This ran after the library was closed... and it's about a resource that can only be accessed in our branches!
Ancestry Library: Your Library Can Help You Discover Your Roots
Many Canadians are interested in learning about their family background. After all, unless you're an Indigenous person, your ancestors were once newcomers to this land. Where did they come from, and what was life like there? Why did they decide to leave their original country, travel to a strange place, often on the other side of the globe? And where did they all go? You probably know some of their stories, but you may have family in Canada or elsewhere that you've never even heard of.
For some people, genealogy becomes an absorbing fascination, even an obsession. Folks travel around the world to see what remains of a family village, or learn a new language so they can read original letters. For others, just a dip into the information now and again is enough – interesting and fun. Whatever your level of interest, the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) can help you start your journey.
One of our excellent e-resources is Ancestry Library, the library edition of the popular genealogy website. Ancestry Library doesn't have as many features as the regular internet version of Ancestry. But on the other hand, it has great resources for beginners, and it's free. When you're just starting out, free is good!
Ancestry Library is available in all VIRL branches. You can use one of our public computers, or bring your own laptop or tablet if you like.
Ancestry Library has many search tools to get you started, such as census records, records of births, marriages, and deaths, military records, obituaries, and records of immigration. You can also access powerful reference tools, like city directories, almanacs, and atlases.
Ancestry Library will help you learn the basics of genealogy – how to create an ancestral chart (commonly called a family tree), a research calendar, research extract sheets, and correspondence records. These are important tools to help you organize and track your research.
Published biographical and family histories are another avenue of research you can pursue through Ancestry Library. In this category – called "Stories, Memories & Histories" – you might learn about what life was like for your ancestor. You might find descriptions of the region where they lived, local customs, and details about what people ate, or what they grew in their gardens. You might not find an ancestor, but the information you do find can help you understand the era in which your ancestors lived.
Through Ancestry Library, you can also connect to other Canadians who are doing similar research. There are message boards for hundreds of countries and topics.
Here's a tip you'll like: you can save documents like census pages, ship manifests, and marriage certificates, and send them from the website to your personal email address. It's convenient, greener, and saves you the cost of printing.
If this sounds interesting, stop by any VIRL branch, connect to the wifi network, and go to virl.bc.ca > learn > research > genealogy. From there you'll be able to launch Ancestry Library. Happy hunting!