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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.

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1921 Canada Census: Place of Habitation :: Rural Municipalities

24 Mar

Cummins map 144 Tuscola, Saskatchewan

1921 Canada Census: Place of Habitation

Rural Municipalities

This is an examination of the “Place of Habitation” on the Canadian 1921 Census in regards to the agricultural lands of the prairie provinces to better meet the needs of genealogists and other researchers who will make use of information and data from the Canadian 1921 census. It is erroneous to use the census enumeration district or sub-district name as a place of residence, as it would be incorrect to use the rural municipality name as an ancestor’s address. A rural municipality does not correspond to a city, town, village or hamlet.

A rural municipality is a region which is governed by reeve and councilors in much the same way that a city’s infrastructure needs are determined by a mayor and aldermen. Rural Municipality is often abbreviated R.M. In the prairie provinces, an average sized rural municipality is approximately six townships in size, each township encompasses an area of six miles by six miles making a rural municipality eighteen miles by eighteen miles. A rural municipality has the closest correspondence to the usage of the term “county” in other countries. The seat of the rural municipality may be an office located in a town or city within the perimeter of the rural municipality, however the town or city is governed independently with its own mayor and town(city) council. A rural municipality formed to make local improvements to the area in the form of sidewalks, roads, bridges, fire protection, &c. Early homesteaders could help in these community projects in lieu of paying taxes under special arrangements.

For a place of residence, early farming residents would provide the nearest Post Office to their homestead location as their address as is often seen on the World War I Canadian Expeditionary Force application files. As towns, villages and cities became established, post offices became established in these urban centers, and there was a departure from the rural postmaster operating a post office in their residence. In correspondence, a rural land owner may say they live in a certain “district”, which usually would refer to the school district in which their farm was located and where the family children attended the one room schoolhouse.

When referring to the 1921 census it is important to distinguish between the terms used on the census enumeration form. The first few columns refer to column 1) number of dwelling in order of visitation by the census enumerator, column 2) number of family, household, or institution in order of visitation column 3) name of each person whose place of abode was in the household. The next set of columns refer to place of habitation. For rural dwellers with agricultural holdings, this location was usually referred to with the legal land description with columns allocating the section, township, range and meridian. The next column was entitled “Municipality”.

For rural residents, this “Municipality” column holds the name of the “Rural Municipality”. For an example; referring to the original document District 217, Sub district 11 in the province of Saskatchewan Page 5 It cannot be said that the city, town nor village is named King George. Looking at the 1924 Rand McNally Map (or another historical map) for the area of the first entry on page 5 of the census mentioned above, a John Smith, who is the head of the household residing at section 13 township 26 range 12 west of the third meridian – Municipality King George.

It is easily determined by using the township and range nomenclature that the cities, towns and villages which are near to township 26, range 12 west of the third meridian are the placenames of Mosten, Steeledale, and Wiseton which happens to be on the Canadian National Railway line. In this case, the municipality does indeed refer to the King George Rural Municipality Number 256. Unless it is a specific rural municipality map, rural municipality names are not mentioned on provincial highway or historic railway maps. If a larger area is shown for example on an atlas map, it usually refers to an electoral district, either provincial or federal depending on the atlas and its key.

Placing the legal land location for the John Smith residence, section 13 township 26 range 12 west of the third meridian, into the Prairie locator one obtains the GPS conversion. The resulting GPS location, in this case, is 51.2198, -107.5509 which would locate the section which is an area of one mile by one mile. Now this GPS location is approximate for the actual farm land holdings, as some farmers did own an entire section of land, but pioneer homesteaders usually started out on a quarter section of land, which would be one half mile by one half mile in size, and usually referred to as either the south west, south east, north west or north east quarter of the section [see diagram]. There are on the internet a number of listings for the western land grants which were issued to prospective homesteaders to narrow down the quarter section of residence.

Now then, incorporating these GPS coordinates into the Canadian Geographical Names Data Base (CGNDB) by coordinates (latitude/longitude) reveals that the following towns, villages and cities are within a twenty kilometer (12 mile) radius from the aforementioned GPS location.

Placenames twenty kilometer (12 mile) radius:

Anerley is a nearby Unincorporated area 23 kilometers – 14 miles away.

Dinsmore is a nearby Village 14 kilometers – 9 miles away.

Forgan is a nearby Unincorporated area 18 kilometers – 11 miles away.

Glamis is a nearby Unincorporated area 27 kilometers – 17 miles away.

King George No. 256 is a nearby Rural Municipality

Leach Siding is a nearby Unincorporated area 11 kilometers – 7 miles away.

Steeledale is a nearby Unincorporated area 5 kilometers – 3 miles away.

Wiseton is a nearby Village 12 kilometers – 8 miles away.

Using the CGNDB one can easily click on any of the above placenames to determine their exact location as well. So if one wanted to know the location of Wiseton, CGNDB provides the facts that Wiseton locates at section 17- township 27- range 12-West of the 3rd meridian at Latitude – Longitude : 51º 18′ 41” N, 107º 39′ 1” W and Latitude – Longitude (decimal) : 51.3113471, -107.6503142. Any location can be searched by place name or the name of the geographical feature as well.

Another source of locations would be the book, Geographic Names of Saskatchewan, written by Bill Barry, or the Library and Archives Canada Post offices listing which is online. The Post Offices and Postmasters Library and Archives Canada location result for Mosten – the closest placename to the John Smith 1921 census “place of habitation” is Section 6, township 27, range 11 west of the third meridian. The postal listing also lets us know that Mosten operated a post office between 1908 and 1941 under W.J. Stewart and Mrs. Eva Stewart (postmasters).

Studying the Search Saskatchewan Placenames will provide which Saskatchewan Gen Web area would be most likely to further genealogical or historical exploration on query boards, and mailing lists. The Search Saskatchewan Placenames listing provides over 3,000 Saskatchewan places some of which are no longer in existence. Contemporary Saskatchewan listings provide a very short amount of placenames in comparison to Search Saskatchewan Placenames as can be seen at the Saskatchewan City & Town Maps – Directory or the Saskatchewan Municipal Directory System . Many previous bustling centers which were villages or towns in the early twentieth century have now become unincorporated areas, ghost towns or hamlets.

When transportation was mainly done by walking or horse and buggy, settlements with stores, elevators and other amenities were located much closer together. It was quite common that homesteaders would walk from their farm into town for meetings or grocery supplies, and walk the distance of seventeen miles (27 kilometers) back home again. When the population relied upon automotive transport after the second World War, and highways were straightened and paved, the main urban centres grew exponentially, and the smaller towns, villages and rural areas began to see a shift of their population to the cities.

On the 1921 census, not every resident on the 1921 census lived rurally. The family of John Alfred Reynolds for example lived in the city of Regina in 1921. The first entry on the 1921 census for District Number: 225 Sub-District: Regina (City) Sub-District Number: 32 Page 4 does in fact provide the house address of 2040 Dewdney Avenue in the city of Regina. In another instance, Sidney Gordon Zapp is the first entry on District: Assiniboia District Number: 214 Sub-District Number: 52 Page 5
residing at 626 Second Street in the town of Estevan. (Estevan incorporated as a city in 1957 after the 1921 census).

Besides towns and villages which have disappeared since the early 1900s as mentioned earlier, rural municipality names and boundaries have also changed. The listing which follows provides a few of the name changes and mergers which have occurred historically in the province of Saskatchewan. The listing is not complete, as new updates regarding regional mergers and amalgamations come to light, they will be added.

Some of the Rural Municipality mergers and name changes:

    • Storkoaks Rural Municipality 31 adopted the new name; Storthoaks Rural Municipality 31 on March 15, 1912. Storthoaks Rural Municipality 31 originally incorporated on December 11, 1911.Source 1 2
    • Hastings Rural Municipality 66 adopted the new name; Griffin Rural Municipality 66 on January 30, 1910. Griffin Rural Municipality 66 originally incorporated on December 13, 1909. Source 1 2
    • Pipestone Rural Municipality 92 was renamed Walpole Rural Municipality 92 on February 15, 1911. Walpole Rural Municipality 92 originally incorporated on December 12, 1910. Source 1

2

  • Bitter Lake Rural Municipality 142 disorganised January 1, 1951. Enterprise Rural Municipality 142 originally incorporated on April 18, 1913. Source 1 2
  • Rural Municipality of Waldeck 166 was renamed Rural Municipality of Excelsior 166 on March 1, 1916. Rural Municipality of Excelsior 166 incorporated on December 13, 1909.Source 1 2
  • The Rural Municipality of Keebleville, now named Fox Valley No. 171 as of November 27, 1926 On October 29, 1913 the Rural Municipality of Fox Valley No. 171 was incorporated.Source 1 2
  • Enterprise Rural Municipality 172 disorganised January, 1951. [See entry under RM 142 above.]Source
  • Vermillion Hills Rural Municipality 195 disorganised December 31, 1965. In the area of RM 195, is Rural Municipality Morse 165, larger than 3 x 3 townships, so investigating a merger there.Source
  • Local Improvement District formed May 26, 1905. The Rural Municipality of Strasbourg 220 held their first council election December 6, 1909. On July 15, 1919, theRural Municipality of Strassburg 220 was renamed Rural Municipality of McKillop 220. Rural Municipality of McKillop 220 originally formed December 13, 1909. Source 1 2 3
  • Millington Rural Municipality 249 disorganised December 31, 1951. In the area of RM 249 is the Rural Municipality of Mount Hope 279, a RM with boundaries larger than 18 mi x 18 mi, so investigating an amalgamation of area there.Source
  • On June 29, 1912, the Rural Municipality of Girvin 252 was renamed Rural Municipality of Arm River 252. Rural Municipality of Arm River 252 was initially formed December 13, 1909. Source 1 2
  • Mantario Rural Municipality 262 disorganised December 31, 1968. The Rural Municipality of Chesterfield 261 was formed from the merger of the Royual Canadian Rural Municipality and the Mantario Rural Municipality in 1968.Source 1 2
  • Devil’s Lake Rural Municipality 274 disorganised November 29, 1909. Good Lake Rural Municipality 274 came together on January 1, 1913. Source 1 2
  • Foam Lake No. 276, rural municipality was incorporated December 12, 1910. Foam Lake rural municipality No. 306 and Beaver No. 276 dissolved on December 31, 1952 becoming Foam Lake No. 276. Source 1 2
  • “In 1966 the neighbouring Rural Municipality of Fairview #258 was disbanded to join adjacent municipalities. The western half of Fairview was amalgamated with the Rural Municipality of Snipe Lake #259, and the eastern half was joined to the Rural Municipality of Monet #257 to form larger, more financially viable municipal entities.” December 13, 1909 was the initial incorporation date of Rural Municipality of Monet No. 257. Rural Municipality of Snipe Lake #259 incorporated on December 11, 1911, whereas the Rural Municipality of Monet #257 incorporated on December 13, 1909. Source 1 2
  • Kutawa Rural Municipality 278 disorganised June January 1, 2004. There would have been a boundary area change between the neighbouring Rural Municipalities, 279 to the west, 308 to the north, 277 to the east and 248 to the south.Source
  • Hillsburgh Rural Municipality 289 disorganised December 31, 1965. Amalgation took place with the Kindersley Rural Municipality No. 290 in 1965, and the Rural Municipality of Elma No. 291 amalgamated in 1951.Source Email RM 290
  • Elma Rural Municipality 291 disorganised June 1, 1951. Kindersley Rural Municipality 290 appears larger than an 18 square mile area, and there is also no RM 289 on current Rural Municipality listings.Source
  • On March 14, 1914, the Rural Municipality of Roach 339 was absorbed into the Rural Municipality of Ayr. On February 27, 1931, the Rural Municipality of Roach 339 was also absorbed into the Rural Municipality of Leroy. On January 1, 1913, the original boundaries for the Rural Municipality of Leroy 339 were formed. Source 1 2
  • Plasterfield Rural Municipality 340 adopted the new name; Wolverine Rural Municipality 340 on March 15, 1912. Initally, the Rural Municipality boundaries were set on December 13, 1909 for the Wolverine Rural Municipality 340 Source 1 2
  • Rural Municipality of Corman Park No. 344 started as a 3 x 3 township square RM, and expanded to a very large RM. It was formed in 1970 according to the Saskatchewan Gazette by combining the smaller rural municipalities of Cory 344, Warman 374, and Park 375. Rural Municipality 374 Warman and Rural Municipality 375 Park were disorganized at the end of 1969. Rural Municipality of Corman Park No. 344 incorporated January 1, 1970.Source 1 2
  • On April 16, 1934, the Rural Municipality of Richland 345 was absorbed into the Rural Municipality of Loganton. The Rural Municipality of Vanscoy 345 incorporated December 13, 1909. Source 1 2
  • Bushville Rural Municipality 348 disorganised September 1, 1950. Biggar No. 347, a neighbouring RM on old maps is larger than an 18 square mile area on current maps.Source
  • Hudson Bay Rural Municipality 394 and Porcupine 395 both incorporated after 1921.Source
  • Prairie Rural Municipality 408 disorganised June January 1, 1999. To the south of the historic location of RM 408 are RM 378 and RM 379, to the west is RM 409, to the east is RM 377 and to the north is RM 438.Source
  • On January 15, 1921 the Rural Municipality of Eldersley 427 was renamed the Rural Municipality of Tisdale 427. On December 9, 1912, the Rural Municipality of Tisdale 427 was established. Source 1 2
  • On February 28, 1938 the Rural Municipality of Carrot River 429 was renamed the Rural Municipality of Flett’s Springs. Rural Municipality of Flett’s Springs 429 incorporated initially on December 13, 1909. Source 1 2
  • Rural Municipality West Eagle Hills formed in June of 1910 from Local Improvement District 438. The name changed to the Rural Municipality of Battle River No. 438 in 1911. On December 12, 1910, the Rural Municipality of Battle River No. 438 incorporated.Source 1 2
  • Royal Rural Municipality 465 disorganised September 1,1950. On the subsequent boundary changes, the area was absorbed by the neighbouring RMs of Rural municipality Leask No. 464 and Rural municipality Meeting Lake No. 466 Source email RM 464
  • Torch River Rural Municipality 488 incorporated after 1921.Source
  • On February 28, 1938 the Russia 490 Rural Municipality was renamed the Garden River Rural Municipality. Garden River Rural Municipality 490 incorporated on January 1, 1913.Source 1 2
  • Rural Municipality of Rozilee No. 493 incorporated on January 1, 1913, and changed the name to Shellbrook No. 493 on October 20, 1923. Shellbrook Rural Municipality No. 493 came together on January 1, 1913. Source 1 2
  • Rural Municipality of Thompson No. 494 changed the name to Canwood on April 29,1916. Canwood Rural Municipality 494 incorporated on January 1, 1913. Source 1 2
  • Shell River Rural Municipality 495 changed names to Shell Lake Rural Municipality 495 on November 30, 1935, then Shell Lake Rural Municipality 495 disorganised December 31, 1953.Source 12
  • Paradise Hill Rural Municipality 501 disorganised December 31, 1953. Frenchman Butte Rural Municipality 501 organised on January 1, 1954.Source 1 2
  • Lakeland Rural Municipality 521 which had incorporated on August 1, 1977, adopted the new name; District of Lakeland Rural Municipality 521 on June 1, 2011.Source 1 2
  • On February 2, 1926 the Bright Sand 529 Rural Municipality was renamed Greenfield Rural Municipality. Greenfield Rural Municipality 529 disorganised June June 1, 1990. The Rural Municipality of Mervin 499 is a merger between Rural Municipality Greenfield 529 which had initially incorporated in 1915, and the original Rural Municipality of Mervin 499 formed in 1913.Source 1 2 3 Email Butch
  • North Star Rural Municipality 531 disorganised December 31, 1951.  .Source There has been a comment emailed in about this rural municipality (thank you kindly)

    The North Star R.M. # 531 was actually in the St. Walburg area not Prince Albert. In the St. Walburg history book it says the R.M. of North Star # 531 was formed in 1914 at a meeting held in the home of A. Obert. The first Reeve was W. Rice, Counsellors were W. Chalmers, I. Trainor, A.N. Schneider, H. Bullen, J.B. Fuchs and Fred Burns.

    In 1953 North Star R.M. # 531 and R.M. of Paradise Hill # 501 were joined together and are now called the R.M. of Frenchman Butte.

    I worked for R.m. 501 from 1980 to 1998 and have seen a map of both North Star and P. Hill R.M.s Hope this helps. Butch

  • Paddockwood Rural Municipality 520, Big River 555, Loon Lake 561,Meadow Lake 588, Meadow Lake 588, and Beaver River 622 all incorporated after 1921.Source

 

 

 

Larger centers in Saskatchewan 1921

 

Populations of Cities and Towns having over 5,000 inhabitants in 1921, compared with 1901-11. [page 108-109 1921 CYB]
Cities and Towns 1901 1911 1921
Moose Jaw 1558 13823 19285
Prince Albert 1785 6598 7558
Regina 2249 30213 34432
Saskatoon 113 12004 25739
Yorkton 700 2309 5151
Population of Towns and Villages having between 1,000 and 5,000 inhabitants in 1921, as compared with 1901 and 1911 [page 112 1921 CYB]
Towns and Villages 1901 1911 1921
Assinboia 1006
Battleford 609 1335 1229
Biggar 315 1535
Canora 435 1230
Estevan 141 1981 2290
Gravelbourg 1106
Humboldt 859 1822
Indian Head 768 1285 1439
Kamsack 473 2002
Kindersley 4586 1003
Maple Creek 382 936 1002
Melfort 599 1746
Melville 1816 2808
Moosomin 868 1143 1099
North Battleford (city) 2105 4108
Rosthern 413 1172 1074
Shaunavon 1146
Swift Current (city) 121 1852 3518
Watrous 781 1101
Weyburn (City) 113 2210 3193

In summary, the census do provide the place of habitation for ancestral research, corresponding with ancestral name and date. Realising the place of habitation correctly eliminates discrepancies and errors in future research. For example recording an ancestral address as “Kindersley” from the “Municipality” column, the researcher needs to take due care and diligence to determine whether it is meant the rural municipality of Kindersley No. 290 which has the communities of Brock, Flaxcombe, Kindersley and Netherhill within its perimeter, or if it is the town of Kindersley. The difference between allocating the address to the town of Kindersley or the rural municipality of Kindersley No. 290, for example, may mean the difference in locating or becoming lost in the search for the cemetery records or exploring a family biography or running into a brick wall when trying to delve into a local history / family biography book.

As an example, Delbert Acker has a place of habitation on fourth avenue in the town of Kindersley on page 14 Census enumeration district name Kindersley District Number: 217 Sub-District Number: 65 City, Town or Village: Town of Kindersley. Whereas on page 10 of Census District Name: Kindersley District Number: 217 Sub-District Number: 38 City, Town or Village: RM Kindersley records Angus Fletcher, a farmer, on section 6 township 30 range 22 west of the third meridian, municipality “Kin”. The placenames closest to 6 tsp 30 rge 22 W3 are Beadle, Viewfair, Kindersley and Netherhill. Online are a few listings of current rural municipality names in use now on wikipedia, Saskatchewan Genealogy Society cemetery index, the Saskatchewan Government’s Municipal Directory System or the Canada Gen Web’s Cemetery project listing. From these it can be seen that in all liklihood, the municipality listed as “Kin” above was an enumerator’s abbreviation for Kindersley when recording (in the case of these agricultural lands with sections, township and ranges, that the abbreviation “Kin” means the Rural Municipality of Kindersley No. 290. The abbreviation for “Kin” meaning the Rural Municipality of Kindersley No. 290 can also be confirmed by scrolling to the very top of the page to see that the enumeration sub-district No. 217 is located in R.M. Kindersley.

The overlap of placenames between census district name, placename [city, town, village or hamlet], and rural municipality may indeed be the same name, however each describes a totally different region. A census district name is allocated by the Department of Statistics, Government of Canada. The rural municipality is a rural civic administration district in the agricultural region of the prairie provinces, usually eighteen miles by eighteen miles in area with independently governed cities, towns, villages and hamlets within its perimeter. Please record the “Place of Habitation” information correctly in your genealogical or historical research so that yourself and others can follow the data flow, continue in their research endeavours with fewer brick walls, and many more successes.

Another note on abbreviations:
Using John Smith’s legal land location from above:
section 13 township 26 range 12 west of the third meridian this full nomenclature can be abbreviated as follows:

S. 13 Tsp. 26 Rge. 12 W3
Sec. 13 Twp. 26 R. 12 W of 3rd
13 – 26 – 12 – W3

For more information:

Municipal System History – Municipal Relations –

1921 Canadian Census

Saskatchewan in 1921 and the 1921 Census. ~ The Forgotten Depression.

Bibliography:

Pioneer Ways and Bygone Days in the West Eagle Hills. Prongua, Battle River, Lindequist, Drummond Creek, Cleveland. Prongua, Battle River and Lindequist History Book Committee. Turner-Warwick Publications Inc. North Battleford, SK. 1983.

Reflections of the Past. History of Parkside and the Districts of Bygland, Cameo, Hilldrop, Honeywood, Ordale and Spruce Glen. page 260. Compiled and published by Parkside and District History Book Committee. c1991.

Many of the sources for this article are embedded in the text.

Some of the sources came from email correspondences with the current Rural Municipalities as indicated.

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.

To cite this article:

Adamson, Julia. 1921 Canada Census: Place of Habitation . Saskatchewan Gen Web. Rootsweb. Ancestry.com . Retrieved .

Please E-mail saskgenweb@yahoo.com if you know of other historic rural municipality names which are no longer in existence. Thank you.

Copyright © Adamson, Julia. All Rights Reserved

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Landmarks and Geophysical Saskatchewan Placenames. Quiz Two.

29 Jun

Loyal and True KISS

Landmarks and Geophysical Saskatchewan Placenames.

This is an additional bit of fun. Following up on the previous Saskatchewan placenames quiz Here is yet another.

In the early days of the northwest plains when Saskatchewan was named Rupert’s Land or the North West Territories, travel followed animal trails on foot, horseback, or ox-drawn Red River cart. Egress was supplemented by bull boat and canoe over rivers and lakes. During these days, there were sparse settlements and no highway signs. Travelers identified their journey by geophysical features. The earliest resting stops, and settlements were generally speaking named after these landmarks.

Quiz Two.

Directions: Complete the quiz by identifying a Saskatchewan placename that best fits each clue.

1. Algae, Water basin.

2. Sight, Summit.

3. Grand earth.

4. Rapid, Waves.

5. Expansive panorama.

6. A bend or half turn.

7. Gigantic, Watercourse.

8. Colour, Meadow.

9. Diminutive Mountains.

10. Colour, Soil.

Give your hand at these crossword type puzzlers, and the answers will be published with the next entry! In taking time to do a fun and relaxing puzzle such as this one, not only does it stimulate the brain cells, but it also helps identify great resources in the way of finding out the names of Saskatchewan’s several placenames.

The geophysical features of Saskatchewan change between the grasslands, the aspen parkland and north of the tree line. Each biome has its own distinct water features, steppe, and hilly areas which were noted by early travelers as navigational aids. These changed slowly in the course of geological evolution, and were very reliable markers.

Following the fur trade era, the ecosystem was still invaluable to agricultural entrepreneurs. Settlers heeding Clifford Sifton‘s immigration call to the “Last Best West” would settle in areas where the soil types were similar to their home land. The agricultural methods and implements brought over on the long journey then met with success. A homesteader could fill out an Application for Entry for a Homestead, a Pre-emption or a Purchased Homestead. If the land was unsuitable the pioneer could file a Declaration of Abandonment with the provincial land titles office. Not only immigration settlers used the terrain and soil type to select a site, but aboriginal peoples would choose a reserve site similarly when signing a First Nations Treaty. Land agents traversing the plains by train would also check out the earth type which may be suitable to sell to large numbers of prospective clients.

Try to uncover the names of these Saskatchewan’s places. It may be helpful to use the Search Saskatchewan Placenames web page or perhaps one of the several map indexes at the Online Historical Map Digitization Project. Other resources would include the Saskatchewan One Room School House Project, or a reference chosen from the general Map Resources. Any number of atlases, gazetteers, census, or books may also be of assistance offering up some clues to these puzzlers.

Saskatchewan’s naming patterns are intriguing and convoluted, and to make matters easier Natural Resources Canada has published several helpful web pages amongst them Geographical Names. Try your hand at traveling via your arm chair discovering the various features of Saskatchewan’s landscape as did the forefather’s of this province. In this way discover a bit more of the surroundings for the early Coeur de Bois, First Nation and fur trading traveler.

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For more information:

•Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project

•Online Historical Map Digitization Project

•Search Saskatchewan Placenames

•How do I locate my Ancestors Home Town in Saskatchewan?

•Maybe the Ghosts Will Live Again
Saskatchewan Ghost Towns…

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Related Posts:

•The Value of Standardizing Placenames for Genealogists. First Quiz Answers.

•Test Your Knowledge of Saskatchewan’s Placenames. First Quiz.

•What can be found at the NEW Saskatchewan Provincial Archives website?

•The Era of Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouses

•Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

•Love and Marriage in Saskatchewan- a comprehensive guide

•How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?

•Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

•How to locate birth, marriage and death certificates in Saskatchewan, Canada

•Are there genealogy sites that can compete with Ancestry.com?

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Test Your Knowledge of Saskatchewan Placenames

7 Jun

Graceful Delight

This will be just a bit of fun. Genealogists start with what is known and work towards the unknown uncovering facts related to dates, places and people (names). Try to uncover the names of these Saskatchewan places. It may be helpful to use the Search Saskatchewan Placenames web page or perhaps one of the several map indexes at Online Historical Map Digitization Project. Other resources would include the Saskatchewan One Room School House Project, or a reference chosen from the general Map Resources. Any number of atlases, gazetteers, census, or books may also be of assistance offering up some clues to these puzzlers.

1. The name of a bush.

2. The name of a berry.

3. A male duck.

4. A good luck symbol.

5. To attempt.

6. An historic Canadian Prime Minister.

7. Woodworker.

8. Parliamentary assembly.

9. Heavenly, Bluff.

10. Coffee.

Give your hand at these crossword type puzzlers, and the answers will be published with the next entry! In taking time to do a fun and relaxing puzzle such as this one, not only does it stimulate the brain cells, but it also helps identify great resources in the way of finding out the names of Saskatchewan’s several placenames.

Saskatchewan is not divided neatly into counties nor parishes which are re-used for many and several divisions. Rather each separate entity, agency and newly formed group devises their own areas, regions and districts of Saskatchewan for their own purposes. Saskatchewan has rural municipalities which are the rural government regions providing similar civic responsibilities to large rural areas via reeves and councilors rather than mayor and aldermen. Then the province was also historically divided into school districts and school inspector districts which have given way to contemporary schools and school divisions again following new boundaries and regions. Starting again, every separate entity whether they are religions, health regions, genealogy or historical societies defines their own branches and areas. By accumulating clues to this puzzle, the given resources above may be used, or it may be a new here-to-fore resource comes forward to divulge the answer to the quest, which may also be the source needed on the genealogical journey in Saskatchewan.

While researching in Saskatchewan note that historically places were generally six miles apart which would be a good horseback ride in the early settlement of the north west. The early 1900s, which was about the same time Saskatchewan became a province, was a time of great growth as railways competed to lay rail across the prairies. Towns, sidings, and post offices sprang up like wildfire. The depression years of the 1930s initiated a trend away from the abandoned drought ridden farms to the city in search of employment. It was after World War II when automotive transport combined with new and improved straightened asphalt highways made egress across the vast province much easier. Gone were the oil surface highways “built on the square“. The ease of travel continued the trend of population shifting away from the smaller settlements towards the urban centers.

Historically there were about 3,000 seperate placenames, over 5,000 individual school district names, approximately 600 rural municipalities and these numbers are not inclusive of geographical feature names, federal electoral or provincial electoral districts. A genealogical baptismal record, letter of correspondence or birth certificate may indeed have recorded upon it a name no longer listed on contemporary maps. Following the standardization by Canada Post of placenames across the nation, duplicate naming was virtually eliminated. Places with a similar name elsewhere were asked to change their names. Placenames in Saskatchewan may have, indeed, undergone a name change for a plethora of reasons.

Saskatchewan’s naming patterns are intriguing and convoluted, and to make matters easier on this front, it is wonderful that there are resources online and in print presenting this etymological history in various lists, books, gazetteers, and websites.

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For more information:

•Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project

•Online Historical Map Digitization Project

•Search Saskatchewan Placenames

•How do I locate my Ancestors Home Town in Saskatchewan?

•Maybe the Ghosts Will Live Again
Saskatchewan Ghost Towns…

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Related Posts:

•What can be found at the NEW Saskatchewan Provincial Archives website?

•The Era of Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouses

•Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

•Love and Marriage in Saskatchewan- a comprehensive guide

•How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?

•Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

•How to locate birth, marriage and death certificates in Saskatchewan, Canada

•Are there genealogy sites that can compete with Ancestry.com?

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Follow me on Word Press, Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, Live Journal, Sask Gen Web Ancestry.com and Flickriver

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Aum_Kleem - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

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Maybe the Ghosts Will Live Again!

25 Feb

Second Spring

Maybe the Ghosts Will Live Again!

Try out Saskatchewan‘s newest Sunday afternoon tourism trend. Discover a part of Saskatchewan’s history and seek out an abandoned ghost town. Walk down main street of our pioneer’s community and imagine what life was like a century ago.

Why did the settlers arrive to settle here in this particular location? What was the community like, and how large did it get? How many children attended the one room school house, and how far did they travel? Did the community main street once boast a store, church, hotel and elevator? What were the stories behind the communities who are only remembered by their cemeteries? Were there once barn dances and Christmas socials at the schoolhouse? What occurred to cause the abandonment of the buildings at this site? What are the real life stories behind the ghost towns?

According to the Saskatchewan Atlas edited by J.H. Richards and K.I. Fung, they used the terms unincorporated hamlets and settlements in Saskatchewan. A settlement may disperse over a greater area than a hamlet, and a locality may refer to a settlement without post office or community.

Whereas, the Atlas of Saskatchewan Celebrating the Millenium Edition defines various unincorporated places in Saskatchewan. A hamlet has a population less than 100 persons, a locality has less than ten residents. A post office is defined by a rural post office site, and a railway point may be a siding or a junction along a rail line. An organised hamlet also has a population less than 100, however would have a chairman, members, and advisors who act for the community in a similar capacity to the role of a mayor or councillor in a city but on a smaller scale. A resort village is also served by a mayor, councillor and administrator similar to a town or village.

Both books define a locality as former communities which may only exist in historical documents, post cards, maps or the designated place, and these placenames were enumerated during census years as a part of the Rural Municipality (RM) rather than as an individual entity or locality.

A locality, or designated place without residents but with visible remains of civilization may, in fact, fit a definition of a “ghost town. Wikipedia goes further, “A ghost town is a town that has been abandoned, usually because the economic activity that supported it has failed or because of natural or human-caused disasters such as war.”

In Saskatchewan a community reaches city status with a population over 5,000; may incorporate as a town with a population over 500, and reaches town status with a population over 100.

Along the highways and roadsides of Saskatchewan still stand deserted homes, schools, businesses and churches of communities once bustling with hope and optimism of new dryland agriculture methods. The depression years coupled with the great drought of the dirty thirties saw a huge exodus from the rural settlements searching for economic prosperity in the cities. Especially hard hit was the area of Saskatchewan defined as the Palliser Triangle consisting of areas of badlands, sand dunes and semi-arid soil, and it is here that a span of highway has the moniker now of Ghost Town Trail, Saskatchewan.

Along with the abandoned buildings are the tales of ghosts, haunting figures and eerie sounds. One of the more famous tales in Saskatchewan is of the ghost train traveling near St. Louis, Saskatchewan. A devastating train derailment occurred as well as a fatal accident which laid claim to a pioneering family.

The textures and character of the abandoned buildings have spawned a cult of photographers roaming the countryside to historic ghost towns. The techniques vary from capturing the perfect sunset or sunrise shot, capturing a ghost town at night with innovative light painting techniques or perhaps a ghost town capture offers an opportunity to use high dynamic range HDR photography. Some photography excursions seek out a focal point such as an historic pool elevator, a heritage train station or rusty car in a cloudy summer landscape, a colourful autumn scene or a seasonal winter setting.

Defined perhaps as Saskatchewan’s current tourism craze, the Saskatchewan Heritage and Folklore Society SHFS, brings history to life. Plaques and points of interest demark heritage stories, historic searches for diamonds and rubies, or may regale how pioneers would move a whole village to be on the tracks if the railway did not go through town. In the roaring twenties Saskatchewan was at its height in terms of population rise. These horse and buggy days saw numerous settlements spring up approximately every five miles alongside the newly laid rail lines.

Besides creative commons sources such as Wikipedia, books have been published about this new tourism attraction of Saskatchewan Ghost Towns in Saskatchewan, Including: Armley, Saskatchewan, Cactus Lake, Saskatchewan, Island Falls, Saskatchewan, Zichydorf, Saskatchewan, the Fren, Ghost Town Stories of the Red Coat Trail: From Renegade to Ruin on the Canadian Prairies , Canada Ghost Town Introduction: Govenlock, Saskatchewan, List of Ghost Towns in Alberta, Lucky Strike, Alberta, Hallonquist, Saskatchewan , Ghost Towns in Saskatchewan: The French Counts of St Hubert, Saskatchewan, Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan , and More Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan . Films, for example Ghost Town Trail, Saskatchewan and documentaries on television have aired.

You may want to join this trend, popping out for a coffee on a lazy Sunday afternoon, traveling down a little used grid road to uncover a bit of Saskatchewan history. Program your GPS, look up a historical map of Saskatchewan, get the lay of the land, and head out. If you find an abandoned building do not trespass or venture forth inside a decaying building. Explore from a safe vantage point from public lands.

Saskatchewan ghost towns, a book researched by Kan Do Wheels and is now online to “tell why a community was born, lived and died”. Frank Moore, the author states that “people are returning to some of these towns and buying salvagable buildings…People are coming to realize the slick, future-shocked city life can’t meet their needs. And so they are looking for an alternative – a place where they can enjoy a sense of community, take charge of their lives, and know harmony with their environment.”

And to echo Moore, “Maybe the ghosts will live again!”
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For more information:

Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project

Online Historical Map Digitization Project

Search Saskatchewan Placenames

How do I locate my Ancestors Home Town in Saskatchewan?

________________________________________________________________________________

Related Posts:

What can be found at the NEW Saskatchewan Provincial Archives website?

The Era of Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouses

Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

•Love and Marriage in Saskatchewan- a comprehensive guide

How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?

Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created?

•How to locate birth, marriage and death certificates in Saskatchewan, Canada

Are there genealogy sites that can compete with Ancestry.com?

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“A man who is not afraid is not aggressive, a man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free, a peaceful man.” Jiddu Krishnamurti. All rights reserved. Copyright © Aum Kleem All my images are protected under Canadian and international authors copyright laws and may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without my written explicit permission. Image: Second spring“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ~ Albert Camus The images may, in fact, be licensed through Getty images. Peace and love be with you. Namaste.

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Follow me on Word Press, Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, Live Journal, Sask Gen Web Ancestry.com and Flickriver

________________________________________________________________________________________

Aum_Kleem - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

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