Victoria Genealogical Society

The Victoria Genealogical Society provides outreach and other programs and services
designed to introduce and promote genealogy, and the Victoria Genealogical Society,
to VGS members and the general public.

For other VGS activities that are open to members and the public,
please visit our events, and meetings pages.



Our Victoria Genealogical Society Queries Committee and Resource Centre volunteers offer a variety of look up services and personalized research assistance for members and the public.  Please check out our VGS Queries page for full details.


If you wish to place an advertisement in our Victoria Genealogical Society journal (published quarterly), please find further information on our VGS journal page.

If you wish to publish a personal announcement or query, please visit our VGS queries page for more details.



Book Cover for Veterans Cemetery God's Acre, Esquimalt BCThe Veterans Cemetery in Esquimalt has been an honoured final resting place for those that have served in Canada’s military since 1868 and was designated as a National Historical Site by the Government of Canada in 2006.

Volunteers from the Victoria Genealogical Society, led by Editor Harvey Buckmaster, have published the book Veterans Cemetery, Esquimalt which contains the complete inscription for each of the 2,888 burial maker records and more.

“Magnificently transcribed” is how book reviewer Bobbi King describes the Victoria Genealogical Society’s latest publication, “a distinctive memorial to the interred”.

Several local community historical and heritage based organizations donated the funding required for the initial print run of the book and now the general public are invited to play a role in honouring our veterans and their families.

It’s easy! Just join our School Library Challenge!

The goal of this challenge is to provide a copy of the publication, Veterans Cemetery, Esquimalt to every school library in the Capital Regional District, so it will be available to students conducting history research or Remembrance projects. You can support the campaign to make this happen simply by purchasing a copy of the book and designating it towards the Library Challenge. The volunteers of the Victoria Genealogical Society are administering the program and will deliver YOUR book to a local school library and donate it there in YOUR name or your loved one’s name.

You can support our Library Challenge by purchasing this book online on our VGS Publications page. Be sure to select the "Library Challenge gift" option from the drop-down menu before adding this book to your cart.  Thank you for your support!


YOUTH PROGRAMS from the Victoria Genealogical Society

In December 2010 the Victoria Genealogical Society endorsed the development of a genealogical / family history program for school aged children. Two primary goals for the Youth Program have been accepted as recommended by the project’s Design Committee. They are:

  • To introduce young people to the world of genealogy and family history research in a fun and engaging way; and,
  • To introduce young people to the tools and techniques they can use to initiate their own research.

To meet these goals the Design Committee developed a series of recommendations which were adopted by the Victoria Genealogical Society Executive Committee. Key amongst these recommendations was “that the programs developed be age appropriate and welcoming to all family types and origins in the world - allowing young people to explore their family in any form they'd like”.

We recognize that a plethora of wonderful youth-focused genealogy programs already exist in one format or another. Therefore, where possible, the objective was to use existing programs (copying, piggy backing on, etc.) and not spend limited time and resources ‘re-inventing the wheel’.

The Victoria Genealogical Society Youth Program includes the following three programs:

  1. Genealogy in the Classroom

    This new website is accessible by anyone, from anywhere, at any time of the day -  a web based Youth Program that was launched in September, 2011. Genealogy in the Classroom provides an introduction to the tools and techniques of genealogy and family history research. This teaching resource has something for everyone: genealogy lesson plans and guides for teachers, family history projects for clubs and youth organizations, family tree activities, research articles, videos for students, forms and charts, games and more.
  2. Youth Genealogy Activity Book CoverWho's in Your Family Tree? A step by step Guide for the Detective in your Family

    Written by Merv Scott and published by the Victoria Genealogical Society in 2011, this book leads the reader through an introduction of genealogy, including activities like filling in a family tree chart, interviewing their family, finding the origin of their surname on the internet and more.

    The book also offers a write in (or e-mail in) ‘Youth Family History Research Challenge’ where those entries selected will be published in our Victoria Genealogical Society Journal. With its 3-generation Family Tree Chart and the 4-generation Youth Ancestor Chart insert, this book is suitable for students of all ages.

    The cost of the book is $5 plus postage. To order the book email

    Note that family history societies and youth organizations may be authorized to re-sell this book as part of their own fund raising campaign. Email to request this authorization or for more information on fund raising and volume discounts for bulk orders.

For more information on any of these programs email


The Victoria Genealogical Society provides this outreach program which is designed specifically for residents of retirement homes and senior citizen centres. The materials for Ask Granny! were designed to provide senior citizens the opportunity to create a genealogical gift for their children.

The workshop uses the Ask Granny! materials to guide attendees in constructing a simple ancestral chart which is theirs to keep and share with their family. Each participant also receives a folder to store the Ancestral chart and contains information that will help participants conduct further research into their family history.

The Ask Granny! Seminar is based on materials designed by its creators in the U.S.A. Our project team worked closely with these original founders to maintain the principle messaging and approach of their seminar but take on a more Canadian and Victorian focus. “We are so excited to hear of the successful implementation of the Ask Granny materials by the Victoria Genealogical Society” said co-creator Judith Russell. “It is evidence that our program is fulfilling an international need to help senior citizens capture on paper their irreplaceable memories of family names, dates and places”. Genealogical Societies interested in Ask Granny! can contact Judith thru their website at .

Thanks to generosity of the Victoria Genealogical Society’s membership the seminar materials are often provided free to retirement home residents.

For more information about scheduling an Ask Granny! Seminar at a senior’s center near Victoria, please contact our Project Director via email at



VOICES OF THE PAST - A MEMORY PROJECT  from the  Victoria Genealogical Society

Voices of the Past screenshot, home pageThe Victoria Genealogical Society launched the "Voices of the Past" digital memory project in October, 2013.  

This service was designed to provide senior citizens the opportunity to have their autobiographical stories recorded digitally.  These audio recordings are then published on the Victoria Genealogical Society's Voices of the Past web pages along with accompanying photographs and written summary, where family members and friends can enjoy them now and in the future, and from anywhere in the world.  

Visit the Voices of the Past web pages to see and hear stories already posted. 

For more information please read our Voices News Release (PDF format).

To request an audio recording session for you or your loved one, or for additional information, please email




VGS Members helping other VGS Members service - launched November, 2012.
Members can BECOME an SME (offer help) as well as CONTACT an SME (receive help).-
here's how to join in the fun ...


VGS members helping other VGS members!


Help is available in the following subjects thanks to our enthusiastic VGS members!
Last updated - 2 Dec 2013

Mennonite interests RootsMagic genealogy software program
Scotland: Government and municipal record holdings for Dumfriesshire and The Borders counties Reunion genealogy software on Mac computers
Royal Air Force: Bomber Command American Civil War Pension Application Records
Shetland Islands Mayflower and early Plymouth Colony, Settlement of Providence, Rhode Island
Quebec interests, Drouin and Research Program in Historical Demography records Heritage houses and early communities mainly in BC but also in other provinces
French translation Red River Settlers



Lookup services are being offered by VGS members who have their own collection of genealogical resources (e.g. books, BMD indexes on disk etc.).
Last updated: 2 Nov 2013

CD Lookup: Sussex England marriages (up to 1837 - Sussex Family History Group) CCD Lookup: Suffolk England, South Elham All Saints & Nicholas parish BMD (1700s to 1899 - Suffolk FHS)
BOOK Lookup: The Parish Registers of Halifax, Co. York, England, Vol 2, Marriages and Burials 1538 to 1593 BOOK Lookup: History of Scituate, Massachusetts from its First Settlement to 1831 by Samuel Deane

If you are a VGS member and have a skill or knowledge to share,
please consider signing up as a SME.

Contact our SME Coordinator at :

BECOME a Subject Matter Enthusiast (SME)

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!

CONTACT a VGS Subject Matter Enthusiast (SME)

Do you want to know more about a famous battle in which one of your ancestors fought?
Do you want to know more about how to customize your Ancestry homepage to make it more efficient for your searching?
Do you want to talk to a VGS member who knows your family’s home parish in great detail?
Do you want to learn from a VGS member who is very, good at using a digital camera to take images of documents?
Do you want to contact a VGS member who is able to translate your BMDs from their original German into English?

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.

Watch this space over the next while as we publish a list of subject areas that have a Subject Matter Enthusiast involved.

If you see a subject area 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.



Have you ever wondered how to bind and publish those memoirs or family history stories that you have in your files? We can help! Take advantage of our Cerlox binding service at the VGS Resource Centre - just $5.00 each.  Booklets make excellent gifts and help you share your family research with family members.