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Genealogy and Family History

Explore your roots at VPL and beyond: resources and services for genealogists

Welcome to Genealogy and Family History

Group portrait in front of a building, VPL #19539, 19--, Philip Timms.

Explore your roots at VPL and beyond:
resources and services for genealogists

Genealogical research is one of the most popular and fastest growing hobbies in North America. This guide will assist the first time and advanced family history researcher with the ever-growing amount of resources available in print and online.

Genealogy and Family History Buzz

Access to Restricted FamilySearch Images Has Been Restored

Posted September 5, 2018

Restricted FamilySearch Images Now Available At VPL's Central Library

Posted March 13, 2018

Sometimes when you are looking at records at you'll see an image labeled, , .

This used to  mean that you needed  to visit a Family History Centre to view the image.  Now you can come down to the Central Library at 350 West Georgia and use any of our public computers to view the image.  You will be able to save the image on a USB stick or email it to yourself.

Records available include church records from Great Britain, probate records from Ontario, the full text of family history books and much more. To date, over 1.5 million microfilms (approximately 1.5 billion images) have been digitized by FamilySearch, including all microfilms which were borrowed in the last five years.

Please note that some digital images may still have privacy, copyright, contractual, or other restrictions which limit access even at the Central Library

Open source genealogy database gives access to law enforcement agencies

Posted August 1, 2018

Open source genealogy database GEDMatch – with a million voluntarily contributed genetic profiles—has changed its terms of service to explicitly open its data to law enforcement agencies.

Syrian lawyers work to save current civil and land papers for citizens

Posted August 1, 2018

A group called "Free Syrian Lawyers"  “working to preserve property deeds and other civil paperwork in Syria’s opposition areas.  They have copied about 1.7 million “court records, wills, birth, marriage and death certificates” and 450,000 “land-related documents from northern and central Syria—title deeds, contracts, and other papers that displaced Syrians could use to prove property ownership.”

Quebec opens adoption files 1920-1970

Posted August 1, 2018

The government of Quebec opened 300,000 adoption files for children adopted between the years 1920 and 1970.

Records problems for families separated at U.S. Border

Posted August 1, 2018

United States immigration officials who separated children from their families in 2018 did not keep sufficient records of who came across the border with whom, nor did they keep adequate records of where each child was subsequently housed. Some border officials took photos of the children with the parents to create a record, but now both children and parents are having DNA tests done to see if they are related.  This will likely impact future genealogical research on the afffected families.

Residential school research centre still waiting on some church records

Posted August 1, 2018

Some “Catholic orders have still not turned over promised records to the research centre created as a repository for the documented history of residential schools.”

New Library and Archives Canada Service at the Vancouver Public Library

Posted November 15, 2017

The Vancouver Public Library is very excited to announce the launch of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) service at the Central Library. Monday to Friday during LAC service hours, library patrons can speak to the national institution’s expert staff, receive assistance for research, request documents from Ottawa, and access key genealogy databases such as Find My Past.

For more Genealogy and Family History Buzz, please visit the Archive

New Titles at VPL

Here is a select list of genealogy-related titles recently added to the library collection. You can also view the full list via the library's catalogue.