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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

British Columbia Civil Registration Records Released

Posted June 19, 2018

Death records for 1997 and marriage records for 1942 are now available from the British Columbia Archives.

General Data Protection Regulation for EU individuals impacts DNA related geneology services

Posted June 18, 2018

World Families Network, Ysearch and Mitosearch, three businesses that supported “genetic genealogy” (DNA searches for relatives)  are closing due to the cost of [European Union] GDPR compliance.

Data breach from MyHeritage genealogy site.

Posted June 6, 2018

Records for 92 million users of MyHeritage have been stolen from the service.  Information stolen includes email addresses and hashed password.

Descendants of Gulag victims can now discover the fate of their family members

Posted May 9, 2018

The Gulag History State Museum opened an archival center in Moscow to “help descendants discover the fate of their family members” who were sent to the forced labor camps. The center “houses a library, an interactive map of the Gulag camps accessible on computer screens and a growing archive of interviews with victims and descendants, and potentially even former prison guards,” The Art Newspaper reported. The information in the center “draws from Memorial’s database,” and the center “will work with government archives to add information.” The latter will be difficult because many of the relevant “records are held by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Federal Security Service, successor agencies of Stalin’s secret police, which perpetrated the repressions.” A further complication is that since 2014 Memorial has been under the government’s “foreign agent” restrictions.

Trace Your Ancestors with Ancestry Library Edition

Posted April 23, 2018

Tuesday, June 19 (6:30 pm – 8:00 pm)
Central Branch

Learn about the exciting online resources available through the library's ancestry database.

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


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.