Who were the first people to call Kelowna home? The Salish people, an Indigenous Tribe, trace their history back 9,000 years. The first European to settle in the Okanagan was a French Catholic missionary – Father Pandosy. Today just about every nation from all parts of the world make the Kelowna area their home.
Many know their roots but there are others who don’t have a clue. Hence the popularity of TV programs that trace people’s genealogy, or ads on TV for DNA tests that will prove where you originated from. Genealogy is big business and with technology it’s easy to dig up information on your ancestors.
Genealogy in Kelowna
The Kelowna and District Genealogical Society has provided the information and support for local residents to discover their roots for 30 years. The highlight of the Society’s calendar has been the Harvest Your Family Tree Conference which has taken place every two years since 1996. This year’s conference will run September 23 to September 25 with a variety of workshops which the organizers promise will be the best yet.
The Society is bringing in 10 of the world’s best speakers from Britain, the United and States and here at home in Canada. There will be 33 workshops appealing to every sort of genealogical researcher from beginners to the most seasoned family-tree researcher.
That includes Lisa Louise Cooke, an expert from Texas who posts monthly podcasts entitled Genealogy Gems. Her expertise if the use of technology to search for family information. Also Audrey Collins, a research specialist with a world-wide following from The National Archives in Britain. As well, Canadian speaker and genealogy author will be on hand.
Also, representatives from the Library and Archives Canada, the Cloverdale Genealogy Centre in Surrey and the Family History Library which is located in Utah.
This huge conference has been meticulously organized to bring the latest information to attendees. From how to begin your research to how to properly catalogue the information you’d obtained to assistance in gathering DNA whether your own or from other family members.
The Kelowna and District Genealogy Society has developed a stellar reputation, attracting vendors and conference exhibitors from all over. Many popular websites will be represented, such as Ancestry, My Heritage, Find My Past and Family Tree DNA.
This three-day conference begins on Friday afternoon with workshops at the Kelowna Library. This is where the Society’s headquarters are located along with the Local History Room. Other resources in Kelowna involved in the conference are the Okanagan Regional Library and the Innovation Centre at UBCO. Members of the Society will be conducting tours of these facilities which are excellent places to conduct family history research in the Okanagan. They’ll also be offering help for those that want to get right to work.
Friday evening there will be a reception at Okanagan College to meet the speakers. The bulk of the workshops take place Saturday and many are already sold out. Sunday, there will be an organized group walk led by Bob Hayes, a Kelowna historian. The walk will go through out the Cultural District and will include tours of the Military Museum and the Art Gallery.
Those interested in registering can visit the Kelowna and District Genealogy Society’s website.