Visiting your ancestor’s homestead.
So you have heard that it is delightful to connect with ancestral history and become acquainted with their workplace and living conditions. It is great to experience that area where they walked and homesteaded, and imagine the customs and language of the settlement, what would have been the hard times, and what would have made the joyous times.
It is wise to make a few preliminary preparations before setting sail on your journey and adventure. Contact the local genealogy society, and library, make enquiries at the regional town office and museum. Send a letter of introduction to the reserve head office if your ancestors were part of a First Nations Indian band.
Locate the community church and see if there are any records which can help place branches onto a family tree. Remember to locate the cemetery where your ancestors may be interred on a regional map. Find out the size of your ancestral family on an historic census and imagine the lifestyle in a sodhouse or log cabin.
Delve into resources at the National Library and Archives and find out if they served overseas in a war effort which may mean a memorial is standing in the hometown. Look up Metis scrip records or Dominion land grants to help determine place of residence. Read the local history / family biography book to determine which buildings, and places of interest are the same as those your ancestor saw, and which have been designated as historical sites.
Discover the one room schoolhouse which your ancestor attended and visit a museum or restored schoolhouse to see what childhood education was like. See if the building is still standing, or if the history of the school district is commemorated with a heritage marker.
Visiting the local museum will shed light on the lifestyle that your ancestor had. The agricultural implements and tools evolved greatly through the late 1800s to early 1900s. The home furnishings and housekeeping utensils also varied depending on the era.
The contacts you make and information you glean before setting out will be invaluable and provide an amazing vacation, perhaps even the best you ever had as you walk in the footsteps of your ancestors.
Compiled by Sask Gen Webmaster Julia Adamson. ©
Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?
Image: Blossom by Blossom the spring begins
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