Victoria Genealogical Society
GENEALOGY & VGS NEWS Archive - 2012

Archive of news bulletins and announcements from VGS and beyond.
Our most recent news articles are located on our VGS Home page.



Merry Christmas from Victoria Genealogical Society

Help VGS Find Donations and Sponsors for March 2013 Silent Auction

As VGS does not receive any government funding and needs to be self-sustainable,
we must hold fundraising events throughout the year.
Read more below about how to help us collect items for our Silent Auction event next March.

Posted 19 December 2012


We need auctionable items for our March Silent Auction Fund Raiser, and we are asking for your help to spread the word. Do you have a favorite business (restaurant, fabulous hair dresser, green thumb gardener/landscaper, great accommodation, outstanding entertainment, etc.) that you could ask to support VGS by donating a gift certificate[s] or interesting items for auctioning?

When you approach these businesses, please take along copies of our official VGS request letter and a thank you coupon for a half day visit to our VGS Resource Centre to leave with each donor.  These documents can be downloaded here for printing yourself, or you can pick copies up at VGS meetings or at the Resource Center. If you are able, please pick up donated items and drop them off at either location prior to March meeting.

The businesses and organizations who make donations for our VGS Auction get new customers and great advertising, including having their name and contact information posted on our VGS donors web page.  And our Society raises needed funds.

We promise a fun evening on 14 March 2013, where you can bid on these auction items and support your very own VGS.

For more information please call or email Betty Thacker at 250-592-6587 or



Posted 7 December 2012

Piano keyboard with rose - musical entertainmentEveryone is invited to bring along a plate of sweet or savoury ‘fingerfood’ to share and join us in a fun-filled evening of entertainment with Victoria entertainers Sylvia and Bob Goodwin, who will delight us with nostalgic songs from the past.

Sylvia began her theatrical career in England as a dancer with the John Tiller Girls (Europe’s equivalent to the Rockettes). As a singer, she performed with a vocal group called the Dene Four (they had a top ten hit, Hush-a-Bye). Sylvia was also trained as a fashion model and following her move to Canada, continued modeling, directing and producing fashion shows; she resumed her musical career twenty five (25) years later. She has performed in Gilbert and Sullivan productions and as a vocalist with the Regency Concert Group, which Bob was the accompanist for. Sylvia is now a vocal instructor as well as performing.

Bob began his musical career in Edmonton, then on to Calgary, as a pianist, accompanist and organist. Upon moving to Victoria, he continued as a church organist, accompanist then becoming musical director for the Victoria Male Voice Choir; he was accompanist for Masques Theatre, Spot-On Theatre, and Island Singers. More recently, he is accompanist and assistant choir director for Spirit Rising Community Choir and has played for the Noteables show. He has also accompanied vocal students.  

Sylvia and Bob have been performing together for twenty years and they consider it their good fortune to be partners in both marriage and music.

Come early to view the book sales table and to network with other genealogy enthusiasts.

7:30 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm)
at the Gordon Head United Church Hall
4201 Tyndall Ave, Victoria, BC ~  View Map

Admission is free for VGS members, and by donation for visitors and the general public.


"Ask Granny" Wraps Up 2012 at Selkirk Place

Posted 5 December 2012

Victoria Genealogical Society volunteers were at Selkirk Place on December 4th, providing their final "Ask Granny" seminar of 2012. VGS's "Ask Granny" program began in April 2011 and since that time VGS volunteers have delivered the seminar 15 times to 123 participants. "It's been a great year" reports Merv Scott, Project Director, "and it's been a real privilege meeting so many wonderful seniors in our community".

For more information about the "Ask Granny" program please visit our VGS programs page, or email


"Ask Granny!” Visits Shannon Oaks

Posted 28 November 2012

Shannon Oaks retirement home, Oak Bay BCOn November 27th, volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society provided another of this fall’s series of “Ask Granny!” seminars, this time to residents at the Shannon Oaks retirement residence in Oak Bay. The seminar is a hands-on workshop where participants are shown how to use ancestor charts and family group records.

“After the hour this group were so keen they just wanted to keep going” reported Merv Scott, Project Director. “It just shows that there is a need within our community to help seniors capture on paper their irreplaceable memories of family names, dates and places".

During the seminar participants are provided a folder/booklet of information into which they also add their newly made charts. The folder is labeled “A Genealogical Gift To My Children” and participants are encouraged to store it with their important records. The seminar and materials are provided free to seniors thanks to generous donors from within the Victoria Genealogical Society.

The “Ask Granny!” volunteers are back on the road next week, providing one more seminar before they take a break for the holidays.

For information about the “Ask Granny!” program email


VGS Member Reunites with Childhood Neighbour at VGS Seminar

Posted 24 November 2012

At our annual VGS Genealogy Seminar held 20 Oct 2012 in Victoria BC,
one of our VGS members unexpectedly reconnected with a long lost neighbour from her childhood.
You never know when synchronicity is going to strike!  Here is Lois's story ...

Lois and Karen reunite at VGS SeminarI had anticipated attending my first Genealogy Seminar expecting to learn additional research techniques and make new contacts. What I had not anticipated was coming across a part of my own history. One of the display booths was a presentation by The Black History Society. While looking at their books on display, I mentioned to Karen at the booth that I had grown up next to the Alexanders. She asked which branch of the family. I answered the youngest was Kevin who went on to play lacrosse for the Shamrocks, the father was a chimney sweep and a wonderful older couple, whom I adored. My earliest and fondest memories were of the wonderful grandfather and how I was devastated when he died when I was four years old. Karen said the chimney sweep was Ken, her uncle, the grandfather was John and the house was at 910 Easter Road. I had lived at 914 Easter Road.

The memories came flooding back and I realized that Karen was this wonderful older child that lived next door and was often a playmate of mine. I had no brothers or sisters so naturally gravitated to this lively multi-generational family, who welcomed me as another child. We exchanged stories of the neighbours and neighbourhood and the tears flowed as I recalled long forgotten events. Fifty-five years melted away within seconds.

We continued to talk during the day as Karen showed me pictures of the long gone old house and her family. They were exactly as I remembered them. I asked to have my picture taken with Karen, as I wanted a copy for my genealogy record. Thank you, this means a lot to me.



Posted 22 November 2012

We continue to find Genealogy in the Classroom (GIC) being discussed and promoted by genealogy societies and other organizes both in Canada and the United States. It’s very gratifying to see that our program is reaching such a broad audience. Some of the latest sighting are:

  • GIC is now a featured link on the home page of Family History
  • GIC has been announced on genealogy websites including Family Tree Quest; CanGenealogy, family tree forum; rootschat forum on Cyndi’s List;; anglo-celtic connections blogspot; keoughcorner blogpspot
  • GIC has been announced on other non-genealogy websites including; HipHop News;, video and
  • An article about GIC was published in the Island Parent magazine, November 2011
  • GIC was announced in a newsletter from the St Louis County Library and a newsletter from the National Archives chapter in Indiana

We are very thankful to these and other organizations that have helped to announce or promote Genealogy in the Classroom.

Please continue to help us spread the word about our Genealogy in the Classroom resource website.  While your at it, why not try out some of the genealogy activities, and let us know what you think.


VGS Member to Speak at BCBHAS Meeting

Posted 15 November 2012

The BC Black History Awareness Society (BCBHAS) is presenting a lecture by VGS member, Bart Armstrong, Military Research Specialist, and the only known Canadian to research in depth on Canadians who went off to war with the US Forces.

Speaker: Bart Armstrong
Sunday ~ November 18, 2012 ~ 3:00 pm
Admission ~ By Donation
James Bay New Horizons Centre
234 Menzies Street, Victoria BC

Everyone welcome!  For further information, please download the African-Canadian Military History PDF document.


CONTACT a VGS Subject Matter Enthusiast (SME)

Posted 14 November 2012

As part of the Victoria Genealogical Society's new
 Subject Matter Enthusiast (SME) register and referral service for VGS members,
we are pleased to announce that eight subjects have now been added to our SME subject list.
Here’s how Dave Giacomelli, SME Coordinator, explains how to get help on one of these subjects ….

Do you want to know more about the area your Shetland Island ancestors lived in?

Did you have a grandfather who flew in Bomber Command and want to know more about what he experienced?

Do you need help with your genealogy software for your Mac or PC?

Did you find some Mennonite ancestors and want to know more about their religion?

Did one of your ancestors leave a really old book for you that you would like to know more about?

You get the gist – the focus of your query should be what you need to help you in the research of your family – those areas of the human experience that you need to help you visualize and round out the lives of your ancestors.

We have now published a list of eight subject areas that have a Subject Matter Enthusiast involved.  We will continue to keep you posted as more subjects are added to this SME Subjects list.

If you see a subject area in the SME Subjects list that will help you in understanding or researching your ancestors, then contact Dave Giacomelli, the SME Coordinator at and provide the following information:

Your name
Your VGS membership number
Your email address
Area of expertise in which you are interested (as advertised in the VGS in the Member’s Update Bulletin or in the list below)

Dave will then forward your request to the appropriate SME who will then contact you.  At that point it is up to the two of you to make your own arrangements to get together.

Just remember to limit your request to those subject areas that you see here in the coming weeks, as those are the areas for which SMEs have volunteered.  We are hopeful that once the initiative becomes more widely known within the  VGS that the list of subject areas will grow to become a really useful tool for our members.

We will continue to keep you posted on developments as this SME program grows.
For more details, please also visit our VGS Programs and Services page.



Posted 6 November 2012

The Victoria Genealogical Society is proud to announce the launch of
an exciting new service for its members:
a Subject Matter Enthusiast (SME) register and referral service
headed by Dave Giacomelli, SME Coordinator.  It’s all about members helping members.
Here’s what Dave has to say about the first steps in implementing this program….

Do you consider yourself knowledgeable in a particular subject area?

Are you willing to share that knowledge with another VGS member?

No, you don’t have to be an expert genealogy researcher. All you need is a passion and good knowledge level for your particular subject area. Your area of interest may not have anything to do with genealogy, yet it could be invaluable in helping a member round out their ancestor’s life experiences and their understanding as to what they went through in their early years, emigration, war, work ... The possibilities are endless...

For example, you might consider yourself quite knowledgeable in the settling of Western Canada, or a particular military campaign, or coal mining in Scotland, or now obsolete occupations, or how to get the best out of Ancestry ... Well, you get the point.

The VGS is endeavouring to compile and maintain a list of Subject Matter Enthusiasts (SME) who would be ready, willing and able to share their expertise with fellow VGS members.

If you’d like to engage with the VGS in this initiative to share knowledge and skills amongst its members, then please forward:

Your name
Telephone number
Email address
The Subject Matter about which you are Enthusiastic

to the VGS Subject Matter Enthusiast Coordinator at:

VGS member Dave Giacomelli is now the VGS SME Coordinator who will compile and maintain the list of SMEs. Your contact information will NOT be published anywhere. Members who want to avail themselves of your expertise would send an email to Dave at Dave would then pass on the email query to the appropriate SME who would then make their own arrangements to connect with the person making the query.

Think it over ... now is the chance to make good on all that specialized knowledge you have been storing away in the far corners of your brain!

We will continue to keep you posted on developments as this SME program grows.
For more details, please also visit our VGS Programs and Services page.


New Fund Raiser - Donate Your Gently Used Christmas Decorations

Posted 19 October 2012

VGS FUND RAISER - Nov 1 through  Dec 8, 2012

Recycle, Reuse - VGS Environmentally Friendly Initiative

You may no longer want some of your Christmas decorations but others would love them.  Bring them to the Resource Centre and, for a donation, others may enjoy them in their homes.

Please be sure that all electrical items are working.

VGS thanks you for your support.  For more information, contact Diana Gaiger.


Ask Granny's Most Senior Graduate!

Posted 19 October 2012

On October 17, 2012, volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society presented yet another in their series of Ask Granny! seminars, this time at the Amica at Beechwood Village retirement residence in picturesque Sidney-by-the Sea. Ask Granny! is a seminar that was designed to provide senior citizens the opportunity to create a genealogical gift for their children. The seminar and all materials are provided free to the seniors thanks to the Victoria Genealogical Society and some very special donations.

Ask Granny Seminar Group, Sidney BC Oct 2012

L-R: Victoria Genealogical Society volunteers Merv, Sharon and Sharon
with 101 year old resident John.

"At this seminar our most senior of seniors graduated", said Merv Scott, Project Director for the Victoria Genealogical Society. "Much to our surprise we learned that John will celebrate his 102nd birthday next week!"

Victoria Genealogical Society volunteers host an Ask Granny! seminar each month and are now booked to January, 2013. For more information about the Ask Granny! seminars visit our VGS Programs page, or email to arrange for an Ask Granny! seminar for your seniors.


BCGS Family History Book Award

Posted 11 October 2012

The British Columbia Genealogical Society (BCGS) is now accepting books to be considered for their annual BCGS Family History Book Award.

To be considered books must be written by a British Columbia author or relate to British Columbia family history and the books must be published in the current year (2012). Yes, self published family history stories are eligible.

The deadline for submission is February 15th 2013. To submit a book for consideration for the BCGS Family History Book Award send one copy to BCGS, PO Box 88054, Lansdowne Mall, Richmond, BC V6X 3T6 clearly marked ‘Book Award’. The British Columbia Genealogical Society Family History Award will be presented at the June 2013 meeting of the British Columbia Genealogical Society.

For more information about the BCGS Family History Book Award or the BCGS check their website at: or call Alice Marwood at 604-582-1548 or email


VGS in the Community

Posted 2 October 2012

Victoria Genealogical Society iconMerv Scott, VGS Project Director, gave a presentation to 40 attendees at the Juan De Fuca Seniors Center this past Thursday, Sept 27th. The topic was the importance of genealogy research and how VGS can assist ….and Merv reports there was a lot of interest and enthusiasm about the topic.

Some people brought photo albums and mementos while the hostess, Noreen, brought a massive multi paged ancestor chart that she had researched....which filled an entire wall in the ball room used for the presentation.

Merv reported that fun was had by all!


Ancestral Trails Video Rebroadcast on Shaw TV Last Weekend

Posted 2 October 2012

Last March, our local Shaw TV produced a 15-minute video titled "Ancestral Trails" showcasing the Victoria Genealogical Society, its Library and Resource Centre, and its services to assist people in their family history research.  It was produced by Lorraine Scollan, Video Journalist with Shaw TV and Melanie Arscott, then the President of VGS.  It includes great interviews with our very own Melanie Arscott (now our VGS Public Relations Coordinator, Merv Scott (VGS Project Director) and Diana Gaiger (VGS Resource Centre and Volunteer Coordinator).

This past weekend, Shaw rebroadcast this video in four different timeslots, so hopefully you got a chance to view it on your TV.  If not, don't worry, you can scroll up to the top of this page to find the link to the Ancestral Trails video and watch in on YouTube.  Then we hope to see you down at our Resource Centre in Victoria BC.

Thanks again to Shaw TV for their involvement and support of community organizations such as the Victoria Genealogical Society.


"Ask Granny!" Opens Fall Series

Posted 20 Sept 2012

Ask Granny program iconOn September 19th volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society were at Amica at Somerset House on Dallas Road where they presented the first of this fall's series of “Ask Granny!” seminars. Last season the team of dedicated volunteers provided 12 seminars to over 100 participants and received the "Ask Granny" Chapter of the Year Award from the American founders of the seminar.

"Our Fall calendar of monthly seminars is already booked thru to January of 2013" said Merv Scott, Project Director, "which is a reflection that there is a need within our community to help senior citizens capture on paper their irreplaceable memories of family names, dates and places". The team wish to thank the generous donors from the Victoria Genealogical Society who have made it possible to provide the "Ask Granny!" seminar materials free to seniors in the Greater Victoria community.


Radio Interview Coming on Saturday Sep 15, 2012

Posted 14 Sept 2012

VGS Project Director Merv Scott is to be interviewed on CFAX 1070 this Saturday morning - September 15 at 10:00 am.  The program is called Real Parenting and amongst other things, Merv will be talking about the VGS youth program "Genealogy in the Classroom".  Promo information has been posted on the CFAX Real Parenting site:

Please tune in!

BC Archives Launches New Genealogy Site

Posted 14 Sept 2012

The speaker at our VGS September general meeting was Archivist Ann ten Cate from the BC Archives - she was much anticipated and well received!

The BC Archives launched their new genealogy search site on Sept 4, 2012, which allows you access an improved index for close to two million BC of their birth, marriage and death records.  The good news is that the scanned image of the registration document can now be viewed online for about 700,000 of these indexed names.  The BC Archives is working in cooperation with BC Vital Stats (who control the release of such documents to the public, and are responsibility for linking the scanned images to the proper index record) and the folks (who did all the scanning and have re-indexed the collection for their site). is working independently to make the images available on their site, so you should check both their site as well as the BC Archives site when trying to locate an image.

With the site being so new, Ann admitted that they were having some "teething pains" with the site.  The server hasn't proved up to handling the volume, especially when a large number of search results are requested.  So the site has been down intermittently for upgrades and fixes, and some of the functions are currently disabled, but they are working on it!

The new section of the BC Archives site is now available from their home page: - then you click on the genealogy database link in their latest news announcement.

VGS Annual Seminar coming on Oct 20, 2012 - "Updating the Basics"

Posted 12 Sept 2012

The Victoria Genealogical Society’s Annual Seminar is an opportunity to learn from the experts, meet others with similar research interests, have fun with friends, support genealogy, and so much more.  Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about this upcoming VGS Seminar:

When is it?
October 20, 2012, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Who are the speakers and what will they be talking about?
1) Eunice Robinson is Education Chair and a Director of the British Columbia Genealogical Society and Facilitator of the BCGS Irish Group. She is an entertaining speaker and hasmany years of Irish research experience.
Topics: Eunice will present three (3) sessions: how to think outside the box; how to analyse records to provide additional research clues; and how to get recharged and re-inspired about your research.

2) Sandra Gill is a Professional Genealogist with more than forty years of professional genealogical research experience finding elusive ancestors. Moving from the paper world to the electronic one, Sandra has a strong background in the research process.
Topic: Sandra will show us the new revised and describe Family History
Centre (FHC) resources.

3) Scott Munro is an Adult Services Librarian from the Greater Victoria Public Library. Scott will bring the GVPL’s Technology Petting Zoo and describe some of the technological services available from the Library.

Where is it being held?
Vancouver Island Technology Park (VITP) Business Centre, Building #200, 4464 Markham St., Victoria, BC.
The Vancouver Island Technology Park (VITP) Business Centre is wheelchair accessible.

How do I get there?
By car: Parking is FREE on Saturdays! The easiest way to find the Vancouver Island Technology Park (VITP) is to go via West Saanich Road and Markham Street. The VITP Business Centre is located at the main entrance of the Technology Park. The seminar is being held in Building 200 (The Business Center) with ample parking at the front of the building.
By Bus: There is no frequent bus transportation on the weekends.
Catching a ride: VGS members wishing a ride or able to provide a ride should indicate this on their registration forms.

What does it cost?
The seminar fee is $65.00 for paid up VGS Members and $75.00 for nonmembers.

What does the seminar fee include?
The seminar includes five (5) sessions, lunch at the Hard Drive Café (on site), and two (2) refreshment breaks.

Is advance registration necessary?
Yes, advance registration by October 16th is required to allow space and meal planning.

Are registrations for half a day or partial days accepted?

Can I cancel at the last minute if I have already registered?
Registration may be cancelled with a 48-hour notice; the registration fee, minus $10 will be refunded.

I have special dietary requirements. Can this be accommodated?
Yes, dietary requirements can be accommodated; this should be indicated on the registration form.

Where can I get a registration form?
Download the 2012 VGS Seminar Registration form right here.  More details about the seminar can be found on the this website's events page. Copies of the registration form can also be obtained at the Resource Centre, 947 Alston Street.

What do I do with the registration form?
Mail registration form and cheque to:
Victoria Genealogical Society
Attention Seminar Committee
PO. Box 43021. Victoria North PO
Victoria, BC, Canada, V8X 3G2
Drop off at:
The Resource Centre
947 Alston Street, Victoria, BC

Can I pay electronically?
No, at this time the VGS can only accept payment by cheque or cash (please don’t send cash in the mail).

Can I pay by cheque or cash at the door?
No, pre-registration is required for space and meal planning.

Still need additional information?

We hope to see you there!


Greater Victoria Pioneers Index Expanded

Posted 25 Aug 2012

Did your ancestors move to Victoria and area before 1910?  Or would you like to learn more about  the pioneering families of this region and the stories behind the pioneer names awarded to some local landmarks, streets and buildings?  If so, then you're in luck. 

We are pleased to announce that our Pioneers Index has recently been expanded.  Thanks to our hard working volunteers, this index now includes pioneer names published in 793 newspaper clippings and magazine articles which are housed at our Victoria Genealogical Society's Resource Centre. 

This Pioneers Index is available online so you can look up the reference numbers before you visit our Resource Centre to read the articles.  If you can't make it in to our Resource Centre and want us to send you copies of relevant articles referenced in this index, please email the Queries Committee at, or send mail to:

Victoria Genealogical Society
100 – 180 Wilson Street
PO Box 45015, Westside PO
Victoria, BC, Canada  V9A 0C3


Don't miss our VGS Fall Open House

Posted 23 Aug 2012


We are the Victoria Genealogical Society and we can help take you on your genealogical adventure!

Come and meet us at our Fall Open House and find out what you've been missing.  Meet new and old friends.  Enjoy coffee, tea and treats.  Take part in our raffle.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2012, Saturday

11:00am to 4:00pm

VGS Resource Centre, 947 Alston Street, Victoria BC
(for directions, visit our VGS Resource Centre page)


VGS launches new on-line video for teachers and everyone else!

Posted 23 Aug 2012

Volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS) have created a video tutorial designed to introduce the VGS youth program, Genealogy in the Classroom, to teachers, youth leaders, parents and students. “Genealogy in the Classroom truly is a new way of introducing young people to the world of genealogy” says Merv Scott, Project Director for the Victoria Genealogical Society, “and this new on-line tutorial makes it even easier to use.”

VGS Webmaster Claudia Boorman used Screencast-O-Matic software to record the video, narrated by Merv Scott. You can view the video from the Genealogy in the Classroom home page, or on YouTube.

Everyone can help us spread the word about Genealogy in the Classroom. It’s easy, just email the link to our YouTube video to your contacts around the globe and you will be part of the team helping to bring genealogy to young people!



Posted 20 July 2012

DATE: Saturday, OCTOBER 20, 2012
TIME: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

PLACE: Vancouver Island Technology Park, Conference Centre
2201 - 4464 Markham Street, Saanich, BC


When all speakers are confirmed, full details will be posted on our events page
and emailed to our mailing list..

This year lunch will be served in a separate room.



Happy Canada Day Weekend!

Posted 30 June 2012

As both Canada Day and the start of a new VGS membership year both fall on July 1, it seems very fitting to not only celebrate both occasions, but to look back at the wonderful year now past, and to the bright year ahead.

Earlier in June we held our AGM, complete with an overview of the year's milestones, reports from executive members, and an election for the new executive members.  There was lots to be thankful for, including a record number of memberships and a healthy financial status thanks to our many generous donors.  We appreciate all who attended or supported our projects, events and services: workshops, seminar, queries, one-on-one assistance, refreshments, book sales etc.  

To all our dedicated and hard working executive volunteers who made it all happen - THANK YOU!  A special note of thanks to those leaving their posts on the executive (although some will still be active in new roles), and to those who have stepped forward to fill their shoes:

Past President: Melanie Arscott
Past Librarian: Pat Acton
Past Secretary: Cindy Petrowski
Past Treasurer: Barb Doell
Past Journal Editor: Peter Weinrich
Past Queries Coordinator: Leila Muldrew

Names of our new 2012 - 2013 Executive can be found on our contact page.  We will be in good hands!  We still need someone to step forward for the Secretary position, so if you can take minutes, we would really appreciate your help.

We're looking forward to another productive and successful year!


VGS Members Night - A Resounding Success!

Posted 11 May 2012

Once a year in May, VGS traditionally turns over the presentation portion of our monthly meeting to members who are willing to share stories and information about their own ancestral trails.  This year was no exception, with 4 members stepping forward with very interesting and entertaining presentations.

Kate Jones, a relatively new VGS member, compared the timelines of two of her ancestral families who journeyed from Ireland to Victoria, with the timeline of Victoria itself - this added some interesting historical context to her family events.  Presented with calm assurance and humor, somehow she even managed to bring James Brown into it!  Kate's Power Point presentation was filled with lovely photos, maps and even animated graphics, including the morphing of 2 photos of mother and son to show the close family resemblance.  Well done, Kate - you taught us all something new!

BBart Armstrong, who can always be counted on to bring military themes into his presentations, took inspiration this time from the occasion of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year.  He pointed out that the only other English monarch who reigned this long was our namesake, Queen Victoria, who celebrated her own Diamond Jubilee 150 years ago.  Did you know Queen Victoria's grandson wrote her a letter while off fighting with the troops, and complained about the cold weather, so she decided to crochet some scarves for thems?  She made only a few before she died (perhaps 8), which were awarded to the bravest of her soldiers.  One  of these scarves now resides in Canada.  Thanks Bart!

Pat Acton and Robert Brett proved that sometimes two researchers are better than one, especially when they collaborate.  Pat wanted to find out the identity of a uniformed man in one of her old unlabeled photos, and she was also curious about 2 brothers from Scotland who both had possible military designations after their names on their marriage certificates.  Robert joined in to try and solve the military connections, and managed to find a wealth of military records online that placed the brothers not only in Scotland, but in Australia and France, among other places.  They identified the man in the photo, and in a another later photo with his wife.  Their search continues for even more information.  Great job, and good luck on your further research.


“Ask Granny!” Visits the Kensington

Posted 24 Apr 2012

On 18 April 2012, volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society presented an “Ask Granny!” seminar to seniors of the Kensington retirement residence in Gordon Head.  This was the twelfth “Ask Granny!” seminar delivered since the program was introduced in April 2011 bringing the total of “Ask Granny!” participants in this first year to the nice round number of 100.  The volunteer team is now taking a break and will resume the next series of seminars in September.

“Meeting and talking to the participants has been a wonderful experience” reports Merv Scott, the Project Coordinator.  “But we couldn’t have provided this service to our community without the help of all of our volunteers or without the generous financial donations we received either” continued Merv.

It’s been a rewarding year for our “Ask Granny” team.  Their program was the subject of a front page news story in the Oak Bay News.  They won the “Ask Granny Chapter of the Year Award” for 2011 as selected by the American co-founders. And the program received two special donations totaling $1000 which will provide the necessary funding to keep the program going this coming fall.

“It’s clear to me” says Merv, “that we are fulfilling a need within our community to help senior citizens capture on paper their irreplaceable memories of family names, dates and places.  This information could have been lost forever if we hadn’t gotten it down on paper.  That’s all the inspiration needed to continue the program in the fall.”


"Ancestral Trail" - VGS Coming Soon on Shaw Cable

Posted 8 Mar 2012

Be sure to tune into Channel 11 - Shaw TV (Victoria, Saltspring and Pender Islands) - our local community access channel.  They will be broadcasting a 15 minute segment on the Victoria Genealogical Society, recently taped at the VGS Resource Centre here in Victoria.  “Ancestral Trail” will include interviews with VGS President Melanie Arscott, VGS Projects Director Merv Scott, and VGS Resource Centre and Volunteers Coordinator Diana Gaiger. There are 4 scheduled air dates:

Saturday March 10, 2012:
8:45am – 9:00am
9:45pm – 10:00pm

Sunday March 11, 2012:
1:15pm – 1:30pm
8:15pm – 8:30pm


"Ask Granny" Goes to Selkirk Place

Posted 7 Mar 2012

Selkirk Place, Victoria, BCVolunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society presented another in their series of “Ask Granny” seminars on Monday, February 27th. This time they were at the wonderful accommodations of Selkirk Place on Waterfront Crescent next to the Gorge waterfront. Merv Scott, Project Coordinator, reported that the seminar was fully booked as was the exercise room next door. “This was a great group” said Merv, “and obviously well supported by the recreation staff”.

This was the 11th “Ask Granny” seminar delivered by the Victoria Genealogical Society over the past year which has now provided an introduction to genealogy and ancestor charts to 108 participants. The hour long seminar is provided free thanks to generous donations received from Victoria Genealogical Society members.


"Ask Granny" visits Carlton House of Oak Bay

Posted 12 Feb 2012

Volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society proudly presented another "Ask Granny" seminar last week, this time at Carlton House in Oak Bay. The seminars are limited to 12 participants to ensure our volunteers can properly handle all the questions from participants. This was our 11th Ask Granny seminar delivered in the past year and the ever popular seminar was fully booked quite early. No doubt interest in the seminar at Carlton House was piqued by the front page story about the seminar which appeared in the Oak Bay News that same day and included a wonderful interview with one of the seminar registrants.

Merv Scott, the “Ask Granny” project coordinator, would like to thank Rowena Hendriks and the rest of the staff at Carlton House and of course the great group of enthusiastic participants and volunteers.

VGS Ask Granny Seminar at Carlton House, Victoria BC

Photo courtesy of the Recreation Coordinator at Carlton House, Victoria BC Canada.


VGS "Ask Granny" Seminars  Attract Local Media Coverage

Posted 15 Feb 2012

Our Victoria Genealogical Society's “Ask Granny” program continues to receive recognition. Today the Oak Bay News published a story titled "Piecing Together A Historical Puzzle" about “Ask Granny” that was likely picked up by other regional papers as well.  The article can be read by clicking on the following link:


Roots Tech Online Seminars

Posted 10 Feb 2012

For those of you who didn't manage to get to the Roots Tech 3-day conference held earlier this month in Salt Lake City, you may want to check out their website where you can access some videos from this wonderful event -


VGS Takes Their Award Winning “Ask Granny” Program To Somerset House - 31 Jan 2012

Posted 9 Feb 2012 by Merv Scott, Project Coordinator

Ask Granny seminar iconVolunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society were at the Amica at Somerset House retirement residence on Dallas Road this past Tuesday, January 31, presenting another of the Society’s on-going “Ask Granny!” educational outreach seminars. The 13 participants were all very engaged with the topic and the presenters enjoyed their enthusiasm. An important ingredient to a successful seminar is the facility and Somerset House certainly provided a great presentation room which included enough table work space for everyone.

During an “Ask Granny!” seminar the participants are provided an introduction to genealogy, then guided in the making of their very own ancestor charts. After the seminar the participants store their charts in the handy folder provided to them which is full of information and labeled “A Genealogical Gift To My Family”.

The seminar and the materials are provided free to the seniors thanks to the Victoria Genealogical Society, its volunteers, and an anonymous donor. The Society provides an “Ask Granny!” seminar monthly and, thanks to our generous donor, is now fully funded through this season’s bookings which concludes in May, 2012. This is our 9th Ask Granny Seminar since we adopted the program in April of 2011 and to date 85 participants have taken the Seminar.

“Ask Granny!” seminars are provided by genealogy societies in over 40 American States as well as communities in the U.K., Australia and Canada. For 2011 the American founders of the “Ask Granny” program selected a Canadian chapter, our Victoria Genealogical Society, for their “Chapter of the Year Award”.

For more information about the "Ask Granny!" seminars, visit our VGS programs page, or email Project Coordinator Merv Scott at


Snowy Weather Causes Workshop Cancellation, Resource Centre Closure

Posted 20 Jan 2012

The Resource Center was closed yesterday (Jan 19th) and today (Jan 20th) and Saturday (Jan 21) due to the weather conditions.  The Resource Center will reopen Monday, January 23, 2012 - normal hours.

Linda Boon’s January 21 workshop "Proof and the Family Historian: Separating Family Fiction from Fact" has been cancelled. Future announcements will be made about rescheduling this workshop.


VGS Receives Award for "Ask Granny" Program

Posted 14 Jan 2012

We are very pleased and proud to announce that the Victoria Genealogical Society's "Ask Granny" program has been awarded the "2011 Chapter of the Year" award by the wonderful folks at "Ask Granny" -

VGS Ask Granny Award Certificate 2011

The following announcement was also published in the "Ask Granny" newsletter on December 6, 2011:

“Ask Granny”© founders Judy Russell and Greg Crane are pleased to announce that the Victoria Genealogical Society of Victoria, BC, Canada, has been named “Ask Granny”© chapter of the year. The project group, led by Merv Scott, has not only worked to revise our “Ask Granny”© materials for Canadian spelling and usage, he has graciously offered to share those files with others in Canada.

Merv reports that their calendar is filled up through Spring of 2012 with “Granny” sessions in local retirement facilities. Our thanks go to Merv and his group for their excellent work and for keeping us posted."

Congratulations and thanks go out to Merv Scott and his hard working team of Ask Granny volunteers for implementing and managing this wonderful outreach program here is Victoria BC!  More information on this VGS "Ask Granny" program can be found on our programs page.


Happy New Year!

Posted 5 Jan 2012

After a break for the holiday season and to investigate some technical issues, we are back and ready to roll for the start of the new year. We're now catching up with updates to the site. 

We are continuing with our popular genealogy workshop series - check out the upcoming workshops, now updated on this site.


Website news bulletins started in December 2010.                Back to recent VGS news