Nelson Local History
We would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Sinixt, the Ktunaxa, and the Syilx peoples, and is home to the Métis and many diverse Indigenous persons. We honour their connection to the land and rivers and respect the importance of the environment to our strength as a community.
Nelson was an important part of the area’s Gold and Silver Rush, and was officially named in 1888. Today, it is a top tourist destination known for its restored downtown heritage buildings. (And outdoors things too.)
Search the Catalogue
- Local History Collection – This is a research collection (library use only) that contains books and other publications on the history of the area. Local authors are also represented here.
- Topic Highlights:
Online Newspapers & Vital Stats
In recent years there have been projects to digitize old newspapers, and the Digitization Centre at the University of British Columbia has been focusing on local newspapers to this province! Notably, check out this blog article about the Nelson Daily News!
- British Columbia Historical Newspapers (UBC) – Offers many of B.C.’s earliest newspapers freely available in digital format. Search and view B.C. community newspapers published from 1865 to 1924. Included are three Nelson newspapers: Nelson Economist, Miner and Tribune.
- Times-Colonist Newspaper (1858-1910) – Victoria, BC newspaper
- Vital Statistics: BC Birth (1854-1903)/Death (1872-1996) /Marriage Records (microfilm and online)
Microfilm (in-library use only)
- A microfilm reader is available. Reserve time ahead of your visit if doing extended research by contacting us. Microfilm instructions
Indexed records from BC Vital Statistics Agency
- Birth Registrations 1851 – 1903
- Marriage Registrations 1872 – 1933
- Death Registrations 1872 – 1988
- Overseas Death Registration 1940 – 1945
- Delayed Death Registrations 1872 – 1945
- Indian Marriage Registrations 1873 – 1933
- Indian Death Registrations 1917 – 1956
- Indian Delayed Death Registrations 1916 – 1950
- Nelson Daily Miner: 1890 (1891+ digitized)
- Nelson Daily News: 1902 – 2010 (early years digitized)
- Nelson Tribune: 1905 (1892-1904 digitized)
- Nelson Weekly News: 1902-1913
- BC News (Kaslo): 1897-1898
- New Canadian (Kaslo): 1943-1947
- Kaslo Claim: 1893-1896
- Kootenaian of Kaslo: 1895-1969 (1898 is digitized)
- Slocan Herald (New Denver): 1932-33
- Slocan Enterprise: 1926-1933
- Outcrop (Canterbury now Invermere/Wilmer): 1900-1907
- Trout Lake Topic: 1897-1898
- District Ledger (Fernie): 1918-1919
- Camborne Miner: 1904-1906
Local Resource: Touchstones Nelson, Museum and Art Gallery
Shawn Lamb Archives– The archives holds an extensive collection of original sources including: City Directories (1901-) Obituary Files, People Files, High School Yearbooks, and property/housing information. Some of these can be accessed for free in-person, or an electronic copy can be emailed for a nominal fee. See website for details, including how to make an appointment.
- Archival Resources made available online: current Obituaries List; historical Plumbing Permits.
- Archival Photographs – thousands of photographs that document the early history of Nelson and area, its peoples, places and events from the late 1800s to the late 1900s.
- House Histories and more – fee-based research on your home, and copies of records and digital images.
- Local History Books Collection
- Online Collections database – searchable records.
- Photograph Albums on Flckr
- Virtual Exhibitions
Chamber of Mines of Eastern British Columbia – located close to the NDCC building on Hall Street, has an extensive library related to, you guessed it, mines.
- Bob Keating’s Kootenay Time podcast
- Allex Weller’s In the Windermere blog
- Greg Nesteroff’s Kutne Reader newsletter
More Nelson History…
- Arrow Lakes Historical Society
- Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History
- Nelson’s Cemetery – A Walking Tour
- Walking Tour of Nelson’s Heritage Buildings