British Columbia, Canada, Boundary Changes and Maps

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

British Columbia was organized by administrative districts, towns, and municipalities. The boundaries have changed over the years, and a town may have been included in different districts and municipalities at various times.

What You Are Looking For
[edit | edit source]

  • Information about boundary changes over the years.
  • Maps of various years which show the boundary changes or census districts.

The following step will help you learn where to find records that may mention your ancestor.

Step 1. Find the place where your ancestor lived using maps and gazetteers.[edit | edit source]

The maps and gazetteers listed in the following table will help you learn creation dates, boundary changes, and other information about boundaries over the years. Knowing the place can help you find records that may mention your ancestor.



Supplementary Index to Canadian Records. v. 1. Canada General and Western Provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba). Salt Lake City, UT: Genealogical Library, 1985.

This lists county names, county seats, creation dates, parent counties, and township maps.

Gazetteer of Canada. British Columbia. 3rd ed. Ottawa, Ontario: Geographical Service Division, Surveys and Mapping Branch, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, 1985.

This gazetteer contains the names and locations of all populated places, rivers, lakes, and geographic features.

Maps of British Columbia.

Contains maps for 1838, 1841, 1843, 1849, 1867, 1891, 1911, 1914, 1924. For more maps, see What to Do Next, and click on FamilySearch Catalog.

Maps available at British Columbia Archives and Records Service.

Some maps of electoral districts were found on their website which may roughly correspond to the 1881 census, the 1891 census, and the 1901 census for British Columbia.

Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada: As Divided in the Division of the Voters' Lists Made in the Year 1894. Ottawa, Ont.: National Archives of Canada, 1998.

This atlas has maps showing the electoral districts and voting precincts of all provinces. These districts and precincts often match the census districts and subdistricts of the 1901 census.

Walbran, John T. British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906. Vancouver, B.C.: Vancouver Public Library, 1971.

Alphabetical list of place names giving the origin, location, description, and history of the locality.

Akrigg, G.P.V. British Columbia Place Names. Victoria, B.C.: Sono Nis Press, 1988.

Alphabetical list of over 42,500 place names giving their history and location. It includes a map showing the towns.

MacFie, Matthew. Vancouver Island and British Columbia: Their History, Resources, and Prospects. London, England: Longman, Roberts, & Green, 1865.

This history includes an 1865 map of British Columbia.

Schindler, Marc A. Administrative Atlas of Canada. Vol. 5: British Columbia and Yukon Territories. Gloucester, Ont.: Schindler-Spring Family Organization, 1993.

Maps of 1988 township, county, district, and other civil boundaries. A gazetteer of major towns which gives the township and county for each.

To find more sources that have maps or give information about places in British Columbia, see What to Do Next, and click on FamilySearch Catalog.