Century-old British Columbia album remains a bit of a mystery as police search for owner’s family

Call it the case of century-old scrapbooking.

A brief social media post about a British Columbia scrapbook from the early 1900s turns into a fun genealogy hunt for some.

On Wednesday, the Vancouver Police Department took to Facebook about the article and its colorful cover, saying it had been given to them.

“It contains personal memorabilia dating back to the early 1900s when the person lived in Summerland,” the VPD said. “We tried to locate the owner, but were unsuccessful.”

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If you recognize the book, you are asked to contact the Vancouver Police Department so it can be returned.

As of Thursday afternoon, the post contained 60 comments, some of which linked the album to Lona Gartrella Williams Washington, who died in 2001.

Some responses mentioned the Summerland Museum and Archives, which PKBNEWS contacted.

Museum curator Petra Holler said: “This morning we arrived and we had messages from people on Instagram and Facebook, and people tagging us in posts, bringing it to our attention because, obviously, It’s something we’re very interested in.”

Holler said the album could be an incredible document and contain information about early life in Summerland during that time.

Efforts are underway to establish ties with Washington’s family, and time will tell whether or not these efforts are successful.

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“(Lona’s) obituary tells us she had eight grandchildren and many great-grandchildren as well,” Holler said.

“We also shared it on our social media and people understood it straight away. We started getting more private messages from people who were taking it upon themselves to engage in some sort of detective work and find answers.

The book is still in police possession, but it could be a museum piece – a personal, easily identifiable object that could be a possible window into daily life at the time.

“The fact that this album has a personal connection, that these are someone’s memories and he took the time to write them down; it’s important to them,” Holler said, noting that the museum has several personal journals in its possession.

“It’s really convincing.”

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As for what is inside the album, that is currently unknown. Being an album, the possibilities are endless.

PKBNEWS has contacted Vancouver police for more information.

Holler noted that “women, especially during this era, were often excluded from history. Their views and experiences are very little documented at this time. So it would be wonderful to get her perspective as a young woman at that time in our city.

&copy 2023 PKBNEWS, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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