Indigenous man in front of computer

First Nations finding five generations of family

By Abby Francis, quathet Living, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Family Tree is a project Tla’amin has been working on since the 1990s. Tla’amin was given a grant for genealogy by the treaties society, they used the grant to connect the community through lifelines of a family tree. However, the tree had stopped being updated in the early 2000s, leaving out any new family members born after that time. Until now. 

In March of 2020, Randolph Timothy, son of Randy Timothy and Margaret Timothy (nee Galligos) was offered the position to carry on the Family Tree Project. 

“I was excited to be given this opportunity, but I was worried about making mistakes and learning the software the project is run on. I also didn’t know I could be a researcher or know where to carry on from. The project has been going very well though, thankfully.”

Randolph is carrying on to find and fill in the information missing from 2000, and gathering more as new members of the Nation are born each year. 

“I have been able to go about one or two generations further than what we had before, which is great. I really love the connections I make with the community when receiving more documents to add. 

“The Nation’s Family Tree ties us all together. The software needed a ‘starter’ person; our start person is Chief Tom Timothy. The tree doesn’t necessarily begin exactly with him, but he is who was chosen to be that person, making Chief Timothy, the start of the tree.”

The software currently contains family trees that date back about five generations. 

Genealogy chart shwoing four generations
The computer shows Randolph Timothy’s Family Tree

Randolph has been working on this project alone, however he recently gained an intern, Malachi Galligos. Malachi helps with the data input, while Randolph works with researching as well as the data input.

“I would also like to acknowledge my supervisor of the project Drew Blaney (Manager of Tla’amin Culture and Heritage), Stubberfields for their support, as well as Evan Adams who has kindly donated information and continues to help me.” 

It turns out Tla’amin isn’t the only nation attempting to branch out its Family Tree. 

“Four Sister Nations are creating Family Trees, the big goal would be to show all the ties on one, connecting the Four Nations together,” Randolph says. The Four Sister Nations are Tla’amin, K’omoks, Homalco, and Klahoose. Randolph explained that he is helping Homalco start their tree, and has also reached out to Klahoose for them to start up their tree too.

So has Randolph Timothy found any surprises? 

“Yes, there have been a few times where a connection I had discovered was unexpected. My mother worked at the Elders’ Lodge when I was younger though, so I had grown up volunteering there, learning about the Elders and their pasts. A lot of information I find now is expected, or I already knew because of those connections I had made growing up.”

Randolph explains that he hopes to gain more information from families soon. He says that pictures of family members and their documents all help him fill in the tree and connect them to other people.

Top photo credit: Randolph Timothy shows the site used to create the Family Tree. Abby Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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