Cowichan families climbing family trees

Help — and humour — is out there for those wanting to learn more about their family history? - Gord Hamilton
Help — and humour — is out there for those wanting to learn more about their family history?
— image credit: Gord Hamilton

The best part about teaching folks about family history is seeing them “bit by the bug,” said instructor Jeannine Powell.

“And the excitement of finding out the ‘something (they) never knew.’ I am thrilled with each success, particularly for those who are just getting started.”

After a series of well-received family genealogy classes last fall and winter, the Duncan Family History Centre and local branches of the Vancouver Island Regional Library decided to link arms again.

“Many people come in with questions about genealogy,” explained South Cowichan, Mill Bay library branch manager Monica Finn. “It’s a popular topic in this area and we wanted to get some experts in to help customers interested in learning more about their history.”

When Finn was a librarian at the Cowichan Branch in Duncan, she approached the Family History Centre, looking to offer a free genealogy class at the library.

FHC director, Lori Hamilton, was delighted to accept.

“We’re lucky to have some very talented, knowledgeable people teaching classes anyway,” said Hamilton, “So why not hold them in co-operation with the library, which has a higher profile and additional promotional resources?”

The first class, Tracing Your Family Tree – For Beginners, went off without a hitch.

And folks were asking for more.

Seven classes were arranged, including one in Mill Bay at the South Cowichan Library. Attendance increased steadily and grateful students returned to further their knowledge.

“Our aim is to educate anyone who’s interested in how to search for ancestors and document their family history,” said instructor Carol Stiles.

“In that process, you get in touch with who you are, where you are from, and why you live where you do.”

“We bring experienced instructors, plus the Family History Centre is always there to offer ongoing resources and support,” said Hamilton. “It’s the same amount of work for our volunteers to teach a class of five or 25 students. We like knowing that we’ve helped more people with their genealogy.”

Upcoming Classes in Duncan

Oct 5: 3 to 4:30 p.m./Learning Legacy (Basic Introduction)

Oct. 19: 3 to 4:30 p.m./Using FamilySearch Effectively

Nov. 2: 3 to 4:30 p.m./Getting Organized – Electronic and Paper Filing

Nov. 9: 3 to 4:30 p.m./Finding Your French Canadian Roots

Nov. 23: 3 to 4:30 p.m./Googling For Grandma

For more information on courses or to ask to be added to the classes list, contact

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