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British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary
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Indigent Fund administration files

  • GR-0289
  • Series
  • 1914-1933 [predominant 192-]

The series consists of records created by the Deputy Provincial Secretary between 1914 and 1933 pertaining to the administration of funds for the "aid of the destitute, poor, and sick."

Between 1872 and 1942, an annual vote of funds was included in the estimates of the B.C. legislature. The fund, which was administered by the Office of the Provincial Secretary, originally contained $500. By 1935, this figure had risen to $110,000; but in the fund's final year of existence, 1943, the vote of funds had declined to $40,000.

The Indigent Fund, unlike the Mother's Pension, the Old Age Pension (1927), or the Veterans Assistance plans was not tied to an Act of Parliament, and thus relief was provided to people under a wide range of circumstances, and included many who failed to qualify for assistance under specific federal or provincial schemes. The fund was designed to meet the immediate and shortterm needs of rural B.C. residents (municipalities had their own funds) who through misfortune or bad planning had found themselves without "the necessities of life." The key to the fund, until the early 1930s, when the position of Superintendent of Welfare was created, was the Deputy Provincial Secretary, for it was often at his discretion that assistance was provided. He was aided in his duties by the various Government Agents, who were responsible for handling vouchers, disbursing cheques, and reporting to Victoria any new developments in individual cases. They, in turn, were assisted by Provincial Police constables who usually investigated each case and submitted a report.

The records consist of correspondence inward and outward from the Deputy Provincial Secretary's office; correspondence from Government Agents to the Deputy Provincial Secretary; Provincial Police reports on the condition of Indigents; correspondence from indigents or persons representing them to the Premier, Ministers, and the Deputy Provincial Secretary; and miscellaneous correspondence to and from various government departments and agencies such as Workman's Compensation Board, Department of Immigration, public hospitals, police departments etc.

The files are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the indigent. They are not, however, arranged alphabetically within each folder. There are two alphabetical series, as well as two sets of files titled "miscellaneous". All files have been preserved in their original order.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Helmcken family papers

Papers of J.S. Helmcken and members of his family, including correspondence, 1848-1920, account books, 1871-1903, deeds, contracts, certificates, 1825-1890, medical notebooks, case books and account books, 1845-1890, notes and papers concerning the Beacon Hill Park Bowling Club, 1898-1914, rough notes and drafts for articles in newspapers, speeches, and reminiscences. Account books pertaining to the estate of Arthur Thomas Bushby, 1875-1901. Papers of Harry Dallas Helmcken, 1866-1894, and William Ralph Higgins, 1890-1903. J.S. Helmcken's confederation diary and reminiscences are also on microfilm. John Sebastian Helmcken was born in Spitalfields, London on 5 June 1824, the fourth child and eldest son of Claus Helmcken and Catherine Mittler. After attending St. George's German and English school from 1828 to 1839 Helmcken apprenticed himself to Dr. W.H. Graves as a chemist and druggist. On 2 October 1844, Helmcken registered as a student at Guy's Hospital, London, and in March 1848 was admitted as a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Two months later he was serving as surgeon aboard the Malacca until, on 12 October 1849, he received an appointment from the Hudson's Bay Company as surgeon and clerk for a five year term. Helmcken arrived at Esquimalt on 24 March 1850 and was first posted to Fort Rupert before being ordered to return to Fort Victoria in December 1850. On 27 December 1852 he married Cecilia Douglas, eldest daughter of Governor James Douglas. In 1856 Helmcken was elected to represent Esquimalt and Victoria District in the Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island and served as Speaker of the Assembly until union with British Columbia in 1866. Governor Musgrave appointed Helmcken to the Executive Council of British Columbia in December 1869 while he was also serving as a member of the Legislative Council of B.C., and in the summer of 1870 he travelled to Ottawa as one of three confederation delegates from the colony. With the entry of British Columbia into Confederation in 1871, Helmcken retired from active politics. Helmcken also served as president of the Board of Directors of the Royal Hospital, remained physician to Victoria's jail until 1910, and contributed numerous articles on the early history of Vancouver Island in his later life. Dr. Helmcken died on 1 September 1920. The records include the papers of J.S. Helmcken and members of his family: correspondence, 1848-1920, account books, 1871-1903, deeds, contracts, certificates, 1825-1890, medical notebooks, casebooks and account books, 1845-1890, notes and papers concerning the Beacon Hill Park Bowling Club, 1898-1914, rough notes and drafts for articles in newspapers, speeches and reminiscences. There are also account books pertaining to the estate of Arthur Thomas Bushby, 1875-1901, and papers of Harry Dallas Helmcken, 1866-1894, and William Ralph Higgins, 1890-1903. J.S. Helmcken's Confederation diary and reminiscences are also on microfilm [A00810]. An index to the records is available as part of the hard copy finding aid kept in the reference room.

Proclamations

  • GR-0549
  • Series
  • 1858-1918

Proclamations and related records from the colony and province of British Columbia, 1858-1918.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Correspondence on the naming of British Columbia

  • GR-0003
  • Series
  • Typescript 1971 (originally created 1858)

The series consists of copies of correspondence between Queen Victoria and Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton on the naming of British Columbia, 24 June to 26 July 1858. The copy, made in 1971, was a gift of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, on the centenary of the province, 1871-1971.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Indian lands correspondence and other material

  • GR-0504
  • Series
  • 1861-1877

This series consists of correspondence, petitions, accounts, statements of population, and reports relating to land of Indigenous peoples in British Columbia from the Department of the Provincial Secretary.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Joint Reserve Commission records received by the Provincial Secretary

The records in this series consist of correspondence and reports inward to the Provincial Secretary from the Joint Indian Reserve Commission (Alexander Caulfield Anderson, Dominion Commissioner, Archibald McKinlay, Provincial Commissioner, and Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, Joint Commissioner). The records include reports; summaries of work; minutes of decision; census of Indian population, livestock and acreage of reserves; and two memoranda dated 1869 by J.W. Trutch regarding disputes about Indian lands in Cowichan district.

Copies of correspondence inward to the Lieutenant Governor from the Commissioners and certain correspondence with Dominion Officials is also included in the record. The records are as originally filed. In most cases, the original Provincial Secretary's file number may be seen on the first document in a file, eg., for file 3 the number is 664/76, representing the 664 document received in the year 1876.

Joint Reserve Commission

Joint Reserve Commission collection

  • Collection
  • 1869, 1876-1910; predominant 1876-1878

The collection consists of records generated by the Joint Reserve Commission, predominantly from 1876-1878. The
collection includes correspondence inward and outward, memoranda, and reports. Many of the records were sent from Commissioners to representatives of the Canadian and British Columbia governments, such as the Provincial Secretary and the Department of Indian Affairs.

Joint Reserve Commission

Provincial Secretary's correspondence inward

  • GR-0526
  • Series
  • 1871-1892

This series consists of correspondence inward received by the Provincial Secretary, 1871-1892.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Education Branch correspondence.

  • GR-1709
  • Series
  • 1871-1889

This series includes a suggested draft for the 1872 Public Schools Act by Thomas Nicholson (1871), correspondence regarding the school at Burton's Prairie (1882) and correspondence regarding a request for an additional teacher at New Westminster High School (1889).

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Register of government service appointments

  • GR-0555
  • Series
  • 1871-1919

This series consists of registers and indexes of individuals appointed to positions in the government service, 1871-1919.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Correspondence and by-laws

  • GR-1707
  • Series
  • 1871-1886

This series contains correspondence and by-laws for Saltspring Island (1871-1882) and the Municipality of Surrey (1880-1886).

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Election records from Victoria

  • GR-1667
  • Series
  • 1871-1872

This series consists of poll-books, voters' lists, and correspondence relating to two landmark elections in British Columbia: the election of 1871 of representatives to the provincial legislature, and the election of 1872, called to elect provincial members to the Dominion House of Commons - respectively the first provincial election and the first federal election held in B.C. These records document B.C.'s last "open voting" elections (i.e. a secret ballot was not used). Compiled by A.F. Pemberton, Chief Returning Officer for Victoria, the records pertain to Victoria City, Victoria District, Esquimalt and Metchosin.

The election of 1871 was held in various parts of the province between October and December. It was conducted in accordance with the Colonial Election Regulation Act [34 Vic., No. 13, a statute which affirmed the practice of open voting (as opposed to the secret ballot). Thus, the poll books in this collection show the names of electors and the candidates for whom each elector voted. Voter's qualifications were determined by the colonial Qualification and Registration of Voters' Act [34 Vic., No. 156]. To qualify for the franchise, a voter had to be male, a loyal British subject, over twenty-one years of age, literate (at least able to write his name), and a resident in B.C. for no less than six months. In addition, qualified electors had to meet one of the following criteria: occupy premises with an annual rent of $40 or more; own freehold property having an assessed value of at least $250; have a pre-emption claim of 100 acres or more; possess a free-miners' license.

The Dominion election of 1872 was held under the authority of two federal statutes: the Interim Parliamentary Election Act of 1871 [34 Vic., c.20] and the Act to Re-adjust the Representation in the House of Commons, 1872 [35 Vic., c.13]. The first statute made provisions for holding a federal election in B.C.; the second confirmed the number of MPs to be elected from B.C. [6] and established federal electoral boundaries. 2 MPs were elected from the district of Victoria; 1 MP from the district of Vancouver (i.e. Vancouver Island north of Victoria and adjacent to the Gulf Islands); 1 MP for each of the districts of New Westminster, Yale, and Cariboo. Section 5 of the Interim Parliamentary Elections Act declared that the laws already in force in B.C. would apply to the election of 1872. Accordingly, polling for the province's first federal election was carried out under colonial legislation noted above. The Dominion election was also carried out in accordance with B.C.'s Corrupt Practices Prevention Act [34 Vic., No. 158], a colonial statute which stipulated that candidates had to declare all expenses incurred during their campaign. Hence the documents in Box 1, files 6 & 7 of this collection.

The records in GR-1667 relate solely to the Victoria electoral district. For elections to the provincial legislature, the riding included areas within the city's limits. Federally, however, the electoral district of Victoria embraced the City of Victoria and adjacent areas of Saanich (Victoria District), Esquimalt and Metchosin. A.F. Pemberton was the district's chief Returning Officer in both elections. In the provincial election -- held on 16 October 1871 -- Pemberton established the district polling station at the Police Barracks in Bastion Square. In the Dominion election -- held on 2 September 1872 -- he established six polling stations. The polls were open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Three candidates contested the two Victoria seats: Amor DeCosmos, Henry Nathan and Robert Beavan. DeCosmos, and Nathan were elected. The results of the election, and returns from each of the polling stations, were published in the Victoria Daily Colonist (3 Sep 1872).

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Register of Proclamations and other material

  • GR-0548
  • Series
  • 1872-1881

Register of Proclamations, Commissions, Letters Patent, Leases, and other documents issued under the Great Seal of the Province of British Columbia, 1872-1881.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

List of notaries

  • GR-0608
  • Series
  • 1872-1918

This series consists of three volumes: a List of notaries, 1872-1906; index of appointments of notaries public, 1881-1914; and register of notaries public, 1884-1918.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Correspondence index

  • GR-0644
  • Series
  • 1872-1875

This series consists of an index of correspondence from the Department of the Provincial Secretary, 1872-1875.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Letters inward from Gilbert Malcolm Sproat

  • GR-0695
  • Series
  • 1872

This series consists of letters inward from Gilbert M. Sproat, Agent General, London, England, received by the Provincial Secretary, 1872.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Indexes to Orders in Council

  • GR-1955
  • Series
  • 1872-1984

The series consists of volumes of indexes to Orders in Council (OIC) created between 1872 and 1984. The indexes relate to GR-0113 Orders in Council. The oversize volumes were maintained by the Provincial Secretary's office prior to the introduction of an automated indexing system in 1985 and digitization of the records, now available on the BC Laws website: http://www.bclaws.ca/. In most instances, OICs are indexed under the name of the statutes to which they relate. The series also includes ledgers recording documents issued under the Great Seal. The ledgers are arranged by Act name and list the relevant OIC as well as the name and address of the appointee mentioned in the OIC.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Attorney-General

Miscellaneous records related to the British Columbia Coat of Arms

  • GR-3149
  • Series
  • Microfilmed 1965 (originally created 1872-1957)

The records include correspondence inward and outward of the Provincial Secretary related to the subject of design and registration of the British Columbia Coat of Arms. The correspondence is arranged chronologically and interfiled with the correspondence are reports, drawings of the crest and coat of arms, rubbings, and clippings. Some letters are typescript copies. Correspondents include: Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works; High Commissioner for Canada, Agent-General for British Columbia, Herald's College, Provincial Secretary, Deputy Provincial Secretary, Premier of British Columbia, Under Secretary of State and the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. This appears to be a collection of records, taken from a number of different files, and gathered together because they relate to a single subject.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Riverview Hospital historical collection

  • Collection
  • 1872-2008

This series consists of a variety of records created by various provincial mental health institutions from 1872 to 2008. Records relate to the administration and operation of Riverview Hospital and related mental health facilities at the Essondale site in Coquitlam, as well as other facilities across the province. These mental health institutions include: Victoria Asylum, New Westminster Provincial Asylum (later Public Hospital for the Insane or Provincial Hospital for the Insane), Home for the Aged Coquitlam (later Valleyview), Home for the Aged Terrace (later Skeenaview), Home for the Aged Vernon (later Dellview), Crease Clinic, Colony Farm, Colquitz, Woodlands School, Tranquille and other medical facilities.

The names and administrative structure of these institutions changed over time. Mental health functions were originally part of the Provincial Secretary’s mandate; they were transferred to Mental Health Services when it was created in 1950.

These government records were collected by the Riverview Historical Society and include a wide variety of subject matter and media. This includes subjects such as: early development of the Essondale lands and Colony Farm; the construction and expansion of the facility; admissions, transfers, and discharges of patients; administration of patient care; administration of therapy programs; patient and staff recreation; staff and nurse training; operation of the audiovisual department; library services; research into new medical and therapeutic practices; research by staff regarding mental health practices at Riverview and further afield; community involvement; volunteer activity; policy development; the redevelopment of the Riverview lands; general administration; and, administration of other services at the site such as postal, food, laundry, banking, transportation and safety services.

The collection has been arranged into the following series based on record types:

GR-3924 - record books
GR-3925 - operational records
GR-3926 - newsletters
GR-3927 - photographs and other graphic material
GR-3928 - films and videos

Classified as 20000-20 in Operational Records Classification System (ORCS) schedule 144007.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Provincial Secretary record of naturalization and vital event registers and indexes

  • GR-0588
  • Series
  • 1872-1905, 1911, 1913

Series consists of eight volumes of records from the Department of the Provincial Secretary for 1872-1905, 1911, and 1913. Volumes include a record of naturalization for Lillooet as well as vital event (birth, marriage, and death) registers and indexes.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Orders in Council

  • GR-0113
  • Series
  • 1872-2009

The series consists of Orders in Council (OIC) created between 1872 and 2009, arranged numerically by year and then by OIC number. The series also includes some maps and text attachments which were transferred in 1974 from the Dept. of the Provincial Secretary. An Order in Council is a directive issued by the Lieutenant Governor on the advice of Cabinet authorizing certain actions, including creating simple legislation and granting political appointments.

Containers 941119-0002, 941119-0004, and 941119-0006 contain proclamations. These ledgers include a copy of the Order in Council relating to the proclamation and a copy of the proclamation. Each book contains an index listing both the OIC number and the subject of the proclamation.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Attorney-General

Record books

This series consists of a variety of registers and record books created by various provincial mental health institutions from 1872 to 1998. These records were created by institutions including: Victoria Asylum, New Westminster Provincial Asylum (later Public Hospital for the Insane or Provincial Hospital for the Insane), Essondale (later Riverview), Home for the Aged (later Valleyview), Dellview, Skeenaview, Crease Clinic, Woodlands School and others. Not all volumes clearly identify which building or institution they are associated with.

The subjects of the volumes and their contents vary greatly. Many of them relate to other series in the BC Archives. The registers have been arranged in the following subject based subseries:

  1. Casebooks. This subseries only includes one volume providing a description of each of the first patients at the hospital, including how and why they were admitted, their history and treatment. Later casebooks can be found in GR-1754.

  2. Death and Cemetery records. This includes death registries, morgue records, cemetery record books showing the plots individuals were laid in and some medical certificates of death. Volumes may include information such as: name, date of death, date of burial, name of Minister, name of Undertaker, lot and block of cemetery plot, patient number, time in asylum, age, religion, cause of death, form of insanity, gender, and marital status.

  3. Admissions records. These volumes provide basic information about patients entered on their admission. Many of these volumes likely relate to the Home for the Aged (later known as Valleyview) based on patient demographics listed in the records. Recorded information may include patient number, name, residence, date of admission, relatives, religion, nationality, occupation, age, gender, marital status, level of education, physical state, date of transfer, date of death or discharge, form of admission, ward, and remarks.

  4. Number registers. These records relate to and may overlap with Admission registers. Upon admission each patient was assigned a mental health service number. This number system was used across all provincially operated mental health institutions. It appears that only a single register was used at any given time until about 1960, when individual hospitals began each using their own registers. Each hospital received a block of 100 numbers from the central registry. When they had assigned all numbers to their new patients they requested a new block of numbers. This means there is no single register in this group of records after 1960. Instead, blocks of numbers are spread among multiple registers. Number registers may record: patient number, name, address, date of admission, type of admission, and ward/building.

  5. Discharge registers. These record how a patient left the hospital’s custody and may specifically note death, various types of leave, escapes and transfers. These may record: name, patient number, gender, date of release or death, date of admission, term of residence, condition, ward, gender, diagnosis, who or where released to, and remarks.

  6. Treatments – operations. Record information about operations patients underwent. Includes: patient number, date, ward, name, age, diagnosis, operation, surgeon, assistant, nurses, anesthesiologist, anesthetic, specimen, and remarks.

  7. Treatments – x-rays. Records x-rays conducted on patients and staff. May include name, region, doctor, date, ward, and x-ray number.

  8. and 9. Treatments- miscellaneous. Each book records different treatments used in the hospital. This includes Electroencephalograms (EEGs), physiotherapy, behavior therapy, lobotomies. Subseries 8 relates to dentures.

  9. Treatments – doctor’s orders and consultations. List the date, patients name and orders or notes.

  10. Census and statistics. Note the date, number of patients in each building, staff on duty (including if away or late), patients died, admitted, discharged, on leave, from leave and transferred, as well as some notes on unusual occurrences.

  11. Miscellaneous. Includes a variety of other registers related to the operations of the hospitals, and appeal examinations for patient release.

Regulations and circulars

  • GR-0551
  • Series
  • 1873-1908

This series consists of miscellaneous regulations and circulars emanating principally from the Provincial Secretary's office, 1873-1904, 1908.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Provincial Secretary letterbooks

  • GR-0540
  • Series
  • 1873-1918

This series consists of 104 volumes of letter book copies of correspondence outward from the Provincial Secretary, 1873-1918. The index to correspondence missing.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Provincial Secretrary miscellaneous correspondence inward

  • GR-1708
  • Series
  • 1873-1907

This series includes a report by R.E. Sproule on Kootenay mines (1882), a petition for bridge over Thompson River at Penny's Crossing (1884), a petition for a mining recorder at Kaslo (1894), correspondence regarding the return of Goose Spit, Comox, from the Admiralty (1906), and mss. voters' list for Skeena district (1907).

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Prescription books of the Marine Hospital

  • GR-0587
  • Series
  • 1874-1879

This series consists of two volumes of prescription books of the Marine Hospital, 1874-1879.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Schedules of returns of convictions

  • GR-1706
  • Series
  • 1874, 1896-1916

This series contains schedules of returns of convictions.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Oaths of office of government officials

  • GR-0610
  • Series
  • 1874-1923

This series consists of indexes, lists and oaths of office of Justices of the Peace, Stipendiary Magistrates, Police Magistrates, Police Constables, Commissioners, Coroners, and other government officials from 1874-1923.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Oversize attachments for Orders in Council

  • GR-1664
  • Series
  • 1874-1994

Series consists of oversize attachments to Orders in Council (OIC) that were removed from GR-0113. Some oversized maps and plans from 1896-1979 were microfilmed and are available on reels B07080 to B07085. Other items, which were too large to be microfilmed or were created after 1979, are only available as originals. These are listed in the attached finding aid. Additional oversize items may also be found in GR-0113 (1872-2009) and 91-0472-740 to 91-0472-751 (1993-1994). See the end of the attached finding aid.

British Columbia. Dept. of the Attorney-General

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