Dr. John Roberts figures he has enough historical material if one of his grandchildren decides to complete a PhD on Cariboo history.
A retired veterinarian, Roberts has also written books on local history, and through the years amassed enough history and stories of the past to fill a few bookshelves.
Last spring the Cariboo Chilcotin Genealogy Group began scanning, digitizing and indexing Roberts’ collection and recently presented him with a copy of the index they have created.
“Dr. Roberts’s collection of history is filled with old stories from the pioneer days, how they got here, how the roads were built, everything,” Phyllis Galloway of the CCGP said. “These files and binders are the only copy so we wanted to preserve them and make sure that other people can see them.”
Indexes are being produced for each binder and book, she explained.
“We wanted John to see how we’re doing it and what we’re doing,” Galloway said before presenting Roberts with a gift during a gathering at the Family History Centre located at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Edwards Street.
Roberts and his wife Anna Roberts arrived in B.C. in 1958 and discovered there was no veterinary surgeon north of Kamloops.
They came to Williams Lake, thought they’d stay for a little while to determine if they liked the area, and never left.
He was known as the “flying vet.”
Roberts, in his 90s, joked he only has another 10 years to go with gathering history.
He would like a copy of the index to go to both the museum and the library, he added.
The genealogy meets at the church’s family history centre and the arts council office, depending on the project.
“We’ve been working on John’s collection at the church because we want computers and access to the wifi here,” Galloway said.
Another project members of the group are focused on is transcribing information from cemeteries and graves in the region.
“The information will go to two websites – Find A Grave and Canadian Headstone Project,” Galloway said.