Genealogy charts tracked Sooke’s many families

SOOKE HISTORY: Some charts recorded more than 1,000 descendants

Christine Smith working on family trees at Sooke Region Museum. (Contributed - Sooke Region Museum)

Elida Peers | Contributed

It seems hard to believe that it’s exactly 40 years since we were working on the family trees at the Sooke Region Museum.

This photo shows Christine Smith perched on a work table as she scribed on a length of velum that we were using to make the master copies of the extensive charts. The fancier name was “genealogy charts” and we were creating them before computers came into common use.

When we were interviewing our pioneer families we found ourselves getting confused in listening to their accounts, as frequently given names were repeated in generation after generation in a family. Family tree charts helped us to keep things straight as we recorded histories over the years. Included among the families for which we made charts were:

Acreman/Bradley/Mugford; Anderson, Arden, Brown, Brule/Jolibois/Armour; Brule/Vautrin; Caffery, Charters, Cross, Eve, Gillespie; Godtel/Gettle; Gordon; Goudie; Helgesen; King; Lazzar/George/Jones; Milne; Muir; Murray; Phillips; Poirier; Pontious; Richardson; Sanderson; Shambrook; Sheilds; Sullivan, Throup; Vautrin; Weeks; Welsh; White. Some of these genealogical charts reached as many as 1,000 named descendants. How many more, had they been continued up to today?

In the summer seasons, in those days, we were able to obtain employment grants which provided us with staff help, and allowed students to earn enough to pay the next year’s university tuition.

Christine Smith, who was a daughter of Earl and Lindsay Smith who lived on Goodmere Road, became a teacher, and we understand she married another teacher, Chris Purse, and they both found early teaching postings in the Canadian north.

History that was collected decades ago has been invaluable as we continue to document the collections and try to respond to the innumerable queries that come in to us from all over North America, the British Isles, South America, Australia and New Zealand. Searching for roots is a continuing process.


Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

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