If you’ve always wanted to learn more about your family’s ancestry, the Vernon & District Family History Society is a good place to start.
The society is having an open house Saturday at its resource centre at Peace Lutheran Church.
For longtime member Ted Hoyte, membership in the society has given him the chance to delve into his family’s long history in the North Okanagan.
Hoyte shares the story of his great-grandfather: “Clement Fisher Costerton was born Dec. 22, 1858 at Eye, Suffolk, England, the sixth of 15 children to Charles Fisher and Harriet ( Nayler ) Costerton.
“In 1878 he left England on a sailing ship via Cape Horn, South America and arrived at Sapperton (New Westminster) British Columbia.
“In 1881 he was working at Yale, B.C. as a clerk for the Hudson’s Bay Co. then during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Fraser Canyon, he worked as a clerk for Andrew Onderdonk, the construction contractor for the Port Moody to Savona section.
“By the summer of 1885 he was in Spallumcheen, having purchased a half interest in a “general merchant’s” store at Lansdowne (north of Armstrong). The store went out of business when the Shuswap and Okanagan Railway line was built through Armstrong (making it the commercial centre for the area).
“In 1888 he moved to Vernon and worked as an insurance and real estate representative — starting his own business, C. F. Costerton Ltd., in 1890. In 1891 he became a licensed Notary Public and also the local agent for Nicholles and Rennouf of Victoria Agricultural machinery and Hardware Co. (the advertisements in the Vernon News for Nicholles and Rennouf Co. only run 1891 to 1894).
“In May 1894, Clement (age 36) married Effie Catherine Gibbs (age 19 ), and they had four children — the third one being my grandmother.
“He served as an alderman for the City of Vernon from 1905 to 1909 and 1914 to 1918; he was mayor from 1921 to 1923.
Clement died July 2, 1930 at Vernon and is buried at Pleasant Valley Cemetery.”
If you’d like to learn more about how to research your own family’s history, drop by the Vernon & District Family History Society’s open house, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the lower level of Peace Lutheran Church, 1204-30th Ave.; all are welcome.