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

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


Family trees come in all shapes and sizes.  We can help you research. Victoria Genealogical Soiety.

The Genealogy Learning and Research Centre, Victoria Genealogical Society

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"Genealogy News & Events"


As a health and safety precaution due to COVID-19, our centre will be CLOSED and all event CANCELLED UNTIL AT LEAST April 14th (after the Easter weekend).




ENDS 15 APR 2020

More details on ourMembership page

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

attend our genealogy workshops and seminars

network at our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Speaker Series meetings

research your family history, build your family tree


Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS)

News bulletins and announcements from VGS and beyond.

COVID-19 and Victoria Genealogical Society Closures

Posted  17 Mar 2020

The Victoria Genealogical Society is committed to providing a safe research and volunteer environment. Unfortunately, the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is presenting unparalleled conditions and circumstances that we must take very seriously so that we all stay well and safe.


To support wellness and safety, we are initiating the following CLOSURES and CANCELLATIONS which will be in place UNTIL AT LEAST April 14th (after the Easter weekend). We will resume activities as soon as it is safe to do so.

  • The Genealogy Learning and Research Centre is CLOSED. The first day of closure is Tuesday, March 17th.
  • ALL workshops, webinars, etc. are CANCELLED effective Saturday, March 21st.
  • The April 9th general members’ meeting at St. Aidan’s United Church is CANCELLED.
  • All SIG group meetings are CANCELLED effective Tuesday, March 17th. (unless you have been otherwise advised – please check with your SIG leader)

We will be constantly reviewing the situation and continuing to provide up to date information as we can.

If you have questions please use the contact form provided on the VGS website. This email account is monitored.

Please Do NOT phone the Centre as there will be no one there to take your call or questions.

COVID-19 Trustworthy Sources

A note about COVID-19 information sources: While the media has been quick to provide real-time updates on the spread of the virus, we highly recommend you rely on trusted and respected health services when researching and communicating about the novel coronavirus. These include:

Thank you for your understanding and patience at this time.

Pat Acton
President, Victoria Genealogical Society


VGS Learning Centre Closed During Snowy Weather Conditions

Posted  14 Jan 2020

Due to snowy road conditions, our Learning Centre is closed at least for today - Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020.

 While these poor weather conditions last, please call ahead if you're planning to visit us to ensure we're open. Safety of you and our volunteers comes first. 250- 360-2808.


Happy New Year - Join In The Fun!

Posted  3 Jan 2020

Happy New Year from the Victoria Genealogicial Society, Victoria BC Canada

Here at VGS we're ramping up for the New Year with an exciting lineup of genealogy events for the Winter and Spring season.  Please join us.

We are very happy to welcome back the dynamic speaker Kate Humble for your January 9th meeting.  She will regale us with tales of past "Egos and Eccentrics" from the Oak Bay area of Greater Victoria. More details can be found on our VGS meetings page.

Our Saturday workshop schedule is filling fast, starting on January 11th when Melanie will share her extensive knowledge of Quebec research to beginners and experienced researchers alike.  If your tree contains relatives who lived in or passed through Quebec, Canada, you'll want to join Melanie Arscott as she helps introduce you to a variety of English records available for researchers, and some of the key words that will help decipher the clues in the French records. The emphasis will be on the English population along the Saint Lawrence River. To register, or learn about our full workshop lineup, please visitt our VGS  Workshop page for our full workshop lineup.

Our Learning Centre reopens on Saturday January 4th, resuming our regular schedule after the holiday break.  We encourage VGS members to consider volunteering at the Centre.  You'll be able to  meet and help visitors, socializing and sharing your knowledge and experiences with them.  Or perhaps you would be willing to help out in other ways?  Visit us at the Centre our contact our Learning Centre Director to discuss the possibilities.

Wishing you all success in your family research in 2020.


VGS Christmas Party on Dec 12 ~ What is CSI?

Posted 10 Dec 2019

We're hoping that you're all planning on attending our annual Christmas Social at our upcoming Speaker Meeting on Thursday, Dec 12 at St Aidans Church Hall.  Doors open at 7pm..  And we also hoping you can bring some finger foods (appies or desserts) to share. 

You also won't want to miss our presentation by our very own Melanie Arscott, who will speak about "Home for the Holidays: Stories From the CSI Special Interest Group".  It has come to my attention that not everyone knows what "CSI" means, and I didnt have to got further that our VGS Facebook Group page to find the answer from Melanie herself:

Question: What does CSI stand for in your SIG?

Answer from Melanie:
It's "Crowd Sourced Intelligence" (brainstorming and thinking outside of the box so to speak).
We bounce ideas around and get group discussions going to solve problems.
Our focus at the moment is on researching found objects with the aim of rehoming them.

This group of enthusiastic VGS members has had some heartwarming successes in returning family treasures and information to their rightful families.  And Melanie will share some of these stories with us on Thursday.  Do come!

Visit our VGS meetings page for more details about this meeting.

We wish you a merry Christmas, from our family tree to yours. 


Remembrance Day and VGS Meeting November 14th

Posted 9 Nov 2019

Do you have ancestors or relatives who fought and perhaps died during military conflicts?  Who will you be honouring this coming Remembrance Day?

Who will you be remembering?

Be sure to join us on Thursday evening on Nov 14, 2019, for a special military speaker.  In honour of October’s Women’s History month and of Remembrance Day, we are very fortunate to welcome Commander Cynthia to speak to the VGS about women in the Forces.  As usual, this meeting will be held at St Aidan's Church Hall, with doors opening at 7pm.  Further details on this meeting and location can be found on our VGS Meetings page.

Members and non-members are welcome (with a small donation appreciated by non-members).  Hope to see you there!


PLEASE Help Us Improve Our VGS Website - Take Our Survey

Posted 23 Sept 2019

The Victoria Genealogical Society is undertaking a review and upgrade of the VGS website, and we need your input. The purpose of our survey is to gather your feedback about the current website and to guide in the development of the updated site.

This survey should take less than 15 minutes of your time. No personal data is collected and you may withdraw at any time.

Please participate by clicking on this Website Update Survey link.

We will be closing this survey on October 14, so don’t delay!  Your response is greatly appreciated.


Early Bird Ticket Deadline Extended for VGS 2019 Seminar

Posted 21 Sept 2019

VGS Genealogy Seminar barrner - 26 Oct 2019 - Victoria BC

Ticket sales for our 2019 VGS Annual Genealogy Seminar are now well underway.  We're excited to welcome two wonderful speakers - Brenda L Smith and Diane Rogers - who will present 4 sessions on the theme of "Family Finding, from the Paper to the Science".

The Seminar will be held on 26 Oct 2019 at the St. Leopold Mandic Croatian Church in Victoria (Saanich), BC.  Save on your ticket price when you buy before our early bird deadline of 5 October 2019.

Please tell your friends and spread the word about this wonderful learning opportunity!

To register and get more details about this seminar, visit our seminar page.
Download a full sized version of our 2019 VGS Seminar poster in pdf format.


Getting Ready for our Fall Season

Posted 23 Aug 2019

Summer break is nearing an end and we are gearing up for another busy and exciting genealogy season at the Victoria Genealogical Society.

Our new membership year went into effect last June 1, and the VGS Board of Directors for the 2019-20 year was established at our June Annual General Meeting.  For those who haven't yet renewed their VGS membership or haven't yet joined our Society, now would be the time!

Our VGS Learning Centre remained open during the summer months thanks to our dedicated volunteers,.  We welcomed VGS members and visitors eager to do research or to see what we're all about.  And of course the Centre volunteers will continue to welcome you there year round.   September heralds the start of our monthly Speaker Meetings at St Aidan's Church, Hall, and a wealth of  weekly workshops at our VGS Learning Centre in the Royal Oak Shopping Centre.  Monica has been very busy creating wonderful lineups for both these event series - more information can be found in the side bar on the right, or on our VGS meetings and VGS workshops pages.  Our monthly Special Interest Groups (SIGs) meetings for members will also resume in September.

Plans are still being finalized for our annual genealogy Seminar scheduled for 26 October 2019 .  More will be posted on our seminar page as soon as available.

So get ready to join in the fun!


VGS Volunteers a Success at Highland Games

Posted 21 May 2019 by Merv Scott

VGS Volunteer at the Victoria Highland Games, May 2019

Smiling VGS Volunteer at the Victoria Highland Games -
they didn't let the rain dampen their enthusiasm!

This past holiday weekend the VGS was again invited by the VHGA to participate at their Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival. This was their 156th edition of the Games which is an incredible accomplishment and they did themselves proud yet again. The Victoria Genealogical Society had a tent set up in Heritage Row where VGS volunteers offered free ancestor searches on Find My Past, Scotland’s People and Family Search all weekend.

VGS signage at the 2019 Victoria Highland GamesLast year the Games reported over 20,000 people attended the Games, and this year's numbers would have easily surpassed that if not for a soggy Monday. I haven't heard what the final numbers were but I've never seen such a busy day as Sunday was. Wow!

Last year the VHGA approached VGS to provide online lookups during the Games of genealogy records and it was so popular they asked us to do the same again this year. I can report we pulled it off again this year but only because of the support of a wonderful team of volunteer (which I hesitate to list here because I haven't asked their permission).

ScotlandsPeople came through again this year with free search credits which made the online lookup service possible. This year we added a new sponsor in findmypast who not only gave us free access to their records but also provided 2 door prizes - 12 month Ultimate subscriptions. Thanks to both of our wonderful sponsors.

Thanks to our volunteers, our computer technology was improved upon this year which is the critical component to offering any online service. Other new services and products our volunteers developed this year all proved to be very helpful. Wonderful new graphics for signage proved very popular especially engaging for passerby's was the new slogan 'Who's your Daddy's Daddy?' Lots of photos taken of that sign! New map of Scotland also protected in plastic was a big draw as people tried to find their clan there. New VGS Genealogy Tip Sheets for Irish and English research were produced; new volunteer name badges with eye catching VGS lanyards; new VGS logo embossed business cards proved popular; VGS logo embossed pedigree charts and family group records flew out, and a few new books were added to the resources. And there was more.

This was the final and largest event of the year where VGS hosted an information booth. My thanks to all our volunteers who helped out this past're great!

View more of our photos from these 2019 Victoria Highland Games.

Editor's note: A huge thank you to Merv Scott who once again spearheaded VGS's participation in this annual event, and who twice presented his talk on "DNA Testing and Scottish Genealogy Research".  Super job Merv!


Different Location for March 30th VGS Workshop

Posted 29 Mar 2019

DIFFERENT LOCATION: Juan de Fuca meeting room at the
Juan de Fuca branch of the Victoria Public Library.

For those of you registered for tomorrow's VGS Worshop title "Never Seen Again ...: Where to Look When An Ancestor Disappears" presented by Brenda L Smith, this is a reminder of the change of location for this workshop only. 

Due to the high popularity of this topic and speaker, we have expanded our capacity by renting the Juan de Fuca meeting room at the Juan de Fuca branch of the Victoria Public Library.

Please get there by 10am when the Library opens so we can get started as soon as possible.

For further information on this and other VGS workshops, visit our workshop page.

Pre-registration is required. If you are NOT already registered, please check availability by contacting



Posted 11 Feb 2019

And the snow keeps on coming! 

 For everyone's safety, the executive decision has been made to CANCEL this month's Speaker Series meeting planned for Thursday, 14 Feb 2019.


More Snow Keeps VGS Centre CLOSED - 11 FEB 2019 +

Posted 11 Feb 2019

On  Monday 11 Feb 2019, and potentially in the coming days, our VGS Learning Centre will be closed due to recent snowfalls and bad road conditions.  More snow is forecast for later this week as well.  The safety of our members, volunteers and visitors must come first.

If you are planning on visiting our VGS Learning Centre this week,
PLEASE CALL FIRST to see if we are open.


VGS Learning Centre CLOSED SATURDAY 9 FEB 2019

Posted 8 Feb 2019

Due to snow and generally nasty weather, our VGS Learning Centre will be CLOSED on Saturday Feb 9th 2019 for the safety of all.  And as a result the VGS SATURDAY WORKSHOP on Feb 9th IS ALSO CANCELLED.



Posted 1 Feb 2019

Effective February 1, 2019, first time members of the Victoria Genealogical Society qualify for:

A Trial 4 month VGS membership
for the period of Feb 1 to May 31, 2019
at the reduced rate of
$30 for individuals    OR
$45 for family memberships (2 or more in same household).

First time members can now register and pay these reduced rates online by visiting our updated  membership page.

 There are lots of reasons to join in the fun!  This is your chance to experience first hand all the benefits of membership in our Society, including:

  • Meet people who truly care about history and families; people who can teach you wonderful lessons about research and history. You can work directly with these people, learn from them, and help each other as you search for your family.
  • Free access to the VGS genealogical Genealogy Learning and Research Centre and its collections. Further information on our collections can be found on our resources and queries pages.
  • Free access to the Ancestry and FindMyPast library edition databases at the VGS Genealogy Learning and Research Centre.
  • Free wireless connection to the internet (bring your laptop and your flash drive) at the The Genealogy Learning and Research Centre.
  • Monthly Speaker Series events featuring speakers on a variety of topics concerning genealogy, history, and heritage and related topics.
  • Free parking at our Learning Centre and for our monthly Speaker Series events.
  • Contact with other researchers who will share information and ideas.
  • Opportunity to join one or more of our SIGs - Special Interest Groups - where members with similar interests and research objectives participate in small, focused meetings and discussions.
  • Vote at the Annual General Meeting for the VGS Executive (volunteer positions filled from the general membership) - we are a volunteer run organization.
  • Receive our VGS Journal (available in digital pdf format) and member e-bulletins. Members are encouraged to submit stories about their family research.
  • Reduced fees for Seminars and Workshops offered by VGS

Our next VGS membership year will start on June 1, 2019 when our annual rates will again be in affect for both new and returning members.

Any questions? Contact our VGS Membership Director for more details.


Happy New Year!  Brighten Your Family Trees in 2019

Posted 1 Jan 2019

The new year has just arrived, full of promise and expectations. We at the Victoria Genealogical Society wish you successful family research in the coming year.  We hope that you brighten your family trees in 2019 by discovering new stories and details about your relatives, past and present.  And enhance your trees by discovering new people and adding new branches.

Group of lighted trees at Butchart Gardens, Victoria BC Canada

To help you on your research journey, VGS offers genealogy workshops and hosted webinars, plus monthly speaker meetings and annual seminars.  As a benefit of membership, you can also join our monthly Special Interest Group (WIG) meetings on various subjects.  Our Learning Centre contains both digital and paper resources and is staffed by helpful Genie Buddies.  All these learning opportunities allow you to network with fellow genealogy enthusiast and benefit from their experiences.

Join in the fun and visit us in 2019.

We Wish You All a Happy Holiday


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



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
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!