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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

Imperial War Museum Launches War Memorials Register

Posted March 28, 2018

The Imperial War Museum has created a database of war memorials in the United Kingdom. It includes memorials to members of the armed forces, civilians and animals from all wars.  You can search  records of over 74,000 memorials.  The database can be searched by name.  It currently includes over one million names and continues to expand.

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

British Home Children: Uncovering the Hidden Stories

Posted March 7, 2018

Over 100,000 children were sent to Canada as indentured workers between 1833 and 1949. Patricia Skidmore and Beryl Young both grew up not realizing their parents were child migrants. They talk about how they discovered and researched the surprising stories of their parents.
Sunday, April 15, 2018 (2:30 pm – 4:00 pm)

Central Branch

Researching Your Irish Family History

Posted February 27, 2018

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day 2018 by exploring your Irish roots. This workshop will introduce key records and how to find them using Vancouver Public Library resources and the Internet.

Saturday, March 17, 2018 (10:30 am – 12:00 pm)
Dunbar Branch Library

Everyone who ever sailed on the SS Great Britain

Posted February 13, 2018

The SS Great Britain was a passenger steamship that sailed from 1845 to 1886 mostly between England and Australia.  The database includes information on all of the crew and passengers as well as background on what it was like to sail aboard.

New York Slavery Records Index

Posted February 9, 2018

This database from the City University of New York contains records of slaves and slave owners in New York State from 1525 to the American Civil War.  It can be searched by name, locality, birth year and more.

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 Archives.

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.