VICTORIA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
~ WE COVER THE WORLD ~

The Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS) was established in 1978.
We are located in Victoria BC Canada.

Celebrating 40 years

OUR MISSION: To support and promote family history research in Victoria,
across Canada and around the world.

Family trees come in many shapes and sizes - let us help you grow your family tree

The Genealogy Learning and Research Centre, Victoria Genealogical Society

Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
"Genealogy News & Events" updates@victoriags.org

 
VGS OPEN HOUSE

14 Oct 2018, 2 - 4 pm


HELP US CELEBRATE OUR 1-YEAR ANNIVERSARY AT OUR NEW LOCATION!

 


Our VGS GENEALOGY LEARNING & RESEARCH CENTRE is a welcoming place where you can:

LEARN HOW TO RESEARCH -
attend our genealogy workshops and seminars

LEARN FROM OTHER MEMBERS -
network at our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Speaker Series meetings

LEARN BY DOING -
research your family history, build your family tree


VISIT US  IN THE ROYAL OAK SHOPPING CENTRE.

JOIN VGS

2018-2019 Membership Renewal time now!

New members always welcome.

Network.   Learn.   Share.


Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS)
NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

News bulletins and announcements from VGS and beyond.

Special Presentation for Women's History Month

Posted 16 Oct 2018

Last week’s VGS Speaker Series meeting was a special one, thanks to our own long time VGS member, Bart Armstrong. Bart spoke passionately about his remarkable mother, who played a major role in the women’s movement for over 50 years and received the Governor General’s Persons Award in 1989.

Bart also arranged for a visit from a very special speaker, Dr. Cecilia Benoit. Dr. Benoit is a UVic sociology professor, scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, and 2016 recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case in recognition of her “outstanding contribution to the goal of equality for women and girls in Canada”. Dr. Benoit spoke about her fascinating work and it was truly an honour to hear her.

Below she is pictured with Bart, and VGS member Merna Forster, Executive Director of the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project at UVic, and recipient of the 2016 Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media (Pierre Berton Award).

Bart Armstrong with Dr Cecelia Benoit and Merna Forster

We were very lucky to have all these fascinating individuals with us on Thursday night. Big thanks to Bart Armstrong for this wonderful experience.

 

VGS Celebrated our 1st Anniversary at Royal Oak

Posted 16 Oct 2018

Thanks to all who attended our VGS Open House last Sunday. Lots of mixing and mingling among enthusiast VGS members, directors and guests. And the munchies were great too!

VGS Open House invitation, 14 Oct 2018, Victoria BC

 

 

New Type of VGS Workshops Scheduled for Wednesday Evenings

Posted 8 Oct 2018

This is a wonderful brand new initiative from VGS!
Help is now here for your troublesome research problems.
Our first Wednesday evening workshop is scheduled for 17 October 2018.

17 OCTOBER 2018 - WONDER WALL WEDNESDAY EVENING - 6pm to 8pm

PRESENTERS: Melanie Arscott and Sarah Hamster

***   Submissions required by 13 Oct 2018   ***

Do you have a research brick wall that you just can’t break?  If so you will want to be part of this Wednesday evening workshop presented by Melanie Arscott and Sarah Hamster on October 17, 6-8pm.

Melanie and Sarah will be taking on 8 researcher’s brick walls and discussing them during this workshop.   Learn the steps they used to break down these walls. We can’t guarantee that we will have a breakthrough, but we will go over everyone’s questions, telling you how we approached the issue, where we looked, what we found and we didn’t find.

If you would like to be part of this special opportunity, register at workshop@victoriags.org. Submissions are needed by October 13th.  Include the following information:

  • Your name and phone number (for presenters to contact if they have any questions);
  • Details of the brick wall (explain where you are stuck and what information are you searching for);
  • For the brick wall ancestor provide: names/nicknames; birth/marriage/death etc. dates; places and times lived; names of parents, siblings, spouses and children; careers, military and any other information you may have;
  • If possible, include photos or copies of documents.

Seating is limited so advance registration is required either at The Centre, by phone to the Centre 250-360-2808 or by email to workshop@victoriags.org. (Caution: using any other email address creates work for volunteers and delays getting your registration submitted through proper channels).

 

 

Come to our VGS OPEN HOUSE on October 14

Posted 4 Oct 2018

VGS OPEN HOUSE
SUNDAY ~ 14 OCTOBER 2018 ~ 2 pm to 4 pm
THE GENEALOGY LEARNING & RESEARCH CENTRE

You are invited to help us celebrate the 1-year anniversary of the opening of our VGS Genealogy Learning & Research Centre in the Royal Oak Shopping Centre.

Please join us at our open house! Members and non-members are welcome to attend.  It's a great opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow genealogy enthusiasts, VGS members and directors, and to learn more about our wonderful Society!

 If members are able, please bring a plate of nibblies to share.

Location details are available on our Learning Centre page.

 

VGS Seminar Ticket Winner Announced - Seminar SOLD OUT

Posted 3 Sep 2018

September is here again already.  During the summer we've been gearing up for another great year of VGS genealogy events, fellowship, learning and research.  Check out the side bar for a summary of "What's Going On" in the coming months.  There are LOTS of workshops, a seminar that's already SOLD OUT, and monthly speaker series meetings.  Our monthly Special Interest Group meetings also start up again this month.  Please join us, become involved, and have fun!

Monica, head of our VGS Seminar team, is  very pleased to announce that Malcolm Pearson was the winner of the free VGS Annual Seminar ticket in our early bird draw! In keeping with Malcolm's generous nature, he has decided to donate the amount of his ticket back to the society - thank you Malcolm, for your generosity!

Our VGS seminar is coming up on Sep 22 this year, but has already SOLD OUT.
But it's worth putting your name on the waiting list if you want to attend
as some may not be able to attend.
It's all about Ancestry, including their DNA services.


New VGS Resource Catalogue Now Launched

Posted 23 Jul 2018

A MESSAGE FROM THE VGS WEBMASTER

I am so VERY EXCITED to announce that the newly created and enhanced VGS Catalogue (that lists our current resources at our VGS Learning Centre) has now been completed by Bev Harvey under direction of Cathie MacKenzie. It has been a tremendous effort, and a critical one for the successful operation of our Learning Centre. I know we are all very grateful to Bev and Cathie for making this happen!

Our new VGS Catalogue contains over 1800 resources, and is organized in sections by geographic location.  The web page can also be searched for specific words or phrases using simple keyboard commands.

This new catalogue has been created online using Google Docs, protected within a new Google account set up for this purpose. Google Docs also permits flexible levels of security, allowing us to restrict and control who can view or edit the catalogue. I have now published a "view only" catalogue file in a dynamic window right on our web page for public viewing. The dynamic feature means that when the catalogue is updated by trained volunteers within Google Docs, it is automatically updated on the web page as well. You can appreciate why I LOVE that aspect of this new system!

GO CHECK OUT OUR NEW VGS CATALOGUE
WHEN YOU NEXT VISIT OUR LEARNING CENTRE OR
RIGHT HERE ON OUR WEBSITE!
WE ARE NOW LIVE ONLINE AT http://victoriags.org/library.php#collection.

Happy hunting to you!

Claudia Boorman, VGS Webmaster

 

VGS Merchandise Fundraiser

Posted 12 Jun 2018

As a VGS fundraising initiative, a limited number of useful products, enhanced with our VGS logo, are currently for sale at our Learning Centre.  They will also be offered for sale at our upcoming AGM and Speaker Series meeting this coming Thursday, June 14.

You can now purchase the following items while supplies last.:

  • USB Memory Sticks, 8GB - $12.00
     (aka Flash Drive, Thumb Drive...)
  • Mouse Pad - $10
  • Canvas Tote Bag - $20.00
  • T-Shirts, white, crew neck - $20
    (unisex sizing, limited sizes in stock)

If we don't have what you are looking for, please leave details, your name and email address on our request list at the Learning Centre, or contact Claudia at webmaster@victoriags.org. The following photos are not to scale.

VGS USB Memory Stick
VGS USB Memory Stick - 8 Gigabytes - $12.00

 

VGS Canvas Tote Bag 20.00
VGS Canvas Tote Bag - $20.00

 

VGS Mouse Pad 10.00
VGS Mouse Pad - $10.00

 

VGS T-Shirt 20.00
VGS White, Crew Neck T-Shirt - $20.00
(unisex sizing, limited sizes in stock)

 

Researching Ireland?  Space Available in June 2 Workshop

Posted 1 Jun 2018

The VGS Saturday workshop "Ireland by Internet" will be presented by Barb Doell at our VGS Centre on Saturday, June 2 from 10 am to noon. It is suitable for beginners, and an excellent way to become informed before tackling your Irish summer research project.  A limited number of seats are available.  Please contact Monica at workshop@victoriags.org to register!

 

Last Minute Opportunity - 2 Spots Open at Next VGS Workshop

Posted 23 May 2018

The ever popular and informative VGS workshop - MAKING YOUR OWN FAMILY HISTORY BOOK by Allison Bond - is scheduled for this coming Saturday, 26 May 2018, 10 am to noon, at our VGS Centre at the Royal Oak Shopping Centre.  It never fails to get rave reviews.

TWO SEATS HAVE BECOME AVAILABLE.  First come first served.  Don't miss out on this unexpected opportunity.  Contact Monica at workshop@victoriags.org to reserve one of these spots now.

 

VGS at Highland Games a Great Success!

Posted 22 May 2018

Crowds at the VGS tent, Victoria Highland Games 2018VGS's unique support at the Victoria Highland Games was a rewarding success

The 155th Victoria Highland Games (May 19-21) was yet another successful and well attended event with an estimated 25,000 attendees over the weekend. Each year the Games organizers try to offer something new for attendees and this year, the Victoria Genealogical Society was asked to provide Games attendees with real time, genealogical internet searches. The Games provided the VGS with two tents prominently situated on the edge of the 'main square' which turned out to be a wonderfully central location. The Games also provided VGS with electricity, tables and chairs while the VGS provided computers, a printer, other resources and materials, and the experienced volunteers to perform the internet searches. The VGS approached a couple of the big genealogy companies to provide free searches and thankfully ScotlandsPeople came through with the critical support needed to make this effort a success. Thank you ScotlandsPeople.

The Highland Games attendees were excited to see this service provided and even more excited to learn it was FREE. With 2 online computers, for 3 days, mostly at 15 minute intervals our VGS volunteers introduced many people to the fascinating world of family history research. In ScotlandsPeople credit terms we used 1,150 credits which means over 190 images were retrieved and a lot more free searches were conducted. Of course ScotlandsPeople wasn't the only internet resource used so you get the idea - our volunteers had a steady stream of customers throughout the weekend. Many times we got so busy (as shown in this photo) that we had to resort to a reservation system which seemed to work quite well.

None of this could have happened without our VGS volunteers (13) who worked in shifts of 4 (2 doing lookups while the other 2 were helping passerbys with their questions about family history). But it was the enthusiasm of our volunteers that made this weekend such a resounding success. There was a constant stream fun and laughter as customers were surprised to be connected to their previously lost or unknown family history.

We had better start planning soon for next year's Games because we will likely be asked to provide this service again!

Photos courtesy of Merv Scott.  Scroll down to view a short video clip, courtesy of Paul Ross.

VGS offering free genealogy lookups at Highland Games

VGS offering free genealogy lookups at Victoria's Highland Games, May 19-21, 2018

VGS display at Victoria Highland Games, May 2018

VGS display board at Victoria's Highland Games, May 19-21, 2018

VGS notice board at Victoria Highland Games, May 2018

VGS signs offering free genealogy lookups at Victoria's Highland Games, May 19-21, 2018

VGS new banner at Victoria Highland Games, May 2018

Our new collapsible banner getting attention at Victoria's Highland Games, May 19-21, 2018

A short video clip of VGS at the Highland Games, courtesy of Paul Ross.

 

Every Family Has Stories ...

Every family has stores. Share yours with us.  Victoria Genealogical Society.


Scottish Research Help at the Highland Games

Posted 14 May 2018

Do you have Scottish Ancestry?  Not sure but would like to learn more?

Come to the 155th Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival on May 19th to 21st , and visit our Victoria Genealogical Society information and display tent and say Hi to our volunteers. FREE on-line searches will be conducted using Scotlandspeople to get you started researching your Scottish family history.

Take in one of three daily Scottish Genealogy Research presentations ‘Tracing your Scottish Ancestors’ in the Heritage Tent.

For more information check www.victoriahighlandgames.com.

PLEASE NOTE:
During this Highland Games, our VGS Learning and Resource Centre, 209-4475 Viewmont Avenue, (Pennbridge Building, Royal Oak Shopping Centre) WILL BE CLOSED on Saturday, May 19th to Monday, May 21st , and will re-open on Tuesday, May 22nd.

Come find out about the Victoria Genealogical Society at the Highland Games.

Victoria Genealogical Society offers family research help at the 2018 Victoria Highland Games

 

2 Spaces Only Left for Google Earth Workshop

Posted 16 Apr 2018

We have just had two spaces open up in next Saturday's Google Earth workshop - 21 Apr 2018 at 10am.

This introductory workshop will cover the basic components of Google Earth that will enable you to begin mapping your ancestor’s trail. Learn to create a map of the various places they lived or use descriptive place marks to map burial sites in a cemetery. The options of what you can do are endless!

*** First two emails requesting spots will get them. Register at: workshop@victoriags.org ***

Visit our Workshops page for more details.

 

New "CSI" SIG an Added Benefit for Members

Posted 7 Apr 2018 - Updated 18 Apr 2018

We are very pleased to announce a BRAND NEW Special Interest Group (SIG) for VGS Members, led by Melanie Arscott.  It is  called CSI - Crowd Sourced Intelligence and is based on her recent and very successful workshop of the same name.  It is a welcome new learning and networking opportunity for VGS MEMBERS ONLY, as a benefit of membership.

This SIG will meet at the Learning Centre on the 3rd Tuesday at 7 pm each month. This evening schedule will hopefully be accessible to more members.  The focus will be on researching items that have been donated to the VGS, which have an identifiable family connection (i.e. a name on them). Learn to pull out clues by careful observation, think logically about them and then search for answers in the many databases we have available to us all the while collaborating with others. The skills you learn here can then be applied to your own research - giving you more accurate results and building a clearer picture of your family. The aim is to return found items to their families, when possible.

 A special thank you to Melanie for her willingness to share her years of experience as genealogy researcher and facilitator with our VGS members.

Come and be amazed at what you can learn!

Visit our SIG page for more details on all our Special Interest Groups.

NEW - For quick access, SIGS for the current month are now also summarized
on our home page in the "What's Going On" side bar. ---->

 

Celebrations at March VGS Speaker Meeting

Posted 12 Mar 2018
Submitted by Merv Scott

Good fun at the last VGS Speaker Series on March 9. Presenter was Colin Neilson who spoke about his experience Hiking the Trail of 98 - The Chilkoot Trail. Mayor Atwell was in attendance (seen here with Colin and VGS President Pat Acton).

 And some Thrifty Foods Smile Cards users celebrated our reaching our fundraising goal this year. Thanks to all who participated.

Join us next month with Yvonne Van Ruskenveld's presentation "They Also Served - Animals of the Great War". April 12th, 7:30pm St Aidan's Lower Church Hall.

VGS Members at 9 Mar 2018 genealogy meeting raise their Thrify Smile Card

 

VGS President Pat Acton with Mayer Atwell and speaker Colin Neilson, 9 Mar 2018

 

New Hands-On CSI Workshop Gets High Praise

Posted 22 Feb 2018

Saturday, February 17th the VGS presented a brand-new workshop to 14 eager participants. "CSI: Genealogy" was created by long time member Melanie Arscott, who decided to try using “crowd sourced intelligence” to solve the mystery of the beautiful illustrated Bible, which was donated to the VGS.

Beautiful illustrated heirloom bible, subject of VGS research workshop

Melanie led the group in using a variety of resources, both online and in the VGS collection to try to determine the story of this Bible and the family it belongs to. Enthusiasm and participation was high as everyone worked as a group to piece the information together.

As shown, the final result was a wall-sized draft of a 4-generation family tree, created by the workshop participants with the use of large moveable post-it notes connected by felt pen lines on a large roll of paper. Melanie ended with a recap of the findings, and discussed possible next steps. Some of the most recent family members in the tree were identified, with the hope that they might still be living. The goal would be to locate and contact them in order to return this gorgeous old bible to the rightful family.

Wall mounted family tree draft created at VGS workshop

Participants had lots of great things to say:

  • "What a fantastic workshop experience. It was great to work as a team and very well done."
  • "Everyone was keen to find something relevant and the time flew by. Plus I think everyone took something away from it – learning while doing is always a good approach."
  • "What a neat idea for a workshop, it really appealed to my inner-Sherlock."
  • "The enthusiasm was infectious and I think we all did have a great time. It was an inspired subject for a workshop as we needed to do some lateral thinking, and the invaluable CSI Quick Links guide was so useful. I learned a lot and I’m sure the guide will be referred to frequently."

Group research workshop by Victoria Genealogical Society

Group research workshop by Victoria Genealogical Society

Group research workshop by Victoria Genealogical Society

Looking forward to offering this one again next season!

Schedule and details of our upcoming VGS workshops can be found on our events page.  

 

VGS Reaches Fundraising Goal for Thrifty Food's Smile Cards

Posted 6 Feb 2018

Thrifty Smile CardWe are excited to report that our Thrifty Food's Smile Card Fundraising Program has been a resounding success again this year and our Goal has again been reached! Congratulations to all our members and friends who participated by taking and using one of our Smile Cards. With over 100 Smile Cards being used by our members and friends we reached our goal limit of $3,000 set by Thrifty Foods.

If you have balances remaining on your Thrifty Smile Cards they still work so use up them up.

Don't throw away your Smile Cards as we plan to apply for funding under their new program year beginning in May. Watch for further news on this website.

PLEASE DON'T RETURN YOUR SMILE CARDS TO THRIFTY FOODS.

If you have any other questions about the Thrifty Foods Smile Card Program, please email Merv Scott at PR@victoriags.org

 

 New Membership Incentive Announced - Tell Your Friends!

Posted 6 Feb 2018

Do you know any non VGS members who might be interested in a trial VGS membership? As of February 1st the VGS is offering a special membership incentive - NEW memberships for half price!

That's right. People who have NEVER held a membership with VGS can purchase a short term membership (ends June 30th, 2018) allowing them the opportunity to try us out. They would be entitled to all the benefits of a full membership including free access to The Genealogy Learning & Research Centre, free access to resources like FindMyPast and Ancestry, free access to SIG discussion groups, reduced fees for workshops, and more.

This incentive ends on April 30th.  We hope you pass the word around. Let your friends and colleagues know about this opportunity. Thank you!

 

VGS Learning Centre now Open 3rd Thursday Evening of the Month

Posted 14 Jan 2018

We have talked about what other services we could provide to the VGS members. Membership Director Rick Deegan has been the first to come up with a concrete solution to the suggestion of evening openings.

Rick Deegan and Centre Director Cathie MacKenzie have volunteered to be at The Genealogy Learning and Research Centre, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM every 3rd Thursday of the month.

This will start this coming Thursday, January 18th.
The Genealogy Learning and Research Centre will be open from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.
PLEASE COME BEFORE 8:00pm WHEN EXTERIOR DOORS ARE LOCKED.
Free for VGS members.  $5.00 for non-members.

Please drop in if you: would like time to do some research; have brick walls or ancestor search problems to discuss, have questions you would like to discuss with others.

The Genealogy Learning and Research Centre will be open on the evening of the 3rd Thursday of every month.  Our regular opening hours will also continue.

Our opening hours (Sept - June) at the VGS Centre are now:

  • Monday - Friday: 12 noon to 3:00 pm
  • Saturday: 12 noon to 4:00 pm.
  • Thursday evening (3rd Thursday ONLY): 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Come visit us at

The Genealogy Learning and Research Centre
209 - 4475 Viewmont Avenue
(Pennbridge Building, Royal Oak Shopping Centre)
Victoria, BC, Canada



Previous Years of VGS news:   2017 - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010


 

VICTORIA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
~ LEARNING TOGETHER ~

The Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS), located in Victoria BC Canada,
was established in 1978 as a non-profit, volunteer-run society.
 
VGS's first aim is to further the study of genealogy -
the exciting search for one's ancestors and family history.

Our VGS Learning and Research Centre contains a a unique collection,
plus access to ancestry.com
to help you with your genealogy research.

Are you interested in researching your heritage and family tree?
Are you looking for others who share your enthusiasm for genealogy?
Are you looking for resources and help with your genealogy research?

We can help!  Learn more about us.  We hope you'll join us!