Sunday 1 May 2016

Visiting Vernon and District FHS

My talks tour of British Columbia continued from Tuesday to Thursday of this week in Vernon, not far from Kelowna. I was greeted at the airport by Marjorie Allen, Nancy Hanson and Yvette Miller from the local Vernon and District FHS (, and after a lunch at the Gray Monk Estate Winery, a vineyard close to the airport, we then made a scenic trip towards Vernon, taking in a few sites on the way.

Upon reaching the city, we briefly recced the venue for the talk on Wednesday, after which I then had a chance to visit the society's premises, located within a Lutheran church, where a class was underway. It was a great set up, with lots of British and Irish journals and support materials, as well as a fully equipped computer room with several terminals offering access to many useful online repositories.

In the evening I was then invited to a social gathering at Nancy's house, to meet several members of the society over an informal buffet meal. Overnight, I was then a guest at High View B&B, run by Marjorie with her husband on the outskirts of the city at Coldstream, with a superb view of Kalamalka Lake.

On Wednesday morning we made our way early to the venue - fortuitously, as I forgot my Powerpoint clicker, prompting a mad dash back to retrieve it in time before we got under way! - at which I gave a series of four Irish and Scots based talks, to a good crowd of about 70 folk or so. The venue was an ex-forces club which had a replica Spitfire on its roof, and as I am a real fan of Spitfires, this worked for me! (If you were at the event, the books that I mentioned in my talks can be purchased via

After the day's programme, which seemed to go well by the reaction, I was then invited to dinner at the O'Keefe Ranch, a heritage site preserving a ranch that was just a few days older than Canada itself. We had a fantastic tour of the site, which I believe I heard mention was one of only 5 ranch heritage sites in the world, before a superb feast of rubs and chicken drumsticks!

On Thursday morning then, I was taken on a visit to Silver Star ski resort - considering how warm it had been in Vernon, it was a pleasant surprise to suddenly be up in the hills surrounded by snow! Although the resort was all but closed, it was still a great chance to see another remarkably beautiful part of the countryside, before having to make my way back to Kelowna for my flight to Vancouver, my final venue for the talks tour.

A huge thanks to the folks at Vernon, and to Marjorie, Nancy and Yvette in particular for their hospitality. Next stop then was Vancouver....!


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

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