BCGS 2012 Library Week begins today, Monday July 16th!

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The BC Genealogical Society’s annual free Library Week begins today, Monday July 16th, continuing each day till Saturday July 21st, 2012.

From July 16 to 21st, the Library is open each day from 10 am to 3 pm and volunteers will be available to assist you in searching the Library collections.

A variety of talks by seasoned researchers are scheduled throughout the week. The 2012 BCGS Library Week schedule and links to handouts are available on the Walter Draycott Library Week page here. Please note that there are a couple of changes to Tuesday’s schedule. The Irish talk will now begin at 10 am (not 10:30 am).

All the Library’s regular features and wordwide and BC collections are available to researchers, including on-line access to Ancestry Library Edition, the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s on-line databases and to specialized databases for Quebec and for Sweden.

The Heraldry section, BCGS Walter Draycott Library, Surrey, BC.


BC Brick Walls – New Westminster Court House – 1899

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New Westminster BC, Canada Court House, 1901. Courtesy New Westminster Public Library.New Westminster BC, Canada, Court House, 1901. BCGS BC Brick Wall #1.

Photograph courtesy New Westminster Public Library, Historical Photographs Collection, Accession #69.  This was also the Land Registry Office and the Mining Recorders Office. Still standing, now with the former Land Registry Office built in 1910, named “Begbie Court”.

From the building’s heritage plaques:

New Westminster Designated Heritage Building

The New Westminster Court House

1891 – Rebuilt – 1899

The Land Registry Office


The New Westminster Court House

The Court House was designed by architect George William Grant and opened on June 1, 1891 by the first colonial judge and Chief Justice for British Columbia, Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie.

On September 10, 1898 the entire New Westminster downtown business district was destroyed by fire, including the Court House. The Court House was rebuilt within existing walls by G. W. Grant and reopened on June 19, 1899.

The Court House was one of the early public buildings in the Province to be built of brick and stone. It remains as one of the major court houses on the British Columbia Mainland in which Chief Justice Begbie presided.

The Land Registry Office

The Land Registry Office was designed in 1910 by architect E. G. W. Sait. The new building became the Office for the Record of Instruments and the Registration of Titles affecting real estate for the District of New Westminster.

The Court House and the Land Registry were closed in 1980. The buildings were renovated in 1989, renamed “Begbie Court” and reopened in January 1990. In 1997 the buildings were purchased by “Begbie Court Holdings Ltd.”, a wholly owned subsidiary of the “Operating Engineers Pension Plan”.

Campbell River – Genealogy Display & Cemetery Tour – August, 2012

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The Campbell River Genealogical Society (CRGS) will be at the Campbell River Heritage Day – Saturday, August 18th at the Spirit Square.

Members of the CRGS will be giving a tour of the old cemetery the following day, Sunday, August 19th at 10:00 am. Sign up at the CRGS display during Heritage Day or contact the CRGS; $5.00 per person. Additional tours may be offered, so do contact the CRGS, if interested.

New Brunswickers Celebrating Dominion Day in Vancouver, 1912

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1912 had been a year for many new beginnings, and one major disaster, but the first week of July was also a sad one in Canada. Local news centred on the aftermath of the Regina Cyclone, June 30th, in which 28 people died, and in Vancouver, on the drowning of 2 people in First Narrows.

But in 1912, as in the years since 1871 when BC decided to join Canada (July 20, 1871), British Columbians celebrated Dominion Day July 1st.  Here is a glimpse from the past of how some spent their day.

Second Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada, c. 1917. Photographer Stuart Thomson.Second Beach,  c. 1917, photographer Stuart Thomson. Courtesy the City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 99-213.

New Brunswickers Picnicked at Park

Natives of Eastern Province and Their Friends Enjoyed Dominion Day Outing {Vancouver, 1 July 1912].

Natives of New Brunswick and their friends, to the number of several hundred picnicked at Second beach, Stanley Park, yesterday afternoon. A programme of sports was carried out in the afternoon, and the day wound up with an enjoyable repast under the big trees flanking the beach. The youngsters romped the sands and took part in the sports in which they were joined by big brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers.

Towards the close of the day a number of speeches were given by representative New Brunswickers, and a committee appointed for the purpose of electing officers rendered its report. The officers selected were: Mr. W.D. Everett, president; Mr. John Burpee, first vice-president; Mr. James Pelkie, second vice-president; Dr. D. J. Bell, third vice-president; Mr. Harry D. Hipwell, secretary; Mr. W.M. Raymond, treasurer; executive committee, Messrs. Clinton Gray, Charles Olts, J. B. Appleby, Gideon Phillips and Fred Williams.

A[t] 9 o’clock last night officers of the association held a meeting at the office of Dr. Bell, and it was decided that the organization should be known as the New Brunswick Association of British Columbia. A resolution expressive of sympathy for Mrs. Fred Hale, who recently suffered the loss of her husband, one of the prominent public men of New Brunswick, was passed and ordered forwarded to the bereaved lady.

Daily Province, Vancouver, BC, Tuesday 2 July 1912, page 21.

Canadian Veterans Death Cards – World War I – on-line at LAC

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New at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) – Canadian Veterans Death Cards: First World War.
This collection includes Canadian World War I nurses and soldiers, if veterans, and a few others, but only those whose deaths were reported to Veterans Affairs up to the 1960s. The collection does not include those who died overseas during the war.
Before searching, check the Help section for more information and for explanations of abbreviations, etc.
This collection is part of LAC’s digitized microform, so is not searchable. The cards were originally used as an index and were filmed alphabetically. Details can include next of kin, date and cause of death and place of burial.