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Lists of Persons

| Cemetery Records | Census | City Directories | Military Records | Registers of Birth, etc. |
| Obituaries & Funeral Records | Telephone Directories | Voters Lists |

Research Tools

| Bibliographies | Local Histories | Manuals & Handbooks | Maps |
| Newspapers | Historical Photographs | Heritage Home Tours


First established in 1865, the New Westminster Public Library is B.C.'s oldest library. Located on the 2nd floor of the Library, the Reference Department is home to an impressive collection of genealogical and local history resources. The main strength of this collection is British Columbian in content with emphasis on the history of New Westminster and the surrounding area.

Genealogical resources in the Special Collection and the Reference Department do not circulate and are for in library use only. Identification, such as a library card or driver's license, may be required to use certain items. Librarians in Reference are available to assist researchers using the collection.

Quick Reference is available by telephone, mail, fax, or e-mail.

Phone: (604) 527-4665
Fax: (604) 527-4674
Email: reference@nwpl.ca
Mail: New Westminster Public Library
716 6th Avenue New Westminster,
B.C. V3M 2B3


Cemetery Records

New Westminster Museum/Archive has copies of the record books of the Fraser Cemetery, New Westminster's major cemetery since 1870. Information is listed in both general alphabetical order (i.e. - M's are all together, but not in alphabetical order within each letter) and by plot designation, and provides the name, date of interment, plot designation, section (if applicable), undertaker, and, in some instances, the name and address of the owner of the plot (which is not always the deceased). The Museum/Archive also has copies of the publications produced by the B.C. Genealogical Society, which list the text that appears on extant stones in the Fraser Cemetery.

New Westminster Cemeteries

Print lists prepared by the B.C. Genealogical society list those buried in local cemeteries:

R929.5, F862h Fraser Cemetery
R929.5, Sa24h St. Peters Catholic Cemetery

Complete cemetery records can be viewed at the Cemeteries Office at 100 Richmond St., New Westminster, B.C. V3L 4B3. Ph. 522-1323

The Library also has copies of cemetery records from Woodland's:

R929.5 C332 Cemetery Woodlands School
R929.5 L696 List of Persons Buried at the Public Hospital for the Insane 1922-1958

For more information, and photographs, see The Cemeteries of New Westminster

Cemetery Lists on the Internet

B.C. Cemetery Finding Aid: A database containing over one hundred thousand burial records from cemeteries around the province: http://www.islandnet.com/bccfa

Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid: http://www.islandnet.com/ocfa


Census Records

The Library has census records, searchable by name, for the New Westminster area from the 1881, 1891 and the 1901 census. (on microfilm)

The 1871 census of Ontario can be searched online at: http://db.library.queensu.ca/census/

For an extensive list of on-line Canadian Census Indexes, check the Alberta Family History Society Website.


City Directories

The Library has a large collection of B.C. city directories. Listing residents by name and sometimes by address, dating back to 1860, they are an invaluable resource for genealogical researchers. Directories provide information on early street names, locations and types of businesses and industries, names, addresses, occupations and spouses of residents, and a general picture of the times. For a complete list of Library holdings, check with the Reference Department.

See also BC Directories 1860-1901 online, from the Vancouver Public Library.


Military Records

The Reference Collection includes many Canadian regimental histories.

The Victory Editions of the British Columbian Newspaper are valued sources of information about local participation in the First and Second World Wars.

R940.371, B777v British Columbian Victory Edition, 1914-19

R355.0971 W449 B.C. Welcome Home Westminsters: British Columbian Victory Edition Commemorating the record of the B.C. New Westminster and Fraser Valley Armed Forces

The library collection includes several books with history on the Royal Westminster Regiment. Researchers may also wish to visit the Museum of the Royal Westminster Regiment, located in The Armory at 530 Queen's Avenue, New Westminster. For information about the Regiment and their museum, please call 604-526-5116

New Westminster Honour Rolls may be found here:

WW I Honour Roll: lists the names of New Westminster's war dead
WW II Honour Roll: lists the names of New Westminster's war dead

To search for names of those who died serving in both World Wars, the South African War and the Korean War, you can search the Book of Remembrance online at: http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general/sub.cfm?source=collections/books

For a list of Canadian airmen and airwomen and other nationals who wore the uniform of Royal Canadian Air Force who lost their lives in the Second World War see:
R940.544 A156t They Shall Grow Not Old

Search Service Files of Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918 at: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/first-world-war-1914-1918-cef/Pages/search.aspx


Registers of Births, Deaths and Marriages

The British Columbia Archives provides a searchable index to some birth, death and marriage records of British Columbia Vital Statistics: http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/BasicSearch

Copies of certificates are available through the B.C. Archives and locally, at the Vancouver Public Library and the Cloverdale Branch of the Surrey Public Library.

The International Vital Records Handbook in the Reference Department will tell you where you can find birth, death and marriage certificates for countries around the world.

Many other indexes to vital statistics registries around the world are now becoming available on the Internet. Here is our list of genealogy sites on the Internet.


Obituaries and Funeral Records

The Reference Department has records from Bowell and Sons, a New Westminster Funeral Home. A name index covers deaths from 1911 to 1960. The online database can be searched at

Indexing to various newspapers in the Reference collection will help locate death notices, funeral notices, and obituaries. Click on Newspapers for a list of newspapers indexed at this Library.

Inquiries about obituaries from the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers should be directed to their Infoline at: infoline@pacpress.southam.ca . Obituaries published after May 2002 are available online on the Vancouver Sun website.

The New Westminster Archives at Irving House also maintains files with information on local people and has a variety of indexes and finding aids. It is located at: 302 Royal Avenue
New Westminster, BC V3L 1H7


Telephone Directories

Telephone directories for New Westminster (which include most of the Metro Vancouver area) are available from 1952 to the present.


Voters Lists

The Reference Department has New Westminster municipal voters lists from 1912 to 1990.



The only comprehensive bibliography of history resources for New Westminster was compiled in 1977 by Barbara Hynek:

R971.1 H998n RD New Westminster: A Local History Resource List

Many other bibliographies of Canadian and British Columbia history are listed in the Catalogue.


Local Histories

The Library has an extensive collection related to the history of New Westminster.

The Library's Special Collection includes books published in British Columbia or about British Columbia. Since the Library was first established in 1865, it has collected histories of British Columbia and books on the exploration of the Pacific Northwest with special emphasis on works related to the history of New Westminster.



The Library attempts to maintain complete runs of all newspapers published in New Westminster, either in hardcopy or on microfilm. There is also a microfilm collection of early British Columbia newspapers. For complete holdings, check with the Reference Department.

The Reference Department clips and indexes local newspapers on an ongoing basis. The New Westminster Clipping File contains articles dating back to the late 1950's under such headings as Biography (by name), May Day (by year), Schools, and many other topics of local interest.

Of special interest to researchers are the indexes to newspapers that the Reference Department has produced over the years. These are all card indexes by subject. The following is a list of indexes (in chronological order by date of newspapers indexed):

Daily Columbian: 1861 to 1869
Mainland Guardian: 1871 to 1889
Daily Columbian: 1882 to 1885, 1891 to 1895
British Columbian: Weekly 1902 to 1913
British Columbian: Weekly (deaths only) 1930 to 1950
Columbian Newspaper: 1957 to 1980

Online Links:

Google News Archivesearch: a newspaper archive with keyword searching to many newspapers, including the Daily Columbian and the Mainland Guardian. Use the Advanced Search option to limit to a particular publication. Some newspapers have been scanned, while some articles are pay-per-view. Microfilmed copies of these newspapers can be viewed in the Reference Department.

British Colonist: online indexing to the Daily Colonist 1858-1921

Genealogical Extracts from BC Newspapers 1861-1875
: birth, death, and marriage notices from the British Columbian, Vancouver Times, Mainland Guardian, and the Victoria Daily Standard

Burnaby Matters: an historical index to Burnaby newspapers dating back to 1935 and Municipal Manager's Reports to Council dating back to 1964.

British Columbia Historical Federation: includes the BC Historical Quarterly, BC Historical News/BC History, and BC Historical Association Report and Proceedings


Manuals and Handbooks

To see all the headings related to genealogy, go to the library Catalogue, choose the subject keyword index and enter the word genealogy.



The Reference Collection includes copies of many early survey maps of New Westminster, starting with Colonel Moody's hand drawn map of the Lower Mainland from 1858. Maps from 1858 to the present outline the ongoing development of the city and the Lower Mainland.

Some of the original fire insurance maps for New Westminster are in the Reference Collection:

Insurance Plan of the City of New Westminster, B.C., surveyed in 1897, Revised 1905. Chas. E. Goad Civil Engineer
Insurance Plan, surveyed 1907, revised 1914. Charles E. Goad

Insurance Plan, surveyed 1907, revised 1919. Mainland Fire Underwriters
Insurance Plan, 1957. B.C. Underwriters Association


Page Last Updated 2016-01-19
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