The family history programming at Cloverdale Library can help learners discover how to access the library’s records and how to properly sort through and understand their own family archives. (Fabien Barral / Unsplash)

Discover your family secrets this year at Cloverdale Library

Upcoming family history programs at Cloverdale Library can help family historians dig in to the past

Did you know that the Cloverdale branch of the Surrey Public Library has one of the most extensive collections of genealogical materials in western Canada? The library houses more than 5,000 microfilms, more than 3,200 books and historical maps, Canadian census records from 1666 to 1921, wills and divorces, First Nations statistics, parish records and more.

The collection may sound a bit daunting for those just delving into their family history, but luckily the Cloverdale Library has a line up of classes and learning sessions that explain how to uncover your family secrets.

Unless otherwise indicated, please register in advance by calling 604-598-7327, by visiting the Cloverdale Library (5642 176A St.) or by emailing

The library’s Family History program is still in the planning stages for programs this spring. Please check in with us for additional programs. Family History programs appear on the Cloverdale Library’s Family History page, available at or by searching under

Fun Family History Fridays

When: Jan. 5, Feb. 2, Mar. 2, Apr. 6, from 2:30 — 4 p.m.

Cost: No charge.

Drop-in conversation sessions for any and all who are interested in family history and want to meet other family historians. No preparation required – just bring yourself and your fascination for all things genealogical. By all means, bring a friend along.

Generally the meetings take place the first Friday of each month, but check our schedule or contact us to make sure. No need for advance registration.

Digging Deeper into Family History

When: Saturday, Jan. 13, from 10:30 a.m. — 12 p.m.

Cost: No charge.

You have started digging into your family history, and now it’s time to delve deeper. Instructor Jamie Brown will teach you how to examine resources found at Cloverdale Library, such as:

land records


early vital and census records

and other specialized finds

There is no charge for this program, but we do ask you to register in advance.

Start Searching Your Family History

When: Saturdays, Jan. 20, Feb. 3 and 24, Mar. 10 and 24, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Cost: $100 for the series

A beginner’s workshop in five lessons. This series of five 3-hour classes, developed by writer and researcher Brenda L. Smith, addresses each family history researcher’s need for guidance in embarking on a very personal journey.

Working with their own materials, and supporting each other, learners will discover their particular motives and set goals for their research, organize and evaluate their data, and plan the first stage of their individual programs.

Participants must be able to commit to attendance at all five sessions. Space is limited (max 10 participants), so please register early.

Start Writing Your Family History

When: Saturdays, Jan. 20, Feb. 3 and 24, Mar. 10 and 24, from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Pre-requisite: Completion of Start Searching Your Family History or approval from the instructor.

Charge: $100 for the series.

A communications workshop in five lessons. This series of five 3-hour classes was developed by writer and researcher Brenda L. Smith. The classes address each family history researcher’s need to report and publish research findings.

Working with their own materials and supporting each other, learners discover how to move from the gathering of information to creating a publishable product. Learners will set goals for their research, organize and evaluate their data, and practice writing basic history research reports.

Learners must also be willing to share writing samples with classmates and participate in oral evaluations of each other’s work.

Participants must be able to commit to attending all five sessions. Space is limited (max 10 participants), so please register early.

The Lady in the Search

When: Saturday, Feb. 17, from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Cost: $10

Women can be tricky to research. Knowing the name “Mrs. Frank Higgins” does not give you much to work with. Join presenter Andrea Lister as she takes a look at resources to find the documents that will help you learn more about the women in your family search and the roles they played in their communities.

Ongoing: Genealogy Collection Orientations

When: On first Saturday of every month, from 10 – 10:50 a.m. (Dates may change, please check library website to confirm dates.)

Cost: No charge.

The library has a wide variety of books and microfilms covering records from the Canadian provinces and territories. To help you become familiar with the collection, the Cloverdale library offers orientations on the first Saturday of every month, from 10 — 10:50 a.m. Visit our website for upcoming dates.

There is no charge, but please register — dates may change over holiday weekends or for other reasons, and orientations are not held during the summer. Please check the latest program listings online or contact the branch.

Paul MacDonell on behalf of Cloverdale Library’s Family History Team.

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