoster 2013 in a .pdf format.