If your ancestor died more than twenty years ago your first stop should be the vital statistics records at the BC Archives. Most of the death certificates have now been digitized and can be viewed on line either at the BC Archives Genealogy Search site or at familysearch.org. Check in both places if the image is not available at the first one you check. The death certificate will provide you with the following information:
- Name of deceased, marital status, name of spouse if widowed, divorced or married, names of parents of deceased and their birth places.
- Date of birth of deceased, age at death and place of birth.
- Place of death and normal address at time of death.
- Occupation, number of years spent in that occupation and date last worked.
- Name of the informant – often a son or daughter.
- Cause of death.
- Disposition of body – whether buried or cremated, where buried and name of funeral home.
If you ancestor died less than twenty years ago, your first stop should be the obituary indexes or digital copies of obituaries. Obituaries will often provide you with information about siblings, children and parents of the deceased as well as information about his/her life.
Once you know the date of death you may wish to contact the Parksville Museum and ask the volunteers there to search the local newspaper in the three to four weeks following the death to see if there is an obituary. The inventory of their holdings is as follows:
- PARKSVILLE PROGRESS 1948 – 1979
- ARROWSMITH STAR 1975 – 1998
- Missing Jan – July 1992
- PARKSVILLE QUALICUM BEACH NEWS 1989 – Apr 2016
- Missing Apr – Sep 2011
- Missing Jan – June, Oct – Dec 2012
- NEWS ADVERTISER 1983-1986
- OCEANSIDE STAR Aug 2012 – Dec 2014
Qualicum Beach Family History Society is currently indexing local newspapers from January 1995 to April 2002 and a fully searchable database of these obituaries is available on our web site. Copies or a transcription of the obituaries can be obtained from Parksville Museum which holds copies of the newspapers,
Since April 2002 the Parksville Qualicum Beach News has digitized obituaries that have appeared in that newspaper and they can be viewed on line. Yates Funeral Services has obituaries on line since 2010.
If your ancestor was buried or had cremains interred in one of the local cemeteries a record is likely available at Canadian Headstones as members of QBFHS photographed all headstones and plaques in those sites for burials up to 2013.
City directories which include the mid-island area are available up to 1955 on the Vancouver Public Library’s “British Columbia City Directories” web pages.
Members of Canada’s armed forces who died during the two world wars are recorded on various rolls of honour, all of which are indexed on the Qualicum Beach Family History Society’s web site. Digitized service records for soldiers who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War One are now available from Library and Archives Canada’s military history website.
Archives are another valuable resource. If your ancestor was a resident here in 1967 or 1971, and had been born in Canada or lived here prior to 1897 they may be listed in the Qualicum Beach Family History Society’s index to pioneer medallion recipients and the often extensive applications are available at the BC Archives.
Both Parksville Museum and Qualicum Beach Museum and Historical Society have fonds relating to local pioneers and prominent families and should be contacted. Both museums welcome contributions relating to families who lived here in the first half of the twentieth century or earlier.
Your ancestor may have featured in a story, advertisement or family notice published in the Victoria newspaper now known as the Victoria Times Colonist. Images of the newspaper from 1858 to 1951 are available on line in a fully searchable database.
Do not neglect the published resources available from Vancouver Island Regional Library at its branches in Parksville and Qualicum Beach. The major sources for information about early families are:
“Parksville and then some” by Marjorie Leffler;
“St. Anne’s Aldermere: the Anglican parish of St. Anne and St. Edmund, 1894-1994” by Valentine Urie;
“Voices from the Dorms: Qualicum Beach School and Qualicum Beach College School for Boys 1935-1970” by Jill Oakes and Rick Riewe,
“Qualicum Beach: a history of Vancouver Island’s best kept secrets” by Brad Wylie.
Further information on researching your ancestors in the Parksville/Qualicum Beach area can be found on the Parksville and Qualicum Beach area resources page on this website.
Finally, remember that both museums and the Qualicum Beach Family History Society have members and volunteers who have lived here for many years and may have known, or known of, your ancestors. You never know until you ask.