Victoria Genealogical Society
GENEALOGY & VGS NEWS Archive - 2013

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


VGS Resource Centre Christmas Schedule

Posted 13 Dec 2013

Christmas season is a time to celebrate with family and friends.  To give our hard working VGS volunteers a chance to do just that, our VGS Resource centre will closed over Christmas.


The VGS Resource Centre will be be
 OPEN up to including 21 Dec 2013 (Saturday)
- regular hours apply -

 but will be CLOSED from
22 Dec 2013 (Sunday)  -  5 Jan 2014 (Sunday)

We will reopen on 6 Jan 2014 (Monday)



The Times Colonist Covers our "Voices of the Past" Memory Project

Posted 22 Nov 2013

Since our launch of our new digital memory project "Voices of the Past" in October 2013, we have held the first of several story-recording sessions at the Greater Victoria Public Library.  Times Colonist journalist Richard Watts was on hand to witness an interview and talk to both Merv Scott, VGS project leader for "Voices of the Past", and Sula Brown who was sharing her amazing heritage stories with us.

The article in Victoria's Times Colonist is titled "Voices of the Past program allows history to speak for itself" and also includes interviews with Trudie Duxbury who already has some wonderful stories on our "Voices" website.

For those interested in having their stories recorded, please check out our "Voices of the Past" website, or contact VGS Project Director Merv Scott at


"The Martlett" Announces Donation to VGS

Posted 21 Nov 2013

The independent newspaper "The Martlett" housed at the University of Victoria recently interviewed VGS Project Director Merv Scott and local genealogist Judy Wasylenko concerning Judy's recent donation to the Victoria Genealogical Society of her extensive burial data files.  Judy has been indexing burials in cemeteries since the 1980s and has amassed over 100,000 names in 46 cemeteries on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands here on the west coast of British Columbia.

For full details please read the complete article titled "Local Genealogist Makes Large Donation to Victoria Genealogical Society" online, as published by The Martlett.

Judy's information has now been utilized in our online burial index for all to search.  Learn more on our Burial and Cemetery Index page.

Judy, we are truly grateful for all your hard work and generosity.  Your burial information is destined to help many family researchers in the years to come.



Posted 20 Nov 2013

The Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) continues to support the VGS "Voices of the Past" memory project by providing promotional materials and recording space at their various libraries in and around Victoria, BC, Canada.

Our first GVPL recording session was held 15 Nov 2013, and we are proud to announce that three new stories have now been posted on our new "Voices of the Past"  heritage theme page.

Upcoming and FREE recording sessions at GVPL have now been scheduled for "Voices of the Past":

  • Dec 10, 2013 - GVPL Central Branch
  • Jan 30, 2013 - GVPL Oak Bay Branch
  • Mar 25, 2014 - GVPL Juan De Fuca Branch

People must register in advance to reserve a free time slot.
To register, please send your email to


VGS Volunteers support Remembrance Day events

Merv Scott manning the VGS booth on Remembrance Day, Royal BC Museum, Victoria BCPosted 14 Nov 2013

The Royal BC Museum was a main venue for a variety of Remembrance Day events this past weekend, and again this year they invited the VGS to join the fun.

VGS volunteers put together a thoughtful display for the event which was placed in the main foyer of the museum. The museum is always a busy venue and it took a team of VGS volunteers to staff the display booth over the 2 day event, answering questions from onlookers and otherwise promoting genealogy.

Thanks to all the volunteers involved, including Merv Scott, who is shown here manning the VGS display.


VGS Presented "10 Steps to Success" at Public Library

Posted 6 Nov 2013

Joanne and Merv present 10 Steps to Success genealogy seminar, Victoria BC
VGS Ambassador Joanne Barnard and
VGS Project Director Merv Scott present a
90-minute genealogy seminar "10 Steps to Success"

Volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS) presented another "10 Steps to Success" seminar on November 5, at the Greater Victoria Public Library’s Nellie McClung Branch.

Presented by Merv Scott (VGS’s Project Director) and Joanne Barnard (VGS Ambassador), this seminar provided an introduction to genealogy and included a review of certain principles to guide one's research. With lots of hints and anecdotes, and stories about mistakes that beginning researchers make, the audience of about 30 attendees seemed to enjoy themselves.

If other organizations are interested in having a family history presentation or discussion at their meeting or facility, they are encouraged to email Joanne at



New VGS Burial and Cemetery Indexes Launched

Posted 6 Nov 2013

Pat, Judy, Claudia and Merv celebrate the launch of VGS burial indexes.
VGS President Pat Acton and Judy Wasylenko who donated her extensive burial data files to VGS, celebrate the launch of the resulting burial indexes with team members Claudia Boorman (VGS Webmaster) and Merv Scott (VGS Project Director).

At the recent VGS Annual Seminar held on Oct 26, local genealogist Judy Wasylenko was recognized for the generous donation of her years of work collecting burial file information. Judy has been recording and transcribing memorials inscriptions in cemeteries throughout Alberta and Vancouver Island since the early 1980’s. Whether on her own or with teams of volunteers, Judy’s goal has always been to make this information more accessible to others and to that end Judy recently donated her impressive Vancouver Island collection of research to the Victoria Genealogical Society.

Judy's impressive collection contains over 100,000 names from 46 cemeteries located in southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia. “What sets Judy’s work apart from other collections of memorial inscriptions,” says Pat Acton, President of the Victoria Genealogical Society, “is that wherever she could Judy has added information from the cemetery or official government or death records. The end product is a wonderful resource for family history researchers and represents an incredible dedication by Judy”.

With such a generous donation, VGS Webmaster Claudia Boorman worked with Judy and Merv Scott, VGS Project Director, to develop the information for access at the VGS Resource Centre and Library. To make the information more accessible to all family history researchers, Claudia also developed lists of names and cemeteries for online access. “Today we are celebrating Family History Month with the launch of a new and free online index system for these burial files” reported Claudia. “Anyone who ever wondered if a person they are researching was interred on southern Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands can now access our free online burial indexes and find out.”

Start exploring our new online burial indexes now!  It's easy to access by clicking on the "Burial Index" button in the Quick Links section at the top of our VGS home page.

For more details on this project and launch, view the full Burials Index News Release (download PDF document).


Dick Eastman Helps Promote our "Voices of the Past" Memories Service

Posted 29 Oct 2013

Dick Eastman, genealogy bloggerMany thanks to Dick Eastman, well known genealogy blogger, who is helping to promote our new Voices of the Past" memories project and community service by rebroadcasting our recent press release to his extensive online audience.

We encourage anyone in the Greater Victoria area in BC Canada to contact Merv at to set up a recording session for you, a friend and/or a relative.  Everyone has at least one story they need to share!

Check out our new "Voices of the Past" website to see what all the fuss is about!


VGS Announces New Genealogy Research Guide for Victoria BC

Posted 26 Oct 2013

Researching in Victoria Book Cover - VGS PublicationThe Victoria Genealogical Society launched their latest publication at their Annual Genealogy Seminar event, held today at the Vancouver Island Information Technology Park.  The book was compiled and edited by Jo Ann Allan and is titled Researching in Victoria – A Catalogue of Genealogical Resources.

This book contains 39 pages of potential treasure troves for genealogy researchers.  There is a long list of local records centers included in the book and each are described fully with full contact information, website addresses, hours of operation, genealogical related records series available, and much more.  These records centers include local archives, museums, cemeteries, churches, funeral homes, Land Titles offices, and libraries.  The book also describes various special collections like school records, hospital records, police records, court records, services clubs and more.

This book is a must have for any family history researcher wondering where to look for records in Victoria BC Canada.  The book sells for $8 and can be purchased at the Victoria Genealogical Society Resource Centre at 947 Alston Street.   For more information or to order this book, please contact Merv at



VGS Launches Memory Project - "Voices of the Past"

Posted 26 Oct 2013

  VGS launches digital memory project - team members Pat, Claudia and Merv
VGS President Pat Acton celebrates the launch of our new digital memory project "Voices of the Past"  with team members Claudia Boorman and Merv Scott.

The Victoria Genealogical Society is proud to announce the launch of " Voices of the Past" - creating family history legacies with the power of spoken words.

In front of an enthusiastic crowd of 60 plus attendees to the VGS Annual Genealogy Seminar today, VGS Project Director Merv Scott announced that the new "Voices of the Past" website was now online here on

Voices of the Past was designed to provide seniors the opportunity to have their autobiographical stories recorded and preserved digitally where family members, friends and others can enjoy them now and in the future, and from anywhere in the world.

The first few stories that have been recorded by volunteers are now posted to these new web pages. Just click on the "Voices of the Past" button above in the Quick Links section, or click on "Voices" in the above menu bar to access the drop down menu links to this new section of our website.

Voices of the Past home page screenshotUpcoming recording sessions are scheduled for November 15, 2013 and December 10, 2013 at the Greater Victoria Public Library and November 21, 2013 at the VGS Resource Centre. Don't miss these limited time opportunities to have your story, or your loved one's story, recorded and posted to Voices of the Past.

Advance registration is required to reserve a recording session time slot. Register by email to

More details are available by downloading the full media News Release for Voices of the Past - Creating Family History Legacies with the Power of Spoken Words.

Please help us spread the word about this program and community service by downloading and sharing our Voices of the Past Poster with others.


VGS Presentation Hosted by the Greater Victoria Public Library

Posted 25 Oct 2013

Greater Victoria Public Library entrance Volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS) presented a 90 minute seminar at the Greater Victoria Public Library’s Central Branch this past Wednesday, October 23, to an eager group of new family history researchers. Dubbed “10 Steps to Success”, it was presented by Merv Scott (VGS’s Project Director) and Joanne Barnard (VGS Ambassador).

This presentation provides a step-by-step process towards genealogical success. It reviews principles to guide one's research and includes lots of hints and anecdotes about mistakes that beginning researchers make. Everyone is always interested in hearing about the latest trends in technology which were discussed in a section focusing on putting the internet to work for you, rather than the other way around.

If you missed this presentation, the Greater Victoria Public Library has scheduled a repeat for November 5th from 2pm to 3:30 at the Nellie McClung Branch. The seminar is free. To register go to the GVPL Programs and Events website at

If other organizations are interested in having a family history presentation or discussion at their meeting/facility, they are encouraged to email Joanne at


VGS Special Interest Group (SIG) Expands to all of England

Posted 21 Oct 2013

At the VGS general meeting in September, VGS Librarian Heather Shave announced that the Southwest England SIG was expanding to welcome VGS members who are researching their family history anywhere in England.  Subsequently at the September SIG meeting we were pleased to welcome 3 new members, and hope that even more will attend in the future.

This group always meets on the 4th Friday of every month (except in the summer), so the date of their next meeting is fast approaching on Friday, 25 October 2013.  The time of these meetings has now been changed to 10:00 am, ending at noon, in the main room of our VGS Resource Centre, so we can have more space as well as access to the resources during the meeting.

SIG members always welcome hearing each other's family and research stories, and they often offer tips, which may just be the clue you need to help break through a roadblock in your research!  In all of England, similar research strategies can be used because of the common record systems, sources and history.  It is also quite common for researchers to find they have ancestors in more than one region of England, so this will allow SIG members to learn more about the different challenges as well as solutions when researching in the different England counties. 

All VGS members with English roots are invited to attend, as a benefit of your membership.  We welcome both beginners and experienced researchers and everyone in between.  It's a great opportunity for you to network and socialize with fellow genealogy enthusiasts.  We hope you join us!


VGS Announces New Online Payment System

Posted 13 Oct 2013

At our VGS general meeting on 10 Oct 2013, it was announced that the first phase of our new online payment system has just been implemented.  Members have long been asking for a way to make online credit card payments for our products and services, and we have now taken our first steps in this direction.  Now sanctioned by the VGS Executive, and under the control of our VGS Treasurer and Webmaster  to ensure that all financial and security requirements are properly met, we have recently opened a Paypal account as a secure and reliable way to handle online payments.  Customers will click on a button on our website to make a purchase, and have the choice of using their own Paypal account or their credit card to make their payment.

"With our annual VGS seminar fast approaching on October 26th" explained Claudia Boorman, VGS Webmaster, "we decided that our first product for implementation should be for our seminar registration fees.  The timing was right.  I have now inserted a new 'Buy Now' Paypal button on the new seminar page on our website.  There you will be asked to select the applicable type of registration (for a member or non-member), enter your name and membership number (if applicable), and click on the button to process your payment.  I have personally 'put my money where my mouth is' and was the first to use this new system to buy my own seminar registration.  The process was easy and I received verification from Paypal giving details of my payment to VGS.  I have previously implemented a Paypal system on another website, and know it to be secure."

The deadline for our seminar registration is October 18, 2013, so you still have a chance to try out this new payment option if you wish.  Registration forms must still be completed regardless of how payment is made, as other details are required - check the seminar page for full details.

"This is only the first of several Paypal buttons that will be added to our website," continued Claudia.  "Separate buttons are required for each different product.  I will be working closely with each department in turn to add similar payment options for VGS Memberships, Queries, Publications, Donations and more.  Procedures have already been put in place so that each department will be properly notified as orders and payments are received, to ensure that products and services are delivered as required."

This Paypal system will be an added benefit for members and other customers, wherever they may live, and will make it easier to handle out-of-country requests. Wherever you have access to the internet and our website you can make a payment without the need of a cheque book, and perhaps not an envelop and stamp as well.  It will now be easier for you to support the VGS with the click of a button!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this online Paypal system, please contact Claudia at


VGS Seminar - Early Bird Registration Deadline is October 11, 2013

Posted 6 Oct 2013

Everyone is getting exciting about our upcoming annual VGS Genealogy Seminar on 26 Oct 2013. The Seminar Program has now been finalized with a great lineup of speakers who will address the theme of "AT A CROSSROADS: THE CELTIC CONNECTION - Where Do I Go From Here?".  Whether you're a beginner or an experienced researcher in UK records, this seminar is for you.  And as always it is a fun opportunity to network with other genealogy researchers, enjoy a lovely catered lunch and coffee breaks, and spend a day immersed in your favorite hobby: genealogy!

If you register early (no later than at our VGS meeting on Thursday night, 11 Oct 2013), you can save $5.00 off your admission.  Early bird rates are $65.00 (rather than $70.00) for VGS members, and $75.00 (rather than $80.00) for non-members.

Further details on our VGS Seminar are located on our seminar page, or you can download the following PDF documents.  We hope to see you there.  Register today!

VGS Seminar Poster, 2013
VGS Seminar Program, 2013
VGS Seminar FAQs, 2013
VGS Seminar Registration Form, 2013


Census Project - Volunteers Needed

Posted 6 Oct 2013

DDo you use the census in your research? Would you like to have the 1921 census indexed instead of browse only? Then maybe you could help the Saanich Archives with their latest project. If every community did their area, we would soon have the whole census done.

If you do contact them, please let them know that you are from VGS and that we are supporting them by finding volunteers. Thank you for your time and help with this important project:


This work can be completed at home on your own computer. You can work from electronic or hard copy printouts of the census. Some experience with MS Excel is necessary. Time commitment is flexible.

Sign up or read more at:

For more information about this project:
CCaroline Duncan at Saanich Archives
Phone: 250-475-1775 ext. 3478


VGS Member to Speak at October Black History Awareness Soc. Meeting

Posted 5 Oct 2013

IIn celebration of Women's History Month in Canada, local historian, writer and VGS member Merna Forster will give a presentation on notable Black women in Canadian history. Merna will share stories and images of some of the Black women featured in her books, from the first female police officer in North America to the first woman to found, publish and edit a newspaper in Canada.

Merna is the creator of the popular website A Guide to Women in Canadian History, as well as the author of "100 Canadian Heroines" and "100 More Canadian Heroines".

YYou are invited to join Merna and the BC Black History Awareness Society (BCBHAS) at their October monthly meeting:

WHEN: Sunday October 20th, 2013, at 2:00 PM
WHERE: James Bay New Horizons Centre, 234 Menzies Street, Victoria BC  V8V 2G7

From more information, please call (250) 386-3035.


“Ask Granny!” Seminar Kicks Off The Fall Season With Smiles All Around

PPosted 12 Sep 2013 by Merv Scott, Member #1269

Ask Granny seminar at the Willows, Victoria BC Sep 2013
Ask Granny genealogy workshop at The Willows, Victoria, BC

OOn September 9th volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society were at The Willows on Shelbourne Street where they presented the first of this fall's series of “Ask Granny!” seminars.

The seminar is a hands-on workshop where participants are shown how to use ancestor charts and family group records. 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 popularity of Ask Granny 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" said Merv Scott, Project Director, Victoria Genealogical Society. “It’s a privilege to assist in any way we can.”

 The “Ask Granny!” seminar and materials are provided FREE to seniors thanks to generous donors from within the Victoria Genealogical Society.

Organizations wanting the Victoria Genealogical Society to present “Ask Granny!” to their seniors can email or call 250-360-2808.



Posted 7 Aug 2013

Start off the fall on the right foot with a fun visit to the Victoria Genealogical Society’s Resource Centre.

Bring a friend or two to the Resource Centre to meet some of our great volunteers, see what we have to offer, share a cup of tea or coffee and treats. And there are door prizes.

Renew or start a new membership while catching up on the latest news from VGS.

WHEN? September 7, 2013
TIME? 11 am to 4 pm
WHERE? 947 Alston St. (view map)
WHY? Because we are a great place to visit!

Download our VGS Fall Open House poster to share with others.  We hope to see you there!



Posted 15 Jul 2013

Summer is the perfect time to continue your genealogy research at our VGS resource centre, which remains open this summer just for you! 

We change the Resource Centre hours in the summer due to the heat. Summer hours are 11 am to 2 pm Monday to Saturday. The Resource Center summer hours are from July 2nd to August 31st. We are closed September 2nd. Starting September 3rd we go back to regular hours-12 to 3 Monday to Friday and Saturday is 12 to 4 pm.

If there is a particular volunteer that you wish to meet with, please check the calendar at the RC or phone the RC 250-360-2808 as some volunteers are away or have changed shifts to keep the RC open for the summer.

Resource Centre volunteers recently assisted a visitor from Luxembourg wondering what had become of her father's favourite uncle who had emigrated from Germany to Canada. She knew nothing of when he had come to Canada or which area he had lived in. She only knew that he was a farmer and had come possibly in the 1930's.

With only a first name (only a nickname it turned out) and a surname which was luckily quite rare, our trusty volunteers were able to turn up a possible link on an Electoral Register which led to the discovery of a possible wife and, through her, a Family Tree online complete with an obituary for the long lost uncle and a gravestone photo! To cap it off, a search of our VGS library catalogue produced a history of the small Alberta town which included a history of the wife's family written by her and giving a marriage year as well.

Less than three hours after entering our Resource Centre, the young lady from Luxembourg left, very emotional and armed with more information about her ancestor than she had ever hoped to find, including the name, address and phone number of a probable family member."

It's not too soon to reserve these dates on your calendars for upcoming VGS events this Fall.

OPEN HOUSE: September 7, 2013 is the Resource Centre Open House. Please come & bring at least one friend so that they can see the Resource Centre and meet some of the volunteers. More information will be announced about the open house closer to the date.

WORKSHOPS: September 14th will be the first workshop of the 2013-2014 year, held as always at our VGS Resource Centre.  Details will be posted as soon as available.

We take pleasure in announcing a new member to the workshop team. Elaine Fraser has kindly stepped forward to organize the workshop schedule for VGS. Please contact Elaine at with your ideas or requests for workshops. Your offer of doing a workshop on a certain subject of your choice is also more than welcome. As you know, we put a lot of time and effort into the workshops so ideas and help are greatly appreciated.

ANNUAL SEMINAR:  October 26th Annual VGS Seminar – details to be announced soon.


Posted 22 May 2013

Victoria Genealogical Society display at Victoria Highland Games
Our new VGS display tent in action at the
2013 Victoria Highland Games

The 150th Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival was held this past weekend, May 18 & 19, 2013, at Topaz Park in Victoria BC. Newspaper and TV coverage reported that over 25,000 people took in the events which included the International Heavy Events competitions, Scottish Country Dancing competitions, massed pipe bands, shepherding skills demonstrations and sheepdog herding trials, and the ever popular haggis hurling. Of course there were all sorts of Scottish shops as well as vendors for food and other forms of sustenance.

Again this year the Victoria Genealogical Society supported this local event by hosting an information and display booth which was conveniently located amongst the Clan booths and right on the tour made by the Duke of York.

This year VGS volunteers developed a display that focused on the genealogy records of some local early residents. This proved to be a great draw for many of the passer-bys as lots stopped in to discuss genealogy. Adding to the fun were a few passer-bys who claimed they were living descendants of people highlighted in our displays. Good fun was had by all!

Duke of York enjoys Highland Games in Victoria
Prince Andrew, Duke of York had fun at the
Victoria Highland Games

Hosting such events takes coordination and dedicated volunteers and the Victoria Genealogical Society was well represented again this year. The volunteers all seemed to enjoy the weekend’s activities and also appreciated our new tent which offered more height and the luxury of walls to prevent the winds from blowing our materials about.

The Victoria Genealogical Society was also invited to host a presentation over at the Highland Games’ Heritage Tent - which was the site of ongoing presentations throughout the weekend. Pat Acton (VGS President) and Merv Scott (VGS Project Director) took up the challenge and provided a seminar dubbed “Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors” which provided the attendees to an introduction to genealogy research with a focus on researching Scottish records. The seminar was well received as were the free ScotlandsPeople credit vouchers donated by ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh.

It was a successful weekend thanks to all the volunteers involved!


VGS Booth and Seminar at Upcoming Highland Games

Posted 16 May 2013

Victoria Genealogical Society volunteers will be hosting an information and display booth at this weekend's Victoria Highland Games - May 18 and 19, 2013. It should be a great weekend and maybe Prince Andrew will drop in to visit us?

The Games is also providing a number of presentations in their Heritage Tent including one from VGS.

Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors - is an introduction to genealogy with a focus on researching Scottish records. The seminar is Sunday, from 1:45 to 3:10 in the Heritage Tent. If you know of anyone new to genealogy who might benefit please let them know so that we're not alone there.   We've got free ScotlandsPeople credit vouchers, and we also have Wifi so will be doing some free look ups for people too.

Please let your friends know.  For more information on the Victoria Highland games, please visit their website at  - click on Games > Events Schedule.  We hope to see you there.


VGS Member’s Research Leads To Ceremony for War Hero

Posted 10 May 2013

Bart Armstrong, local historian and VGS member, chaired the committee and spoke at the ceremony on 8 May 2013 for the unveiling of a new Commonwealth War Graves Commission marker for local WW1 hero Rowland Bourke VC DSO.

Commonwealth War Commission marker for WW1 hero Rowland Bourke   Bart Armsstrong speakes at unveiling cememony for headstone of Rowland Bourke VC DSO

Media coverage of this event included articles and photos by BC Local News
and coverage on our local CTV station.

Posted 7 May 2013

Rowland Bourke VC DSO, Victoria Cross recipientVVGS member and local historian Bart Armstrong has a passion for military research, especially when it involves Canadian recipients of the Medal of Honour and the Victoria Cross.  For the past several years he has been working hard to honour the late, long time Victoria area resident and military war hero Rowland Bourke VC. DSO, with a new Commonwealth War Graves Commission marker for his grave in Royal Oak Cemetery.  This new marker is now ready to be unveiled.

The Monument Unveiling Committee (Bart Armstrong, HMS Malahat, Royal Oak Burial Park and Bourke descendants) invite the media and the public to witness the unveiling of a new marker honouring Rowland Bourke VC, DSO in Victoria BC. The one hour ceremony is open to the public and there is no charge. There will be an opportunity to lay wreaths.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 , must be seated by 12.50 p.m. for a 1 p.m. start.

WHERE:  Royal Oak Burial Park, 4673 Falais Drive, Victoria (Section O, Plot 10, grave 16)

PARKING: Available on site

The marker will be the only one of its kind on Vancouver Island and only one of 2 in British Columbia.

Participating in the ceremony will be the Belgium Ambassador to Canada, a representative from the British High Commission at Ottawa, the Rear Admiral of MARPAC, other senior naval officers, a Guard of Honor, and descendants of Mr. Bourke.

Letters will be read bringing best wishes from The Honourable Lt Governor of BC, and hopefully Ottawa. Several retired Rear Admirals and other high ranking officers have been invited as well as those from the local political, archival and military communities

Bart has posted the following articles on his blog with further details on Rowland Bourke VC, DSO:
Rowland Bourke - Sailor Unfit For Duty Earns Equivalent to 2 Victoria Crosses
Rowland Bourke - Couldn't See To Get Out Of Way - Earns Victoria Cross Instead


Reactivate Those Thrifty Smile Cards

Posted 7 May 2013

Thrifty Smile Card Fundraising Program
Thrifty Foods Smile Card Fundraising Program -
a new $2000 goal for VGS
now approved

Thrifty Foods has approved our participation in their Smile Card Fundraising Program for another year. We hope that you will support the Library Fund Raising Program and reactivate the Smile Card you previously received from the VGS, or pick up a new Card. Smile Cards are available at the Resource Center and are free for members and non-members. Please do not ask for a Smile Card at a Thrifty Foods store as other Smile Cards will not be linked to VGS.

Thrifty Foods Smile Cards work like most other gift cards you may have seen, but when you ‘load’ money into your Smile Card, Thrifty’s makes a donation to our VGS Fund Raising drive for new books and subscriptions for our Library. Thrifty’s donation is equivalent to 5% of what you’ve ‘loaded’ or paid into your Smile Card….which clears up the misconception that your card is only loaded with 95% of what you paid and the other 5% was sent to VGS. False. Thrifty’s pays the 5% from their revenues which is a real win for you.

Even if you only shop at Thrifty’s occasionally you will be helping our Library.

Our Smile Card holders can pay by cash or credit card when they ‘load’ their Smile Card at the Customer Service counter or a cashier in any Thrifty’s store they shop. Remember to load your Smile Card before your groceries are rung in.

Members in the Thrifty’s loyalty program still collect points when they use the Smile Card to make a grocery purchase and the balance remaining on your Smile Card shows on the receipt. Smile Cards can be re-loaded so don’t throw them away!

If you have any questions about the Smile Card program, please contact Merv Scott at - NOT Thrifty’s. Merv has a contact at Thrifty’s to sort out our questions.


"10 Steps To Success" Seminar Presented In Oak Bay

Posted 16 Apr 2013

Monterey Recreation Centre, Oak Bay, Victoria BCVolunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS) were at the Monterey Recreation Centre on April 11, 2013, providing a seminar dubbed "10 Steps to Success" to members of the Family History Club there.

Merv Scott (VGS Project Director) and Joanne Barnard (VGS Ambassador) led the attendees thru the seminar which provides a step-by-step process towards genealogical success. The seminar reviews principles to guide one's research and includes lots of hints and anecdotes about mistakes that beginning researchers make. Everyone is always interested in hearing about the latest trends in technology which were discussed in a section focusing on putting the internet to work for you, rather than the other way around.

If other organizations are interested in having a family history presentation or discussion at their meeting/facility they are encouraged to email Merv at


"Fun"raising Silent Auction a Success!

Posted 4 Apr 2013

VGS silent auction winner and presenters
Winning smiles and good times were had by
all who attended this successful VGS fundraiser.
ViVisit the event's MC Linda Schaumleffel at

Last month's VGS general meeting, held on 14 Mar 2013, was the scene of a fun as well as successful Silent Auction fundraiser for the Victoria Genealogical Society.  The evening was organized by VGS member Betty Thacker and her wonderful team of volunteers.  We also appreciate those VGS members who provided or helped solicit donations.

ReRecruited as MC for the evening, Linda Schaumleffel brought her own brand of energy and humour to her role, quickly getting everyone enthused about the items up for bid.  In addition to the tables of items along the sides and back of the room, the tables across the front of the hall held baskets and items for the "loonie" auction.  Linda encouraged everyone to buy "arms length" worth of tickets that they could use to enter a raffle for any or all of the front table items of their choice.  Then after the draw for each item was made, the winner's photo was taken with the presenters.  As you can see from this picture, there were smiles all around!

Many thanks to all who volunteered, donated, and participated to make this a successful fundraising event.  Please continue to support the businesses who support VGS.

 More photos of some of the happy winners can be viewed on our VGS events page.


Berwick House Hosts Genealogy Seminar “10 Steps to Success”

Posted 31 March 2013

Genealogy Seminar at Berwick House Victoria BC

Victoria Genealogical Society volunteers provided “10 Steps to Success” seminar
at Berwick House in Victoria BC on March 27, 2013.
 L-R Merv Scott, Pat Acton (President) and Joanne Barnard  

Volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society were called back to Berwick House this week to provide a repeat of a seminar held there earlier this month. The March 6th seminar was fully booked with a long waiting list prompting Berwick House staff to organize the repeat performance on March 27th.

Dubbed “10 Steps to Success” the seminar was focused on introducing beginners to the world of genealogy and once again the wonderful theatre at Berwick was filled to the brim with a great crowd of newcomers to genealogy.

The seminar provided a step-by-step introduction to genealogy and included some key principles to guide research. There were plenty of hints and tips along with anecdotes about the common mistakes that beginners make with their genealogy research. Trends in technology were discussed and there was a section on how to put the internet to work for you. Genealogy charts were provided free as was a handout listing some of the genealogy websites discussed.

IfIf other organizations are interested in providing this seminar to their members they are encouraged to contact Merv Scott, Project Director, Victoria Genealogical Society at either 250-360-2808 or by email at


Thrifty Foods Smile Card Fundraising Program Meets Goal!

Posted 30 March 2013

Thrifty Smile Card Fundraising Program
Thrifty Foods Smile Card Fundraising Program
meets $2000 goal thanks to
you and Thrifty Foods.

We are excited to report that our Library Acquisitions 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 Thrifty Foods Smile Cards. With over 100 Smile Cards being used by our members and friends we reached our goal limit of $2000 set by Thriftys. That funding is sorely needed to continue providing Library resources like the popular library edition of subscription.

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

More good news - Thrifty Foods has invited us to reapply for funding from their next fiscal year’s Smile Card Program, which begins May, 2013. So don’t throw away your Smile Cards as we may be able to access this fund again. Watch for news on this website.

If you are afraid you may lose your Smile Card in the meantime you can always return them to our friendly volunteers at the VGS Resource Center.


IfIf you have any other questions about the Thrifty Foods Smile Card Program, please send them to Merv Scott at Projects@victoriags.orga


10 Steps to Success - Beginners Genealogy Seminar at Berwick House

Posted 8 March 2013

VGS Beginners Genealogy Seminar at Berwick House, Victoria BC

Volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society provided a seminar
at the Berwick House Retirement Community on Shelbourne Street, Victoria BC,
this past Wednesday, March 6, 2013.

Titled “10 Steps to Success”, the seminar provided attendees with an introduction to genealogy. Principles to guide genealogy research were discussed as were hints, tips and anecdotes about common mistakes beginners sometimes make. Also, a segment on how to put the internet to work was covered.

The seminar was presented by Pat Acton (VGS President) and Merv Scott (VGS Project Director) and was fully booked. A long waiting list prompted staff of Berwick House to request a repeat seminar which will be scheduled soon. Watch for announcements of the next date on the VGS Facebook and Twitter accounts.

VGS Silent Auction Begins!

Posted 6 February 2013

The VGS Silent Auction has started! While the Silent Auction evening will be held at our regular members’ gathering on March 14th at the Gordon Head United Church, items are now available and bids are being accepted. Be sure to check this website's Silent Auction Donors Page daily for new items being received for auction.

The bidding process is already in place at the Resource Centre. Drop in to the RC, have a coffee and a chat and look at the Silent Auction Binder which displays available items. See something you like (e.g. gift certificate for the Olive Grove Restaurant)? Place your bid now. The friendly RC volunteers will be more than happy to assist you.

See an item you’d like (e.g. a Nordic Pole Walk lesson for 4 people) and don’t want to go through the auction process and see your prize going to a higher bidder? A final price has been established; meet that price and the prize is yours right now.

Prior to the actual Silent Auction on March 14 the Silent Auction Binder will also be at the February 14th evening meeting. Bids will be encouraged and accepted that evening.

And mark your calendars for the actual Silent Auction evening which will be held on March 14, 2013 at Gordon Head United Church. The evening will consist of both a ‘silent’ and a fun and decidedly ‘un-silent’ auction with a guest auctioneer. Cash or cheques will be accepted for payment for the items. Betty and her team advise bringing an extra supply of loonies and toonies for the surprising elements of the un-silent auction.

Even though the bidding process has started we are still looking for more items to auction. Do you have a skill you can contribute? (e.g. help someone start a family history scrapbook)? Or perhaps you know a local business that you think would support the VGS in return for advertising in our Members’ Update (distribution approximately 300 people), and Resourcefully Yours (distribution about 900 people)? Check the VGS website's Feature Event Section for details.

Contact Betty at for more information.



Posted 22 January 2013

Effectively immediately, the mailing address for the Victoria Genealogical Society has been changed to a different post office box:

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

The VGS Resource Centre has NOT moved, and is still housed at 947 Alston Street.  It continues to be an excellent location for doing family history research, attending genealogy related workshops and networking with other enthusiasts.  Mail, however, is not received at the Resource Centre.

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