Interactive, engaging, fun . . .there's something new happening at the Village! And it all started with a Eureka moment, when one new volunteer thought up a new way to connect the exhibits with our visitors.

Using the Relative Finder software, created by, volunteer Michelle Papworth saw how it mapped user connections to known groups, like Presidents and their wives, famous movie actors, authors, sports figures, and poets. "Why couldn’t R.J. Haney Heritage Village be a group?”

She emailed Dr. Joseph Price III at Bingham Young University and was both surprised and pleased when he answered! He understood how to connect data to family trees.

Then, Michelle contacted the archives. What were our resources? We supplied her with copies of telephone books and suggested the 1921 census. Neither option worked. The telephone books and directories only included the people who lived here if they had a residential telephone. Women and children were absent, and not everyone had caught up with the new technology. The 1921 census, on the other hand, was too large and cumbersome to connect to the much larger grouped databases. Michelle explained that it would have taken too long for the search engine to connect Village "residents" to individual family trees.

Michelle landed on the idea of using the 1911 census. It was perfect! It included all the family members who lived in Salmon Arm and matched the era of the Village. She spent 99 hours transcribing Salmon Arm’s 1911 census into a usable format for Relative Finder.

With a user’s permission, the software searches their family tree on Family Search and connects it to the Relative Finder database. Within minutes the user can also find their connection to those listed in the Salmon Arm 1911 census.

Imagine how excited I was to know I was related to Emma Abigail Palmer – the matriarch of the business Palmer’s Family Butchers and an exhibit at the Village. Emma Abigail was born a Shaw, was the first person to hold a Salmon Arm business license, and she was a woman! Her father was one of the first to bring cattle into the area from Chase. They, and their neighbours, were among the first growers of tomatoes and strawberries in the area.

The Shaws were related to the Hedgman family too! At the turn of the last century, Hedgman’s Corner was one of Salmon Arm’s earliest directional landmarks. The family is featured on my annual cemetery tour – a real story of heartbreak if you ever want to hear it.

I also found my family had married into the Bjorkmans and Tetlocks, of Canoe, and the Turners (no not the famous Turner Red Delicious apple Turners)--the ones who lived in Fortune place on Lakeshore. They were hockey players. And there are more . . . I’ve only scratched the surface.

Funny, after more than 30 years, I gave up thinking I was just a girl from the wrong side of the river in Kamloops! I really do have DNA in Salmon Arm.


Family Search and Relative Finder are free to join.
If you have a tree on Family Search,  click on this link or scan the QR code:

Choose the option to sign in with Family Search: enter your user Family Search name and password

Agree to link your tree to the R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum group (don’t worry our members are from 1911, they won’t ask for an invite to come for supper!)

Limit your search results: Tick box on the left to filter for Community-Member: R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum

Wait for the results!

Who are you related at the Village? We’d love to know!

Michelle's sources:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Family Search and Relative Finder and BYU Record Linking Lab

and the Census for 1911