Friday, 29 July 2016

Canadian Forestry Corps WWI and WWII

a Canadian forest
© Penny Allen
This article was created from C. Farquar's (whom I'm following on Twitter) retweet to Sheila's article. I did not have an inkling that this unit operated in the Two World Wars. Many thanks!

Canadian Forestry Corps (CFC)
The CFC was a unit developed out of the need for lumber that provided wood for boards for the bottoms of trenches, shoring up trenches, ladders, holding up barbed (razor) wire and many other uses during the 1st and 2nd World War. According to this Wikipedia article there were over 30,000 men from across Canada (including Newfoundland, even though this province did not join Canada until 1952) that served in the Forestry Corps in WWI. Some soldiers were also sent to the action at the front, although kept well behind the front lines. The Second World War saw a reinstatement of the Forestry Corps which again included men from Newfoundland. If you visit the War Memorial in Ottawa, one of the figures on the statue depicts a figure of a CFC soldier.

"The Canadians brought with them up-to-date logging techniques and machinery, not yet widely used in Scotland. Many locals had never seen the type of tractors and winches used to pull the trees out of the ground." Taken from the Forestry Commission Scotland article. See link below.

This 2011 blog post was written by Sheila, a hiking/walking enthusiast from Scotland and her interest in looking at the sites of the former CFC camps came out of a talk she attended.
Link to Sheila's article on her blog.

In response to a question about the original source, she wrote:
'The talk was given by Alasdair Cameron – a local guy, I think. It was part of a series of talks about local history run by Boblainy Forest Archaeology project (run by Highland Council archaeologist). The CFC camp I visited is in Boblainy Forest, Kiltarlity near Inverness. If you click on the photos in this and the next post the photos will open in Flickr and show the location on a map.'

Some of the comments to her post provided more information and contacts:

Andrew Ker is researching WWI CFC companies (110 & 121)
'I am researching the story of the two CFC companies (110 & 121) in the Glenmore and Strath Nethy areas of Scotland in WW1 – there seems to be lots of stuff on WW2 but (not surprisingly) less on WW1. I’d be very happy to hear from anyone who knows anything on the subject, or is just interested. I’m particularly keen to identify various artefacts which I have unearthed in their camp sites and railway routes.'

Bob Briggs has quite a lot of information about WWII CFC troops and is quite willing to share and help readers:

This is some of the information that he has available:
No. 7 Company, Canadian Forestry Corps; District 2, Camp 14, Highwood (Feabuie), Culloden
  • Canadian Mobilization Point – Victoria, BC
  • Mobilization Date –14 Aug 1940 
  • Arrived in Scotland – 1 Mar 1941 
  • Ceased Operations in Scotland – 7 Oct 1943
More Resources:
Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919
Canadian Government site: (!! Caution !! =37 MB)

Forestry Commission Scotland article on the CFC 

The Canadian Forestry Corps in Scotland during World War II by William C. Wonders published in the Scottish Geographical Magazine Vol. 103, Iss.1, 1987 pp. 21-31. (This article is not freely available on the internet. Ask your very resourceful local librarian for help!)

If you have any further information to add, please post a comment.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Twitter Treasures No. 3

My version of a Twitter bird
© Penny Allen
What I learned on Twitter this week.
18-26 Jul.2016 | Issue 3

I know, pretty old school, kind of like newspaper cuttings that libraries used to do a long, long time ago. But I just can't get over the feeling that I miss really neat things on Twitter. So every week or so I will share particularly Canadian content, but will bend the rules if it has a British spin, or an interesting immigrant story. My interpretation of the tweet or retweet is added.

Discovered Daniel Laxter's twitter account via the Borealis- a group blog on Early Canadian History. He posted an unusual account of transporting church bells of St. Boniface, [Winnipeg] from Hudson's Bay to Red River in the 1800s. Transporting church bells in the wilderness. 

Africville families celebrate 33rd reunion with 3 day celebration via BeyondBrickWall

Africville Museum visitors shocked by lack of transit accessibility via Look4Ancestors

Margaret Dougherty tweeted Lorine's article (Olive Tree Genealogy) about her immigrant ancestors to North America. Meme: Our Immigrant Ancestors - My First in N. America 

A multi-generational reunion in Toronto celebrates family while remembering roots in slavery and the underground railroad via BeyondBrickWall

Matt Rainnie of the CBC wrote that P.E.I. historian Jean Bernard has completed his books on Acadian genealogy.  Généalogie des families Acadiennes de L'Île-du-Prince-Édouard c.1764-c.1900
Please email Jean at: to order.

Check out:
@CousinDetective's Tweet:  Why Second Cousins are Magic - this great article highlights the fact we as genealogists often miss: second cousins have copies of pictures we may not have in our collections and can help identify mystery ancestors! 

To Follow:
Borealia a group blog on Early Canadian History : This tweet looks like a great article: British emigration policy, Irish violence, & immigrant reception in Upper Canada
Their website: 

CA, U.S.A.
Ansel Adams visit to a Japanese internment camp in 1943. Many photos. Via Century Past History

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Rural Alberta Towns

Rural Alberta has a piece of my heart. I was born there and my family now lives there. These news articles and webpages are about centenaries and a couple of interesting restorations of original buildings in rural Alberta.

© Penny Allen
An event that everyone looks forward to is the rodeo and parade that takes place every year thanks to some very committed volunteers.

A parade takes place along Main Street or Railway Street (most rural Alberta towns' main street is called Railway Street because it runs parallel to the railway tracks). The Parade Marshall is usually a senior who has lived in town most of their lives and considered an 'old-timer'. This is considered quite an honour.

A theme may be planned to attract out of town visitors, for example, the release of a new edition of the Local History Book. Or a car rally - a parade and display of antique cars. Amusingly, the parade route is often from one end of main street to the other, which may only be 1/2 mile, but may vere to the old folks' home, so as to include the 'old-timers' in the event. This is quite a social occasion with a picnic atmosphere.  Residents set up their lawn chairs along the parade route, bring their drinks and cameras and cheer on their neighbours. The little ones often bring plastic shopping bags as treats will be thrown from the various floats. It's a scramble game to dodge out into the road and pick up as many treats as possible.

The biggest event of the year in rural Alberta!


Arrowwood 1911-2011
Arrowwood Community History Book

Carmangay  1910-2010 - the video in the Vulcan County History page doesn't load - try this one instead : Carmangay Parade

HighRiver 1901-2001
Life and Legends : a history of the town of High River

Lomond 1916-2016
     Lomond Centenary Page

Milo  1909-2009
Village of Milo webpage

House Restorations
The house was owned at various times by Andy BELL, William IKIN and Henry SHEPPARD. It was built in 1883. The last owner was Ruth MACCOY, daughter of Henry Sheppard.

This house was moved to Pioneer Acres, a living history museum of prairie life gone past.
It was built in 1914 by George LONG and his wife Salome. Their daughter Esther CRAWFORD was the last resident of the house.

LOISELLE family home, built in the early 1900s.

Some Blogs about Rural Alberta
Off the Beaten Path
This wonderful blog highlights weekend excursions to tiny communities and unknown areas of Alberta. The website name is a combination of the authors' last names: Doering and Biggart.  Some of the places mentioned are: Bashaw, Brokeback Meadows, Empress, Hillcrest Collier Mines, New Brigden, St. Elias, site of an abandoned Orthodox Monastery (a wonderful picture of an upright piano sitting forlornly in the snow), Sibbald.

This is a blog of meandering about the forgotten places of Alberta. The last article was posted April 2016, but wonderful pictures and a feeling of being there. Note: pictures are also posted on Instagram. 

Blogging Alberta's Historic Places Written by staff of the Alberta Government. Great articles and quite a variety of topics. Also an area for guest writers. Twitter: ABHistoricPlace

Thursday, 21 July 2016

British WWII Brides

The stories of War Brides are so inspiring. It was very brave of British and European women to leave their families and journey thousands of miles to live with a man that they barely knew.

S.S. Letitia
Library and Archives Canada Image
According to the history books, and some first hand accounts, soldiers may have embellished their family's status, when in fact, they were from very humble areas. The literature also states that some women refused to disembark in Canada and returned home to Britain without even setting foot in Canada. If this was the case, what happened to their husbands? What happened to the status of their marriage? When I attend family history events in the UK, I am often asked how the children of these unions could find their Canadian fathers, knowing that their mothers chose not to emigrate or made the journey to Canada only to return soon afterwards.


Debbie Beavis states in a 2003 article that there is little documentation to support where to find the original records on WWII Brides at the National Archives (London). She states that most of the passenger records for these women are found in the Archives in the BT27 (Board of Trade Outbound Passenger Lists) collection; box references from 1579 to 1612. Another source is the Southampton passenger lists found in BT27, box references 1593 to 1601 for 1946. However, with the advent of the internet and the massive commercial databases, searching for this information has become much easier.

These passenger lists are now available on Find My Past. This FMP blog article explains the content of BT27 and how to gain access.  Many WWII Brides from Europe travelled by train to the coast to board ferries to Britain. The Lady Rodney and the Lady Nelson were put into service from Le Havre to Southampton. From Southampton to Canada, the ships were the Aquitania, Mauretania, Ile de France and the Argentina went to the U.S.A. The Canadian Wives' Bureau offices in London was the office where soldiers' wives applied to go to Canada. This bureau also provided courses and information about living in Canada, as well as providing a support network. This organization worked with the War Brides until 1947 when the responsibility for Armed Forces' families was transferred to another department.

Some of the library and archives that I searched provide podcasts, pictures or an online personal account telling the stories of some of these women and their experiences.

The Library and Archives Canada webpage gives some information about the vessels that left Liverpool, the S.S.Letitia and the Mauretania. The Queen Mary was also converted into a War Bride ship. LAC also mentions a little known fact that Canadian servicewomen married British men who were known as 'Male War Brides'.
Mrs. Perry and daughter Sheila on board S.S. Letitia
Library and Archives Canada Image
Library and Archives Canada has posted stories provided by 3 War Brides: Joyce (GAWN) CRANE, Evelyn GOODERHAM, Elizabeth Gladys WILSON.

70 Year Reunion - this news article mentions Joan REICHARDT, president of the Canadian War Brides and Families Association who moved to Saskatoon when she arrived in Canada, and at the time of the interview, (May 2016) now lives in B.C. posted an interview on YouTube with Canadian War Bride Isobel BOONE from Scotland.

The online Canada's History Magazine highlights interviews and podcasts of these War Brides:

On Canada's Historic Places website, there is a mention of War Bride Rose Marie POTTER who married a Canadian armed forces engineer named Alexander IRONSIDE.

Lots more stories posted on 

Melynda Jarratt's website is noted in many places as a primary source for War Brides information:  - includes information on Japanese War Brides - This website is dedicated to those children of WWII marriages who are fighting for the right to their Canadian Citizenship, because they were born in the UK when their mothers came to Canada after the war.

Government of Canada Veteran's Affairs provides some very good background information.

Liz's very cute blog post is chock full of photos, esp. wedding photos. Vintage Images of 1940s Canadian War Brides   Some of the names on her blog: BOULAY; BROWN; COCHRANE; COYLE; ELLIOT; ELLINOR; ESWYN; LYSTER.

U.S. US War Brides (last updated 2013) Trace American Soldier Fathers

More books here:

Blackouts to Bright Lights: Canadian War Bride Stories, edited by Barbara Ladouceur and Phyllis Spence, Ronsdale Press, Vancouver, 1995.

Brass Buttons & Silver Horseshoes by Linda Granfield, McClelland Stewart Ltd., 2002.

From Romance to Realty by Peggy O'Hara, Highway Book Shop, Cobalt, Ontario, 1985.

If Kisses were Roses : A 50th Anniversary Tribute to War Brides by Helen Hall Shewchuk, Journal Printers, Sudbury, Ontario, 1995.

Love & War - Stories of War Brides from the Great War to Vietnam by Carol Fallows, Bantam Books, 2002.

Promise You'll Take Care of my Daughter by Ben Wicks, Stoddart Pubs, Toronto, 1992.

Rich Relations: the American Occupation of Britain 1942-1945 by David Reynolds, Harper Collins, 1995.

The War Brides by Joyce Hibbert, Signet, 1980.

War Brides of World War II by Elfreda Shukert and Barbara Smith Scibetta, Novato, Calif. 1988.

War Brides : The Stories of the Women Who Left Everything Behind to Follow the Men They Loved by Melynda Jarratt. Dundurn Press. 2009 The link provides a limited view on Google Books.
However, each page of the index is available and has lists of names, names of ships and places.

Please check your local library catalogue for these titles. 
Some also may be available on Google Books.

Article: War brides of World War II : how to find their records by Debbie Beavis published in Family Tree Magazine October 2003 p.32-34.

This is my first post where I highlighted an interview with Dorothy CARLETON, a WW2 War Bride.

There is such a lot of information about war brides on the WWW, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, blogs and even Google Images!

Monday, 18 July 2016

Twitter Treasures No. 2

What I learned on Twitter this week. 
10-17th Jul.2016 | Issue 2

© Penny Allen
I know, pretty old school, kind of like newspaper cuttings that libraries used to do a long, long time ago. But I just can't get over the feeling that I miss really neat things on Twitter. So every week or so I will share with you, my favourite readers, particularly Canadian content, but will bend the rules if it has a British spin, or an interesting immigrant story. My interpretation of the tweet or retweet is added.

Discarded headstones linked to plan to lay Nanaimo graveyard flat
This Nanaimo newspaper article highlights a reader's concerns over gravestones laying flat and scattered. The discovery was that the stones were laying flat as a result of a local government program in the 1960s to change an ‘upright cemetery’ to a ‘flat cemetery’.

A CBC news article retweeted by Heritage Winnipeg : 'Plan to redevelop the 110 year old James Avenue (Winnipeg) Pumping Station has cleared its first hurdle at city hall.'
  The explanation is that the Pumping Station will be incorporated into a new office complex, and workers will be able to see the perserved vintage machinery.

Daly House Museum - named for Brandon Manitoba's first Mayor Thomas Mayne Daly II.

© Penny Allen
Ogniwo Polish Museum. Winnipeg, MB - their website doesn't appear to be updated, but certainly active on Twitter.

Fredericton Museum - new exhibition "A Ship Full of Troubles" / "Un bateau plein d'ennui" - interprets the role New Brunswick played in the confederation of Canada.

McMaster Rare Books, Hamilton, Ontario
A Testament of Youth : a program on BBC, about Vera Brittain, 1st WW pacifist. McMaster Rare Books have her archives

Century Past History RT : @LibraryArchives - Great Podcast of Peter Rindisbacher (artist) who lived in the Red River Colony from 1821 to 1826.

The Memory Project - stories of Military Service, lots of current content. Partnered with @historicacanada

This is a digital book, available via Memorial University of Newfoundland, Digital Archives Initiative. Ten Historic Towns and a Gift of Heritage: Historic Architecture of St. John's, Newfoundland, 2nd ed. 
The Historic Trust also produces the Trident journal - concerned with preserving heritage structures in Nfld.

Extremely Wonderful  tweeted an Ebay link to a book on the Yukon Klondike Gold Rush.
The streets were paved with gold : a pictorial history of the Klondike Gold Rush 1896-99 by Stan Cohen. 1st ed. published 1977

While researching the above, found this marvelous book of photos of First Nations people in the Yukon.  Their Own Yukon, by Julie Cruikshank (with Jim Robb). 1st ed. pub. 1975, a 2nd ed. soon to be published. A rare view into a northern community. 

Book Review:
Century Past History highlighted: Michael A. McDonnell, Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America (New York: Hill and Wang, 2015)

Friday, 15 July 2016

To Whonnock, B.C. From Trondhjemski, Norway

Fraser Valley, B.C.
PA-037618 Library and Archives Canada
Many small communities in British Columbia have hidden treasure chests of genealogical information! Whonnock is one such place, and on my research journey for archival information in the Fraser Valley, I came across this truly hidden gem!

Whonnock is the Halkomelem (First Nations/Indian) name for the humpback or pink salmon. (Wikipedia reference accessed: 09 Jul 2016) The first settler was Robert Robertson from Scotland, who married a native woman and they made Whonnock their home in 1861 (more information about the Robertsons' below). After the route opened to the west coast, more settlers joined them in the late 1880s, with a strong representation of Norwegians.

There is quite a lot of information provided on this website, and it appears Fred Braches is the driving force behind of all of this work. I must say that it's very well organized and researched! Fred also writes a blog alongside the site. Trondhjemski is mentioned in Appendix No. 8, p.50 'The Trondheim Congregation' as "most of the members came from this area in Norway".
[accessed: 09 Jul 2016]
Whonnock Notes - journal of the historical association, all of which are available for free (PDFs) on the website.

Transcripts from the Fraser Valley Record (1908-1912) : News about Whonnock in the Mission newspaper - 1st issue of the Whonnock Notes, Winter 1996.

Cemeteries in Whonnock
The history of Whonnock's cemeteries. Includes cemetery records and transcriptions of the grave markers. 2nd issue of the Whonnock Notes, Spring 1997.
See Also:

The Trondheim Congregation : Our Norwegian settlers’ minutes of the Lutheran Church in Whonnock. Some of the family names in this publication: MATHISON, KNUDTSON, LEE, NILSEN, MATISEN, BORGE, FLETCHER, ENGEN, ANDERSEN, HEGERT.

Robert ROBERTSON and Tselatsetenate : Whonnock’s Scottish first settler and his family (Robertson and his native wife first settled in the area in 1861 and lived there for 25 years, far from 'civilized communities'.)
This work is amazing! Both of these publications were compiled by Eleanore Dempster.
Why did I find this interesting? For a time, my family lived west of this community in the Lower Mainland. As I am one quarter Norwegian, it's struck a chord with me to see where other Norwegian families settled in B.C. Although it has a small population, one history enthusiast has written so much! Well done to all who are preserving the history of Whonnock.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Treasures on Twitter

CC License via
[accessed: 09/07/2016]
What I learned on Twitter this week. 
3-9th Jul.2016 | Issue 1

I know, pretty old school, kind of like newspaper cuttings that we used to do in the library a long, long time ago. But I just can't get over the feeling that I miss really neat things on Twitter. So every week or so I will share with you, my favourite readers, particularly Canadian content, but will bend the rules if it has a British spin, or an interesting immigrant story. My interpretation of the tweet or retweet is added.

Surrey Archives (B.C. Canada) posted Her-Story : a digital exhibit. This link leads to the Surrey Archives You Tube channel, for Her-Story, a digital slideshow of photos with captions of various women pioneers in Surrey. I have extracted the names for your research pleasure. Please contact the archives for more info - or tweet them!

Her-Story a digital exhibit 

Ivy BISHOP, Surrey's first female councillor, 1950
Women's ball team Marie HULBERT nee LOMAS
Lucy RICHARDSON / her mother Georgina BELL
Nina RIFE nee SAGE
Margaret STEVENSON - first woman in Surrey 1882
Jean TURLEY first female volunteer firefighter served 20 years
       In total, Surrey Archives has 10 videos on YouTube, highlighting their collections.

Kathryn Lake Hogan tweeted an article from about a prominent Japanese-Canadian family whose possessions, land and heirlooms were confiscated during WW2. The family of Eikichi KAGETSU have returned the heirlooms and objects to BC to take part in a project called Landscapes of Injustice. This project examines the internment of Japanese Canadians during the war and the affect of losing their families' treasures. The project partners are the University of Victoria, the Nikkei National Museum and the Cultural Centre in Burnaby.
CBC article

Gateway Gazette is the Twitter account of the current newspaper from Southern Alberta (Black Diamond). It has lots of little hidden gems that are great family history resources. For example, this tweet is about the 'Reunion of Old Turner Valley Junior & Senior High Schools from 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.' Just think of the possibilities!

HBC Heritage commented on a tweet by SciTechImages @SciTechImages their picture of H.B. Co. (Hudson's Bay Company) shipment of furs via CN rail in Montreal 1924 - the 256 written on the bundles means Outfit 256 (which ran June 1-May 3) = 256 years since HBC's founding in 1670

Archives of Ontario
@ArchivesOntario posted a picture of a new immigrant and his employment officer circa.1947. The poster on the wall behind the two is advertising the joys of farming.

 found orig 1913 copy of Torontonensis (UofT yearbook) she researched, scanned and donated it to @TheRCAMuseum -Canadian military technology, heritage, art and culture with emphasis on Canadian Gunners and the Province of Manitoba CFB Shilo

@geneaalacarte Gail Dever
Oldest Anglican church in Montreal celebrates 185 years - St. Stephen's Anglican Church in the borough of Lachine. An important fur trading centre and place of worship of the Lachine Canal workers and their families. Check her post for some of the families buried in the church cemetery.


Comment By:
@TheRCAMuseum - As a Curator I believe objects create that connection that texted words cannot. The RCA Museum tweeted a post from the @IWM 11 Objects from the Battle of the Somme

@150Alliance Celebrate the 150 years of Canada! An open network dedicated to encouraging engagement and action around Canada150 in 2017.