Online Databases – Resources Requiring Login (Library card and password)

Ancestry Library Edition  – In-library use only at GVPL branches. Genealogy treasure trove contains 3,000 databases, primary source documents and passenger lists. 

Subject Guides – Open Resources (no login required)

In the Library

Find books about …     Browse the shelves
Genealogy 929
Heraldry 929.6

Also check out the Heritage Room.  Located on the first floor of the Central Branch, the Heritage Room is a special collection focusing on the history and peoples of Vancouver Island. There are approximately 2,500 volumes in this collection.

Introductory Genealogy Sites

Canadian Genealogy Centre: How To Begin – This is part of the Canadian Genealogy Centre’s site, which is also listed under our Canadian Genealogy heading. This is a good place for the novice to start.

General Genealogy Sites

Cyndi’s List – A genealogical research portal containing links to over 150,000 sites.

FamilySearch.org – Family history and genealogy records. The largest collection of free family history, family tree and genealogy records in the world. From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Internet Public Library (IPL) Genealogy Resource Guide – A subject guide with links to genealogical resources from around the world.

RootsWeb – RootsWeb hosts many of the largest volunteer genealogy projects on the Internet. Its primary purpose is to help connect people so they can share genealogical research.

Surrey Public Library – A rich collection of sites that is especially good for Canadian genealogy.

Toronto Public Library – Virtual Reference Library – A large site, with many subcategories such as “Ireland – Genealogy”.

British Columbia Genealogy

British Colonist Digital Database – The British Colonist digitization project is a gift from the Times Colonist newspaper, the University of Victoria Libraries, and a consortium of British Columbia libraries to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the British Colonist newspaper. Every page of every issue, from the first one on December 11, 1858 until December, 1950, has been scanned and made searchable.

British Columbia Archives Genealogy Guide – This is an excellent research guide to the genealogical resources of the B.C. Archives. Within the guide are links to other resources.

British Columbia Archives: Vital Events Search – Database of BC births, marriages, deaths.

British Columbia Cemetery Finding Aid – List of cemeteries in BC with maps and searchable database.

British Columbia Genealogical Society

British Columbia Historical Newspapers – The BC Historical Newspapers project, through University of British Columbia Libraries, features digitized versions of 24 historical papers from around the province. The titles, which range from the Abbotsford Post to the Phoenix Pioneer, date from 1865 to 1924.

Historic City Directories – An inventory of our city directories from 1860 – 2001.

Historic Crown Grant Search British Columbia – This database allows you to search crown land grants in British Columbia from 1860 to 1930. It allows you to search in various ways, such as name of grantee, date of grant etc.

Vancouver Island History – This site hosts several large databases, including some historical Vancouver Island censuses.

Victoria City Archives – This is a direct link to the Ross Bay Cemetery Records, 1872-1980, and the marriage and death notices in the Victoria Times, 1901-1939.

Victoria Genealogical Society – Local non-profit organization with its own library and special interest groups.

The West Beyond The West – Provides free and open access to British Columbia’s digitized historical collections. Search the collections of libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, heritage and community groups, and government agencies in British Columbia and across Canada.

Canadian Genealogy

Canadian County Digital Atlas Project – A database which gives the names of property owners which appear on township maps in county atlases of Ontario in the late 19th century. You can search by name or by county.

Canadian Genealogy Centre – A new web site from the Library and Archives of Canada providing electronic access to genealogical resources in Canada.

Canadian Genealogy and History – A listing of genealogical and historical web sites, including genealogy organizations.

Canadian Virtual War Memorial – This complements the previous site. It contains a registry of information about the graves and memorials for 116,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who gave their lives for their country. Sometimes they have a photograph of the deceased.

Chinese-Canadian Genealogy
Resources for Canadians of Chinese origin who would like to explore their personal connection to Chinese-Canadian history.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission: Find War Dead – This register is a database listing the 1.7 million men and women of  the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries worldwide where they are commemorated.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography – explore the history of Canada’s inhabitants and their culture from 1000 to 1920, including those who played a key role in the formation of what is now Canada.

Library & Archives Canada Passenger List Index – Provides access to over 21,000 references to passenger lists held at Library & Archives Canada.

National Archives of Canada

Ontario Archives

Soldiers of the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force – An index to the personnel files of the soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War One. Many of the attestation papers have been digitized and are on line here as well.

Great Britain Genealogy

Genuki – A ‘virtual reference library’ of genealogical information relevant to the U.K. and Ireland.

Proceedings of the Old Bailey: London’s Central Criminal Court, 1674-1913 – A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite British people ever published. It contains nearly 200,00 trials held at London’s central criminal court.

Public Records Office: Family History in England and Wales – Practical information on all kinds of ‘domestic records’-what’s available and for what dates.

Site Archive for FamilyRecords.gov.uk – An archive of the now defunct Family Records Centre website, with access to many kinds of records from such sources as the National Archives, National Archives of Scotland and the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland.

American Genealogy

American Family Immigration History Center (Ellis Island) – This contains the ship manifests of 25 million immigrants, passengers and ship crews who entered New York Harbor between 1892 and 1924. Over 40 per cent of Americans can trace their ancestry through Ellis Island.