Alberta Genealogical Society: Brooks Branch

Historically, the founding of the Brooks & District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society was brought into being by students taking a Genealogy Beginner’s Course under the auspices of Brooks Adult Further Education, with instructor Jocelyn Robertson, in the fall of 1980.  Three people in the group were AGS members and with the remaining 8 then becoming members, everyone signed the letter of intent, applying for branch status to the Society on January 8, 1981.

Thus it was that on February 12th, 1981 an inaugural meeting as the Brooks & District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society was held in the library of the Brooks Junior High School with the following Charter members of the AGS Brooks & District Branch:

  • Beverly A. Hagen, President
  • Jocelyn Robertson, Vice President
  • Winifred Spence, Recording Secretary & Membership Secretary
  • Maren Burns, Treasurer
  • Heather Miyauchi, Irene Vanderloh, Vicky Mattson, Margaret Lelond, Carol Anderson, Clara Iwaasa and Jeanne Lutes

In the early years, members had to travel to the LDS Family History Centres in Taber, Lethbridge and Calgary, Calgary Public Library and the Brooks Public Library to obtain microfilm on interlibrary loan.  The branch Presidents traveled to Red Deer for provincial meetings every two months and would return home with a box loaded with genealogical library material, a bonus to AGS Branches without a library of their own.

In September 1991, after moving from one location to another for meetings, the branch was able to set up a permanent library and meeting room in the Brooks Community Cultural Centre.

A nameless newsletter publication was first issued in 1984 with Joyce McCune as editor; in 1987 a contest was held among the members to give it a name and logo.  The publications name became B & D HEIR LINES.  The editors since have been Betty Penner and currently Carol Anderson.  Today the newsletter is published twice yearly with a circulation of about 70 mail-outs. The B & D HEIR LINES has won the Ken Young award 3 times since its inception in 2008, for the best overall Branch newsletter.

Notable Projects and Events

  • The Brooks & District branch was instrumental in initiating the microfilming of the Brooks Bulletin.
  • Helped to get the Family History Centre established in Brooks by our members’ constant use.
  • We have recorded the Brooks cemetery and all cemeteries in the County of Newell and surrounding areas for a total of about 40 cemeteries.
  • An ongoing project has been to index all births and deaths as recorded in the Brooks Bulletin for the Brooks Public Library.  From this index, the Branch has published for sale Birth Indexes from 1910 to 2009 and 3 volumes of Death Indexes from 1910 to 2009.