Victoria Genealogical Society
GENEALOGY & VGS NEWS Archive - 2016

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

(in reverse chronological order)



Happy Holidays!

Wishing You All A Very Happy Holiday from your friends at the Victoria Genealogical Society


Remembering Our 2016 Genealogy Seminar

The following photo was showcased at the top of our home page
 from early November to December 15, 2016. 
Thanks to all who supported this important VGS event!

Speaker Tim Duncan at VGS Genealogy Seminar 29 Oct 2016

Speaker Tim Duncan at the VGS Annual Genealogy Seminar, 29 Oct 2016:



Posted 9 December 2016

Due to the predicted severe weather, the Resource Centre will be
CLOSED on  Fri (Dec 9th) & Sat. (Dec 10th).
There will be NO WORKSHOP on Saturday (Dec 10th). This will be rescheduled for the spring.

We will see how the roads are on Monday, and members should phone between 12-3 to the centre at 250 360-2808 to confirm whether we are open for as long as we have the snow on the roads. Volunteers live in different areas so have different weather conditions.

Stay safe and warm! Thank you.



Posted 8 December 2016

IMPORTANT: Due to the weather forecasts,  the VGS MEETING TONIGHT (December 8)
has been CANCELLED.

ALSO, if there is snow on the roads and you are planning on visiting our
VGS RESOURCE CENTRE, please phone 
250-360-2808 between 12-3 to see if it is open.

Volunteers live in different areas so have different weather conditions.
We all need to be safe.


Temporary Location for Dec 8 Meeting

Posted 6 December 2016

** PLEASE NOTE: The TEMPORARY LOCATION for the Speaker Series meeting on
Thursday, December 8th ONLY will be at:

4081 Gordon Head Road, Victoria BC
(This is the same location where we held this year's annual seminar).

The meeting is NOT at the Holy Cross Catholic Church located shortly before St. Leopold’s. Our location is about three blocks past Holy Cross. Watch for the entrance gate on your right just after Lifton Place if heading northeast on Gordon Head Road.

In keeping with tradition, we will have an extended social time at the December meeting. If you can, please bring finger food (appies or desserts) to share. Come and visit with your fellow genealogy enthusiasts and celebrate the season with us!

Our speaker will be Peter Grant, presenting "The Fascinating McNeill Family". See our VGS meetings page for more details.

Meetings will resume at St Aidans Church Hall in January.


Consider Donating This Upcoming Tax Season

Posted 23 November 2016

Tax season is upon us and we want to remind everyone that VGS is a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency (charity #141045880RR0001).

We rely in part on your kind donations so we can continue to provide genealogical services in our community. We gratefully accept donations of any amount and will be happy to issue a tax receipt to you.

  • Donations can be made by hand delivery of cash or cheques at the Resource Centre or at VGS events.
  • Donations can also be made online by credit card or PayPal account.  Visit our VGS  donations page, or  click on the "donate" button above (near the top, right corner of our home page).
  • Donations can be made by mailing cheques (not cash) to:
        Victoria Genealogical Society
        100-180 Wilson Street,
        PO Box 45015
        Westside PO
        Victoria, BC, Canada V9A 0C3

As always, we thank you for supporting our non-profit society.


VGS DNA Genealogy Research Seminar - a Huge Hit!

Posted 1 November 2016

Speakr Tim Duncan at VGS Genealogy Seminar, 29 Oct 2016Our Annual Seminar was on Saturday, October 29th and we had a full house! Opened by Wedlidi Speck, and featuring four sessions offered by three different speakers, it was a day full of DNA concepts and information. Questions were asked and answered, and a whopping 20 door prizes were given out to an excited crowd. Attendee and distillery owner, Graeme Macaloney, generously gave a last minute donation of three cases of beer from Macaloney Distillers, which were a big hit.

Many people mentioned how much they enjoyed the food served at the breaks and lunch and asked who provided them. The morning baked goods were donated by Mother Nature's Market & Deli in Cook Street Village and were absolutely delicious! Catering of lunch was provided by Judy's Snack Shack, and was just superb. Judy outdid herself with the desserts in particular which were stunning as well as scrumptious. Thank you again to these amazing chefs!

Yummy desserts served at VGS Genealogy Seminar, 29 Oct 2016Special thanks to our wonderful speakers Wedlidi Speck, Merna Forster, Barbara Johnson and Tim Duncan (and Tim's wife Ruby who was also a great help!).

Thanks also go out to our amazing volunteers - in addition to the tireless executive members, big thanks to Sarah Hamster, Darcee Strawson, Gerry Poulton and Shelagh Scholtens. As most of you know, this is our biggest fundraising event of the year and we simply couldn't have done it without these people!

A huge thank you also goes out to all our amazing sponsors!  Your donations and support are truly appreciated.

Thank you to all who attended - we hope you learned a lot and found the seminar enlightening and enjoyable!

Lunch served at VGS Genealogy Seminar, 29 Oct 2016



Posted 24 September 2016

Effective immediately, and therefore affecting our upcoming Speaker Series meeting on 13 Oct 2016, our Victoria Genealogical Society monthly meetings will now be held at:

3703 St Aidan's Street, Victoria, BC
View Map

As usual, doors open at 7:00 pm and the meeting starts at 7:30 pm
on the 2nd Thursday of the month (except Jul and Aug)

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


Seminar Tickets Sold Out - Waiting List Only

Posted 15 September 2016

Even though we're still six weeks away from the scheduled date (October 29) of our VGS Genealogy Seminar - "MAKING SENSE OF THE SCIENCE: DECIPHERING YOUR DNA RESULTS" - tickets are now sold out.  Monica Sheridan, VGS VP and lead organizer of this highly anticipated event, has just informed us that we have reached capacity and must close registration immediately.  She is, however, accepting names to put on a wait list.  If interested, please contact Monica at


Tickets Going Fast for VGS Genealogy Seminar

Posted 2 September 2016

Our annual seminar, "Making Sense of the Science: Deciphering Your DNA Results" is now less than two months away and registration is selling out quickly! We are over three quarters full now and the remaining tickets are going fast, so if you'd like to join us for a great day of DNA and learning, you'll want to buy your ticket soon! Registration information can be found at:

Remember also that two lucky attendees who purchase their seminar ticket and have their DNA results by September 30th will be eligible to win a chance to have their DNA results analyzed at the seminar by speaker Barbara Johnson!

We have a variety of other great prizes and bonuses for those who attend this year - check them out in last month's seminar news update (below), or on our seminar page.

We look forward to seeing you on 29 October 2016 at our VGS Genealogy Seminar!


Seeking Workshop Presenters and Ideas!

Posted 1 August 2016

We Need You for A Victoria Genealogical Society Workshop Do you have specialized knowledge in a genealogical or historical topic?
Do you enjoy sharing that knowledge with others?
And do you have enough material to lead a workshop for up to 2 hours?

If so, we need you! Many of our workshop presenters are away this fall and we need to fill some spaces so that we can keep presenting interesting and informative workshops to our members.

If you are interested in presenting a workshop for the Victoria Genealogical Society, please contact Monica Sheridan at


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


Seeking Workshop Presenters and Ideas!

Posted 1 August 2016

We Need You for A Victoria Genealogical Society Workshop Do you have specialized knowledge in a genealogical or historical topic?
Do you enjoy sharing that knowledge with others?
And do you have enough material to lead a workshop for up to 2 hours?

If so, we need you! Many of our workshop presenters are away this fall and we need to fill some spaces so that we can keep presenting interesting and informative workshops to our members.

If you are interested in presenting a workshop for the Victoria Genealogical Society, please contact Monica Sheridan at


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


Women in the Royal Canadian Navy (1910-1946) - Can you help?

Posted 16 July 2016

Our friend Dave at the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum here in Victoria is hard at work on a significant research project that focuses on Women in the Royal Canadian Navy (1910-1946). We would like to support this important initiative. He is looking for the following information. Can you help?

Do you have a female ancestor or relative who served in the Canadian Navy between 1910 and 1946?

Group of WWII Wrens (Womens Royal Canadian Navy Services) - National Archives PA-142460 The CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum in Victoria – not the Maritime Museum of BC - has a project to identify and record the names of all the women who once served in our Navy: nursing sisters, doctors, technicians, dieticians, Physios and members of the WRCNS (Wrens). This also includes those Canadian women who may have joined the WRNS during the First World War. On completion, it is their intention to publish the information in book form.

Currently, they have some 8,000 names in their data files but a lot of the info is incomplete: e.g. they hold the married names of 200 Wrens but have no relevant maiden names; for others, they lack many married names, service numbers, ranks and trades.  [Photo: WWII Wrens (Womens Royal Canadian Navy Services) - National Archives PA-142460]

They wish to record the following information for each person:
1. Service number
2. Maiden name
3. Married name(s) where applicable
4. First name (s)
5. Nickname where applicable
6. Rank attained
7. For the Wren's, their Navy trade or occupation.

They are also looking for high definition images [300 dpi or better] of the women in naval uniform, plus copies of diaries, note books, letters, obituaries, and any naval documents like a station card, leave chit, draft order, etc.

If you can assist, please contact Dave directly at the address below or via Clare Sharpe at .

Dave Freeman, LCdr RCN Ret’d.
Naval & Military Museum,
CFB Esquimalt,
PO Box 17000 Stn Forces
Victoria, BC V9A 7N2

Registration Now Open - VGS Annual Genealogy Seminar - 29 Oct 2016

Posted 14 July 2016

VGS Annual Genealogy Seminar - Making Sense of the Science: Deciphering Your DNA Results - 29 Oct 2016

Last year’s DNA seminar inspired many of you to have your own and other family members’ DNA tested. But we have heard overwhelmingly that understanding the results is another matter altogether. Many of you find yourself scratching your heads in bewilderment at the dizzying array of numbers, names and lists that you received. Or you’ve been sent a long list of “cousin matches”, DNA Circles, or Chromosome Display Tools, but have no idea what they mean or how to use them to find actual family connections.

If your DNA results haven’t proven to be the treasure trove of information you were hoping for, then please join the Victoria Genealogical Society for a day of DNA discovery! Three dynamic and knowledgeable speakers will help you understand how to uncover the exciting clues that could be hiding in your test results.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN for this exciting genealogy seminar.


WHEN: Saturday, October 29, 2016, 9:00 to 5:00 pm

(time is different from last year)

WHERE: St Leopold Mandic Church, 4081 Gordon Head Road, Victoria BC
(place is different from last year)

SPEAKERS: Barbara Johnson, Merna Forster, Tim Duncan

Lunch and 2 refreshment breaks included.  Gluten free and vegetarian options available.

Free parking.

For more information on this seminar, or to register, please visit our VGS Seminar page


VGS Summer Writing Group - 23 Jul 2016

VGS is conducting a pilot project this summer for genealogy writers. We are hosting a drop-in writing group with a $5 per person fee. Hone your writing skills, solicit feedback from your peers or break through that writer’s block.

Bring your latest project or a list of writing questions and join us on Saturday, July 23 from 10 am until 12 noon at the Resource Centre.


Wishing You the Luck of the Irish in Your Family Research

Posted 9 June 2016

The following graphic meme was displayed near the top of our home page
from  March through June  2016 in celebration of St Patricks Day ...

Wishing you the Luck of the Irish with your family research.  From your friends at the Victoria Genealogical Society.


VGS in the News  - Promoting Family History Research

Posted 29 March 2016

Recently two of our VGS volunteers were interviewed for a news segment about family history research on our local CTV station.  Our thanks to Astrid, CTV journalist and our VGS volunteers Allison and Monica - great job!  Your enthusiasm shines through.

The video clip of this segment can be viewed online at the CTV Vancouver Island News site.


VGS Supported 55+ Lifestyle Show on March 22

Posted 23 March 2016

The newly renamed 55+ Lifestyle Show (formerly called the Senior's Expo) was held a Pearkes Arena here in Victoria BC this past Tuesday on March 22nd, and the Victoria Genealogical Society was there.

The show was hosted by the magazine "Inspired Senior Living" and boasted over 125 exhibitors. One of the many exhibitors was the VGS and our volunteers hosted an information booth that was kept busy at this well attended event.

Poster for 55-plus lifestyles show, Victoria BC, 22 Mar 2016     Victoria Genealogical Society booth at the 55-plus Lifestyles Show, 22 Mar 2016, Victoria BC

Thanks to our VGS volunteers who manned our booth, and  to all the members and public who dropped by to say hello.

This is the 5th event that the VGS has hosted an Information Booth at this season. Next up is the Victoria Highland Games in May. See you there.


It's always Family Day!

Posted 17 March 2016

This past month we featured the following graphic at the top of our home page in honour of Family Day.  Our goal was to encourage everyone to spend time with their families and to share their stories and love of family history and genealogy.  This applies all year long!

Happy family taking a group selfie
[Image courtesy of photostock at]


Identifying Old Photos - Don't Miss Upcoming Workshop

Posted March 2016

Do you have any old photos that you need help identifying?  Here's your opportunity!

VGS has scheduled a workshop on Photography and Photo Identification, to be presented by Gwen Spearman on May 14, 2016.  Prior to the workshop, each person attending is asked tp submit one or two photographs for Gwen to analyze and interpret using her history detective magic. Using clues from the clothing styles, Gwen will estimate a time frame, and indicate what the style of clothing your ancestors wore can tell you about them. It's amazing what secrets can be unlocked from a single photograph!

The deadline to sign up and submit your photos is April 15th in order to give Gwen time to do her research.  So it's not too early to register for this workshop.  Enrollment has a limit of only 15. So please register early to avoid disappointment!  Please contact our workshop coordinator at

Further information on our VGS workshops and registration can be found on our workshops page.

VGS Supports Heritage Day and Black History Month Events

BC Black History poster thumbnail - Feb 2016 Heritage Day event posted 10 Feb 2016

On 13 Feb 2016 (this coming Saturday), the BC Black History Awareness Society will be hosting Professor Handel Wright, an author, Professor and Director of UBC Centre for Culture, Identity and Education.  He will be speaking at their 2016 Heritage Day Event here in Victoria BC. 

Topic:  Did You Say “Black” British Columbia?

Location (new venue)
: Wingate Studio, Baumann Centre Building, 925 Balmoral Road (Quadra & Balmoral)
Time:  Saturday, 13 Feb 2016.  Doors open @ 1:30 PM.  Admission by donation.

The Victoria Genealogical Society will have a booth at this event.  Be sure to drop by and say hi!

Further details are available on their Heritage Day Poster.



VGS Workshop Lineup Includes "Writing Your Memoir: How to Get Started"

posted 30 Jan 2016; updated 2 Feb 2016

Our VGS Vice President and Workshop Coordinator Monica Sheridan has been doing an awesome job of putting together a mix of amazing new and previously offered genealogy-related workshops this year.  Many are presented by knowledgeable VGS Members, while some presenters are recruited from the community.  These workshops are always fun as well as informative.

Details of upcoming workshops can always be found on our VGS events page, and are also summarized on our home page in the right hand column under "VGS Genealogy Workshops".  There's something for everyone, whether you're a VGS member or not.

Have you always wanted to write your memoirs or family story, but didn't know how to get started? Last November we held a workshop called "Self Publishing a Memoir" by Darin Steinkey.  As there is still much to learn on this interesting topic, Darin has agreed to come back on 13 February 2016 to talk more about the planning and writing stages.  As he describes it:

"There is no easy way to write a family memoir.  Which stories should be included? 
Which shouldn't?  How do I even decide what to write? 
Whose voice should I use?  Have I done enough "research"?

"In this workshop Darin will present strategies that help get the ideas flowing.
Using examples from creative types present and past, you'll leave with tools that should
get fingers to keyboard, pencil to paper, quill to papyrus, chisel to stone tablet.
Spoiler Alert: there's no easy way. It takes hard work!
Come share your writing and offer tips that work for you."

All writing abilities and levels welcome.
Whether you have something you'd like critiqued, or haven't written a word yet
 and just want to learn the ropes, this workshop is for you.

Join us on Saturday 13 Feb 2016, 10am, VGS Resource Centre, Victoria BC

Darin works in the self-publishing industry and operates Aldridge Street Print & Media here in Victoria, BC.  Read more about Darin on our workshop page and on his Aldridge Street business website.

Those wanting to attend this workshop should contact Monica at



VGS England SIG Meetings Moved to Thursday Morning

posted 20 Jan 2016
submitted by Heather Shave, VGS England SIG Facilitator

Special Interests Groups (SIG) are one of the free benefits offered to our members.  If you have ancestors in England and want to network and trade research ideas and tips with others who are doing the same, why not join the monthly VGS England SIG at its NEW TIME?

VGS ENGLAND SIG  ~  4th Thursday of the month  ~  10 am - 12 noon
VGS Resource Centre, 947 Alston St, Victoria BC

Please join us at our next meeting on January 28, 2016.

Information on all our SIGs is provided on our VGS SIGs page.

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