Saturday, April 12, 2008


Spirit, a sculpture by Elsa Mayhew, RCA, 1964. Now exhibited on the grounds of the British Columbia Archives, in Victoria, B.C.

This last week, I visited the city of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada's capital, and was able to do research for a few days in the B.C. Archives.

Much of the material I found was about my own family, for example, I was able to copy the Corporate Registry reports for one of my parents' earlier businesses. I also spent many happy hours reading old newspapers on microfilm - one of my favourite pastimes.

Here is a tidbit from the Atlin Claim, from British Columbia's far north, September 16, 1899, page 4:

Our local photographer, H.C. Hirschfeld, is certainly enterprising. He has a very large collection of views of the district and every creek from Hitchcock to Simson is represented in the list. One view, however, he lacked, was that of a man falling out of a canoe in Atlin Lake. Accordingly, he sent out his assistant, A. Purvey, on Friday morning with instructions to make for one of the islands in the lake. He started in a canoe, and when about 50 yards from the shore, by some means, unknown to the occupant, the craft went over, the man ducked and Mr. Hirschfeld has the photograph.

Sometimes, of course, it is hard at this distance in time to know what to take too seriously.

If you are planning a visit to the British Columbia Archives, take a good look first at the new website:

There are links right there to search the collections (including B.C.'s Vital Events indexes for births, baptisms, marriages and deaths) and to see which research guides are now on-line, for example, the "Education History Research Guide".

Not everything has been added yet from the older website, so have a look there too:

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