Tag Archives: Death

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/

Cemetery Preservation: Preserving Landscapes of Memories

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Cemetery Preservation: Preserving Landscapes of Memories

This is part 1 of a 7 part series

Cemeteries are revered as consecrated, sacred places in the community, a place of value to the residents in the community. The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society has launched the SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”. The program guidelines, and application information are available online. Through this project, the SCCMP provides matching grants as assistance to restore, and care for cemeteries which are in need of assistance.

As a first step of assistance, please ensure that all cemeteries are registered with the Saskatchewan Cemeteries Registry as per The Cemeteries Act of 1999. The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society has placed a Saskatchewan Cemetery Index online which records the designated Rural

Municipality for the area. All cemeteries need to be registered to protect burial sites in order to maintain and preserved these unmarked sites. Contact the Municipality Clerk in the Rural Municipality office.

As genealogists, archaeologists and historians are aware, cemeteries and their tombstone markers face many hazards, from weathering, commercial expansion, neglect and abandonment. Cemeteries in jeopardy benefit greatly from record creation. Multiple agencies across the province of Saskatchewan are transcribing, video taping and photographing over 3,430 cemeteries. Additionally cemetery indexes area available through Amicus at the Library and Archives Canada. However, the Registrar of Cemeteries has 406 cemetery plans 12% of recorded cemeteries, and the Land Titles Registry notes 700 cemetery land locations, 20% of known cemeteries. In many cases the rural municipality office will have cemetery plot records, however old cemeteries or older cemetery sections may have no known plot records available.

“The common conception that the cemetery holds the memory of all who died and were buried before us is a false one,” writes Meredith G. Watkins. Cemeteries have undertaken Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to ascertain the completeness of their cemetery internment records. The town of Langham, for instance, undertook such a venture to identify burial sites which would correlate with existing cemetery plot records. Such GPR surveys also prevent disarticulation in an inactive cemetery or where cemetery plot records were lost due to office fire or calamity. The resulting cemetery sketches and survey maps are invaluable tools showing all landscape features, height and age of vegetation, terrain type, contour, slopes as well as all burial sites.

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online

Additional Resources:

Links

Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project

Network Canadian Cemetery Management September 2010 Vol 24 No 10

Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery Resources and Organisations

Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index

Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual

 SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”

Books

Victorian cemetery art by Edmund Vincent Gillon

Bibliography:

Links to sources are embedded in text above.

Additionally:

Redfield, Robert, Ralph Linton and Melville J. Herkovits

1936 Memorandum for the Study of Acculturation. American Anthropologist 38(1):149-
152.

________________________________________________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________________________________________

Buy my work

Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson (AumKleem)) on 500px.com
Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson

Cemeteries, the silent historian

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Cemeteries, the silent historian

This is part 2 of a 7 part series

Cemeteries do indeed, silently document the past local histories and biographies. As William Dollarhide, notes, genealogists do make ancestral discoveries at cemeteries, and are not “obsessed with death, burials, or other ghoulish activities.” It is from the cemetery records or tombstone inscriptions that an ancestor can be located with certainty, unless there are no records, no tombstone erected or if the cemetery is unkempt. In Saskatchewan, it is invaluable to learn legal land nomenclature, the township, range and meridian survey system, to augment Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and view historical placenames in the vicinity of the cemetery. These placenames lead to compiled family histories published mainly for the 75th anniversary of the province (1980), however some books went to print in 1955 (50th provincial birthday) and others in 2005 (the 100th anniversary). These local history, family biography books contain a variety of records, cemetery history and occasionally the cemetery transcription as well. The imperative of keeping proper citations, digital records, differentiating between primary source and secondary source records is noted the book Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian written by Elizabeth Shown Mills for genealogists.

Locating homestead locations will help to ascertain the locale, city or rural municipality. Then the cemetery, funeral home, newspaper used for an obituary and death certificate fall into place. However cemetery and probate records may fall short if the ancestor decided upon cremation or drawing up a personal will. Sharon Debartolo Carmack  delves into additional records of death such as “autopsy and coroners’ records, death certificates, obituaries, death notices, wills and probate, prayer and memorial cards and funeral home records, and mortality schedules.”

The practice of erecting a grave marker made of wood in the shape of a cross was erected to commemorate a grave site may have succumbed to one of the numerous prairie fires which historically ravaged the prairie grasslands in blazing sweeps hundreds of miles across. The lack of stone or permanent grave markers, erosion, surface land cultivation, landscaping, prairie fires, exodus of local families and the subsequent deterioration of community and services contribute to the neglect of a grave site, the location unknown to future generations. As John P. Nickel notes, “in the early days when there were no cemeteries, many burials were done in school yards, gardens or fields.” ” “When people died, they would essentially bury them there, wherever it happened, everywhere. There were no cemeteries,” said Germann in a CBC news report, “With settlement and erosion, these things get exposed.”

“Ever wonder what happens when a church closes, members move away, and a cemetery is left uncared for?” asks the Heritage Cemeteries Project. Unmarked cemeteries are particularly hard to find, and derelict abandoned cemeteries quite often have no burial register, cemetery plot map, death certificates, grave markers or other markers such as the case for Efremovka and Spasovoka Doukhovor Cemeteries. “In some cases, a burial spot may be an abandoned cemetery,” reports Colorado Cemeteries, “when the owners of the property have left the area, and the property is no longer the responsibility of anyone.”

Typically there are family cemeteries, church owned, private, national, city, town and municipal cemeteries. Cemeteries may have undefined property boundaries, no signage or access roadways creating difficulty when locating graveyards.

The dates of cemeteries can be reflected by the types of monuments demarking the grave sites. Tombstone markers have evolved from wooden markers, stone mounds or circles, sandstone slabs, marble stone work, granite tombstones and the contemporary polished granite and marble. Additionally, in a cemetery, there may be headstone, footstone, ground tablet, basal table grave, ruin, cross, pedestal obelisk, pedestal column, Funeral home plaque, or bedstead set in an urban, country, family, private, isolated or rural setting. Mausoleum architecture, be it Romanesque, Gothic Revial, or Art Deco, they, too, reflect time periods in history, social values and chronological trends.

From the inscriptions, the names and dates are vital to the genealogist assembling a family tree. Additionally, symbols, backgrounds, art, Religious iconography, accomplishments, commemorative items, epitaphs, carvings, and sentiments are recorded by those remembering their dearly departed. These symbols may indicate a social identity such as membership in organizations giving way to additional information and further genealogical research. Family burial plots show groupings or symbols indicated they are related in some way.

According to Robert Redfield, “acculturation” is the “phenomena which result when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first-hand contact with subsequent changes in the original cultural patterns of either or both groups.” The adaptions of ethnic bloc settlements is evident in their burial customs, cemetery tombstone styles and the language chosen for the tombstone inscriptions.

Young pupils do not have to wait till University, they can be exposed to archaeological studies by visiting a cemetery and studying the culture of the community and the changes it its culture. Cemeteries tell the story of the deceased, those who mourned them, their views of death, and the society in which they lived.

Trends and customs in burial customs of ethnic, cultural and spiritual communities demark cemetery sections or complete graveyard styles of internment and tombstone design. Such was the case for Verna Elinor Gallén who detailed “variations in the expressions of social identity provided by the different Saskatchewan Finnish cemeteries” in Silence We Remember: The Historical Archaeology of Finnish Cemeteries in Saskatchewan. Noting the details of both tombstone and grave yard tells a story of communities in Saskatchewan, their growth and development, in times of sickness, war, and health.

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online

Additional Resources:

Links

Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project

Network Canadian Cemetery Management September 2010 Vol 24 No 10

Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery Resources and Organisations

Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index

Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual

 SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”

Books

Victorian cemetery art by Edmund Vincent Gillon

Bibliography:

Links to sources are embedded in text above.

Additionally:

Redfield, Robert, Ralph Linton and Melville J. Herkovits

1936 Memorandum for the Study of Acculturation. American Anthropologist 38(1):149- 152.

________________________________________________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________________________________________

Buy my work

Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson (AumKleem)) on 500px.com Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson

Saskatchewan’s Archaeological Cemeteries

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Saskatchewan‘s Archaeological Cemeteries

This is Part 3 of a 7 part series
The Heritage Property Act oversees the burials not found in a registered cemetery. On discovery of an historical burial site, the Minister is contacted as well as the appropriate agency, church or church historical documents, Indian band, First Nation or Euro-Canadian descendants before any archaeological excavations would be considered. To confirm land ownership, information can be obtained from the Provincial land registry through Information Services Corporation (ISC). The “Central Burial Site” along the South Saskatchewan River has been established for respectful internment of ancient First Nations burials where appropriate and under consultation with appropriate interest groups to determine final re-burial. Here rest over 200 interments. “This is considered a very sacred burial ground to First Nations,” says Carlos Germann director of Saskatchewan’s heritage conservation branch, “unique in that it accommodates all different tribal affiliations.” If the burial site is not threatened or in jeopardy, the site is recorded, and restored. In the case of a discovered homestead burial, similar legal decisions are made regarding the burial site preservation or removal and relocation to a local cemetery. In Saskatchewan, if the soil is disturbed, a permit is required in Saskatchewan. Approximately five to fifteen archaeological burial sites are found each year.

Swift Current is south east of the Gray cemetery examined between 1970 and 1974 and documented in Quaternary Dates and Verebrate Faunas in Saskatchewan by R.E. Morlan,R. McNeely, S.A. Wolfe, and
B.T. Schreiner. In this pre-historic site, 304 interments were found here dating back 3,000 to 5,000 years. The Gray Cemetery, a National Historic Site, is part of the Oxbow Culture, a part of the Middle Precontact Period..

Archaeological study reveals vital cultural, architectural, spiritual and societal histories. The forgotten cemetery of the St. Vital Parish (1879-1885) located on the Battle River near Telegraph Flat, North West Territories was established in 1877. Telegraph Flat was later named Battleford. Following the 1885 North West Rebellion, the Roman Catholic Mission of St. Vital chose the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) Cemetery near Fort Battleford and later, the Town of Battleford Cemetery This meant that the original cemetery abandoned, and the location forgotten till its discovery in 1999. A meticulous archaeological survey uncovered mortuary practices, spiritual and cultural customs, health and disease, artifacts, and rituals providing an in-depth documentary of the early history of the Oblate priests, the community and the 19th century Battleford area. The names of those interred was derived from parish registers, national, provincial and municipal archive records, Battleford’s North West Historical Society and newspaper accounts. The extensive archaeological research was compared to the records held by the Parish register. Similar archaeological investigation was applied at the Industrial School Cemetery at Battleford, and the two sites studies were compared. A reburial cemetery was held in 2002, and commemorative marker erected in 2003.

Near Canora, Saskatchewan, the Doukhobor Cemetery of Besednoye village was excavated and studied in detail by archaeological investigation. Seventeen interments were found here, and according to Jon Kalmakoff, eight of these have been identified.

The third archaeological cemetery studied in Saskatchewan was the Nisbet Presbyterian Cemetery discovered in 2004. Between 1866 and 1874 twenty-one interments took place at the Nisbet Mission cemetery. “The examination of cemeteries proffers valuable, multi-faceted information pertaining to the past,” writes Lisa Marie Rudolph in, An Osteological and Historical Examination of the Presbyterian Forest Centre Cemetery Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, “the comprehensive nature of burial and cemetery projects necessitate the involvement of local interest groups and specialists for the study to be successfully completed in a considerate manner.” A re-burial ceremony was held the following year at the South Hill Cemetery in Prince Albert.

Communities benefit from historical areas of historic and aesthetic value which bear “a unique or exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared” and can be protected under the Heritage Property Act. The Heritage Conservation Branch of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport (TPCS) has published the Guide to Preparing a Provincial Heritage Property Nomination. As such, “Heritage property is broadly defined as any property that is of interest for its architectural, historical, cultural, environmental, archaeological, palaeontological, aesthetic or scientific value and includes archaeological and palaeontological objects.” Under such designation and protection an historic cemetery would be listed in the provincial Heritage Conservation Branch’s Saskatchewan Register of Heritage Property and the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

The Globe and Mail reported that in 2008 the National Archives records were reviewed to locate cemeteries, and burial sites near Indian Residential Schools or IRS churches. Amongst these is the Regina Indian Industrial School cemetery, located on the west side of Pinkie road, unmarked but for a wooden fence. The Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee “believes that actions should be taken to develop recommendations to ensure that the site of the Regina Indian Industrial School cemetery be suitably and appropriately recognized.”

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online

Additional Resources:

Links

Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project

Network Canadian Cemetery Management September 2010 Vol 24 No 10

Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery Resources and Organisations

Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index

Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual

 SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”

________________________________________________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________________________________________

Buy my work

Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson (AumKleem)) on 500px.com
Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson

Cemetery Vacations

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Cemetery Vacations

Part 5 of a 7 part series.

Cemetery tours and historical cemetery guide books enhance the interpretation of the community’s evolution, providing information and cultural, historical and contemporary heritage interpretation. The Regina Ethnic Pioneers Cemetery Walking Tours and the associated books; Regina Ethnic Pioneers Cemetery Walking Tour Multicultural Tour 2 , Regina Cemetery Walking Tour Founding Fathers Blue Tour, and Cemetery Walking Tour : Multicultural. Tour 2  are examples of such an endeavour.

Such is the nature of the narrative documentation collected that this concise history becomes a significant source of information which honours and celebrates the memory of those who have gone before so they will never be forgotten ~ a source of community pride. Biographies of individuals, their families, occupations, and their spirituality commemorate the community and society in an historical viewpoint. Erecting monuments on cenotaphs, maps on billboard panels for visitors, pedestal mounted guest books during a commemorative re-dedication ceremony provide a link to achievements engaging visitors to recognize both the great individuals buried, along with the small pioneer families. “It is important because we are getting to the stage where, if we do nothing now, the memories of those people will vanish,” reported Oliver Evans, “I don’t think they should be forgotten.”

Vacation time and holidays create a rewarding experience and an opportunity to get the whole family involved in history, and introducing them to family ancestry. Memorable events are created when connecting with the memory and significance of ancestral events, pioneering days, and family traditions. Standing in the footsteps of your great great grandfather placing flowers on the grave on your great great great grandmother . “He gazed on that very same stone,” says Andy Linkins as he mourned his deceased mother. Remember to search respectfully, research as much as you can first and make contact with local organisations before you leave on your trip. Reaching “out to touch the final resting place of their ancestors,” writes Kory Meyerink, pries “the lid off a family story forgotten by most of the living relatives.”

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online

________________________________________________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________________________________________

Buy my work

Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson (AumKleem)) on 500px.com
Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson

Save our Cemeteries

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Save our Cemeteries

Part 6 of a 7 part series.

It is with honour and respect that cemeteries which have served communities for decades are recognized and cared for. “Burial grounds are an essential part of a community”, as the town of Herbert says, “the little prairie cemetery, dotted with small bushes, little fences and crosses, perennial plants, flower vases and personal touches really do tell a story of those who have gone before.” Cemeteries do indeed, express the social identity of their communities.

The Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual put out by the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society provides guidance to proceed on conservation and preservation of historical cemeteries, their clean up, repair and documentation. As Don Morgan, QC
Minister of Justice and Attorney General notes, the operation of cemeteries in Saskatchewan falls under the purview of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General….We have an opportunity to protect our heritage and if we don’t take steps to preserve it, it will be lost. As a province and a society we must make a commitment to identify and protect cemeteries.”

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online

Additional Resources:

Links

Canada Gen Web Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project

Network Canadian Cemetery Management September 2010 Vol 24 No 10

Saskatchewan Gen Web Cemetery Resources and Organisations

Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Cemetery Index

Saskatchewan Historic Cemetery Manual

 SCCMP “The Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program”

Books

Victorian cemetery art by Edmund Vincent Gillon

Bibliography:

Links to sources are embedded in text above.

Additionally:

Redfield, Robert, Ralph Linton and Melville J. Herkovits

1936 Memorandum for the Study of Acculturation. American Anthropologist 38(1):149-
152.

________________________________________________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________________________________________

Buy my work

Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson (AumKleem)) on 500px.com
Moon Fleur ~ Luna Rose by Julia Adamson
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