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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The ORL and Oslo - a Genealogical Connection

Most of us know where we are and many have a vision for where they are going, but it is a wise person who knows where they are from. Perhaps this is why the study of genealogy, or the researching of one’s family tree, has become the most popular hobby worldwide.

Recently the ORL was able to cross boundaries of time and space to help Martin Langaas of Oslo, Norway, learn about his great-grandfather Karl Petterson who had settled in Enderby. Our local branch in Enderby, along with investigative work by the Vernon Branch Reference staff and Enderby Museum, were able to find out that Karl worked locally as a pole maker, and unearthed a copy of his obituary from 1965. We emailed this information to Martin so he could share with Karl’s 25+ direct descendants living in Norway.

The growth of information on the Internet and the ease of communication it brings have helped make genealogical research more efficient than ever before. Still it is not an easy task; many people might follow false leads or come up against a brick wall in their search. The Kelowna and District Genealogical Society (KDGS) is a group of volunteer genealogists that has entered into a partnership with the Kelowna Branch of the ORL to help newbies and experts alike with their quest for information. The partnership involves the KDGS collection of genealogical research materials being housed at the Kelowna Branch on Ellis Street, along with KDGS members providing one-on-one assistance for 8 hours/week and monthly educational seminars free to the public.   

The KDGS collection includes how-to guides, census records, local cemetery records and rare books to augment the ORL’s extensive collection of local records, genealogical research resources, free access to, and a $25,000 microfilm reader/scanner/printer purchased with funds from the Kelowna Friends of the Library. By partnering, this creates a “one-stop-shop” for people wanting to learn about their family tree. For more information, check the Kelowna Branch page at for information on the “Genealogist in Residence” program or for information about KDGS.

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