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


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.

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.

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

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

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.

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:
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!

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.

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

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 -

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.


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.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Finding Your Military Ancestors in Canada

© Penny Allen
Pegasus - The Parachute Regiment
A memorial at Manchester Airport 

The optimum place to start searching for Canadian military records is on Library and Archives Canada's website. This page contains links particularly for WWI and WWII that may help with research into your military ancestors. During the First World War especially, men who signed up in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) were often born in Britain or the British Isles.

Please note: the National Archives in London hold copies of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) unit diaries for World War One. Below is a picture of a page from my grandfather's unit in WO95. There are few, if any, mention of individual soldiers.The originals are held at Library and Archives Canada.

Military related articles can be found on my article index page. For example: WWI Canadian Regiment in Aldershot, UKCanadian Forestry Corps WWI and WWII and Canadian Merchant Navy. There are many UK cemeteries where Canadian soldiers are buried. The best place to start searching for those men is on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

© Penny Allen
It is worth your while to have a gander through the research guides provided by various archives in Canada. For example, the 'Canadian military records' link mentioned above is a research guide provided by Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Other research guides include: Archives of Ontario ; BC Archives ; Archives of Manitoba

Family Search - Canada Military Records

Canadian War Museum - Ottawa, Ontario

Canada's Military History - a magazine? on Twitter and Facebook

**Canadian Military Genealogy FAQs**

First World War

A City Goes to War - a project particularly aimed at high school students, this page follows the human stories of how the First World War impacted families. Three timelines look at the cities of Victoria, Winnipeg and Toronto from 1910-1925. They have provided a database emedded in the webpage of enlistments from each region, with a total of 6,155 records. Very clever search facility. Written and developed by University of Victoria students. Some content is available in French. 

I happened upon this fabulous page provided by BC Archives of interviews with men and women who served in the First World War.

Sources Relating to Units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force

First World War - Library and Archives Canada

@GreatWarForum  not very active on Twitter probably because there is too much activity on the forum!      GreatWarForum - "The Great War Forum is the premier internet forum for discussing the First World War"

An active First World War forum - Total Members: 63,204 / Total Topics: 200,333 / Total Posts: 1,959,819
Lives of the First World War Join Imperial War Museums (UK) and help tell these Life Stories by adding your images, sharing their stories, find their records and adding known facts - this request certainly pertains to the Canadian Expeditionary Force!
© Penny Allen
CEF Diaries - National Archives
WO95 - This is a very good site for the publications of the First World War, digitized copies of The Illustrated War News, The Bystander, The Illustrated London News, The Graphic, The Tatler, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, The Sphere, The Sketch. Although published in England, they contain lots of visual content about the events of the Great War. This includes pictures of men and units of the British, German, Polish, French, Russian, Italian army and navy amongst others.

British Army War Diaries 1914-1922

Second World War

Library and Archives Canada - Introduction to Second World War resources

Canadian Merchant Navy

Canadian Women's Army Corps (CWACs)  Don't call us WACs! - a personal history by Doris Gregory, Vancouver B.C. 

The 42nd Company, Canadian Women’s Army Corps, Canadian Army Overseas, 1940s. Saskatchewan Archives Board R-B12169 

A large photo gallery of Images of Women in various military roles in the Second World War (via The Memory Project, an initiative of Historica Canada).

Interviews with War Brides who came to Canada after the Second World War. This article includes links to sources for looking for War Brides.

National Archives UK: These war diaries contain the daily record of events, reports on operations, exercises, intelligence summaries, of units of dominion forces.

Canadian (Genealogy) Military Websites of Interest

In this article, the Times Colonist newspaper, Victoria BC, discusses the Great War Project and the database. These two websites are essentially the same project; the Canadian Great War Project is a website created in 2004 by Marc Leroux. The Canadian Great War Project Database is a partnership between Marc Leroux and the University of Victoria to compile the data on his webpages into a searchable database.

Good resources on Gail Dever's Military section under the Genealogy Toolbox

CanGenealogy's extensive list of Military Links pertaining to Canadian Military Genealogy

There is a plethora of information on the internet about the First and Second World Wars, with many enthusiasts, volunteers, as well as 'forums'. I encourage you to undertake some creative boolean searching to further your research. I'm happy to add your suggestions to this page, but as it is rather long already, it will only take a few more links to burst at the seams!

Finding Your Ancestors in Canada               UK to Canada Genealogy Index Page

Thursday, 23 February 2017

BLUMBERG family, Vancouver B.C.

Anyone out there in genealogy land with a connection to the BLUMBERG family - especially in Vancouver, B.C.?
Last year, in August, I posted an article about the BLUMBERG, 
O'BRIEN and PERRY Families who are interred in the Kensall Green Cemetery in London. 

Verena who works on the Heritage at Risk Register for Historic England has posted some comments to the article that might be of interest. (Please see the comments in the link to the article above.) She has uncovered a grandchild of Ludwig Alexander and Nellie Jane BLUMBERG - Frederick Thomas BLUMBERG who married Ada Rosalind BARE on 10 August 1914 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I decided to pursue a little investigation.

With the help of Library and Archives Canada, I was able to find Frederick Thomas BLUMBERG on the Canadian Expeditionary Force Service Records for the First World War. He notes his wife as next of kin, his date of birth as 5 February 1879, birthplace Ireland and Service No. 116410. They were living at Suite 16, 1679 Cypress St. Vancouver, B.C. as of the date of enlistment 19th March 1915.

I also did a search on Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, but he was not found there so perhaps he returned to Canada or remained in the UK after the war. Searching Vancouver newspapers via Genealogy A La Carte's newspaper links, I didn't have much success with a specific search for the name BLUMBERG.

In the Vancouver City Directory for 1915, Frederick is found at 16, 1619 Cypress St, Vancouver. They are not found in the Vancouver City Directory for 1916. However there is a Robert BLUMBERG listed who is a tailor, Comfort Waist Mfg Co. and he lived at 66 Ave W near BCE Railway. It would be a matter of following Robert through the directories for each year to see if he remained in Vancouver. As well, perhaps searching the BC Archives database for his death.

As Verena pointed out their marriage date I then went to BC Archives database for births, marriages and deaths and the marriage certificate states Frederick's father as William BLUMBERG. The marriage certificate also shows Ada Rosalind BARE as being born in Rock Ferry, England, so perhaps after the war they may have stayed in the UK? Very interestingly, Ada's status is widow on the marriage certiciate and her profession is Nurse. Hmm. . .

Does anyone have a little more information or know the whereabouts of descendants of Ludwig Alexander and Nellie Jane BLUMBERG, son William, grandson Frederick Thomas BLUMBERG?

A post on Canadian Military Graves in Kensall Green Cemetery.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Canadian Genealogy Twitter Treasures Issue 3

I know, pretty old school, kind of like newspaper cuttings that libraries used to do a long time ago.

But I just can't get over the feeling that I miss really neat things on Twitter.

© Penny Allen
19 Feb.2017 | Issue 3

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.

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

Glenbow Museum : Celebrating BlackHistory Month with an album from our Archives - The Crump family Edmonton Alberta (Source: Glenbow Facebook page). 

Minister Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment & Climate Change) tweeted:
"Proud to announce the designation and protection of two heritage lighthouses in New Brunswick." The Inch Arran Point Front Range Lighthouse, a square tapered, wooden lighthouse built in 1870 that is located in Dalhousie, and the Long Eddy Point Lighthouse, a combined lighthouse and fog alarm building located on the northern tip of Grand Manan Island." Source via Canadian Government

Database of WW1 Veterans tweeted by Nova Scotia Ancestors - The Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia was founded in 1982.

Tweeted by Small - There has been very good skating on our bay. A half holiday was given the pupils today to take advantage of it. St Peters Feb 15 1897. 
Small History NS - Mr Leon Amiro is building a schooner of 75 tons to launch in the spring. Capt Oliver is building a schooner of 60 tons. Pubnico Oct 26 1882

Tweeted by Port Arthur Duluth and Western OTD1883: Thunder Bay Colonization Railway is incorporated in the Province of Ontario. Also posted on their Facebook page

William Jenkins posted a tribute to a long standing Toronto Archives employee : A "fonds" farewell to our Glenda, who retires from the @TorontoArchives after 38+ years of service. Her last day was 1 Feb.2017. So nice to see recognition of a lifetime of dedication! 

An up and coming Canadian genealogist, Lisa tweeted @elle_dee_see -

about the Glenaladale Heritage needing support from descendants of residents in memory of their ancestors.   They state that the purchase and development of the 529 acre estate is an important community heritage site deserving your support.
     This website links to digitized letters of the MacDonald family of Glenaladale between 1779-1801. A university student from PEI digitized these letters with permission. Be sure to connect with the students who are using archives, they can provide valuable information about the collections.

Lila Eddington turns 95 yrs on 23 Feb. She plans to reach her goal of transcribing 600,000 names by this date.

'Wanted: Young Genealogists' posted by Brandy Fulton. Her article was meant to promote the Kitchener Library 5th Annual Genealogy Fair but turned into a promo for NextGens - no harm done in my opinion!

The History of Genealogy @NewYorkHistory #EarlyAmHist
Liz says: "History has a history and Genealogy has a history" - I would counter that to say "History has a history and Genealogy is history". On her website, she has a regular podcast entitled 'Ben Franklin's World' which invites 'guides' to talk about what the history of genealogy reveals about the early American past. Interesting!

Is Family History Proper History?  by Jane Roberts in the UK - thought provoking: what is your opinion?

UK to Canada Genealogy Index Page