The Arbutus Project (formerly Trevor and Dale's Family History Project) is the collective genealogy and family history of Trevor Bradley and Dale West of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. The intent of the Arbutus Project is not just to create a genealogical record of dates and names, but to create a rich record of pictures and stories and to give our ancestors more legacy than just a name in a recordbook.
At present the majority of the site is comprised of People or Pictures, though we do have some life stories in the site and plan to add audio interviews and video clips at a later date.
If you have found a common ancestor on the site, please contact us via our contact page. We've been online for almost 8 years now, and it's very possible we can put you in contact with other distant cousins.
Around Christmas of 1996, Dale and I began to investigate our roots. Looking at the genealogical information that our parents had, we noticed a lot of commonalities. Most paper genealogies contain only the most basic infomation about a person: their name, when and where they were born, married, had children and died. It's difficult to record information beyond these facts on paper without some kind of complex filing system. Family photos can be spread around amongst different family members. It can be difficult to form a complete picture about a person's life.
However, storing this data in hypertext format leads to an easily navagable, universal format for this data. People are no longer "ordered" but can be referenced from the pages of their parents and children. Family photo albums from different cities can be integrated together and searched by person.
In January, 1997, Trevor began work on software that would allow us to collect information on people and pictures which a computer could process and compile into a hyperlinked website. We collected information about relatives and ancestors. We bought a scanner and begun scanning the photos of our parents and grandparents. We compiled all this information into our first website: Trevor and Dale's Family History Project (genealogy.arbutus.cx)
We made a fair amount of progress until November, 1997, when our first daughter was born. Ever since then, it's been difficult to find the time to work on the project, and many months would lapse without any changes to the site. We worked intermittently on the project in 1999 and 2000, until our second daugther was born in August, 2000.
In January, 2002, things seemed manageable again, and we started working again in earnest. In January and February of 2002, we have revised almost every page, collecting all the information from people that our previous website helped us find. This new website makes it easier for distant relations to find information online, rather than being focused on providing information to our close relaives.
We're far from finished, and likely never will be finished. We hope to produce a body of work sizeable and interesting enough that our decendants will want to take up the work. We're well aware that interest in genealogy tends to skip a generation at best.