By Jasmine King Global News Posted February 22, 2023 6:50 am
A part of Okanagan history that some might not be aware of is the subject of a new book and it sheds light on a dark chapter in Vernon, B.C.'s past.
The book was revealed Tuesday evening after years of hard work from local volunteers.
"I think it's important that people know something about the history of their community," said Larry Gilchrist, president of the Vernon and District Family History Society.
"The area on which W.L. Seaton Secondary sits and MacDonald park was during World War I an internment camp for what was deemed to be enemy aliens."
Those so-called "enemy aliens" were anyone who had a connection to any of the countries Canada was fighting in the First World War.
This resulted in over a thousand people being interned in the North Okanagan.
"People, even families, and the camp in Vernon was one of only two camps across the country that had families. We had children here," Gilchrist said.
Among the internment camp, MacDonald Park held a jail, mental asylum and a house for transients.
The Vernon and District Family History Society has been working on the book for over five years and received a grant from the endowment council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition fund. Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming said that since this is a little-known part of Vernon's history, the book will allow for further education.
"It's great for Vernon to have these historical events where people put this much effort into actively recreating the situation at the time. They've done tremendous research into the individuals and on the actual internment facility itself", Cumming said.
The book features the stories of the internees, pictures sourced from all over the world of the camp, as well as details about the other work camps in the area. The history society says the book will convey the knowledge to younger generations.
"This is bringing a part of that history to light and we hope with this book, giving it to the high school, that this is something that their teachers can make use of and pass all of this information on," Gilchrist said.
Copies of the book will be given to museums and other schools across the North Okanagan and will be available for purchase through the Vernon and District Family History Society.Original Global News Article at https://globalnews.ca/news/9502646/vernon-bc-internment-camp-book-wwi/
MORNING STAR STAFF Feb. 17, 2023 6:00 a.m.
Image: Authors of the book were on hand to give speeches at the book unveiling at W.L Seaton Secondary Feb. 21. (Bowen Assman - Morning Star staff)
A book pertaining to an episode in Vernonï¿½?Â¯ï¿½?Â¿ï¿½?Â½??s dark history, written and printed in Vernon, was revealed Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Entitled: The most difficult of our camps, Vernon Internment Camp 1914-1920, is an oral history of the camp, complete with personal anecdotes and detailed financials of the six-year camp.
The area in Vernon known as MacDonald Park - where Seaton is situated today - has held a jail, a mental asylum, an internment camp, a house for transients and finally a secondary school and sports field.
This book deals with the internment camp period during and after the First World War.
Researched and written by members of the Vernon and District Family History Society, and made possible by a grant from the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund, The Vernon Internment Camp 1914-1920, takes you into the lives of the internees with numerous biographical sketches, great photographs from local, national and international sources, details of camp life and reaction from citizens of Vernon.
Mayor Victor Cumming was on hand at the event, and was thankful of the work put in by the authors.
"I think it is so critical that groups take the time to do this level of work to really clarify these types of historical points," he said. "Most of Vernon does not know this. So I thank them for bringing this forward."
Copies of the book area being donated to the Museum and Archives of Vernon, the five secondary schools in the Vernon School District, the five secondary schools in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District, Cherryville and other museums in the area.
1. - The internment camp in Vernon was one of the largest, one of the longest running and one of the most distinctive camps in Canada. Over 1,000 men, women and children were interned in Vernon over the 5 years and 6 months it was in operation. It was one of only two camps in the country that housed women and children.
2. - Otter rejected Leduc stating, "... (Major Nash) has now been for two years in command of this, the most difficult of all our Camps, administrating it in a most capable and satisfactory manner."
3. - "Why are some of the aristocratic German prisoners at the Vernon internment camp treated with such sickening deference and consideration? Why are they given all manner of privileges which renders their confinement a farce?"
The book initially will be available through the Vernon and District Family History Society's Resource Centre in the lower level of Peace Lutheran Church during limited hours. You can also purchase the book for $30 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or at vdfhs.com.Original Morning Star News Article at https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/entertainment/vernon-first-world-war-internment-camp-subject-of-new-book/
ROGER KNOX Nov. 22, 2022 5:00 a.m.Image: May Kermode played piano for silent movies for Vernon's old Empress Theatre in the early 20th Century, a story and find revealed by the Vernon and District Family History Society, which celebrates 40 years in operation with a special open house Saturday, Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Peace Lutheran Church.(Contributed)
Picture this in your mind. It's not hard if you're a certain age.
It's 1982. A new society has formed in Vernon designed to help people with their family's history. Only 40 years ago, there was no ancestry.ca. No findmypast.com. Google Search? What is that?
The Internet wasn't around.
No, those with interest in their family's history and tree had to go to the Vernon Library or Vernon Museum to do some preliminary research. You could take a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, and visit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' incredible library and family history centre for more clues.
Or you could write to the U.S., to European countries or the United Kingdom to collect parish records
The Vernon and District Family History Society, today, operating out of the lower level of the Peace Lutheran Church on 30th Avenue, does have Internet access, making genealogy and family history research much easier.
The society celebrates 40 years with an open house at the church (1204-30th Avenue) Saturday, Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
'Come and see what we're all about,' said society president Larry Gilchrist. 'We'll have a number of volunteers available to help with research in various countries, as well as answer general inquiries. And there will be a big table set up to discuss DNA testing. We'll show you how to take the rest of the steps toward building a good family history.'
Gilchrist himself chuckles at the fact he used his yearly trips to his Ontario cottage to find out family information and has them printed on 11 x 17 sheets at his home. Today, he can gather the same info on a piece of regular 8.5 x 11 paper thanks to one click of a computer mouse.
It was exactly 40 years ago on Nov. 24, 1982, that 10 people gathered at the Bella Vista home of Kay Biller and held the first meeting, forming a charter executive that included president Claude McKim of Vernon and vice-president Russell Udy of Armstrong.
'The society was formed to help those who are searching for their family roots, to have access to information gathered by others with the same goal,' says the minutes of that first gathering. 'Research material can be gathered by a group faster and cheaper than by each individual on his or her own'
The minutes also stated that 40 years ago, researching family history was becoming quite popular. And that's still true today. The Vernon society boasts more than 80 members, and two websites such as ancestry.ca and findmypast.com are incredibly popular.
Gilchrist said there is a difference between genealogy and family history.
'With genealogy, you trace the genes and concentrate on birth, marriage and death, and not much else,' he said. 'With family history, you're building a picture of what the person was the like and the time period surrounding it.'
He used an example sent to him by former society president Arlene Smith, who discovered her grandmother, May Kermode, played piano for silent movies at Vernon's old Empress Theatre, located behind what is now the CIBC building on the corner of 30th Avenue and 32nd Street, before talking movies came out.Image: The former president of the Vernon and District Family History Society discovered her grandmother played piano for silent movies at Vernon's old Empress Hotel in the early 20th Century. The society celebrates 40 years of helping people with family history reseach with an open house Saturday, Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the lower level of the Peace Lutheran Church.(Museum and Archives of Vernon Photo #16150, used with permission)
Smith writes: 'My grandmother (May Kermode) arrived in Vernon from Stonewall, Man. two days after her 21st birthday on April 28, 1910, to marry a man 19 years her senior, Jack Kermode. Her parents would not sanction the marriage when she was 19, and my grandfather Jack, who had worked for the Polsons in Manitoba came west at Mrs. Polson's suggestion and waited for May to become of age. They were married in Mrs. Polson's living room and Mrs. Polson provided the Maid of Honour.'
Smith said there were two other people who played the piano at the movies, one being Mrs. Margaret Davidson, whose son, Neil, was a founder of Davidson Lawyers and was Mayor of Vernon from 1979-81.
The Vernon and District Family History Society open house is open to everyone, as is membership in the society. The group meets the second Wednesday of every month.Original Vernon Morning Star Article at https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/community/vernon-and-district-family-history-society-soaks-up-40-years/
By:ROGER KNOX Sep. 1, 2021 9:00 a.m.
Image: Keagan Edwards of Port Moody, a university student volunteer, sifts through some soil in search of artifacts at the site of the First World War Monashee Internment Camp east of Cherryville. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
A Fraser Valley university instructor spent a couple of weeks near Cherryville in July literally digging up information on how prisoners lived during the First World War at the Monashee Internment Camp.
The ground-penetrating radar expert Dr. Sarah Beaulieu, from the Abbotsford-based university, is an instructor and faculty associate in the school’s community health and social innovation hub. Prior to Cherryville, she had been excavating at the Morrissey Internment Camp just outside of Fernie.
Beaulieu is also connected with Vernon’s Andrea Malysh and Lawrna Myers, program manager and researcher, respectively, with the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund and was aware of the Monashee camp.
“It’s unique because it’s on the side of a highway and hasn’t been developed, so it seemed like a great location to begin unearthing and excavating,” said Beaulieu near the end of her two-week stint in the North Okanagan.
The camp was located east of Cherryville.
Aided by Malysh, Myers and Myers’ family, as well as students from Simon Fraser University’s archaeology department, Beaulieu was able to unearth both ends of the facility and completely delineate the camp.
“We found the guards’ quarters, officers’ quarters, the civilian prisoners of war (POW) quarters, and, of course, all of the artifacts that come up with this type of situation and location,” said Beaulieu, referring to cans, bottles, bottle caps, stoves, stove pipes, stove doors.
“Basically these are items that tell us how the prisoners lived, how they were fed, how they were treated within the camps.”
A couple of interesting finds included cans of OXO seasoning, which Beaulieu said would not have belonged to the prisoners, a cream container in the shape of corn, and a broken bottle of Johnnie Walker whisky.
Beaulieu is the first to excavate First World War internment sites in Canada with her research contributing new information toward how the POWs lived and were treated in these Canadian camps (there were also camps in Vernon, where MacDonald Park and W.L. Seaton Secondary are today, and Mara).
Artifacts from her research, including a barbed-wire cross and a handmade shovel used by POWs to dig an escape tunnel, are on exhibit in the Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que.
Her research has been highlighted in the documentary That Never Happened which has received numerous international awards and was the Official Selection of the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, screening in Geneva, Switzerland. The film has been screened in Vernon by the Vernon and District Family History Society.
Beaulieu’s use of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) as a remote sensing method has seen her liaise with the RCMP in search of clandestine graves, survey cemeteries for the City of Abbotsford and Agassiz, and work for First Nations communities to survey both Indigenous cemeteries and search for residential school burial sites.
Beaulieu’s work with GPS uncovered in May an unmarked graveyard on the grounds of the old Kamloops Residential School containing hundreds of remains.
She used GPR in the dig at the Monashee Internment Camp, she said, but not for graves.
“We used it here for building floors and remnants of the various structures and what-nots,” Beaulieu said.Original Vernon Morning Star Article at https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/watch-digging-into-history-east-of-cherryville/
By:ROGER KNOX Nov. 16, 2020 6:00 a.m.
Image: Alice Lee (left) and Gilda Koenig with the Vernon and District Family History Society raised funds and got donations to put up a pair of commemorative rock monuments for people who died in the Vernon-based B.C. Provincial Home for the Aged between 1948 and 1961. The rocks were put in a row where 41 people from the home are buried, and to stop people from driving over the graves as a shortcut through the cemetery. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Thanks to a pair of retired Telus volunteers active with Vernon and District Family History Society, a shortcut through a portion of the Pleasant Valley Cemetery is now blocked by a pair of monuments that honour those buried in that one particular row.
Gilda Koenig and Alice Lee were able to raise money and have a pair of large rocks donated to commemorate 41 souls buried in a row off Birch Street, between Fir Street and Walnut Street, people who died in Vernon’s B.C. Provincial Home for the Aged on Mission Hill, which operated between 1948 and 1961.
“As we were cleaning up the cemetery, we noticed vehicles driving over the graves, and that upset us,” said Koenig. The ladies put up plastic markers indicating gravesites but that still didn’t stop people from driving across the graves to get to another portion of the cemetery.
There are 377 of the close to 500 people who died in the home buried in Vernon’s cemetery. Only about 70 of those have markers. Most are in unmarked graves.
The original site of B.C. Provincial Home for the Aged was an old military building off the Vernon Army Camp that opened in 1948. It operated until 1961 when it became Dellview Hospital, and operated as a care facility until 1976 when Dellview was torn down and the current Polson Extended Care Unit was built, opening in 1982 and remains in operation today.
People from all over B.C. were cared for at the B.C. Provincial Home for the Aged.
“A lot of men I’ve read about came this way, leaving their families behind to search for gold in the Monashees, and then simply ended up being transients,” said Koenig. “They never went home, they became street people, became ill and whenever space opened up in B.C., they were sent to these facilities.”
Added Lee: “We’ve looked at the death registrations and there’s no information on them. No father’s name, wife’s name, nothing, not even where they were born. It’s a real hunt to trace anybody to find a family member. There’s nothing there.”
Lawrna Myers from the society said as people aged in the mid-20th century, there was nowhere to put somebody who had medical problems or who were on their own.
Essondale Hospital in Coquitlam was the provincial mental hospital, but a lot of people who were housed there didn’t have mental problems. It was the only place that had the medical facility to house them. Thus, Homes for the Aged were built, including the one in Vernon.
“In today’s terms think of Noric House or Gateby, the more advanced care facilities,” said Myers. “That’s where men and women would go if they couldn’t look after themselves or they had nobody else to look after them.”
On behalf of Koenig and Lee, Telus donated funds toward the 500 volunteer hours each woman attained working on the project. Lynx Earthworks and Westridge Quarries Ltd. donated the rocks and the engraving on each rock – “In remembrance of those who died in the BC Provincial Home For The Aged 1948-1961” – was handled by Caufields Engraving Ltd.Original Vernon Morning Star Article at https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/unique-row-at-vernon-cemetery-gets-pair-of-monuments/
Image: Memorial Carin McDonalds Park , Vernon, BC
During Canada's First national internment operations of 1914-1920, thousands of men, women and children were branded as'enemy aliens". Deprived of their freedom, stripped of what little wealth they had, some were forced to do heavy labour and all suffered various other state sanctioned censures including disenfranchisement; not because of anything they had done but only because of where they had come from, who they were. The plaque pictured below is dedicated to the memory of the men, women and children who were interned at Vernon's internment camp on this location, now known as MacDonald Park between 18 September 1914 and 20 February 1920.
Thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans, including Bulgarians, Croatians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, various people from the Ottoman Empire, Poles, Romanian, Russians, Serbians, Slovaks, Slovenes, among others were needlessly imprisoned in 24 internment camps across Canada. Many were located in the country's frontier hinterlands, in some cases internees were without adequate food and clothing to suit the conditions. Some women and children were held in two camps across Canada, one in Vernon and the other in Spirit Lake, Quebec. In other areas, women struggled to support their families while their husbands were interned.
There were internment camps at Vernon, Mara Lake, Monashee, Mt. Revelstoke, Field and Edgewood. Vernon was the permanent internment camp for British Columbia.
The Vernon and District Family History Society will present the documentary 'That Never Happened" at a later date. Two seasons of YouTube Vignettes, called "The Camps," can be viewed here.
VDFHS has valuable resources available to research your ancestors. During the isolation access to Ancestry is available online. For membership enquiries contact email@example.com. You will find access to free resources on our website. You may have ancestors who are connected to the Internment.
Furthermore, the VDFHS June 10th General Meeting, to be held electronically via Zoom, will feature a presentation by VDFHS Past President, Jerry Thompson, on the subject of 'The Vernon Internment Camp 1914-1920, 100 Years Ago".
In his videoconference slideshow talk, Jerry presents a pictorial summary of the history of the Vernon Camp, the grounds and buildings, and something about the prisoners and soldiers who lived in the Camp, and how they reacted with the Vernon citizens. Please take time to join in on Jerry's historical timeline based summary, showing many of the more than one hundred surviving vintage photographs taken at the Camp, and of the families that lived there. We hope that you can take the time and interest to turn your clock and memory back to those historic times of 100 and more years ago, to get a glimpse of what was part of Vernon during that 'Great War".
Please mark June 10, at 7 pm, on your calendars. Instructions for using Zoom and further details will be sent out via email shortly.
Image: This VDFHS project and activity is supported by a Grant from the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.
Image: The Vernon Interment Camp circa 1916. GVMA No. 2500
By: MORNING STAR STAFF Jun. 7, 2020 12:00 p.m. LOCAL NEWS
Image: A plaque is erected at Vernonâ€™s MacDonald Park at what was once the site of a First World War Internment Camp from 1914-1920. The 100th anniversary of the end of the camps is Saturday, June 20. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
The Vernon and District Family History Society is commemorating the end of Canada's First National Internment Operations from 1914 - 1920. The 100th anniversary is on Saturday, June 20.
“During Canada’s First national internment operations of 1914-1920, thousands of men, women and children were branded as“enemy aliens,” wrote the society. “Deprived of their freedom, stripped of what little wealth they had, some were forced to do heavy labour and all suffered various other state-sanctioned censures including disenfranchisement; not because of anything they had done but only because of where they had come from, who they were.”
A plaque at Vernon’s MacDonald Park , site of a local First World War internment camp, is dedicated to the memory of the men, women and children who were interned there between Sept. 18, 1914 and Feb. 20, 1920.
Thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans, including Bulgarians, Croatians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, various people from the Ottoman Empire, Poles, Romanian, Russians, Serbians, Slovaks, Slovenes, among others were needlessly imprisoned in 24 internment camps across Canada.
Many were located in the country’s frontier hinterlands, and in some cases, internees were without adequate food and clothing to suit the conditions. Some women and children were held in two camps across Canada, one in Vernon and the other in Spirit Lake,Que.
In other areas, women struggled to support their families while their husbands were interned.
There were internment camps at Vernon, Mara Lake, Monashee, Mt. Revelstoke, Field and Edgewood. Vernon was the permanent internment camp for British Columbia.
Vernon and District Family History Society will present the documentary “That Never Happened” at a later date. Two seasons of YouTube vignettes can be viewed at “The Camps.”
VDFHS has valuable resources available to research your ancestors. During the isolation access to Ancestry is available online. For membership inquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You will find access to free resources online at VDFHS.com. You may have ancestors who are connected to the Internment.
This project has been made possible by a grant from the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.
Image: This VDFHS project and activity is supported by a Grant from the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.
For further information contact email@example.com.
Original Vernon Morning Star Article at https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/vernon-internment-camp-shut-down-100-years-ago/
Roger Knox Feb. 14, 2018 9:30 a.m.
Image: The Vernon and District Family History Society has produced a booklet on a First World War internment camp in Vernon. Vernon Internment Camp 1914-1920 is available at the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)
Thanks to descendants and research, the Vernon and District Family History Society has provided a new glimpse of what life was like in a First World War internment camp in Vernon.
Don McNair, a society member, editor and layout man, helped produce a fascinating 28-page book, complete with amazing photographs sent by descendants of those imprisoned. It’s called Vernon Internment Camp 1914-1920.
“During the First World War, more than 1,000 men were imprisoned at an internment camp in Vernon’s north end (where W.L. Seaton Secondary sits today),” wrote McNair. “Most were forced to work on roads in B.C.’s Interior, but 200-300 stayed right in the camp in Vernon for years, plus about 80 of their wives and children.”
They were kept, said McNair, simply because of who they were: subjects of the German or Austro-Hungarian empires, with which Canada and the British Empire were at war.
The booklet is about not just the prisoners in the Vernon camp, but also about the soldiers who guarded them.
“In our research, we were concerned with the guards as well as the prisoners,” said McNair. “There’s a cast of about 2,000 people: 1,000 prisoners, 1,000 guards…We know more about the prisoners than about the guards but we hope that changes.”
Most of the men in the camps and retained in the camps were German, and McNair, 63, has some working with the German language which allowed him to discover some valuable information for the booklet.
One of the things that stands out for McNair in helping make the booklet was how delighted descendants were to understand what became of their ancestors. McNair, a military and history buff who has no connection to the camp, said a shining example in the book is the Schwarze family, Karl and his wife, Victoria, and their children, Gunter and Karla.
The Schwarzes emigrated to Canada in 1910 and Karl became a high school principal in Nanaimo.
“Andrea Schwarze, in Dresden, Germany, held on to his grandfather’s stuff,” said McNair, who made contact with Schwarze through the Internet. “His grandpa was in the camp and was deported. He had scraps of strange letters, strange photographs, not knowing their context or how they related to otehr international events.
“He puzzled over them without throwing them out.”
The photos in the booklet – there are pictures on every page – are spectacular.
They were provided by the national archives, Okanagan Military Museum and descendants who, McNair said, were more than happy to share their stuff.
McNair called the booklet project “exciting.”
“We thought we were encountering a story we really understood. In fact, we don’t understand it,” he said. “There is so much information to draw from, so many sources, I’m overwhelmed by how dramatic the story is without mayhem.
“We don’t have men being shot. We have one instance of a man being stabbed in the hand with a bayonette. The level of brutality seems to be less, even in the local work camps.”
The booklet touches on life in the camps, which includes pictures of games of soccer and hockey among prisoners, and introduces the public to some of the prisoners and guards.
McNair said there will be a follow-up booklet.
“Definitely,” he said. “If anybody has something they’d like to contribute, you can get a hold of me online at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The booklet is available at the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives. McNair will be talking about the booklet at the Okanagan Regional Library on Saturday, March 3.
Original Vernon Morning Star Article at https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/community/book-offers-glimpse-into-internment-camp/
Erin Christie Morning Star Staff email@example.com Nov. 3, 2017 11:00 a.m.
Image: Dennis Wilson, of the Royal Canadian Legion, speaks at the No Stone Left Alone ceremony Wednesday at Pleasant Valley Cemetery
It's a simple gesture - but to hundreds of soldiers and their families all over the world, the placing of a poppy on the headstone of a fallen comrade is a symbol of respect, and more importantly, a reminder to veterans that we will remember them.
That's the message W.L. Seaton teacher Yvonne Fiala, hopes students will take away from the No Stone Left Alone ceremony held at Pleasant Valley Cemetery on Wednesday morning.
The ceremony, organized by Fiala and Lawrna Myers, of the Vernon and District Family History Society, saw 130 students from three local schools gather to pay their respects to fallen veterans in a brief remembrance service before placing more than 500 poppies on local military grave sites.
Image: Grade 10 W.L. Seaton student Abby Battersby lays a poppy on a veteran's grave as part of the No Stone Left Alone ceremony Wednesday at Pleasant Valley Cemetery. Visit vernonmorningstar.com to see a video of the event. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)
In the weeks leading up to the ceremony Fiala, who introduced the concept to Vernon schools last year after participating in a cemetery tour lead by Myers, said she and her colleagues at the participating schools; W.L. Seaton Secondary School, Vernon Secondary School and Beairsto Elementary School assigned Remembrance projects, including research on First World War and Second World War veterans.
"The goal is to get the students reflecting a little bit more as we get closer to Remembrance Day, and to encourage them to learn more about Canada's rich history of service to their country," Fiala explained.
"I find they come to realize how much sacrifice was involved with military service, and it makes it a bit more real seeing local names."
"It gives them the feeling that these men and women are more than just a name on a list their teacher gave them," Myers echoed.
Image: A poppy is left on a veteran's grave as part of the No Stone Left Alone ceremony Wednesday at Pleasant Valley Cemetery. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)
"Especially if the name they are assigned to research is someone buried right here in Vernon, because then they are given the opportunity to lay a poppy on their gravestone. I think that really helps them connect."
Through research initiated by the family history society several years ago, Myers said 550 military graves have been identified and marked in the Vernon cemetery. She said there will be many more to mark as the society continues with the project. Wednesday's ceremony, she noted, was one of dozens hosted by, or on behalf of the No Stones Left Alone Memorial Foundation that took place in communities across Canada on Nov. 1.
The Edmonton-based non-profit organization, founded by Maureen G. Bianchini-Purvis in 2011, aims to honour our fallen military while educating students of the sacrifice made by Canadian veterans, by placing poppies at their headstones every November.
For VSS student Brianne Bertram, the project became something of a personal passion after the Vernon teen learned she shared the same last name as the soldier she was assigned to research.
"He was from Australia, my family is from Scotland, so we aren't related as far as a I know, but it would be cool if we were," she noted.
"I still thought the process of learning all this, and then being able actually place a poppy on his headstone was really impactful - to be part of something all these other people are doing for these soldiers who might not have family left to leave poppies for them - it feels like we're really doing a good thing."
Original Vernon Morning Star Article at https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/community/vernon-high-school-students-remember-fallen-soldiers-at-no-stone-left-alone-ceremony/
Staff - Vernon Morning Star, Oct. 22, 2017 4:30 a.m.
If you've been thinking of delving into your ancestry, the Vernon & District Family History Society is here to help.
The society is holding an open house Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at its resource centre at Peace Lutheran Church (lower level), 1204 - 30th Ave. This will be an opportunity to find out how membership in the society can help you track down family ancestors or long-lost relatives.
The Vernon & District Family History Society has:
For Ted Hoyte, whose family roots in Vernon are deep, membership in the society has gone a long way towards helping him to explore his ancestry, which includes his maternal great-great grandparents Hephzibah and Samuel Gibbs.
Samuel was born in London, England in 1849, while Hephzibah Collins was born in Dartmouth, England in 1851. They married in London in 1870 and had seven children born in London.
In April 1885 the family travelled to New York City on the ship, Egyptian Monarch. They then went to London, Ont., where a son Henry was born in 1886. In 1891 the family was living in Enderby, B.C. where a daughter Ethel was born and Samuel was working at a flour mill.
By 1901 some of the older children had married or were working at other places in B.C. and Samuel was in Lillooet, B.C. working for the provincial government. He died there in 1925 and Hephzibah in 1927.
Original Vernon Morning Star Article at http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/life/explore-your-history-2/
By: Morning Star Staff / Wed Oct 18th, 2017 6:30am
Image: Yvette Miller (left) and Valerie Hooper place photographs and advertisements around the new version of the 1892 map of Vernon. The map, which shows homes and businesses, is on display Nov. 4 at Peace Lutheran Church and the Greater Vernon Museum. (Photo submitted)
The Vernon and District Family History Society, in partnership with the Greater Vernon Museum, has prepared a map showing the location of homes and businesses at the time that the city was incorporated in 1892.
“The two members of the society who volunteered to work on the map project, Yvette Miller and Valerie Hooper, used as a base, a plan of the town of Vernon surveyed by J.P. Burnyeat and deposited with the Province of B.C. Jan. 24, 1891 by the Okanagan Land and Development Co.,” said Larry Gilchrist, with the society.
In 1892, the city limits went from 25th Ave (the old railway tracks) to 35th Avenue and from 35th Street (behind Safeway) to 25th Street. Much of the area north of 34th Avenue was bush and the area east of 28th Street and north of 30th Ave was mainly forested.
“The lots in this area were accessible by logging roads only. It’s hard to image Vernon as a forest,” said Gilchrist.
The original street names reflected the names of the important people who lived in Vernon. In 1947, the current street and avenue system came into being, replacing the names with numbers. But the map recognizes both versions of the street names in 1892 and 1947.
“Photos of some of the men involved in arranging the incorporation of the city, as well as newspaper ads for businesses that existed at the time have been added to the outside margins of the map,” said Hooper.
Hooper and Miller made good use of the information available at the museum, including maps, tax assessment rolls and the Vernon News. Society member Sheila Copley plowed through the town (later city) minutes leading up to incorporation and for a year afterwards and made notes.
The map will be on display at the society’s open house at Peace Lutheran Church Nov. 4 or drop by the Greater Vernon Museum where you also can see the map, and peruse some of the resources used.
Original Vernon Morning Star Article at http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/community/vernons-history-mapped-out/
Staff Writer, Vernon Morning Star/ June 10, 2016 3:00 p.m.
Image: Members of the Vernon & District Family History Society
The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives and the Vernon & District Family History Society are teaming up once again to offer their popular Pleasant Valley Cemetery Tours this summer.
The first tour takes place Saturday and they will run monthly, July 9, Aug. 13 and Sept. 10, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Pleasant Valley Cemetery, with a duration of about two hours.
Following the tour, a light lunch will be served at the museum, where tour guide Lawrna Myers will be available to answer any further questions. The museum will also have more information on display about the historical figures mentioned during the tour.
"With mostly new characters on tour, from North Okanagan Creamery Association's (NOCA) organizer and manager Everard Clarke, to boxer Clarence (Noodles) Knox, to First World War bride Martha Hammond and missionary Julius Rieske, you'll learn a little history along the way and maybe a tad bit of gossip," said Denise Marsh, marketing and communications coordinator for the museum.
During the tour, Myers will touch on the victims of the Okanagan Hotel fire, some of the internees of the First World War Internment Camp and those from the early 20th century insane asylum, as in previous years.
Tickets are $20 per person with a limit of 25 participants per tour. Tickets are only available at the museum and will not be available on the event date. Participants are asked to wear good walking shoes as the tour involves walking and standing.
For more information, please call the museum at 250-542-3142 or visit www.vernonmuseum.ca or see www.facebook.com/vernonmuseum
Original Vernon Morning Star Article at http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/life/take-a-tour-through-local-history/