Wednesday, April 08, 2009

BC Genealogical Society - March 2009 Meeting

Just home from the BC Genealogical Society meeting in Burnaby tonight - lots of good information and good news. Tonight we had some extra sweet treats at our refreshment break as a thank you to all the BCGS volunteers who keep our Library open, and our research, education and publishing programmes running.

Some of the good news concerned our own BCGS Library in Surrey, BC. We've had our old lights all replaced with energy efficient ones and we've had a water meter installed so our costs for both light and water will likely decrease. The light's so much better too.

And the Family History Library in Surrey now has access to The Genealogist website. This is very good news for those researching English families. We consider that Surrey has a genealogical research triangle - there's our BCGS Library, now with over 13,000 genealogical publications, the Cloverdale branch of the Surrey Public Library with its extensive collection of Canadian research materials and the Family History Centre with access to the Salt Lake City collections of the Family History Library there.

Some interesting activities coming up - a walking tour of Maillardville in Coquitlam May 3rd and group trips to both Scotland and Salt Lake City in the fall. See the BCGS blog for details of the Maillardville tour.

Tonight three BCGS Special Interest groups met - the Canadian, Scottish and Discussion group. I attended the Scottish session which was a very interesting one about looking for records on those who stayed or died or perhaps worked in a 'lunatic asylum'. This session was sparked by a discussion in a previous meeting.

The National Archives of Scotland holds Mental Welfare Commission records, including a "General Register of Lunatics in Asylum" which is open to access after 75 years.

One person mentioned that he is waiting to see records of the Tayside Health Board held at Dundee University. These aren't allowed to be released for 100 years and even then apparently must be transcribed, not copied.

The Scottish Records Association's Agony Aunt, R K Vyst, had a most useful answer to a question about mental health records. I will be following up on this information as a family connection did die in a private asylum in Scotland. One of his children came to Canada as a 'home child'.

BCGS Walter Draycott Library
Unit 211, 12837 - 76th Avenue, Surrey BC
Telephone: 604 502 9119
Open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays 10-3 pm.
Call before visiting to check. The Library is not open on holiday weekends.

Surrey Public Library, Cloverdale Branch
5642 - 176A Street, Surrey, BC
Telephone 604 - 576-1384

Family History Center
6270 - 126th Street, Surrey, BC
Telephone 604- 597-9695
Call for hours before visiting.

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