Sunday, August 21, 2011


If you want to research the fur trade, this is not a resource you should turn your nose up at!
I have my own Facebook page on which I speak to all the Birnie, Beaulieu, and Anderson descendants -- at least those who will join Facebook (which is all but one or two).
I am an active member in the Descendents of Fort Nisqually Employees Association Facebook page, and I have learned a lot from the members on that page, and have new friends I can visit, should I ever get down to Fort Nisqually.
I am fairly active in the Children of Fort Langley Facebook page, which is a group not quite as active as the Fort Nisqually group.
And I am the Administrator of the Descendents of David Thompson's men Facebook page, and although it is still a small group, we share a lot of information between us!
One of those descendents enjoyed Facebook so much that he went away and set up his own Descendents of Jaco Finlay Facebook page, where he shares all the genealogical information he has collected over the years.
Because my Beaulieu ancestor ran around with Jaco Finlay, I am an invited and fairly chatty member on that page.
It's private -- if you aren't a member you can't access the information.

Now, I can't say that's entirely true -- there are pages that are open where you can listen to French music.....just by friending the page.
I get announcements from Kamloops Museum and various writing groups.
You can join who you want to join, and cut them off if they take over your page (as I did with the Oregon Historical Society).

I learn new things all the time!
On the Fort Nisqually page I learned when Father Demers visited the fort.
Demers described the fort he saw, and because someone on that page knew when Father Demers had visited, I then knew the information applied to the fort that Anderson took charge of a year or two later!

On the same page I learned about the Perseid Meteor Shower -- and this from the Descendents of Fort Nisqually Employees page:
"PERSEID METEOR SHOWER -- While no Fort Nisqually journal exists for this month, day, or year, others kept records while visiting Nisqually. One person, John Clarke, came with the Wilkes Expedition, and in his book wrote the following about May 31, 1841:
"'At ten minutes past 8 o'clock, a meteor of immense magnitude and brilliancy shot across the heavens in a north-west direction, illuminating the heavens to such an extent that there was a resemblance to a sheet of fire, till it nearly reached the horizon, when it exploded, sending off myriads of coruscations [glitter or flashes of bright light] in every direction. When it first commenced its flight, it was exceedingly slow in its descent, but as it increased its distance toward the horizon, it increased its velocity considerably, until it burst. Many old seamen on board never witnessed a meteor half so large, nor one whose light remained so long visible. From the time it was first seen until it entirely disappeared, was one hour and twenty-five minutes.'"

Now that's a pretty interesting little thing to know if I have to write about Fort Nisqually when Alexander Caulfield Anderson was there -- because he was there at that time!
He must have witnessed this event, though he never wrote about it.

FACEBOOK can be fun too!
I posted a photograph of the camas blooming outside my window, and the members of the group enjoyed a two week long conversation about camas, with each member telling their camas story.
Do you know what camas is? Because if you didn't know what camas was you would certainly know by the end of that conversation!
We talked about Licamous -- do you know what that is?
You would know if you had been a member of this group.
I added what James Robert Anderson had to say about camas.
We talked about Death Camas!
It was a delightful conversation that everyone enjoyed, and the conversation lasted a good two weeks.
We all shared information -- and that is what FACEBOOK is good at doing!

While I don't know that you can find a Facebook site that covers the area where your fur trade ancestor worked in, I suggest you try.
Google the forts they worked in and see if there is a descendents group.
Join the group -- and if they are on Facebook, join the Facebook page.
You might be surprised by what you learn -- it is a perfect genealogical tool IF you can find a group that worked with your ancestor!
And you learn more than genealogy, too. You learn about the actual life your ancestor experienced.
At least that has been my experience.

Oh! The picture at the top of the page?
That's camas.
Now you know!

Hiking the HBC Brigade Trail

You are probably not going to hear from me next week!
I am taking a hike up a spectacular section of the historic Hudson's Bay Company Brigade Trail, behind Hope.
This organized hike is taking place through the Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning, and they hiked the 12-km section from Jacobson Lake to Sowaqua Creek last year.
This year I am joining them to hike a much shorter piece of trail, "but one with rewarding views and a colourful history."
The hike will begin on the west side of Sowaqua Creek valley, and climb a steep trail through old-growth forests to "Fools Pass" and Manson's Ridge.
We can take in views west to Fort Hope and east to Mount Davis and the Tulameen plateau.
The literature doesn't tell me whether or not we can look down the Nicolum and Sumallo River valley and it is likely we can't.
This is a relatively short hike: 5 kilometers (2.5km. up and 2.5 km. down).
But the elevation gain is 500 metres!
Everyone on the hike must be in moderately good physical shape and able-bodied -- no weak knees allowed!
The trail is very steep in places and hiking poles are recommended.
The hike takes place on Saturday, August 27, and there still seems to be room if you feel like joining in.
Contact the organizers through their website, Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor learning, or email them at
Telephone: 604-869-1274.

You will need to bring: high-energy snack food, 2 litres of water, warm clothes and rain gear, sunglasses, sun hat, sun block, camera or binoculars, and hiking poles.
Wear hiking books, not runners, and don't bring your dog!

The map above is a small piece of A.C. Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia, CM/F9, BCA -- a black and white copy which I inherited from my uncle.
I have the colour version, but it is in Vancouver with the illustrator who is designing the book.
This above piece of map will show, to the right hand side, a little piece of the trail we are hiking.
It is the most difficult part of the brigade trail, probably, and the piece of trail that caused the fur traders the most stress.
In the days when Alexander Caulfield Anderson rode over the trail, no one seemed to complain about the loss of horses as they pushed them off the edge of Manson Ridge.
One early writer (I think Susan Allison) described how the horses were herded off the ridge and down the steep trail.
Those horses familiar with the trail made it to the bottom, while newcomers fell and broke their legs or were killed.
There were always complaints from the interior of the shortage of horses -- perhaps that is why.

On the 12th of April 1854, James Douglas wrote to Donald Manson at Fort St. James: "You also refer to the subject of the transport horses, a certainly endless theme, and one which I did not expect to hear renewed after the great trouble and expense we have had in providing the large supply of horses, no less than 63 sent into New Caledonia last year....
"The loss of horses in the interior for these last few years has been a subject of remark throughout the country and there is a very general impression that the New Caledonia horses are both overloaded and neglected on the journey."

In Douglas' letters there are clues that the fur traders have begun to look for a new trail that would avoid Manson's Ridge.
On August 1st 1854 Douglas wrote to Paul Fraser, at Kamloops: "I am happy to hear that there is a prospect of finding a better road than the present one through Manson's Mountain, and I trust you have succeeded with Mr. Manson's assistance in getting it opened for the passage of the brigades."
In this letter there is no clue as to where the new road lay, but it appears they would try to follow a trail that led them through "a depression in the mountains leading direct to Fraser's River a little below the junctions of Harrison's River where where there is an extensive range of alluvial plains capable of maintaining the brigade horses for any desirable length of time."
A later letter tells us that the trail actually ended up on the other side of the Fraser River opposite the mouths of Harrison River, and it appears they planned to come down the Chilliwack River.
To Manson, Dougals wrote: "Your remarks in respect to the difficulties of the Fort Hope route are I admit well grounded and I think [when] the other route by the Chilwaywook valley is rendered passable the better for all accounts agree in representing it as free from most of the defects of the other road."
By August 1855, Gavin Hamilton "who was employed with a party of two men and Indians, in exploring the route to the Interior, by the Chilwayook valley has completed that service, and reports very favouably of that line of road..."
"It therefore possesses great advantages over the Fort Hope road, and entirely avoids the Mountain barrier which forms the principal difficulty of that route."
But Gavin Hamilton was probably new to the fur trade and did not understand the requirements of a brigade trail.
Within a year or two that trail remained unfinished and, as it was discovered it was too difficult to travel, abandoned.

That wasn't the only exploration going on.
On September 23 1856, Douglas wrote: "Your account of that road as gathered from Indian reports is far more favourable than the description given of it by Lolo, who does not appear to think it at all better than the present route."
This was a new trail from Fort Hope by the Coquihalla River, and it probably ascended the mountain by either Sowaqua, or Dewdney Creek.
A trail up Dewdney Creek would avoid Manson Ridge, probably, but one up Sowaqua Creek would not.
Whichever trail the furtraders were exploring was abandoned when Jean Baptiste Lolo reported that the northern trail was not better than the well used trail up Peers Creek.
After that time there is little mention of the route of the trail, and I presume that the brigaders continued on the old trail down Manson Mountain.
And this is the trail that I will be exploring on Saturday, August 27th.

A Genealogy tool for the Future -- Project RestingSpot

A few weeks ago a long-distance cousin, descendant of my grandfather's older brother Walter Birnie Anderson, travelled north from Seattle to introduce himself.
I arranged that other Anderson descendants who live nearby would also be in town, and the party was enlarged by another fur trade descendant who is related to us through the Birnies.
We planned to visit all the family graves: James Robert Anderson and his wife are buried in Ross Bay cemetery, in Victoria, and Alexander Caulfield Anderson and Betsy Birnie lie under a beautiful gravestone in the burial ground in front of St. Stephens Church, in North Saanich.
It is A.C.Anderson's grave which is pictured at the top of the page.

Our first visit was to Ross Bay, a sprawling cemetery in Oak Bay next to the ocean.
I have found James' grave before, and I knew which section of the graveyard it was in.
But this time the pair of us spent a fruitless hour searching the entire section of the graveyard, all without finding the grave.

The people who have organized a website called Project RestingSpot aim to end all this confusion.
Their website was created out of the same frustration that my cousin and I experienced; my contact said he set up the service after he spent a frustrating afternoon searching for his grandfather's grave.
This website will enable family members to find their ancestors grave with ease, and they will be able to share that information with other family members in the future.
Through the RestingSpot website and with smart phones with a free application utilizing GPS technology, the location of every resting spot across the United States can be located and added to their database.
People searching in cemeteries for their ancestor's grave can be guided directly to the spot through the website.
Moreover, when the location is added to the RestingSpot website, other family members can share membories and post photographs and messages.
And down the road, of course, descendants of those people will be able to find their ancestor's grave with ease.

There is no reason why the gravesites listed on their website need to be recent deaths.
Those people who have located their ancestor's grave can also upload the information to the site, and by doing so might meet other family members they may otherwise not have met, to share information with them.
This site could become almost as important as Ancestry, perhaps, if those people who are into smart phones and genealogy are interested in recording the location of their ancestors.
In a few years, it is possible that genealogy will look quite different than it does today, in fact.

RestingSpot's goal is to obtain the exact location of every gravesite in every cemetery in the United States by Memorial Day, 2013, and they are looking for volunteers to help them.
They are not limiting this to the United States -- we in Canada or other parts of the world can send RestingSpot an email to request that a cemetery be added to the database.
When its added, you can then add your ancestor to the site.
Even if you want to have a profile page for your ancestor but you cannot mark it at the time, you can send a detailed email to and they will help you out.

Here is the contact information for RestingSpot, should you wish to view their webpages.
Facebook page: http.//

Have fun with this -- you might even find your ancestor already on it!
By the way, we did find James Anderson's grave, or at least my long-distance found it a day or two later.
Our Birnie descendant friend brought out her copy of the Ross Bay cemetery map and showed him where it was, and he visited the grave the next day.
He told me we were only one or two graves away from James' grave!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Pathfinder

To my readers: This is the cover of the book, The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson's Journeys in the West.
You can print this page out and present it to your local bookstore, telling them you want to order a copy of this book.
You can also take this to your local museum; however many smaller museums will be closed for the winter.

Below is the information that your local bookstore will need:
Author's name: Nancy Marguerite Anderson
Publisher: Heritage House
Contact: Neil Wedin, Media & Publicity

To order, call Heritage Group Distribution
ISBN 978-1-926936-82-6
eISBN 978-1-927051-02-3

You, the reader, can order the book through the Heritage House website, or at your local bookstore.
If you are Canadian, you are supporting a Canadian business either way.
However, I hope some of my readers -- both Canadian and American -- will support their local bookstore by ordering the book through them.

Thanks for your support.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Potatoes at Fort Alexandria

You may wonder why I am writing about such an obscure subject as potatoes in the fur trade, but I have had an interesting conversation with one of my readers that might lead us to some interesting places.
You will not read about the beginnings of that story in this posting, but you will learn what I have so far learned about the types of potatoes that might have been at Fort Alexandria.
I have to qualify this statement -- Fort Alexandria was constructed by the men of the North West Company in 1821, but immediately run by the HBC.
I can so far only tell you what potatoes the HBC might have brought north from Fort Vancouver -- not those the NWC men might have imported from Lachine.

Now, from the Fort Alexandria journals, I am going to find all mentions of potatoes so that we can determine what kinds of potatoes might have been grown there.
How interesting -- on the 31st December 1842, after the shooting contest which I may or may not have mentioned previously, the "Indians got 6 kegs potatoes & 1 yard tobacco by way of festive."
So Fort Alexandria grew enough potatoes that they could give them to the Natives as a gift.
Did the Natives eat the potatoes, or did they plant them?

In May 1843, the "men of the establishment busy getting seed into the ground." Potatoes can be sown from seed, but for the most part potatoes are grown from seed potatoes -- that is, sections of cut up potatoes that contain the "eyes," or seeds for the future crop.
On June 15th 1843, "Michel [Ogden] & 2 Indian lads hoeing earth round potatoes in garden, which are now long enough."
On July 8th, "Our potatoes & turnips which have been duly thinned & hoed are thriving well. The barley is earing fast."
On the 13th, "Linneard earthing up potatoes at barn with the plough aided by Indian lads with hoes," and a day later, "Finished the potatoes at barn. Nothing new occurring."
There is a mention that the men of Fort St. James arrived at Fort Alexandria in September, telling Anderson that 60 bushels of the potatoes had been harvested at that northern post.
As it happens that year, the journal that covers the fall harvest is missing and there is no mention of how many potatoes Fort Alexandria harvested in summer 1843.

On 24th of April, 1844, "Finished ploughing our potato land -- transported potatoes to field preparatory to planting tomorrow."
On the 30th, "Finished planting our potatoes, say about 60 bus[hels] in all -- at farm and in the vicinity of the fort & little river."
Their farm work had been delayed by the brigade's arrival from Fort St. James, and departure for Kamloops over the new brigade trail.
On June 12 the men "harrowed the potatoes with a light harrow;" on the 22nd they "finished earthing our potatoes, which have a good appearance."
At the beginning of July, "we cut the heads off of the potatoes planted at Little River, as the stalks were too long."
They harvested their potatoes in early October: "Fine. Finished taking up potatoes at Barn, 35 1/2 kegs, which wt about 15 or 20 already [illeg.] form 50 kegs or so out of that patch. Rain during night."
On the 7th of October: "Dug up onions, carrots, &c. Gendron & Therouiac are now the only men about the estab. The former, who is cook &c, transports the potatoes in the cart. The latter remains encamped at potato field to superintend operations there."
The men also camped at the potato fields to prevent theft!
On October 18th -- "Finished taking in our potatoes on Wednesday last, say 420 kegs only housed -- The crop failed naturally, not having advanced anything since brigade time."
That summer foul weather ruined many of the crops that grew around Fort Alexandria.

In 1845 the Fort Alexandria started their planting in early May, "planting 15 kegs potatoes by little river & continued at barn. At the latter place (the ground being more exhausted) we are transporting manure to be placed in the drills. I prefer to plant a smaller quantity & give them this advantage, but I shall strive to get a good stock into the ground."
On the 10th: "Finished planting potatoes at barn, where 22 kegs have been put in with manure in the drills. Say 37 kegs in all at the farm. The May/45 slips are small and shrunken, so that a larger piece of land than ordinary is this year under potatoes. And now may God grant us a good return in due season. We are 12 days later than last year."
It was a difficult spring, with snow lying late in the year and the river flooding some of their fields -- "the Indians [agreed] in stating that the water never yet to their knowledge attained its [present] height."
June 11th -- "Linneard dressing the potatoes with a light harrow."
June 14th -- "Last night a sharp frost cut nearly all our potatoes to the ground. Though they will doubtless recover, this check will injure them materially. they had previously a very fine appearance."
The men hoed the potatoes on June 24th; on July 4th, "Linneard giving the 2nd earthing up to potatoes very lightly with the plough."
At the end of July, "All hands with ploughs & hoes earthing up potatoes. This is the fourth working they have had. 1st with the light harrow; 2nd with the hoe; 3rd a light earthing with plough; 4th now again. One of the fields is thriving well. That by the barn, however, does not at present promise very favorably."
On the 3rd of September they began working on the potato fields, after all the wheat was in.
"Liard with a number of Ind. lads, began digging potatoes, the crop of which promises to be abundant."
On the 16th of October, "We finish bringing down our potatoes today,632 kegs in all rendered to root house."
On the 31st December the Natives once again received their "treat of potatoes &c with a good smoke. I availed myself of the opportunity to speak a few words of incitement in regard to their marten hunts, which have been neglected lately."

In Anderson's writings we might also find some information about the potatoes:
In his draft unpublished manuscript British Columbia, Anderson writes "The amount of crop they annually raised [at Fort Alexandria] was generally about five hundred bushels of wheat, several hundred of barley and oats; a thousand or twelve hundred of potatoes, besides a large quantity of turnips...."
From the same source, Anderson writes, "At Fort St. James potatoes, though sometimes raised, are a precarious crop."

This might be of interest to some people who read this blog:
From the Fort Alexandria journals: In April 1846, Anderson writes in the post journal that "Eleven Indians [are] working the soil [at our] suggestion, and I have promised to supply them seed potatoes."
And so there it is -- Natives might have grown the same kind of potatoes that were grown at the fur trade posts in the interior.

So what kind of potatoes did the fur traders grow?

At Fort Vancouver they grew bush potato, red potato, Brotchie potato, early blue potato, Ladies Finger potato, and early ash leaf Kidney, according to Hussey, "Fort Vancouver Farm."

In an early search I was unable to find out anything about the bush potato that might have grown there, but on further research I consider Fort Vancouver's bush potato might be a sweet potato.
Many sweet potato varieties grow on marigold-like vines, but there are varieties that grow on bushes.
I consider that the sweet potato, with its orange coloured flesh and white or orange skin, is probably what the fur traders called the bush potato.

We all know what red potatoes are, but these will be heritage red potatoes that will be quite different than the red-skinned potatoes we purchase in the grocery store today.
I believe they would have red flesh that would whiten as they were cooked, and a red to purple coloured skin, if the British heritage potato site I discovered is correct.

Blue potatoes still exist, and have a blue flesh and a bluish-purplish skin.
They are quite beautiful, in fact.

An early Ash-leaf Kidney potato is listed on heritage potato sites and is a kidney shaped potato with a light buff skin.

Brotchie potatoes are a bit of a mystery.
They are English potatoes which were imported to Fort Vancouver by Captain William Brotchie -- hence their name.
All I know is that it was supposedly an early kidney variety -- that is, another kidney shaped potato.
There are tons of potato varieties in England -- "scotch down," "red down," early pinkeye," white kemp," "ash leaf Kidney," and "brown potatoes" to name a few.
If anyone knows what kind of potato the Brotchie potato is, please let me know.

Finally we have the Ladies' Finger potato, grown at Fort Vancouver and also at Fort Nisqually.
From, here is a description of the modern-day Lady Finger potato, Solanum Tuberosum:
"Lady Finger is a great heirloom variety. Its form is slim, connected tubers, not unlike the form of ginger. The flesh is yellow, and they taste delicious."
The Ladies' Finger potato was grown at Fraser's Lake, if not at Fort Alexandria.
From Anderson's British Columbia:
"Potatoes yielded well. In 1839 from fifteen bushels of cut seed seven hundred bushels were gathered.
"They were of the Ladies' Finger variety, planted in a piece of light sandy soil which had been under uninterrupted crop with little or no mature for nearly thirty years.
"A heavy coating of stable manure was given as a preparation for the crop alluded to, and the season proved very favorable."

Of course, the fur trade potatoes were not the only potatoes that might have appeared in New Caledonia, or modern day British Columbia.
There were always potatoes grown by the Natives in North America -- whether they travelled northward from South America or were given to Natives on the coastline by the Spaniards or Russians, they have existed for many years.
The Haidahs and Alaskan Tlingits have grown potatoes for many years, as have the Nootka people and the Makahs at Neah Bay.
These potatoes have existed for so long amongst the Natives that they consider them traditional foods.
There is also the Wapato, a swamp plant that resembles potatoes and is sometimes used like a potato.
Potatoes, which began their history in South America, have taken many paths in their journeys around the world since the early 1700's.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

British Columbia Metis Research

For all of you who are still researching your fur trade ancestors, I have forgotten one important resource that anyone can access, for free, no matter where you live.
This is the B.C. Metis Mapping Research Project's Historical Document Database, at
You do not have to be a member of the British Columbia Metis Nation to access this database, but you do register.
There is tons of information on this database and I think many of you will be able to spend a few hours in research.

Another listing of genealogical resources might also assist you in your search.
On the BC Metis Nation website go to "Citizenship Resources/Genealogical research."
You will find a list of places where you can find birth/marriage/death certificates and other resources, and there may be a few places listed that you have not thought of looking in.
This list might also be worth a look.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Alexander Caulfield Anderson

With thanks to Scott Anderson, descendant of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's son, Walter Birnie Anderson, for the use of this original photograph.

The Index!

A few weeks ago I talked to a fur trade historian about having her read my manuscript for a cover quote, and she asked me whether or not I had begun my index yet.
I told her I hadn't.
She told me sternly that the index is very important -- that it is the guide to the book and it has to be right to work.
Well, she ought to know, and even though I do not have the designed book, I started work on the index.
I know now what she meant.
I went through my edited copy of the manuscript and indexed it, and came out with an index some thirty typewritten pages long.
Moreover, it took me three or four full writing days to complete this massive job!
Then I started to organize the index.

For example: I have 97 persons to index, to which I have to add the members of the Anderson-Seton family (3 brothers and sisters, five children, seven grandparents and uncles in the Anderson family, and three Seton ancestors), all of which are bundled in separate sections.
I have 19 lakes to index; 42 rivers; 41 fur trade posts; 20 places known to the fur traders (ie. Boat Encampment); three or four express routes and 6 brigade trails; 2 fur trade companies; 30 subjects (ie. Smell of furs) or incidences of importance (ie. Yakima War) in the fur trade; and one Japanese junk shipwrecked on the Pacific Northwest coast.
I have 27 Native tribes to deal with, with subjects separately indexed under headings such as Native fisheries, paths, bridges, or villages.
I have bundled a number of Fraser and Columbia River features (ie. The Dalles) in separate sections, and the eleven ships mentioned in this book have their own little grouping!
It's like putting together a massive crossword puzzle when you have only the words and no clues or numbered squares to help you put the puzzle together!

Then I have to decide what I am going to index re: Anderson himself -- his three Bibles; descriptions by various persons;his interests in firearms, mapmaking, and writing.
How do I indicate these?
I haven't even mentioned the American territories and British colonies and the new towns after 1850 (USA) and 1858 (BC); the Customs House scandal; Anderson's childhood in India and London; his years as a Saanich farmer and his second careers as Indian Reserve Commissioner and Fisheries Inspector!
I also have to indicate the images we are including in the book, and in some cases the captions hold important information not contained elsewhere.
For example: under the image of a fish weir at Fraser's Lake I tell the story of how the Natives killed fish with flintlock guns!
And under Angus McDonald's portrait I tell how, when McDonald visited Anderson in Saanich, he frightened all the Natives by playing his bagpipes!

So far I think I have done well in this chore, and I am glad I started it early, before I received the "created" book in PDF format.
It will still be a big job to transfer all the information from manuscript index to that in the book, as every page number will be different.
I suspect it will still take a few weeks' time.

Since the book has been sent to "design" in Vancouver, I have learned a few interesting things.
I found a description of the first Fort Nisqually I didn't have before; and I received a copy of an original portrait of A.C. Anderson from a descendant of Walter Birnie Anderson (his son).
I also got to go into the depths of the archives again accompanied by other family members, to take a photograph of the 1867 map of British Columbia as it is stored, with descendants viewing it.
Whether the photograph will go into the book depends on whether or not there was enough light available, as flashes and extra light are not allowed!

Let me tell you how this map is stored!
Firstly, the map was in pieces when the archives received it (from Lands & Works, probably).
They conserved it and mounted it on an acid-free backing (linen?) and encapsulated it between two sheets of mylar.
Mylar is a type of plastic that does not break down over time, as other plastics do.
The conserved map is hung on a rolling rack to prevent damage by handling, as would happen if it was stored in a box or drawer.
It is stored in a dark room in the highest part of the archives: for two reasons; to prevent damage by light, and water damage from a possible tsumani (the archives is almost underground, so its not very much above sea-level, unfortunately).
It is covered with a sheet of heavy black plastic which prevents fading when the lights are turned on.
"This is very critical," curator Derek Swallow tells me, "since many of the First Nations territorial boundaries and some of the written inscriptions were done in coloured, light-sensitive, fugitive ink.
"In other words, light will fade the colours."

The fluorescent lights in the room are low UV yield to prevent fading when the map is shown, and the tubes are covered in secondary UV filters -- UV being the primary source of colour fading.
"The map," Derek writes, "is of huge significance to the province and people of BC so we have put a great deal of resources into preserving it and storing it in conditions that will guarantee its longevity."

Do I sound as if all this low-UV lighting was arranged to protect A.C. Anderson's map?
Probably not, as the room is filled with art objects and paintings, including the painting of Tsilaxitsa I have spoken of before (see posting: Monday Dec. 27, 2010: Chief Nkwala and his extended family.)
When you stand with your back to Anderson's map you look almost directly at Tsilaxitsa's portrait.
It's a nice image: the two men led almost parallel lives, and after their deaths they are 'looking at each other.'
What a romantic notion!

Enough said! I am back to work on my index!
Thank you, everyone, for following my blog; I appreciate your interest in my story and I enjoy hearing yours.