Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Vancouver Genealogy Tips - European Immigrants, Chinese and African American Ancestry

Vancouver Public Library, visited 3-4 Jul, 2015
photo Safdie Architects
Where to Start in Vancouver, British Columbia?
Many a3Genealogy clients are seeking their American born ancestors that settled in Canada, or their immigrant ancestors who travelled through Canada to settle in the USA.  Either way, don’t forget the upper northwest early records to include Vancouver Canada.

If you doubt if researching ancestral histories from British Columbia can yield positive results, look no further than the Vancouver Public Library.  The periodic newsletters found on the website will give you a glimpse of the activities, efforts, and events to assist researchers in their genealogy pursuit.

Online Start
British Columbia Archives at the Royal BC Museum website has indexed births (1854-1930; deaths 1872 – 1993, colonial marriages (1859-1872 and baptisms (1836-1888). Additional Newspaper Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes, 1911-190 may be found on ancestry.com.

British Columbia Cemetery Finding Aid Database has over 344, 000 entries from 264 cemeteries. Be sure to check the Vancouver, Mountain View Cemetery Index, 1887-2007, online at ancestry.com

British Columbia Genealogy Records Online include an abundance of links. For example,  Sessional Papers of the Government of British Columbia, provide estate information. Extracts may be found on Roots Web as is for 1861-1863.

Asian Ancestor Search

Vancouver, British Columbia Passenger Lists records Chinese Arrivals, 1906-1912 and 1929-1941 on ancestry.com.  Remember your ancestor may not have travelled directly from Asia to United States.  We were able to uncover a listing of Hong Kong born immigrants passing through Vancouver with their final destination as Chicago. 

Runaway Slaves in Vancouver?
Many researchers looking for their African American ancestors fail to realize that in the1850’s, about 800 free African Americans migrated from California to Vancouver.  These free coloreds were active in assisting ex-slave escapes.  One story well documented is Free Boy: A True Story of Slave and Master by Lorraine McConaghy. The underground railroad does not commonly include the upper north west of the USA or Vancouver.  However, there are newspaper accounts of escapes from slavery with the assistance of free-colored settlements in Vancouver. 

By the Civil War approximately thirty thousand runaway slaves found refuge in Canada. Many returned to the USA after the Civil War.  Review: Black Canadians on the Historica Canada website. 

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

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