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How the Right Genealogical Plan can Lead To the Joy of Discovery

13 Jul

The Joys of Research

The Enthusiasm of Discovery

photo of a woman holding an ipad

Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests, and mines, and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors. – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Every family tree has a root, a home, a person a starting point. From this starting point, the tree fans out with all its branches back into time. Does it not follow “inevitably that every father had a father, and so on. In fact,” said Michael Shaara in Man of Distinction, “when you considered the matter rightly, everyone alive was the direct descendant of untold numbers of fathers, down through the ages, all descending, one after another, father to son. And so backward, unquestionably, into the unrecognizable and perhaps simian fathers of the past.”

“It will not require much space to indicate the main sources of information in genealogical research. Having decided to trace back our own lines, we naturally turn first to the living members of our family. If we have parents living and accessible,—grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts, cousins, or others who are likely to know more about the family than we do,—let us consult them, personally if we may, by letter if we must,” begins Frank Allaban when introducing “Concerning Genealogy” and ancestral hunting.

“Special attention is also called to the radically different plans for genealogical works, one tracing the many descendants of a common ancestor, the other tracing the many ancestors of a common descendant. There is a general drift toward the latter, many having discovered the fascination of exploring their direct lines of descent.”

“The moment of first hearing the facts, when the joy of discovery and the satisfaction of making progress are upon us, is the psychological moment for making our notes. It is a positive delight while the fever of enthusiasm is high. As our informant begins his story, let us interrupt with the cry of the enthusiast, “I must jot that down!” Out comes our notebook, conveying to our friend a very distinct impression of the importance of being accurate. He collects himself, and proceeds to give his facts and traditions with the greatest care. As we stop him with questions, or take time to write the facts, his memory is stimulated. With skillful questions the genealogical worker can draw out all the information, taking care to cover every point which may come up later.”

“Furthermore, while we may be able to find our way back from generation to generation with almost ridiculous ease in some cases, such luck is usually too good to last. It is a rare vein which yields family connections at every stroke of the genealogical spade, and one such line may have to console us for a number which we mine slowly and painfully, and for some others which yield no results whatever beyond a certain point.”

“We will suppose that at last the task of investigation has come to an end. We have run our family lines back as far as our plan contemplated, or as far as we were able to do with a reasonable amount of research. Perhaps most of them go back to the original emigrants, but it may be that in a case or two we have had the good fortune to make connection with an old family stem in Europe. In any case, the work is now done. We have made our discoveries, and scored triumphs not a few. But though the excitement of the chase is over, its pleasures are by no means spent. Is there no story to tell, no tale of our difficulties and exploits? Next to the exhilaration of the hunt itself, what can compare with the mellow joy of going over it with a comrade! Least of all can the “inevitable narrative” be spared in a case of ancestry-hunting. It is the logical issue of the search, and failure to weave our facts into a readable story, after having collected them, is almost unthinkable,”

“A truly interesting genealogical work is not a dry compilation of family statistics, but contains striking biographical pen pictures. Let these be made as complete as possible, and the story told with all the interest we can throw into it. We believe that the ideal genealogy is yet to be written, and that it will present facts with the accuracy of a Bancroft, but clothe them with the charm of an Irving. What possibilities there are” are these not the Joys of Research as expounded by Frank Allaban

However to set down the story for future generations the work must contain the proofs of the statements made. An imperative sorting in any historical biography contained in the family tree must need quote the authorities and provide systematic footnotes, and also citations of authorities in the text. The result is that there is no guess as to the opinion or motivation of compiler in giving us the fruit of original research, it is quite well established whether the biography, then, is an extract from another compilation, a part of oral tradition, or a mere conjecture put forward by the collective family memory.

Every leaf in the family tree begins with a name, it is with this moniker that the individual is thus introduced and thus their legend also starts. What whisper, what expression, what libretto will the name reveal? The name is thus a beginning of who they are, like the title of a new adventure story. The family historian has a bird’s eye view from his vantage point in the future to see why this ancestor existed. What role this ancestor played in the family, within the community by their words and by their deeds. The genealogist presenting the family tree to the world at a family reunion or compiled book is tasked with a considerable and significant responsibility. Like the title of a book, the narrative behind the name of each ancestor within the family tree is dependent upon the account and testimony of the genealogist and the validity of the sources relied upon.

We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted. Each of us contains within this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise. – Edward Sellner

Note The new provincial Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk in the meanwhile please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

How To Motivate Future Generations

6 Jul

How does your family history speak to you?

 Find that savoir faire in the pages of family story  which make it unique, and quintessential.

Oh! If only the family tree had in it a famous actor or actress!

block blow blur child

“The future is for everyone, not far, it’s just tomorrow.”  Aulig Ice,   “The time is not there for us to act any more, the time we waited for is here right now for us to act brightly and create a bright future, for the future coming generations.”

Not all family trees have someone “notable” within the branches.  However, is it true that when documenting the family tree the only anecdotal stories come from those family members who survived a cyclone, fought in a rebellion, saved countless lives during a flood, participated in the court hearings of a hanging.  Should stories of that which is the biggest, or the first ever be the only stories and ancedotes of note in the family history?

The genealogist has in front of them an amazing legacy to bring forth to future generations.  As memory fades, as each generation dies and is replaced by the next the family tree record holds greater importance. The preservation of photographs, letters, and diaries is as important as the recording of reminiscences.

A primary source document holds true for a genealogist as they weave the family story.  From notebooks to cookbooks, from parish records to tales of the old sports team, each piece of memorabilia is a chapter in the family historian’s chronicle.  The children who grow up within the family are as important as the housewife seeking a midwife when birthing her next child, the harvesting gang or the child playing tunes on their school recorder…. each have their own hopes and fears, dreams and disappointments.

“The biggest challenge facing the great teachers and communicators of history is not to teach history itself, nor even the lessons of history, but why history matters. How to ignite the first spark of the will o’the wisp, the Jack o’lantern, the ignis fatuus [foolish fire] beloved of poets, which lights up one source of history and then another, zigzagging across the marsh, connecting and linking and writing bright words across the dark face of the present. There’s no phrase I can come up that will encapsulate in a winning sound-bite why history matters. We know that history matters, we know that it is thrilling, absorbing, fascinating, delightful and infuriating, that it is life.”
Stephen Fry

Take an interest in an “unconventional source” or artifact passed from cousin to cousin.  Why did this particular piece come forward?  What does it say about its original owner who took such pride in it?  Like a document, a photograph or an artifact can reveal its history to the researcher only insofar as the researcher knows what questions to ask.  The more and better the questions, the further the insight the genealogist can glean.

“History repeats itself in that, from afar, we all seem to lead exactly the same life.  We are all born; we all spend time here on earth; we all die.  But up close, we have each walked down our own separate paths.  We have stood at our own lonely crossroads.  We have touched the lives of others at crucial points, for better or for worse.  In the end, each of us has lived a unique life story, astounding and complicated, a story that could never be repeated.” ~ Edward Bloor.

The defining moment comes when it is time to tell that story.

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” ~Robert Kennedy

Note The new provincial Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk in the meanwhile please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

Boost your research!

29 Jun

How does the genealogist go about locating historical information?

 How do they conduct their research?

The genealogist can, indeed, provide the family with a sense of identity, purpose, and understanding of how their family and ancestors grew shaped their community.  Genealogists may wish to record the family’s evolution and record their achievements.

The genealogist will receive both written and unwritten stories and sources.  They will necessarily be part historian and part biographer, since they must be able to explain how the family set down roots, developed their character, and chose the roads and trails which they did.  The genealogist must explore how the ancestral family earned their livelihood, while at the same time explore how the family played, learned, developed, changed and grew through their art, education, religion, ethnic society, etc.  The genealogist needs to embrace the historical aspect of the era, the impact of the rail line on a local community, or the force of the industrial revolution with cars, combines, trucks and roads.  Finally the genealogist must also be a sociologist as they reconstruct the life and society in the local community of the ancestral family.

man wearing black and white stripe shirt looking at white printer papers on the wall
Revitalize your genealogical fieldwork.  (Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com)  Invigorate your ancestral tree inquiry

Exploring these factors will allow available sources to systematically unfold before the genealogist,  The family member origins, growth, and decisions all play a vital role during the evolution of a family in the context of the past, and similarly help the genealogist complete a family tree with unique aspects.

As the genealogist compiles a timeline of the ancestral family, various events occur to shape the character of each individual in history.  By contemplating this timeline decisions can be made as to whether to pursue a census record for further clarification, or perhaps a military record might show light on another individual.  By delving into the personality of the individual it can be ascertained if their achievements may have been recorded in the local newspaper, or archived in municipal or court records.

Thus, genealogical research receives a boost when the researcher supports the birth, marriage and death certificates with a picture of the ancestor and their personal sense of purpose, and desires.  The ancestor comes to light when their decision to immigrate shows up in passenger lists.  Delving into travel on that particular passenger ship they travelled upon gives further clarification of the kind of trip they experienced.  Exploring the weather in various seasons helps to understand how travel may have been enhanced or been a challenge if the trip was taken in a winter or summer month.  Use your own imagination and Imagine how they felt, and it may provide a stepping stone to another direction in the genealogical quest.  Would it be perhaps fortuitous to explore hospital records if the trip was taken to remediate an illness?  When the passenger ship arrived, how did the next leg of the journey begin to arrive at the set destination?  How did they cross North America if the passenger ship arrived in New York?  Would ancestors arriving Pier 21 Halifax, Nova Scotia have a different journey to arrive at their destination?  If they arrived in winter time to the “Last Best West” where did they live?  Were there hotels in that era?

Ask questions about the ancestral life apart from when and where your great great uncle was born, and died.  Contemplate the role of your great great great grandmother, look up the history of the land, the weather patterns, local events that happened the year she got married.  Continue to ask questions which will lead to more answers and more sources of information.  What facilities and support did she have to give birth?  Describe what you have learned to fellow researchers and explore information in archives, libraries, museums, local history books, and newspapers.  By growing the biographical timeline of your ancestral, you will boost your genealogical research capability.

Note The new Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk while waiting please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

Should Genealogy Research be Conducted Scientifcally?

22 Jun

Inside these brick walls

How do we observe our family history?

Genealogy comes from two roots; Logy to speak, or to pick out words when speaking for a treatise, discourse, science or doctrine.  The second root of Genealogy has root in the  Latin genealogia meaning “tracing of a family and the Greek genealogia; “the making of a pedigree.”  Genealogy; therefore is speaking out about the family history.

Science, on the other hand, is a word which comes from the Latin root scientia from scire “to know.” It is important to examine how we, as genealogists, “know.”

Genealogists seek by careful and deliberate reasoning determine quantitative data, and come to know an ancestor’s time of birth, marriage and death, place they were born, worked, moved to, lived and died, whom they married, how many children they raised, and how large a family they descended from.  Names, places and times are all quantitative data which can be found scientifically in primary source documents such as birth, marriage and death certificates, wills, obituaries, etc.

Genealogists must know how to separate scientific facts from historical observations, attributes and social phenomena.  Is qualitative data  also a vital component of social research?  Qualitative data forms the basis for social and ethical research and procedure.

Recording names, dates, and places brings together a family unit rather as a census enumerator fills in the census questionnaire.  However, the family genealogist must be aware of deductive theories which may arise from oral history and provide an amazing discovery of an event or about a person verifiable in archival documentation.

And yet on the other hand, an inductive theory is using a specific observation and forming a general pattern or deduction.  Observing the birth dates in a family and comparing these to marriage dates is a specific observation.  Would deductions and conclusions inferred from these date comparisons be based on societal norms in the contemporary era, or would these deductions and conclusions be the same from the context of history in the explanation of events.  Would inductive theories lead the genealogist astray, or help the researcher to further sources of knowledge?  Ethical situations arise – historical ancestor hand in hand with the genealogist-when it comes to skeletons found in the family tree.  Perhaps the brick wall went up in the face of the genealogist’s research because of facts the ancestral family tried to leave hidden or at best “not spoken about.”

As times and eras change, those events not spoken about in previous generations are not embarrassing social attributes in this day of age as society has evolved and accepted those events in contemporary discourse.  However, each family reacts differently to the presentations made by the family genealogist.

Genealogy has two main purposes therefore, describing and explaining the family tree.  It is wise to discern facts from variables, generalized accounts and theories.  Genealogists need to step back and examine their motivation to delve into family research, is it to make sense of the past, and the family legacy, or is it to gain knowledge and grow the family tree descendant chart as far back in lineage as is possible?  The genealogist who speaks out for the family ancestry at the next reunion may wish to bring the knowledge they have acquired and make a positive difference and impact on the current and future generations.

Note The new Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk while waiting please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

7 Big Things Genealogists Must Know to Succeed

15 Jun

Why are some family memories remembered through the ages and not other events?

How will your genealogical research introduce your ancestral family?

woman sitting on sofa while looking at phone with laptop on lap

Genealogy Research, family ancestry. (Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com)

  1. Start with what is known and work towards the unknown!  It is very easy to begin genealogical research interviewing family members with a well thought out questionnaire seeking names, places, dates and any ancedotes or history.  Further research into primary and secondary source documents provides further direction, filling out the outline started in the family interviews.  As the genealogist delves deep into the past, it is still mandatory to look at what is known, and seek the documentation about that which is known, hoping that a birth certificate provides the heretofore unknown parental names, birth place, and time of birth, an interment record provides the previously unknown relationship and next of kin arranging the burial, or perhaps a marriage certificate besides providing the names of both spouse and groom, the date and place of marriage also registers the parent names.  As each document is located, another opening is made in the brick wall, and research continues.
  2. Organize your data very well, including what paths, and sources you have already had communication with, both successfully and unsuccessfully finding fruit in the research.  Using the Saskatchewan Gen Web internet resources or the assistance of a genealogy society will prove very fruitful if the genealogy researcher can provide a good synopsis of the branch of the family tree.  For example, if your oral interviews or an historic letter have placed your grandfather as a teacher in a one room school in Saskatchewan, pass on all the relevant information pertinent to Saskatchewan to enable your contact to make further progress.  Include with the ancestor name any known nick names, before and after marriage name changes, or spelling differences found thus far in the surname.  Providing a date of birth helps to determine the era of teaching, and saves time not searching records for a teacher who would have only been five years old at the time.  Any historic place names, whether one room school house district names, village, towns or Rural Municipality names help to locate further sources and references which may offer up clues.
  3. Think outside the box.  Not all early pioneers registered births, deaths and marriages, particularly before 1920.  Obituaries, so very handy in contemporary times, were also not as popularly used when pioneers were proving up homesteads, or hunters were chasing down buffalo.  Would other records have further clues to work on?  Family bible records, church records, land records, school yearbooks, funeral home registers, naturalization records may also present the genealogist with more information.
  4. Focus in on the date and era your ancestor would have been living. Research the history of the place they were living at the time.  Pay attention to correlations between historical events which happened in the lifespan of your ancestor.  For example, would they have been the right age to serve in World War I (1914 –1918), World War II (1939 –1945) or any other miliitary event?  Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior for the Dominion of Canada started a massive immigration programme to the “Last Best West” encouraging over three million people to arrive in Canada between 1891–1914.  Would have your ancestor been part of this immigration scheme? And have immigration, naturalization, land settlement records been searched?  Metis/Half Breed families were offered Scrip as compensation for aboriginal rights which were the catalyst of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion.  Have the National Archives records been investigated?
  5. Where did your ancestor set down roots when starting their family?   If the family lived in one locale for an extended period of time earning a living, attending school, and partaking in social events, there may be a plethora of records to investigate.  1955 school Jubilee record books may list the pupils of the school and their family. 75th provincial anniversary local history books compiled in 1981 may show the involvement of the family as they settled in Saskatchewan.  Church groups, legions and ethnic societies are other potential sources of information.  Universities have archives holding records about those in attendance, municipalities likewise retain holdings of persons in office for towns, villages and rural municipalites.
  6. Consider the accent of your ancestor.  Before 1920, many of those enumerated on the census could not read or write English.  The enumerator entered the name phonetically as best they could from what they heard spoken before them.  Consider how you would spell the name. Search the entire census district if family was sure the ancestor lived in that area, but the name is not coming up.  Perhaps the given names of the entire family and their ages will help to determine if a surname spelling variation is a match for your records and information thus far.
  7. Contemplate the current occupation of family members and ancestral occupations.  Quite often sons will follow in the occupations undertaken by their fathers.  The Henderson’s directories record resident names, addresses and their occupations in a specific location.  Brand books are other directories of cattle owners who registered their cattle brands in the province.  Both the early Hendersons’ directories and historic brand books are coming online.  Homesteaders who proved up their land successfully, may still have ancestors farming on the “century farm”.  Land records can be searched for those immigrants who applied for a land patent through the Saskatchewan land titles office, and letters of patent are land records for the successful farmer who proved up their land.  Letters of patent for land ownership were issued by the Dominion government of Canada.

Good luck with your family research!  The internet can indeed prove to be a help in locating long lost cousins, and transcribed, scanned or photographed documentation.  If you have found fruitful information document your source, in case it may be handy in tracing another family member at a later date in your family research.  A great way to document information from the internet is in a bibliographic style.  Author name Last, F. M. (Year, Month Date Published). Article title.  Web site name. Retrieved from URL.  Date retrieved.  Please don’t assume that if an historic document is scanned online, that makes the digital copy in the public domain.  The original paper document may have been published years ago placing the paper document in the public domain, however the digital documentation starts its date of publication when the digital version came online unless the publishers expressly state otherwise.  If you place public domain information online yourself, include supporting documentation and corresponding bibliographies for both copyright and paraphrased source materials.  Protect the rights of the living, and don’t break privacy laws when sharing your family tree information.

Be willing to think creatively, and discover the history, heritage, and ethnic background of your ancestors beyond their name, dates, and place of living.  Your family tree has the capability to develop into an exciting and rewarding experience with a preservation of the constitution and character of your family with rich ancedotes and colour.  Genealogists have different motivations to get started in family tree research. Ofttimes the family historian takes on the preparation of a family tree for a reunion, or perhaps to preserve the story before the family legacy is gone and forgotten about.  The genealogist is not just a data entry clerk focusing solely on those all important facts -names, years, places-, a genealogist also understands history, and the interactions of family members and the society where they lived, worked and played.  By asking the right questions, the genealogist provides the ancestral family with achievements, milestones, and a unique character and identity.

Note The new provincial Saskatchewan Region Gen Web is online at https://saskgenweb.site123.me the original Saskatchewan Region Gen Web site is under maintenance by Ancestry/Rootsweb.com. Check periodically for progress on the historical site http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cansk in the meanwhile please check out https://saskgenweb.site123.me/

Saskatchewan Clouds

8 Nov

By the Saskatchewan.
When the sun has dipt to the westward,
And has reddened the sky with its glow,
When the shadows o’er the soft clouds have deepened,
And the twittering skylarks fly low,
Then I wend my way home o’er the prairie
With a yearning that never does fail
And the mists of the mighty Saskatchewan
Rise, to meet me at the end of the trail.
~ Agnes Krogan

Aerial view of clouds

Aerial view of clouds

In the history of this province of Saskatchewan, Canada clouds have heralded both good fortune and terrible, horrendous bad luck.  And as thus, does Saskatchewan receive its apt slogan, “Land of Living Skies”.

For instance, take this example of prosperity in the roaring twenties;
“In 1928, Moffat shared with most of Saskatchewan in the bumper crop of the century. We bought a new car, an Essex super 6, with a plush lining and in a beautiful shade of blue, with a dashboard of simulated walnut. What a car! Most of the early cars in Moffat were Model T Fords, but variety was the by-word in the late Twenties. Bertenshaws bought a Flying Cloud, Wolseley Taylor a Nash, Reads a McLaughlin-Buick and Peter Ferguson a little Whippet. Star, Dore, Chevrolet roadster ~ they all appeared during that era. War years and the Twenties

And yet how does one even imagine the decade of drought in the “Dirty Thirties”, possibly best described by novelist Robert (Paul) Kroetsch ;
“I looked back just once and the sky in the west was positively black. AS if a great fist had closed the sun’s eye. As if a range of mountains had broken loose and was galloping straight at me. The whole west was one great galloping cloud of smothering dust. I reached to turn on the lights.

And the the shiver turned to elation. Because I saw the windshield again. A drop of rain had hit the windshield. A drop of genuine water. Even while I was watching, right before my eyes, a second drop hit.

My bowels melted. That’s when I first realized: I had forgotten what a rain cloud looks like.~Paustian, Shirley I.

“So, while we learned the most obvious lesson of the Dust Bowl – that is, how to retain soil on dry farmland – we have yet to learn the larger lessons: how to respect nature’s limits, and how to use natural processes to buffer drought’s impacts.” Kendy

Another devastation befalling the Saskatchewan prairies in cycles as regular as drought are the grasshoppers as described by Henry Youle Hind,a Canadian geologist and explorer:

“On the second of July [1858] we observed the grasshoppers in full flight towards the north, the air as far as the eye could penetrate appeared to be filled with them. They commenced their flight about nine in the morning, and continued until half-past three or four o’clock in the afternoon. After that hour they settled around us in countless multitudes, and immediately clung to the leaves of the grass and rested after their journey. On subsequent days when crossing the great prairie from Red Deer’s Head River to Fort Ellice, the hosts of grasshoppers were beyond all calculation: they appeared to be infinite in number. Early in the morning they fed upon the prairie grass, being always found most numerous in low, wet places where the grass was long. As soon as the sun had evaporated the dew, they took short flights, and as the hour of nine approached, cloud after cloud would rise from the prairie and pursue their flight in the direction of the wind, which was generally S.S.W. The number in the air seemed to be greatest about noon and at times they appeared in such infinite swarms as to lessen perceptibly the light of the sun. The whole horizon wore an unearthly ashen hue from the light reflected by their transparent wings. The airs was filled as with flakes of snow, and time after time, clouds of these insects forming a dense body casting a glimmering silvery light, flew swiftly towards the north-north-east, at altitudes varying from 500 to perhaps 1000 feet.” Hawkes

Grasshopper

Grasshopper

On the prairies, it is seen that the collective swarming behavior of grasshoppers is their survival mechanism in times of dry weather and food is scarce. Again, a healthy respect for nature, nourishing the land, preserving water all goes a long way to mitigate ruination, and defoliation of a crop.

However, the plight of the pioneer does not end with clouds of dust, nor clouds of grasshoppers. The early homesteader had to be on the look out for clouds of smoke on the horizon, signalling a massive grass fire approaching. A fire which could range in length for hundreds of miles devouring everything in its path.

“A hazard far less innocent than the howl of a prairie wolf or the wandering of livestock, however, was the menace of the prairie fire. The threat was a serious one during the warm days of spring and fall, when the grass was dry. The fall was a particularly hazardous time, when the September days were often hot and windy, and the whole country was covered by crisp prairie “Wool” and clumps of aspen and willows as inflammable as a vast timber box. Once started under such conditions a fire created its own wind and augmented any that already existed, and the results could often be tragic in a new and sparsely settled country. The most spectacular and dangerous fire in the history of our community….began in the Turtleford area…from a bush-burning operation, and once out of control it galloped wildly across the country at the speed of a race horse, in long, flaming tongues that beggared description. There was little or no defence against such a fire. The almost horizontal lead flames might be thirty to fifty fee long, with flying sparks, and small brands still farther in advance of the main fire. In the face of such an onslaught, the ordinary “Fire-guards” and sounds of men equipped with horses, water barrels, and wet burlap sacks for beating out the flames were hopelessly inadequate. Often during the spring or fall, large areas of the sky would be red with the reflections of grass fires. When the air was cool, moist and quiet, large scale danger was minimal, but especially for children the angry looking red cloud reflections of a prairie fire were always an awesome and frightening sight.”Wooff

Fire across the fields

Image of a small grass fire across the fields

In retrospect, those who reside in Saskatchewan welcome the spring clouds nourishing the crops in the field. The horrific and massive dangers of drought, prairie fire, and grasshopper are largely diminished because of adapted agricultural practices and lessons have been hard learned.

As did Joni Mitchell we, also, have “looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down…from win and lose” and from it all, the resilient pioneer had many tales to tell about Winning the Prairie Gamble.

Genealogy hint and tip:  In regards to stories from your ancestors, please peruse the Saskatchewan local history books. To discover which book may be useful, try the Saskatchewan Resident’s Index offered by the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society. Or find your pioneer’s homestead location, locate the legal land location on an historic map. On the map ascertain the closest place name to the homestead and use this information to search an online library database listing. Solicit the assistance of some kind soul on a posting board, a mailing list, or just offering to do a look – up or by wander down to your library and use their reference room. Discover which here ~ ordered alphabetically by SK place name with relevant Sask Gen Web region. Rural Municipality offices or regional museums may know if any local history books of the province’s 50th and 75 anniversary (1955 and 1980) may yet be available for purchase, or if the community wrote a new one for the 100th provincial anniversary of 2005.

~written by Julia Adamson webmaster Sask Gen Web

“The fact that we have a Sahara (desert) is not entirely tragic. The very existence of the Sahara gives to the whole world a highly valuable lesson in ecology. It teaches us what not to do with a perfect countryside. The drifting sands and stony wastes tell us more eloquently than words, what will happen when we break certain natural laws. We cannot remove tree cover without running the risk of losing the blessing of the water cycle. We cannot denude the earth’s surface without creating the desiccation of sand the dust dunes. We cannot permit animals to devour whatever little is left of green growth. Excessive grazing of cattle, sheep and goats is as damaging to the land as a wholesale felling of trees…´ from Desert Challenge ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Hawkes, John. Saskatchewan and its People on Sask Gen Web Volume I, II, III
Illustrated. Chicago – Regina. The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company. 1924.

Kendy, Eloise Ph.D.
Water Helping Nature Protect Us From Drought
The Nature Conservancy.

Krogan, Agnes E. Thorbergson. And a church was built.
Mulitgraph Service Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Paustian, Shirley I. (Shirley Irene)Depression, 1929-1939, in the Prairie provinces of Canada.

War years and the twenties. They cast a long shadow: the story of Moffat, Saskatchewan.

Wooff, John. Harbinger Farm 1906-1920 Modern Press. Regina, Saskatchewan.

Locate Your Saskatchewan Place-name

8 Nov Genealogy Research
Genealogy Research

Genealogy Research

Is it truly Irksome to search and research for the ancestral placename, and come up empty in the middle of your genealogical research? What are some hints and tips for discovering the place recorded from oral history, ancestral correspondence or on primary source documents? Out of the chaos can, indeed, come clarity and resolution by following the next few steps for ancestral place name research in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada.

    • First note the date of the document. Correspondence or documents dated before 1905 would refer to a place name of the North West Territories, as Saskatchewan did not become a province until 1905. In the North West Territories after 1882 there were three provisional districts , known as;
      1. Assiniboia, Assa
      2. Saskatchewan, Sask.
      3. Athabasca (Athabaska)

      The boundaries for the NWT and for the provisional districts are different from the contemporary province of Saskatchewan, and had some overlaps with Manitoba and Alberta.

    • Abbreviations for the province changed, Saskatchewan was once Sask., and now is SK. Canada was Can. and is now CA. The North West Territories has always been NWT, unless in French, in which case it is Territoires du nord-ouest; T.N.-O. There is a placename, currently the provincial largest city called Saskatoon without abbreviation not to be confused with Saskatchewan.
    • if it is the 1921 Census, then the place of habitation recorded by the enumerator is likely the Rural Municipality
    • In the early pioneering days, travel by horse and cart, meant that places were much closer together. With the advent of paved highways and motorized vehicles, urban centres grew, and smaller rural placenames folded away. Historic places such as Copeau may be found on historic maps, on the Canadian Library and Archives Post Offices website, or in one of the placename books published by Bill Barry, such as Geographic Names of Saskatchewan.
    • Searching for the ancestral name in homestead listings will determine the legal land location. Using this information, turn to an historic map to view the neighbouring sidings, post offices, elevators and placenames on the railway lines.
    • Be aware that placenames may have changed names over the course of time. This Analysis of Saskatchewan Placenames lists a few of these name changes.
    • Another fabulous repository would be cemetery listings which are coming online. These databases not only list the cemeteries, but usually closest locality and the Rural Municipality. The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society has listed over 3,000 cemeteries, and has two separate listings online
    • Pioneers often referred to their locale by the One room school house district in which they resided. The Sk One Room Schoolhouse project has close to 6,000 school district names with their locations.

So get creative and when looking up a place name on correspondence, in the released census or in birth, marriage or death certificates use some of the helpful hints above to locate where your ancestor resided in Saskatchewan. Genealogy research should not be an irksome task, make sense from the chaos, and get past your brick wall with success.

~written by Julia Adamson webmaster Sask Gen Web

Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.

Prairie History Blog Review

25 May

Regina Public Library Prairie History Blog Review

In this day of age with genealogical sites coming online, it is hard to determine which way to turn amidst the plethora of sites appearing from a search engine investigation.

The Regina Public Library has come up with a wonderful solution with their Prairie History Blog The blog originated with the purpose of informing their visitors about the new items added to their collection; recommending some of the best online genealogy resources; and notifications of any upcoming genealogy and heritage-related workshops and events in the Regina community or around province.

RPL, Regina Public Library, Card Catalog, Library Card Catalog

Regina Public Library Prairie History Blog Card Catalogue

Not only does the Prairie History Blog provide updates about new magazines, and books available in the Prairie History Room, Regina Public Library, but they also have information about recommended websites, their updates and new features. Website with early postcards of Prairie towns is one of these articles.

Enhancing the value of the New Magazines now available, the blog is replete with the article titles in each issue, in a milieu of magazines be it Folklore by the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society, National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Alberta History, Families, Your Genealogy Today, Manitoba History, Internet Genealogy, Relatively Speaking, Revue Historique, or the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Bulletin.

Books

New books available for research

An informative category is New Saskatchewan Records added to FamilySearch. The digitisation process of the Regina Public Library has made them keenly aware of their own growth and expansion and in this realization they have also been able to keep abreast of exciting new digital additions appearing on the internet.

As the Regina Public Library system has subscribed to Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) and access is provided in each of their nine branches. The Prairie History Blog provides updates at regular intervals to newly digitised projects which have become available on ALE.

Genealogy presentations are provided in house at the Regina Public Library, but for distance learning or in case you missed it, the many and varied slide shows and transcripts of their presentations are preserved online. A few of these presentations are entitled Revised and Updated Version of Best Genealogy Websites and Tools of 2014 , Tracing your Canadian World War I Ancestors, Best Genealogy Websites 2012 part 2, Researching Military Records. and Chinese footprints across Canada 2014 version.

The Regina Public Library has made their blog a pleasure to use highlighting articles with images, and an easily accessible style providing excellent categories to find similar articles for further research and information. In their passion to provide digital information, they have started the Prairie History Room’s New Virtual Scrapbook on the Regina Public Library Flickr page which was launched with over 200 historical photographs. St. Andrew’s Thistle Football Club is represented with 22 photos, 18 images provide the scene of the historic Regina Tornado and the Nurses’ Training at Regina General Hospital feature amongst historical images of Regina,  Regina library events and branches.

The Regina Public History Blog is a wonderful Genealogy and Heritage Newsletter. If you cannot make it into the Regina Public Library in person, please do take time to peruse their virtual presence, where you can be introduced to the Prairie History Collection, find useful information in their Research Guides, view their photo albums, and indulge in the current blog articles and archives

The Regina Public Library blog and Flickr page are also supported by the facebook page and Web Site.

Online Family History Tree Research

Online Family History Tree Research
enhanced by the Regina Prairie History Blog

Embracing the new millennium, the Regina Public Library has established an informative and insightful virtual presence. Experience their social networking sites and venues the Regina Public Library offers a fantastic online presence.  They  provide information about new additions to the Prairie History Room Collection, allow genealogists to become aware of the better online genealogy resources available, and on top of this they provide genealogy workshops, and notifications of upcoming genealogical related events in Saskatchewan.

It is not often that one finds a blog as useful and as informative as the Regina Public Library’s Prairie History Blog. The Blog shows us just how rich and vibrant the history of Saskatchewan is, and how much the pioneers of this prairie province are treasured in our genealogical research.

 

 

 

 

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Rich history of 1885 | Northwest Rebellion

25 Apr

Church At Batoche, Saskatchewan, The church of Saint Antoine de Padoue

Rich history of 1885 | Northwest Rebellion

In 1885, post-Confederation Canada’s first “naval battle” was fought in Saskatchewan.

Special events are around the corner for the Batoche National Historic Site. This site was the last battlefield of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion. It was here that Louis Riel established the “Provisional Government of Saskatchewan”.

Records relating to Louis Riel and the North West Rebellion are digitised and online. 1,066 images scanned online by Canadiana.org from the National Library and Archives of Canada. Records consist of correspondences, lists, notes, warrants and evidence statements including Louis Riel’s papers from Batoche May 11, 1885.

Additionally, Library and Archives Canada have scanned images of Louis David Riel (1884-1885) and these digital photos are accessible at Flickr.

If you are planning a trip to Batoche (the area formerly known as St. Laurent Settlement, La Colonie De St Laurent) for the festivities take in a round trip of the nearby Fish Creek (formerly known as La Petite Ville, Tourond’s Coulee, Coulée des Tourond ) which depicts the history of the Battle of Fish Creek, and Duck Lake which is also nearby. The Duck Lake Battle. It is very easy to swing by Fort Carlton while visiting Batoche.

A little further afield from Batoche are the events and historic sites of Frog Lake, Alberta; Fort Battleford; Fort Pitt, Frenchman’s Butte; and Cut Knife.

To get an idea of the life and times of Métis, pioneer settler and Mounted Police, peruse these historical newspaper accounts from the late 1800s.

The visitor will be able to experience traditional Métis food at the special events, and gain an appreciation of the Métis lifestyle between 1860 to 1900 from these interpretive historical centres.

For more information:

Saskatchwean Gen Web – War and Military Resources

Saskatcheawn Gen Web Project – SGW – Métis Saskatchewan Genealogy Roots.

Saskatchewan Gen Web Project – SGW – First Nations Saskatchewan Genealogy Roots.

Copyright © Adamson, Julia. Web Publish Date: All Rights Reserved

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Saskatchewan Genealogy MagazineSaskatchewan Genealogy Web : Sask Gen Web E-Magazine
Answering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): 

Finnish Canadian Genealogical Research

21 Mar

Below is a list and description of the most recent genealogy records for Finnish research.
This report begins with Microfilm 1832 and Microfilm 1833 held by the Canadian Library and Archives, LAC and continues with new submissions of the New Finland District on the Saskatchewan Gen web.

The microfilmed records of the LAC include Finnish plays, musical scores dating between 1905-1967. Included are regional and local records of the Finnish Organisation of Canada and activities of locals and district committees and church congregations across Canada between the time of the Finnish Organisation in 1902 to about 1977. Records of district committees for instance from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, comprise volumes 34-35,134,187 dating between 1915-1968. As well, from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the locals of Lake Coteau, Manna, Mina/Nummola, New Finland, Pointe du Bois, Sherridon, and Steeledale/Coteau Hill have been preserved, the various Canadian local records date between 1903-1983 and are contained in volumes 46-57, 120, 128, 143-144,187-188,189,190-191,193. Youth Organization Records are local youth clubs whose archived documents date between 1934 to 1940. Separate to the above organizations were the Sports Organization Records which are held by the National Library and Archives dating between 1906 to 1973.

The online digitization from Microfilm 1832 and Microfilm 1833 provided by Heritage Canadiana include the sections related to the Finnish language newspaper edition of Työmies . The microfilms contain newspapers published by the Finnish Publishing Company Limited and Vapaus Publishing Company Limited including Työkansa “The Workpeople” and Vapaus.

The October 8, 1908 Finnish language newspaper edition of Työmies can be seen starting on “Image 20” through Image 27 on Digitized Microfilm 1833. The January 4, 1098 edition of Työmies can be found starting on digitized reel 1832 at “Image 26”,

The next record on microfilm 1832 in the New York Times Magazine dated November 18, 1927 on “Image 323”.
The Työmies Finnish newspaper collection begins again at “Image 347”,

Continuing on in Digitized Microfilm 1833 the October 10, 1908 edition begins at “Image 28” through Image 35;

The newspapers and publications have been collected since 1881.

The majority of records on the two actual microfilms [1832 and 1833] held by the LAC are in the Finnish Language, however many are in English. The above digitized Työmies Finnish newspaper collection which is on the internet is written in Finnish.

So, indeed, it looks like a considerable amount of information is contained in the Library and Archives reels 1832 and 1833 and it is most wonderful that the digitisation of records has commenced through Heritage Canadiana beginning with the historical Työmies Finnish newspaper.

Additionally, the Central Organisation of Finns which became the Finnish Club; Winnipeg Branch has submitted digitised historical images at the New Finland District web pages on the Saskatchewan Gen Web. These historical Finnish Club images compliment the Martta Norlen Memories Scrapbook 1937-1974 which includes information online about the Central Organization of Loyal Finns in Canada Suomalainen Kansallisseura Winnipeg Branch Nov. 6 1931, Helene Schjerfbeck 1862-1947,Kirjoitettu Suomeksi, Newspaper Clippings, Pastori A Koski, Ration Books, and a collection of Various Letters Section.

If you know of Finnish genealogy or historical records on the internet that have not been included at the New Finland District web site then please send us an email at newfinland201 AT @hotmail.com Please include the URL [http://www…] of the webpages which would link to the new records in your email.

We wish you every success in your genealogical endeavours. In summary, the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a treasure of Finnish information contained on the two microfilms, 1832 and 1833, of which the Työmies Finnish Newspaper 1908 editions are online through Heritage Canadiana. The New Finland District in coordination with the Finnish Club have come together to bring historical information online in the form of historical images and letters, newspaper clippings, and ration books. Through these collaborations, and endeavours, it is hoped that those family historians are assisted with their genealogical and historical research.

Notice and Disclaimer:

The purpose of the information on this site is to assist genealogists, historians and other interested parties in locating information from various cemetery records. Please e-mail saskgenweb@yahoo.com if you have any further updates or additions. Thank you.

Saskatchewan Genealogy Web : Sask Gen Web E-Magazine

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