BCHF News Digital “pioneer medallion” collection unlocks genealogical secrets

Digital “pioneer medallion” collection unlocks genealogical secrets

Are you looking for information about a person who was born in or living in Canada prior to January 1, 1897? The BC Archives’ newest ditigal collection — Pioneer medallion application forms, series GR-1490 — could help.

The collection holds 9,705 scanned and searchable pioneer medallion application forms, handwritten by several BC residents aged 75 years or older in 1971 — BC’s centennial year, and the year the medallion project took place.

To commemorate the centennial of BC’s entry into Confederation, the provincial government presented “pioneer medallions” to BC residents who were either born in or living in Canada prior to January 1, 1897. Eligible persons were encouraged to make an application through their local centennial committees.

The pioneer medallion holding GR-1490 consists of copies of the medallion application forms. These forms provide the pioneers’ names, date and place of birth, and occupation before retirement. In addition, the forms give the names of applicant’s parents, maiden names of wives and mothers, names of brothers and sisters, and other genealogical details. One set of forms is filed alphabetically by name of community; a second set is filed by name of individual applicant. There is also a file of forms for centenarians, as well as chronological lists of pioneers born between 1860 and 1879.

The forms are often a rich source of previously unknown family names that can then be used to search for further information on the BC Archives’ Genealogy database.

For more information: Series GR-1490 – Pioneer medallion application forms.