Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Pioneers of Isabella and Blaris, towns in Manitoba

This brief overview of a small community in Manitoba is provided by the digital collections of community books on Manitobia.ca. Their page provides links to many history books of numerous rural communities such as: Birtle, Emerson, Gimli, Holland, LaRiviere and Pilot Mound. Manitoba Digital Resources on Manitoba's History was funded by Canadian Culture Online, Department of Canadian Heritage of the Government of Canada. Original concept in 2005.


Manitoba field of sunflowers
© Penny Allen
Rural Reflections Vol.2 : Isabella and Blaris Communities in Manitoba (centenary)

Ebook of Rural Reflections  - produced by the Isabella History Committee (1879-1982). The town of Isabella Manitoba was named after Isabella Gould Taylor, a Scottish woman who came to the area to join her family.

Family History Name Index was transcribed from Rural Reflections by Donna Campbell. Her great grandfather, Francis Augustus Campbell, was born in 1857 at Campbell's Cross, Ontario and came west in 1882.

On page 5 a picture captioned: 'Fifty Year Jubilee Picnic Blaris Manitoba 1885 - 1935' depicts the following families ( 'x' indicates number of family members in the photo):
Astle (1), Bell (7), Brown (1), Campbell (10), Clark (4), Cowling (1), Craig (2), Ellis (1), Fredborg (1), Grey (2), Gurr (1), Harrison (8), Hill (8), Hudson (1), Hunter (1), Irving (1), Iverach (2), Miller (4), Mitchell (1), Palmer (5), Reid (2), Robinson (1), Stevenson (3), Stewart (2), Sunley (7), Sutherland (2), Torrance (5)
Travelling from Ontario to Manitoba circa 1880
On page 13, Mrs. Iverach's account of 'Our Pioneer Days' - gives a very vivid description of travelling from their home in Toronto (1880) to Emerson, Manitoba (border) via Chicago and St. Paul, by train and 'team', including arrival in Winnipeg and then onwards to Blaris. (Emerson was recently highlighted with news of the refugee crisis of February 2017.) There are many other depictions of travel in this book from the eastern counties of Ontario to the 'west' some of which reveal how single men struggled to find boarding and jobs. A worthwhile read to understand the conditions that beset emigrants of every nationality.

Accounts of English born settlers. 
[Note: Sec.= Section; Twp.=Township; R.=Range.]

Harry Guy DOWELL came from England many years ago and homesteaded the E. Y2 of Sec.18-Twp.14-R.25. Some of his housekeepers had children who attended Blaris. He had a [land] sale and Joe JOHNSTON rented the farm for three years. Then Gordon LeLOND came home from overseas [assume this was a mention of the Great War 1914-1918] and bought the farm. Mr. and Mrs. DOWELL went to Brandon to live. William MILLER then took up ownership.

Josiah D. HARRISON's grandfather, Thomas HARRISON, came from Wiltshire County in England in 1819 with his wife and family.

Wm. J. HILL came from England to Manitoba in 1879 when he was 19. He worked at railway construction and other jobs for a few years and then took for a homestead the S.E. Y4 of Sec.28-Twp.14-R.25.

A letter from Mr. ST.GEORGE received (about 1967) by the committee compiling the history book which provides recollections of his early days in the community. Mr. P.I. ST.GEORGE's address is noted as "Woodsgift", Woodlea Way, Ampfield, Nr. Romsey, Hampshire, England.
He had come to Canada, and accepted a position with the Northern Crown Bank of Canada, at Isabella.  "As a small boy I had lived in India (my father being a soldier and stationed there). After leaving Isabella, I came back to England to take part in the 1914 war, which I was fortunate to survive, except for being blown up and shell shocked. However I am still alive at 77 years and went through the last war with the rank of Major in the Intelligence Corps."
Single young Englishman finds farm work:
Robert Bruce WALLACE came from England as a young man. He worked on farms. In the days when threshing was done from the stacks, it was often completed after freeze-up. He would work on threshing gangs often as a busheler. He took a homestead on Section 28 north of Isabella.

Manitoba Historical Society - Historic sites of Manitoba: Isabella Museum (RM of Miniota)

Bernice Still keeps tiny towns homes alive - an article in the Winnipeg Free Press (2012) about Bernice Still who grew up in the town of Isabella. With the help of local women, she has created a representation of the buildings to scale.

This collection of history books will give you great insight into the lives of people who pioneered in rural Manitoba during the turn of the century.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Finding Your Ancestor in Canadian Directories

My definition of directories: a compendium of knowledge about the residents of a town, county or city, their lives and day to day events. What makes a community tick? Who lived there (names of residents)? What were their occupations? Answers to these questions are often found in historical directories.

This article is a modest (not definitive) attempt at finding and providing information about online historical directories, almanacs and telephone books.

Example of a Canadian directory
Library & Archives Canada
Print telephone books are a rarity nowadays, although I remember quite a number of years ago the Calgary Public Library had many shelves of phone books which included books from European countries. The librarians were quite happy to do look ups and recently, I contacted the Vancouver Public Library with a very specific look up question in their phone book collection to which I received an answer very quickly!

Nowadays many family history societies and public libraries have reduced their collections of print copies of local directories. Because of space restrictions, partnering with a company or repository to scan these books preserves the print copies. As a result, the library may provide a mix of online and print copies. Tip: Contact your local library!

Please Note! A compendium of online Henderson's (Canadian) directories (similar to the U.K.'s Kelly's directories) can be found on Genealogy à la carte. A comment on Gail's site by M. Diane Rogers in B.C. notes that Miriam Robbins' website, one of Family Tree Magazine Best Websites for 2016, provides links to Canadian directories that helps fill the gaps of directories that are held by public libraries or in archive collections. Another comment on Gail's page pointed to a resource for Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario 1901-1950 http://saultmuseum.ca/city-directories/  Please see below for other suggestions for resources for directories.

ALBERTA
Although listed on Gail's Genealogy à la carte page, I found this notice of an Alberta digitization project in a round about way via the Alberta Family History Society. This digitization of Alberta phone books (AGT - Alberta Government Telephones) is a project undertaken by the Medicine Hat and District Genealogical Society (MHDS). The MHDS were the recipients of Alberta telephone books given by the Medicine Hat Telus (successors of AGT) Community Ambassadors with the caveat that the books were scanned and stored for longevity.

They are listed by publication, with a separate link to a corresponding letter of the alphabet. They are a bit cumbersome to search, as I'm sure it was just as cumbersome to organize the digitization of these volumes! Each section is compiled into a very large pdf file which takes ages to load. As always, please respect the copyright restrictions -this work is only for research purposes, and not to be copied or published in any way.

Calgary City 1903-1949 ➤ Calgary Rurals 1922 to 1932 ➤ Calgary Yellow Pages (Pink) 1920-1949 ➤ Edmonton City 1909 Jan. and May; 1910 Jan. and Oct. 1911 Dec; 1925 All ➤Edmonton District Towns and Villages: 1925 ; (not digitized) 1926-1930 ➤Alberta South & Central 1908-1949 ➤ Lethbridge and District 1907 to 1955 ➤ Medicine Hat and District 1907 to 1959 ➤ Peace River District July 1923-1932; 1934-1952;  (not digitized) 1954-1958

Within each 'telephone book' they are first organized by the name of the place, then alphabetically by persons name. You will need to know the name of the place, at the very least the name of the area and then do a manual Ctrl + F (Find) to find your family name. Or skim for the family name. I downloaded Alberta South & Central 1947 Mar M to Z and there are no addresses, only names and telephone numbers.

Peel's Prairie Provinces provided by the University of Alberta, has digitized a lot of directories and Dave Obee provides links to Alberta issues in chronological order from the late 1890s to 1950s.

Other directories such as the Polk and Grodlund's are available at some public libraries in the province of Alberta.

BRITISH COLUMBIA
British Columbia City Directories 1860-1955 - provided by the Vancouver Public Library, organized by year, then by cities, by outlying communities. Also searchable by initial, then by name.  The home page provides links to years along the left column, and there are helpful instructions on the main page. Each listing also provides a description of each volume. This digital collection is not hard to search, a bit old-fashioned, but very

The Vancouver City Directory for 1915 - Government Listings, Vancouver, North Vancouver and West Vancouver communities, also contains Chinese and Japanese firms.

MANITOBA
Manitoba Genealogical Society -  Print copies of Henderson Directories – Manitoba addresses and residents from 1876 to 1908, Winnipeg addresses and residents from 1908 to end of publication in 1999. Please contact for more information. 

Winnipeg and incorporated towns of Manitoba coverage varies, starts 1880 to 1970s

Brandon 1906-1960 - often these smaller city directories contain outlying town and hamlet listings, such as Souris and Carroll.

Manitoba and Northwest Territories 1878-1905 (The Northwest Territories included the western provinces in the late 1800s- does not refer to the northern province NWT as it is now known)

NOVA SCOTIA
'Let Your Fingers Do the Walking' - a very good guide to Using City, Provincial, Telephone and Business Directories. Directories from Nova Scotia Archives holdings. Most of the directories they mention are not available online. From this page: "The most complete run of telephone directories for Nova Scotia (1888-1999; predominantly 1911-1999) can be found at the Dalhousie University Archives in the Killam Library, University Avenue".

Landing page for Directories at the NS Archives.

ONTARIO
Ontario directories including Hamilton can be searched by name once you download the pdf file from Library and Archives Canada

Did you know that the Genealogy Centre - Allen County Public Library has 288 results for Ontario Directories? However, most of these are in print.

PEI 
Hutchinson's 1864 Prince Edward Island Directory - an index, provided in table format and transcribed by Donna Collings.

A list of PEI directories from the Island Register, PEI Genealogical Society and their location - mostly print issues - webpage last updated 2003

This guide mentions that the directories are on microfilm and can be accessed onsite in the archives.

SASKATCHEWAN
Regina Public Library have sent their print Henderson's directories to the University of Alberta to be scanned. Please use their online contact form for more information. It will be a number of months before they are available on the web.


FAMILY SEARCH
The Family Search wiki for Canadian Directories provides a good overview of where directories are held, and gives a brief bibliography of guides to directories.

ARCHIVE.ORG
A selection of directories are freely available on https://archive.org/  For example, this website provides the entire edition of The Canadian Almanac and Directory 1889 in an 'e-book' format.  Directories may contain family names, business names and trades or occupations.

ONLINE PHONE BOOKS:
Nowadays people turn to the internet to try to find someone in the 'white pages'. To find people who currently live in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.here are a few helpful websites:

Canada: Canada 411 | the United States: 411.com (a helpful university library guide to U.S. directories http://libguides.rutgers.edu/directories ) | and the U.K.: 192.com 

For easier internet searching use these alternate terms for Canadian directories: telephone books, white pages, yellow pages, almanacs, Henderson Directories - - & remember to add the year you are researching.

Of course, this just a quick (albeit lengthy) look at some of the directories available, so if you find any others please do share with the rest of the genealogy community!

Upcoming articles:  Finding your Ancestors in CanadaFinding your Military Ancestors in Canada

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

WDYTYA 2017 Reviews and Handouts



Family History Hound - aka Ellen Thompson-Jennings @familyhisthound 


Reviews of the event: 

Carole Steers - 
The Surname Society (NextGen Genealogist) @LazyLoverU   WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? LIVE 2017; MY REVIEW

Dick Eastman's review of WDYTYA 2017 - I have met Mr. Eastman, a few times, perhaps again next year ...

Daniel - specializes in Spanish genealogy - @DSRGenealogist    Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2017

Erin Tilley - a French Australian amateur genealogist - @rinnywee  How to get kids into genealogy


Janet Braund Few, @JanetFew viz-a-viz Mistress Agnes of the 17th Century - WDYTYA Days 2 and 3

Jane Roberts - Yorkshire based lass - @JaneEIRoberts "Who Do You Think You Are? Live" 2017 - A Very Different Show Experience

Kirsty Gray - very bubbly CEO of Family Wise -  @thekirstygray gives her take of the show WDYTYA-2017


Penny's experience as an exhibitor - @pennysresearch - Day 3 Who Do You Think You Are 

Steve Atcherley - Atcherley One Name Study -  @AtcherleyONS Who Do You Think You Are Live 2017


Handouts:

The British Association for Local History @BALHNews have uploaded the handouts from their talks at the show          http://www.balh.org.uk/education/presentation-material
           Includes: Dr. Jane Howells - 'Townies' [...]; Dr. Ruth Paley - A Bastard in the Tree? [...] ; Dr. Gill Draper Going Back in Time [...] ; Paul A. Carter - Publishing your research on the web [...]



Handouts from the Who Do You Think You Are 2017 talks are available via the Society of Genealogists Education page. The same page holds links to presentations from the 2016 and 2015 events and from two Who Do You Think You Are events in 2014, one in Olympia London and one in Glasgow. 


Monday, 10 April 2017

Day 3 Who Do You Think You Are





Last day at WDYTYA2017. Arrived at the Canadian stand and within minutes a few people from the other stands appeared to have a 'quick' chat, mostly to do with Canadian ancestors. But they were also very supportive and amazed that the Canadian stand was so popular.

Many asked if I would be returning next year, and the chairman from the Devon Society said 'I really hope to see you here next year' and another said it was 'a unique offer' - so perhaps we shall get the forces together and really push for representation from all of the Canadian Family History Societies. To be honest, although the organizers labelled the stand as Ontario Genealogy I repeated ad naseum that I was there to represent all of Canada - after all it is Canada's🍁150th Birthday!

Two Canadians at WDYTYA!
Another interesting day of questions and discussions about Canadian genealogy. Chris from Mississauga returned asking about prairie land records - that was easy, as Dave Obee has published a free pdf on his webpage to explain all about the organization of land records. For some reason, I had a lot of questions about British Columbia genealogy today. Sending them to the BC Genealogical Society and the BC Archives was the most logical answer.

I must send a note of appreciation to the Canadian Family History Societies, archives and public libraries as I did recommend their unique records and mammoth efforts over and over to UK genealogists.

A few of the questions today were about:
  • border crossings, and how did people travel from New York to Vancouver in the 1880s?
  • another question pre-1800s, about Fredericton New Brunswick 
  • a question about a Roman Catholic priest in the late 1800s and how to find records (wish I had seen the article by Candice McDonald on Religious Records in time) 
  • tracing an organist at a Montreal cathedral
  • a lot of questions about obtaining birth death  marriage certificates especially for ancestors who were not directly related, ie: great-uncles 
    • explained they are administered by each province not by the Government of Canada and there are many restrictions around the release of personal information
    • my impression is that UK genealogists are used to using BMD certificates as a starting point to identify parents and place of residence and are trying to use the same research strategies for Canadian genealogy
  • Church of England / Anglican records
  • unusually, two or three questions about Thunder Bay / Port Arthur and ancestors who were grain inspectors (this one was not unfamiliar as I also have relatives in Thunder Bay)
  • a military certificate of birth - applying for an official birth certificate
  • a mom asked about her daughter born in Canada (1990s) but they are British and returned to live in the UK - and they wanted a duplicate copy of the certificate
  • also, a couple of questions about Alberta records, including Medicine Hat, Mcleod (which I suggested may be Fort Macleod) and Lethbridge  
Did I mention the lady who came by the stand to tell me about her success breaking through a brick wall after we had discussed her research at an 'Ask the Expert' session a year or two ago? Very cool that she came back to say thank you -gives a great sense of accomplishment!

Leading on from that success, I felt that this germination of an idea was definitely a worthwhile venture. Even though I was on my own, I felt confident in my knowledge of Canada's genealogy records to give tips to UK genealogists. It was very busy, but busy in a good way, and I was not surprised at all that UK genealogists found it difficult to find Canadian sources of information for genealogy research. Only by researching 'on the ground' - actually going to these repositories and doing the research onsite do you become familiar with what is available in each province. I am fortunate that my family are spread across three provinces and have had opportunities to break away from visiting to research at many of those places. (As this has taken place many times over the years, they are now at least somewhat tolerant!) When a UK genealogist came to my table, I could actually visualize the place they needed to contact and know that they would be able to at least start investigating and if necessary, make an enquiry. It would be marvelous if this effort could be duplicated for the 2018 show, and I would be more than happy to make a repeat performance -I quite enjoyed meeting everyone and hearing their stories. 😊

There are many, many thank yous to mention. Multitudes of thanks to my angels from the Society of Genealogists; the very patient people from the Guild of One Name Studies at Stand 100 who continued to redirect people to the Canadian Genealogy stand; my colleagues at the AGRA stand who helped me with the recalcitrant banner; table covers provided by the NEC; to the organizers of the event -especially Olivia and to @AncestryHour and @_genchat Twitter friends for encouragement and support.

Finally to everyone who provided pins, books and leaflets and Canada150 stuff for the draw and especially to the Ontario Genealogy Society and Genealogie Quebec.


  Day 0   Day 1    Day 2

Thank You and Merci Beaucoup!

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Day 2 Who Do You Think You Are

Friday at Who Do You Think You Are Day 2

It's always great to start your day chatting with like minded genealogists who are excited about sharing what they are passionate about! That was a boost and for 30 minutes before the doors opened I wandered around a bit checking out the other stands. That was fun.

Today did not feel as busy as yesterday but I think it was because I had a little angel who came by to cover the table so that I could have 10 minutes for necessary p+q - you can interpret that however you'd like. 

Another fabulous day at the Canadian Genealogy table but what topped it off were visits by a number of fellow Canadians! Gosh, I wish I had their names, Victoria who now lives in Edinburgh, I think she was from Kingston. Sherry? -no Peggy, from Ontario who was volunteering at the One Name Studies table. A fellow, (Chris showed up again on Day 3) from Mississauga who is retiring next year and getting primed to restart his Canadian genealogy. Another lady from Winnipeg - her first time at Who Do You Think You Are - but not her first time in England and a very experienced genealogist. Oh and another lady from Ontario I think who now lives permanently in Warwickshire. 

People love to tell stories and the genealogists are enthusiastic about their families experiences in Canada which ranged over a number of years. A number of people asked, 'Why would my ancestor take such a big step to go overseas and leave all of their family in the UK?' Stories of abandonment; a woman leaving her family in the UK to follow a man she loved back to Canada; young women who went into service in Canada, some who had illegitimate children and returned to the UK; a lady who's father was born in England but left her mother and herself as a baby to go to Canada and how could she find him; some stories of hardship, and not being able to cope with the weather and the country all together. There were some success stories, one gentleman's ancestor was in the British Army ca1800s and was given a tract of land in BC, some 1400 acres. Another story about a wealthy aunt who went to and fro across to the UK in the 1950s and he was wanting to track down her living relatives. I just love to hear these stories, it really gives a sense of who these British people were who populated our country - Canada.

Today I made a point of keeping track of the number of people coming by, actually, sorry I didn't count everyone who came to the table, just the 60 or so who were asking for help. Sometimes there were queues 6 or 7 people deep! Often people would come by when I was catching a breath, as there was too long of a queue and they wanted a few more minutes than the normal 10 or 15. The draw for the goody basket full of Canada150 bits and bobs and the free membership to the Ontario Genealogical Society began to draw more interest today because I put little signs on the books to say that they were included in the draw. I looked up at one point -in time to see that a fellow had the book 'A Call to the Colours' by Kenneth G. Cox under his arm and he wanted to buy it but I'm embarrassed to say I asked him to return it as it was included in the draw! He was a little upset and I have to say that there were a number of people who would have liked to buy some of the items at the stand, but I really couldn't manage both to be honest. That definitely needs two people to provide a retail operation. From what I have heard of past Who Do You Think You Are shows, genealogists specifically come to the show to buy books, maps, charts and genealogy supplies.

A number of people who came by to chat said that they didn't know a Canadian genealogy stand would be at the show and they didn't come prepared. It's possible they'll come next year looking for it again, so we'll have to see what comes of that. I have asked people to leave comments about whether there should be a Canadian Genealogy stand next year and time will tell, really!

All for now, one more day to go. Stay tuned!

Day 0   Day 1    Day 3

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Day 1 Who Do You Think You Are

What an awesome day! What a grueling day! 

I arrived at 8:30 in the morning - tidied up the tables, added a few bits and bobs here and there. Then the announcement came that the doors would open in 5 minutes. Yikes! 

Writing this in the evening, the day seems like a blur. From the moment the doors opened until the security team came around to shut the doors, they forced me to leave, although I preferred to sit down and melt all over the floor. I was busy. More than busy - a revolving door.! Now I know what staff behind retail counters feel like, and although I had a very quick break in the entire day, I came back to the table to another line of genealogists patiently queuing keen to find out about their ancestors in Canada. An observer on Twitter commented that I was 'snowed' under and that is definitely appropriate!

Here are some of the questions that I remember: 
  1. Questions about children that left the UK - were they Home Children? One question about a Home Child was how do I research a Home child who was thought to become a rancher -no idea as to which province
  2. A couple of questions about RCMP genealogy research
  3. Many questions about military - WWI and WWII including War Brides.
  4. Questions about immigration and how to find UK ancestors who left the UK for Canada but only lived in Canada for a few years and then returned to England -most were ca1920s
  5. Questions about Births, Marriages and Deaths and basic Canadian genealogy
  6. A unique question about the Klondike spelt Klondyke and Yukon genealogy combined with a question about fire departments in Vancouver!
  7. A fellow showed me a booklet written about his aunt born in Canada who went out to ?Asia? as a missionary
  8. A lady shared some very precious pins that were given to her by a descendant of a great-aunt who lived in Canada and they were so intriguing I'm going to write an article about them
  9. One - count em - one question about Alberta records
  10. A very direct question : What does R.R.2 Alton Ontario mean? For those researchers in Canada not familiar with country living, it means Rural Route 2 and is a postal address which indicates a particular quadrant of the county in a rural municipal (R.M.) district 
  11. Later in the day a lady told me about an ancestor living n Nova Scotia in the late 1700s! She thought he was in the army, and I suggested also looking into the Halifax dockyards as there were British Navy dockyards during that time period. This was the more plausible answer as she said he was a shipwright in England during that time. Score!
Off to the NEC for another day - what waits for me at 9:30 am I wonder?
  Day 0    Day 2    Day 3

Day 0 Who Do You Think You Are

For those who have never been to WDYTYA in England here's a short primer. 

Held in Birmingham at the NEC there are over 100 exhibitors and an expected audience in 2017 of over 10,000. It was previously held in Olympia Centre in London but to draw people from all areas of the country the show moved to Birmingham (considered central in the UK) a few years ago.

Travel to Birmingham from London is quite easy, there are a number of options. I have been told there is an express bus (coach) from the London airports. Otherwise you should expect to pay a maximum £20 for a train trip return to London. (There are ways to save on train tickets - one tip is to buy a single or one way ticket to and from your destination.) Accommodation : Budget hotels are plentiful especially in the centre of the city and I have even stayed at a hostel or two. If you are not squeamish about a) sleeping on a bunk b) sharing facilities it's great for a couple of nights to save 100s of ££.

Compared to Rootstech, WDYTYA is just a flash in the pan but just as exciting. This is my first year  exhibiting although I have attended for many years as an 'expert' in the Ask the Experts area for the Society of Genealogists. I decided to take the plunge to provide a Canadian presence at the show in recognition of Canada's 150th birthday. Happily the Ontario Genealogical Society and Genealogy Quebec stepped forward to provide support for my idea.

Last night, Wednesday, I spent quite a few hours setting up the Canadian Genealogy Stand 21 + 22.

Perhaps someday this event could lead to your research trip of a lifetime?

Keep an eye out for my reports on the end of each day.
Day 1    

Monday, 3 April 2017

McQueen Sisters-Kamloops BC; NS & Scotland

Recently, I was looking for WWI research guides via archives webpages in BC and Saskatchewan which resulted in a segway journey.

Via the Thomson River University in Kamloops BC, I found a library guide for history students. Scrolling down the list of historical resources a link to the McQUEEN Family Letters intrigued me, so I investigated further.

The McQUEEN sisters, Annie and Jessie were important residents of Kamloops and influential teachers in the public school system. Originally from Pictou County, Nova Scotia, they travelled to British Columbia in the late 1880s when the railroad was opening up the west and young women in the eastern provinces were feeling the pull towards financially stable futures and perhaps a little independence.

Kamloops ca 1886
Library&Archives Canada  MIKAN 330735
Jessie and Annie McQUEEN wrote many letters to each other which are now considered to be an important resource in understanding the efforts and lives of teachers in the development of education in western Canada.

From a book review in the BC Studies journal, of Sojourning Sisters: The Lives and Letters of Jessie and Annie McQueen, it is revealed that Jessie eventually returned to Pictou County to care for an aging parent and a sister. Annie, however, stayed in British Columbia, married, had three children, was widowed and, in 1919, became the provincial director of the Homes Branch of the Soldiers' Settlement Board.

Following is an exact transcript:
"The McQUEENs are the subject of two books and an epic poem and have been extensively used in a Ph.D. thesis. Relief Williams MACKAY, a descendant of Mary Bell McQUEEN WISDOM, privately published a family history in 1986 and Jean Barman has focussed on the careers of the two youngest McQueens, Jessie and Annie, in British Columbia. A professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia, Barman was initially attracted to the letters because of what they might reveal about the early years of public school teaching in British Columbia. While the correspondence was useful to that end, it also tracked the process by which eastern values were transplanted in western Canada. Robin L. Campbell consulted the McQueen letters for her thesis on female teachers in Nova Scotia. While transcribing the letters, Sandra Barry, a writer and poet, was inspired to produce "a domestic epic" that features the McQueens."
A list of some resources that provide a more in-depth look into the lives of the McQueens.
  1. Atlantic Canada Virtual Archives - this is an archived page, so caution is advised - however, it provides links to digitized free copies of all the letters between the sisters!
  2. Barman, Jean. Sojourning Sisters: The Lives and Letters of Jessie and Annie McQueen. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003.
  3. Barry, Sandra. "In the Mouth of the World: The McQueens of Sutherland's River (a domestic epic)." http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/slbarry/ (this link was archived via the University of New Brunswick Libraries - for more information, please contact them) 
  4. Campbell, Robin L. "Women Teachers in Nineteenth-Century Nova Scotia: An Analysis of the Effects of School Reforms, 1811-1881." PhD dissertation, Dalhousie University, 1991.
  5. Mackay, Relief Williams. Simple Annals: The Story of the McQueens of Sutherland's River. Pictou: Advocate Publishing, 1986. (written using letters between the McQueen sisters)
  6. Google Books: Sojourning Sisters: The Lives and Letters of Jessie and Annie McQueen by Jean Barman 
  7. Other resources:
    1. BC Historical News - Vol. 37 No. 1 | WINTER 2003 p.8-11  digitized by UBC
    2. BC Studies -  No. 141 Spring 2004 Book review by Suzanne Morton
Family members listed in the introduction: Bridget Gordon MACKENZIE, Dornoch, Sutherlandshire, Scotland (grand-daughter); George MACKENZIE, Nova Scotia; Betty MACNEIL, Nova Scotia; Margaret McCURRACH, Victoria, BC (grand-niece); Relief Williams McKAY (grand-niece);   Marjorie SCOTT, Nova Scotia.

I was also drawn to an account of Isaac Brock McQueen of Kamloops BC in an online pdf of the BC Historical News - but no mention of family or children. It is particularly an account of travel to the interior (the area where Kamloops is situated) from Ontario (Canada) as well as some information about the Hudson's Bay Company.

I hope you find this information useful in your research!

Monday, 27 March 2017

West Kootenays, B.C.: Historical Place Names & Pictures

When I lived in small town Alberta, an elderly neighbour told me she grew up in Nelson, B.C. It is a beautiful part of southeastern British Columbia and often referred to as God's country. But then, wherever you called home is often referred to as a corner of heaven.

Nelson, B.C.
© Penny Allen
My neighbour talked about the dirt roads, the orchards and oh, how she loved the plentiful fruit and the trips (ca 1920s) on the paddlewheeler!  What an interesting time! A friend of the family told me about a recent column in the local newspaper, the Nelson Star, called 'A West Kootenay place names primer', written by Greg Nesteroff. Greg started the column in March 2013 and the recent article dated 25 March 2017 is the 172nd in the series.  (The Nelson Daily News ran from 1902-2010 and afterwards the Nelson Star started publication twice weekly.)  

In the Introduction to the series he gives a description of the purpose and an idea of the naming practice of some of the communities:
"In West Kootenay Boundary, names were bestowed when a townsite was staked, a railway was pushed through, steamboat service commenced, or a post office opened. Often the names were after early settlers, CPR officials, mines, or geographic features. Some were named after other places, some to inspire settlement, and others to honour prominent people who may never have actually visited. Of course, many of these same places already had First Nations names. Not many are still in use, but the ones that are — Kootenay, Kokanee, Slocan, Nakusp, and possibly Kaslo — are among the most intriguing on the local map. One subset of names unique to this area are those given by the Doukhobors, although only two — Ootischenia and Krestova — remain in widespread use."
A sample of the place names covered in the articles: 
Ainsworth; Alamo; Aylwin; Balfour; Bealby Point (aka Florence Park); Belford; Blewett; Beaverdell; Billings; Bosworth; Cariboo City; Carrolls Landing; Clubb Landing; Comaplix; Deadwood; Deanshaven; English Cove; English Point; Fauquier; Ferguson; Forslund; Fosthall; Galena Bay; Gerrard; Green City; Greenwood; Halcyon Hot Springs; Hall Siding; Harrop; Hartford Junction; Hills; Hudu Valley; Inonoaklin Valley (aka Fire Valley); Jersey; Johnsons Landing; Jubilee Point; Kaslo; Kuskonook; Longbeach; Lardeau.    Larger communities covered are: Castlegar, Grand Forks, Nelson, New Denver and Salmo.  

He also provides books for further research:
- British Columbia Place Names, by G.P.V. and Helen Akrigg, 3 editions pub. 1986, 1988, 1997
- a newer edition with the same name by Mark Thorburn pub. 2010

Greg also wrote an article in Nov. 2011 about the digitization of Nelson and area newspapers, (ca. 1890-1900s), the British Columbia Historical Newspapers Project, provided by the University of British Columbia.

Included in the Kootenay-Boundary collection are these titles:  The Ledge (Nelson), The Miner (Nelson), Nelson Daily Miner, The Nelson Economist, Nelson Weekly Miner, The Tribune (Nelson), Sandon Mining Review, New Denver Ledge and Ainsworth Hot Springs News. 

Pictures:
Lost Kootenays plumbs local nostalgia - a 2013 article reviewing the Facebook page Lost Kootenays. Their mandate is to provide pictures for educational purposes only and are very careful to point out copyright rules.
"Welcome to a journey in space and in time into the heart of the Kootenays. We will be posting historical Kootenay images, but you can also expect to see recent images from time to time. We may even make side trips to areas outside the Kootenays that residents commonly visit - Southern Alberta and Northern Idaho/Washington." 
In 2013, this Facebook page had 5,000 followers and now there are 28,600 followers! 
Email: lostkootenays@gmail.com
Do you have any memories and pictures to share with this group?

UK to Canada Genealogy Index Page

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Canadian Genealogy Twitter Treasures Issue 4




I know, pretty old school, kind of like newspaper cuttings that libraries used to do a long time ago. I think they might also be called ephemera.

Do you ever feel that you miss really neat things on Twitter? Perhaps you will find some interesting resources in this article. 
18 Mar.2017 | Issue 4

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©stocksnap.io



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.

AB
I enjoy Stuart Somerville's tweets as he often highlights pictures of pioneer buildings in rural Alberta and if you follow the conversation you learn a lot about particulars in the image. This is about church pews and the meaning of threshold.

BC
This blog article authored and tweeted by Eve Lazarus highlights Mark Truelove's efforts to colourize old B+W photos of Vancouver ca 1930s. Certainly brings familiar sights of past Vancouver to life!

An article in the Times Colonist, Victoria - An old sea dog donates Captain Cook's journals to the Maritime Museum of BC

MB
The Alberta Family Histories Society posted about the Prairie Immigration Experience - Another fabulous online resource for Pioneers  Thank you University of Manitoba!

NS 
The Nova Scotia Provincial Library tweeted about the Dartmouth Heritage Museum's blog article How Old is Old? Very interesting tips about ambrotype photographs and dating the sitter's clothing and hairstyles.

ON
The Archives of Ontario tweeted: "Come visit our new #genealogy exhibit to discover a fascinating tale about Irish immigration to Canada in the mid 1800s!"

Kathryn Lake Hogan provides some RTs:
PEI
Canadian Genealogy Summit tweeted :  The ‘how to’ of finding your Island roots using P.E.I. Ancestry - an article in the Journal Pioneer. Intriguing name for a local newspaper!

QE
The Memory Project tweeted about WRCNS (Women's Royal Canadian Navy Service) in World War II. "The first decoding class (ie: codebreakers) to graduate in the Commonwealth, HMCS St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, 1943." This Library and Archives Canada page explains how to obtain military service files.

YT
Kathryn Lake Hogan tweeted this article from CBC news: How a Yukon miner's parents fled the KKK.

Military
Canada's Military History posted a tweet of a WWII picture. Canadian Troops enter a village where a week earlier German soldiers had massacred the entire Male population. San Pancrazio, Italy.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

St. Albert Alberta - Links to the Past

It takes an awful lot of dedication to commit to writing about history on a regular schedule. But for Kevin Ma, a reporter with the St. Albert Gazette, the @Canada150 celebrations is an opportunity to share a unique perspective on Northern Alberta history. The series is called 'Links to the Past' and will 'examine one element of St. Albert that's 150 years old until July 2017'. If you have any ideas for other articles, please email Kevin Ma at the Gazette.
© Penny Allen
This is my second blog post about Kevin's efforts and I hope you will find some interesting points in his articles to round out your family history research. My first blog post covers his articles from July to November 2016 - http://ukcdngenealogy.blogspot.com/2016/11/st-albert-ab-150-family-stories.html

Feb. 22 The Chains of Office - This article goes into detail about the governance of the town of St. Albert in the early days to present day. Father LACOMBE, Samuel CUNNINGHAM, Frank JUNEAU were amongst the first 'officers'.

Feb. 08 Finding Romance in the Archives (not written by Kevin but a cute story!)
  This article was written with research into Arlene Borgsted's book, The Black Robe's Vision : St. Albert's family history stories.
  The HARNOIS and TERRAULT families are highlighted in the article. Christine and Leon HARNOIS in the 1870s. Christine was Father Lacombe's sister and Leon was a hard working courieur-de-bois with a tough side. Father Lacombe was not in favour of the union. Also a lovely story about childhood sweethearts, Oscar TERRAULT and Annie PETENAUDE.

Jan. 28 2017 Ring Ring Ring - A proposal to create a telephone network between St. Albert, Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan was denied. So the community rallied together and built their own. The line was 14km and followed the historic St. Albert Trail. St. Albert receives the province's first official telephone call on the 3rd Jan. 1885.
Métis and his two wivesArtist: Peter Rindisbacher
Library and Archives Canada  MIKAN 2835810 

Dec. 28 2016 Forgotten No More -
the Métis society were important in the development of the infrastructure of the city. Métis were often descended from the union of Scots and native people and are a very proud people. Sharon Morin, program manager at St. Albert's Musée Héritage Museum gives the article some perspective as to the Métis involvement in the community. In addition to the museum, the Michif Institute is dedicated to Métis genealogy and history.

The archives and library of the Musée Héritage Museum holds a fabulous collection of Métis and Scots genealogy compiled by Gail Morin, a well-known genealogist of Métis family history.

In my own family history research, I was able to connect some of the dots of my pioneering Scots families in the prairies making use of Gail's records. Please do take some time to see what they have available, the museum provides a short clip to give you an introduction.

UK to Canada Genealogy Index Page

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Canadian Prairie Pioneer Questionnaires

The Saskatchewan Archives continue to surprise with unique online resources. This collection gives fabulous insight into day to day living on the prairies in the early days.
In the early 1950s the archives embarked on a survey of those individuals and characters who pioneered in the rural districts of Saskatchewan.

The answers reflect the period the people arrived in the community, often the late 1890s. Sometimes they provided a birthplace, parents' names, the name of the town they settled in,  their address at the time of the survey as well as the address they came from. These surveys were mailed and over 3,500 replies were sent back to the Saskatoon Archives office.

Please see below for a link to the list of people who filled out the questionnaires.

The online examples are limited to one respondent per topic. Many more of these 'interviews' which are not digitised will be held in the archive. It is not certain if the questionnaires were sent to individuals, organizations or simply as a bundle of questionnaires to the town or municipality offices who would then have distributed them. There is a link to the list of interviewees at the bottom of this article.

In one online example, the Excelsior Homemakers Club appointed three members to fill out the Pioneer Diet : one was Mrs. Geo. [George] ASKINS, from Arcola, Saskatchewan born in Heady or Keady, Ontario. Here a few questions from the 8 paged enquiry form.

1. Introductory Questions:

Q: What year did you start housekeeping in Western Canada?       A: 1893
Q: Where did you set up housekeeping?                  A: West Carlyle District
Q: Where had you been living before that?             A: Clare District "Now Arcola" 
Q: For how many people did you prepare meals?    A: 2
Q: How far was it to your nearest store?                  A: 10 miles
Q: How often could a visit be made to the store?     A: Once a week.
Q: What groceries did you usually buy in those earliest years?       A: tea, sugar, flour, oatmeal, salt, prunes, dried apples, syrup, soda, rice.

There are a total of 22 questions in the questionnaire. This is a sample of those questions in the 'Pioneer Diet' :

2. Flour and other grain products
3. Sugars and syrups
4. Dairy products
5. Meat and fish
6. Beverages
7. Vegetables and dried fruits
8. Preserving
9. Please fill in the following to the best of your memory:
         Food: Year you first remember seeing it in the store; eg: soda biscuits, macaroni, graham flour, brown sugar, molasses, table salt etc.
         How was it sold? - In bulk, 10 lb. sack, can, etc.; Amt. you usually bought at one time.; Price of this amount.

Eleven topics were covered in the questionnaires:
  1. Pioneer Diet (submitted by: The Excelsior Homemakers club) 
  2. General Pioneer Experiences (submitted by: Robert MILLS, Struan b: Dumfries, Scotland dob: 16th Feb 1885 Father: Robert), 
  3. Schools (submitted by: Mrs. Ellen HUBBARD, Grenfell, Saskatchewan)
  4. Churches (submitted by: Mrs. Eliza Jane HALES, Present Address: 218 - 12 Street, Brandon, Manitoba; Pioneer Address: Moose Mountain Post Office, Saskatchewan)
  5. Recreation and Social Life (submitted by: Mrs. D.A. MOORHOUSE, Present Address: Aneroid, Saskatchewan; Pioneer Address: Wallard, Saskatchewan) 
  6. Farming Experiences (submitted by: Samuel Henry McWILLIAMS, Present Address: 260 Athabasca West, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; Pioneer Address: Moose Jaw, N.W.T.)
  7. Folklore (submitted by: James D. TULLOCH, Arborfield, Box 1, Saskatchewan; lived in Manitoba before coming to Saskatchewan)
  8. Health (submitted by Mrs. Lila McDermid POPE; Present Address: Borden, Saskatchewan; Pioneer Address: Lovell P.O. [Post Office] Saskatchewan)
  9. Housing (submitted by: Robert Alexsander HILL, Present Address: MacRoric; Pioneer Addresses: Rudy and Westhope Saskatchewan)
  10. Local Government (submitted by: Alfred NORBURY, Present Address: Spiritwood; Pioneer Address: Norbury Saskatchewan)
  11. Christmas - this survey was especially sent to certain individuals - see Introduction (submitted by: W.H.S. GANGE, Red Deer Hill, Saskatchewan with the collaboration of  Mrs. Ruth GILES, 1041 River St West, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan)
    1. Introductory paragraph of the letter: We are gathering material for a radio program about Christmas in the old days, in the area that is now Saskatchewan. We want to tell about the real prairie Christmas of pioneer days as it was experienced by individuals who actually enjoyed it, either as men and women, or as children.
The questionnaires (PDF format) may be searched by the name of the pioneer, the nearest community, or the year of settlement in Saskatchewan. Please view the list of names of participants here - there are 22 pages with 66 lines = 1,452 names !

To access the questionnaires, please visit the archives in Saskatoon, or email them.
There is so much valuable information in these questionnaires!
**If your ancestor settled in Saskatchewan, perhaps you will find a little bit
of 'memory' to add to your project! Please let us know!**

UK to Canada Genealogy Index Page

Friday, 3 March 2017

MARS, Peter- Port Coquitlam BC and Fraser Cemetery

This scrap of an obituary was found amongst my grandfather's possessions which my uncle rescued from the tip. As it shows in the clipping, the 'Deceased served with the Pioneers, World War I'. It's possible he served with my grandfather or was part of the Veterans Association - a membership card was also found issued to my grandfather. 

While researching the Fraser Cemetery to find out more about the Returned Soldier's Plot, I found some very interesting tidbits. These include photos of the graves mentioned in a handout produced by a company that provides walking tours. Please scroll to the section after the family information to see what I discovered and for family names transcribed from the handout who are buried in the Fraser Cemetery.

Here's a little genealogical information on the MARS family, in case it might be of interest to descendants or if there are any researching the family. 

Peter MARS
d. Jan. 13, 1946 aged 64 yrs.
b. ca.1882
WWI attestation : b. 03/04/1881
Birthplace: Roxburghshire, Scotland
Service No.: 490304
-buried Fraser Cemetery, Returned Soldier's Plot
-lived at Mary Hill Street Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Wife: Isabella TAYLOR m. 1921-03-17
Birthplace: Lancashire, England
Name of her Father: John MORRISON
Stepson: James TAYLOR, Port Coquitlam
Stepdaughter: Mrs. Annie FISCH, Tacoma, Washington.

His mother: Mrs. Thomas MARS, Port Coquitlam, B.C.

2 brothers
Arthur MARS, Vancouver, B.C. (Arthur was noted on the death certificate as the informant. His address: 2865 E 2nd Avenue, Vancouver, B.C.) (Source: BC Archives Vital Statistics)
John MARS, Oliver, B.C.
2 sisters
Mrs. Wm. DAVID, Port Coquitlam, B.C.
Mrs. T.J. ROUTLEY, Port Coquitlam, B.C.

On this page A Virtual Tour of the Fraser Cemetery, New Westminster B.C. points #10, #11, #12 give views of the cemetery.

Names of the people buried in the Fraser Cemetery according to this report: ASHLEY, BUCHANAN, BURR, CLUTE, DEAS, DEBECK/RANDE, DEIGHTON, DICKINSON, DIGBY, EWEN, GILLEY, GRAY, GUEST, HAINES, HUGHES, INSLEY, IRVING, JOHNSTON, MCBRIDE, MCCLEERY, MONTGOMERY, MORESBY, MOREY, OKAMURA, PECK, ROBSON, ROSS, SAUNDERS, SILLITOE, TIMCECK,  TRAPP

Fraser Cemetery - Find A Grave - use this link to find more families buried in the Fraser Cemetery

Created to aid in walking tours of the cemetery by 'A Sense of History Research Tours', there are some noted individuals buried here.
  • Raymond BURR, d.1993 Actor, famous for the Perry Mason television series, is buried in the family plot. #7
  • The children of John Sullivan and Fanny DEAS are buried here, a black family who lived briefly in the area in the 1870s running a successful blacksmith business. However, due to racial discrimination, he eventually moved his family to Portland Oregon. #36
  • Jack DEIGHTON, d. 1875 otherwise known as 'Gassy Jack' - a well known character whom Gastown in central Vancouver is named after. #18
  • Terry HUGHES, d.1959 he rescued some children from drowning in the Fraser River, however he lost his own life. #30 
This page is hosted by the New Westminster Public Library Heritage and Local History Section. http://www.nwheritage.org/