The Archives

Our access to the past is entirely dependent on what remains to us through time. Buildings, home movies, landscapes, photographs, and our memories provide some of these "remains". In their attempt to understand what happened in the past, however, historians most commonly depend on a wide variety of records created during or near the time they are studying. These records are called "primary sources". They include documents created by governments, by the courts, by different companies and businesses, by cultural, economic, or political organizations, by educational institutions, and by ordinary people. They also include photos, paintings, and newspapers. Many of these have been collected and organized in archives throughout the world.

Archives are places where historic records are kept. Often these archives are housed in buildings or places in buildings, like the British Columbia Archives, the Victoria City Archives, or the Salt Spring Island Archives. This site is a virtual archives. It is organized by the type of source. This is similar to the standard form of archival organization, where records are grouped by "provenance," i.e., by their original location (for example, by government department, by particular individual or family, or by company) and in the order in which they were originally created and organized. Every primary document located on this site, including photos and images, is here in the archives. This archives is limited to records that we believe might connect in some way to the death of William Robinson. As complex as it may seem, this is a very simplified archives. In order to research the past and in order to create this archives that allows you to do so, researchers have searched through masses of documents in entire archives to locate, select, and transcribe documents that seem relevant. This is a necessary step before they can begin the process in which you are engaged.