British Columbia
Table for looking up the composition of Canada, 1867-1999. © 2018. Past Presence. All rights reserved.

This page contains resources primarily for British Columbia, Canada.

British Columbia joined Confederation in 1871.

Archives Association of BC

Want to start an archive and don’t know where to begin? A good resource for wannabe archivists regardless of location.

BC City Directories – 1860-1955, Vancouver Public Library

Looking for a particular family member? You might find them listed in the city directory.

City of Vancouver Archives

A great site of historical records for the City of Vancouver. I liked the maps going back to the 1700s, the fire insurance maps that detailed each building, and the private pioneer family records.

City of Vancouver Goad’s Fire Map, 1912

Want to know exactly what the city looked like in 1912? Amazing interactive free resource, inviting you to explore, view, edit,  and print maps of Vancouver.

Chuck Davis’s Vancouver

Chuck Davis

Davis, C. (2011). The Chuck Davis history of metropolitan Vancouver. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd. If you’ve ever wondered what was happening in Vancouver on a given historical date 1757-2011, chances are that Chuck Davis, aka “Mr. Vancouver” has it recorded in this comprehensive book, a compendium of his website at See below.

History of Metropolitan Vancouver

The work of writer and historian Chuck Davis, with links to many other sites of interest.

Mountainview Cemetery Search

Located at 5455 Fraser, Mountainview Cemetery is the only cemetery located in Vancouver, BC. Opened in 1886, it contains 92K graves and 145K interred remains.

Royal BC Museum Genealogy Search

One of my favourite sites for vital statistics (records of birth, marriage, and death). You’ll find that has links to this site, but if you want the actual record, you’ll have to do some digging. Here are some tips for finding that elusive record:

  • Try the full name first, then start subtracting letters. For example, if you are looking for Elizabeth Mary Jane Smithe, try the whole name, then Elizabeth Smithe, Mary Smithe, Jane Smithe, or even just Smithe. You might have to get creative with searches: try Smithe, Smith, Smit, or Smi* (Boolean search).
  • There are date limits. From the site: “Search our indexes to births (1854-1903), marriages (1872-1940), deaths (1872-1995), colonial marriages (1859-1872) and baptisms (1836-1888).”