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BC Geographical Names Information System #1421
Back To Discussion List Written: 2005.12.12 by: Greg Jones

Just thought I'd share a small part of an email discussion I have been having with Janet from BCGNIS. Anyone who has done any work for Bivouac has undoubtedly tried to procure information from this somewhat ineffective "" resource base.


I assume you encountered our website notice: "No origin notes are available at this time."
  The process of transferring all our name origin information from a legacy card system over to the database (thence to the website) is slowwww...... and includes deciphering & expansion of abbreviations, verification & citation for quotes, verification & citation for earliest map details, copyright credits, extracting details from correspondence, Provincial Archives and other primary sources like Boaz, Walbran, Denys Nelson, Wheeler, etc.

We have legacy name cards for approximately 60,000 place names, of which 40,000 names are "official" and would appear on a modern map. Spelling variations, historic names and unofficial 'local' names account for the difference. Approximately 65% of the cards contain origin information, even if just a phrase like "...after an old prospector." As you point out, the origin and significance of countless traditional names have been lost, or known only by Elders or within a linguistic community, or have been compiled in an obscure source/by a special-interest group, and are not readily available to the public.

  To date, all our origin notes & correspondence for "A...", "B...", C...", most "D..." plus an additional 2000+ miscellaneous names as a result of research requests, have been transferred to the database, and are now published on our website. Publishing these has been a Catch 22: the huge increase in public interest and resulting enquiries leaves little time to resume the process of extracting and publishing details from our files for the remainder of the "D..." names, and so on through the alphabet.....

If you have a specific enquiry about a particular name or names, please just let me know.

Regards, Janet Mason, Provincial Toponymist, BC GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES INFORMATION SYSTEM:"

  ...... Sounds like an exhausting amount of work though.