Canadian Census & Immigration talk with Dave Obee – Dec 6, 2014, North Vancouver

Canadian Family History: Census and Immigration Records

Join Dave Obee for a free session that looks into the Canadian immigration and census records that are available and the best ways to use them in your family history research.

Dave is the author of Destination Canada (on immigration) and Counting Canada (on the census) and the new history of the North Vancouver District Public Library, Fifty! With a Fabulous Future! Dave has won numerous awards for his work, including this year the Governor General’s Caring Canadian award.

Time: Saturday, December 6, 2014 – 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Free. Registration required.  Call 604-987-4471, ext. 8175 to register or for more information.

Location: Capilano Branch, 3045 Highland Blvd., North Vancouver, BC V7R 2X4

The launch of Dave Obee’s latest book about the North Vancouver District Public Library is December 6 in the evening. Tickets available:

North Vancouver District Public Library website:

BCGS Research Tip – June 2013

The BCGS Members’ Tip for June is: use timelines!

Have you found yourself with a thorny genealogical research problem?

Often working up a detailed timeline on your relative’s life will help you not only to see contradictions, but also to identify gaps in your research, a census you haven’t looked at, for instance. These gaps may lead you to think of new records you might search.

You can use simply a sheet of paper to write out a chronoloogical list of all known events in the individual’s life, including the dates and places. Add the names and any relevant brief details about other people who were involved in each event with your relative, for example, the age of the mother at the birth of any children, or the occupation of a father.

You can also use an Excel spreadsheet or a printed family timeline like this BCGS Chronological Chart. (.pdf format)

Always leave enough room in the timeline for additions and notes. This will be a ‘work in progress’. It might not be neat!

At RootsTech In April 2013, Lisa Louise Cooke interviewed British Columbia’s own Dave Obee, a genealogist who advocates timelines as a family history research tool.

“10 Top Tips for How to Bust Through Your Genealogy Brick Wall”, GenealogyGems, 13:29 minute video.

Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems on YouTube

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.

Dave Obee Seminar – Early Bird Deadline March 26, 2012

ALL DAY SEMINAR WITH DAVE OBEE – Early Bird Deadline March 26, 2012

Seminar date: Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tickets: still for sale by phone or e-mail as below.
Early bird prices till March 26th – $45 BCGS & affiliate members / $52 non-members.

From March 27th, the prices increase: $50.00 for BCGS & Affiliate (Society) Members; $60.00 for non-members.

Contact Susan Snalam at 604-273-8209, email OR Lorraine Irving at 604-874-8748, email

Seminar topics and other details and a poster:

Dave Obee speaking on Canadian immigration and writing your own history, West Vancouver, March 24, 2012

March 24th, 2012, 12:30 – 4 pm.

Dave Obee will be giving two genealogy presentations at West Vancouver Memorial Library (WVML). For more information, contact the West Vancouver Memorial Library.  WVML telephone: 604 925 7400

12:30 – 2pm  Destination Canada: Immigrating to Canada

Destination Canada — More than seven million people arrived in Canada from Europe, the United States and Asia between 1815 and 1930. This session deals with the wide variety of sources that deal with immigration to Canada, including ship passenger lists (available from 1865 through 1935), border crossing records, and naturalization and citizenship documents. Many of these sources have been indexed and placed online, making it possible to access them quickly and easily. It pays to know, however, the scope and limitations of those Internet resources, and how to obtain information from other sources. Includes a list of web sites to use. Dave is the author of the book Destination Canada.

2:30 – 4pm  Writing your Family History

Write Your Family History — One of the best ways to create a lasting memory of your ancestors is to tell the stories of their lives. While a genealogical chart can seem daunting (or even worse, boring) to a non-genealogist, a narrative is accessible. A well-written story will make other family members much more aware about, and more interested in, the research that you are doing. This talk — by a genealogist who has been a journalist since 1972 — includes some ideas that will help you get over your writer’s block. It might even inspire people to start writing more stories for the British Columbia Genealogical Society’s journal. Includes a list of Web sites to use.

Location: Welsh Hall, West Vancouver Memorial Library. 950 Marine Drive, West Vancouver.

Registration not necessary.   WVML website: