Tag Archives: research

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/

Locating Saskatchewan Ancestors together

15 Jun

Genealogy in Saskatchewan

silhouette of man touching woman against sunset sky

Family tree research hints and tips for the province of Saskatchewan

The primary purpose and function of RootsWeb.com is to connect people so that they can help each other and share genealogical research. A common genweb goal is the collection and distribution of genealogical data on the Web. The role of the Saskatchewan GenWeb Project is to assist researchers in locating this information, as well as to add to the existing online data. SaskGenWeb is the gateway linking to the provincial resources & regional GenWeb’s.
If you are researching your family tree in Saskatchewan check out the new https://saskgenweb.site123.me/ Sask Gen Web  Genealogy frequently asked questions regarding Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project, Saskatchewan Cemetery Project, Saskatchewan Genealogy resources, look ups, and much more,

Saskatchewan Genealogy Services

Saskatchewan mailing lists, query boards, Saskatchewan regional maps, look up volunteers, genealogy in Saskatchewan research guidance, Saskatchewan Genealogy Resources, hints, tips, and how tos.

What we believe in

Preserving and celebrating the rich history of the province of Saskatchewan for genealogists and historians.
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Connecting to cousins in Saskatchewan, how to get past genealogy brick walls.

Maps and the lost Placename

5 Nov
Old Newspaper article National Railways Western Lines Map depicting Port Arthur / Fort William and Churchill to Prince Rupert and Vancouver Island. BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario Larry Walton

Old Newspaper article National Railways Western Lines Map depicting Port Arthur / Fort William and Churchill to Prince Rupert and Vancouver Island. BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario Larry Walton

“In cartography, as in medicine, art and science are inseparable. The perfect map blends art and science into an effective tool of visual communication.” ~ Dr. Keith Harries

How to travel to a homestead or unofficial placename in Saskatchewan or Western Canada.

How to determine distances between contemporary placenames and ghost towns.

Do you have an historic document or correspondence which has a placename that you have not heard of previously?

The homestead or locality which does not appear on a modern map are an enigma to the traveller trying to find the ancestral home. The genealogical researcher may wish to locate a local history book, or cemetery to glean more information about their family tree, however where would one locate the Saskatchewan place name “End Lake” or “Roderickville” for instance?

One very excellent resource is Geographical names in Canada | Natural Resources Canada Looking up a placename for any locale in Canada will produce the latitude and longitude along with a map, legal land description along with nearby placenames and the distance from the longitude / latitude supplied or the distance from the placename searched.

Another is the Online Historical Map Digitization Project showing maps, atlases and gazetteers from 1862 to the mid 1950s, genealogists and historians can find a variety of maps are a valuable reference tool for information about places, place names and their locations.

Old Newspaper article National Railways Western Lines Map British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan Manitoba, Ontario.  By Larry Walton

Old Newspaper article National Railways Western Lines Map British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan Manitoba, Ontario. By Larry Walton

In Saskatchewan, take the initiative to also check the two Atlas of Saskatchewan books along with Bill Barry’s Geographic Names of Saskatchewan for placenames and their locations book ISBN1-897020-19-2. Saskatchewan local history directory : a locality guide to community and church histories in the Prairie History Room, Our Towns: Saskatchewan Communities from Abbey to Zenon Park By David McLennan and Saskatchewan Ghost Towns are other major resources to help you on your way with your preliminary research online. Search Saskatchewan Placenames amalgmates placenames from the National Archives resources, various books and atlases, and historical maps.

An historical location may be defined by the legal land location. How easy is it to locate Roderickville located at section 20 township 15 range 10 West of the third meridian?

“A map is the greatest of all epic poems. Its lines and colors show the realization of great dreams.” ~ Gilbert H. Grosvenor

Roderickville appears on Larry Walton’s Canadian National Railways Western Lines Map a part of the Online Historical Map Digitization Project and Roderickville also shows up in Geographic Names of Saskatchewan. It then becomes apparent that Roderickville is located just west and south of Swift Current near Rush Lake on the Canadian National Railway. Travelling to Roderickville, now becomes much easier with such bearings.

Obtaining a modern Rural Municipality map then provides current roads for the area. The determination of which Rural Municipality needs to be contacted can be derived from one of these maps which will help locate the legal land description, in this case section 20 township 15 range 10 West of the third meridian for Roderickville. This legal land location can be identified by

Rural Municipality Coulee No. 136
Latitude Longitude
50.273554 -107.345313
50° 16.413′ N 107° 20.719′ W
50° 16′ 24.79″ N 107° 20′ 43.13″ W
Township Road 154 Range Road 3105
MGRS/USNG UTM NTS
13U CR 32882 71677
13N 332882 5571678 C-28-C/72-J-6

So by entering in the degrees longitude and latitude into Geographical Names of Canada, the determination is made that:

Neighbouring placenames to Roderickville are

  • Braddock 24-13-11-W3 is a nearby Locality 19 kilometers
  • Burnham 16-15-11-W3 is a nearby Locality 9 kilometers
  • Coulee No. 136 is a nearby Rural Municipality 13 kilometers
  • Fauna 16-11-W3 is a nearby Railway Point 16 kilometers
  • Hallonquist 25-13-10-W3 is a nearby Hamlet 19 kilometers
  • Herbert 17-9-W3 is a nearby Town 19 kilometers
  • Neidpath 1-15-10-W3 is a nearby Hamlet l 9 kilometers
  • Rush Lake 1-17-11-W3 is a nearby Village 15 kilometers

By contacting the individual Rural Municipality for their map, driving on township and range grid (gravel) roads becomes very easy to arrive at your destination. Saskatchewan Geographic Perspectives

Do you wish to discover how to travel to an unincorporated hamlet? Pay attention to the road signs as you travel along the country gravel road. There is a pattern to the township and range Roads in Saskatchewan as are assigned by the Saskatchewan Provincial  Standard System of Rural Addressing.

“I am told there are people who do not care for maps, and I find it hard to believe.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

The other method to arrive at Roderickville section 20 township 15 range 10 West of the third meridian would be to use an online legal land converter which determines the latitude and longitude and the GPS bearing for any legal land location. Then plug this number into any GPS system.

Ascertaining which localities are close to Roderickville and which Rural Municipality Roderickville is located within, also helps to know which cemeteries are nearby and which local history books are written for the area. Use any library catalogue and type in the rural municipality or larger municipality name. Genealogists may be interested in neighbouring cemeteries to locate an ancestor. In Saskatchewan, a number of the cemeteries are online by a variety of groups, as they are for many countries and provinces across Canada. The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society, for example lists cemeteries by rural municipality.

  • Village population of at least 100
  • Town population of 500 or more
  • City 5,000 residents.

Ghost towns are communities that no longer exist or former Villages/Towns that have become unincorporated hamlets. Delve into some historic maps and placenames which have disappeared from contemporary maps. Before the motorized vehicle was in common use, pioneers and homesteaders relied on horse and cart or ox and buggy for transport to take grain to market, or to drive into town for mail, groceries and supplies. So how far could a horse travel for example? How far a horse travels in one day – Cartographers’ Guild suggests;

Horse / Horse and Cart Travel Distances
Geographic surface
Level or rolling terrain: Without a cart With a loaded cart
On Roads / trails 40 miles/day 64 kilometers/day 20 miles/day 32 kilometers/day
Off-Road (or unkempt trails etc)
Hilly terrain: 30 / 51 15 / 24
Mountainous terrain: 20 / 32 10 / 16
Level/rolling grasslands: 30 / 51 15 / 24
Hilly grasslands: 25 / 40 12 / 19
Level/rolling forest/thick scrub: 20 / 32 10 / 16
Very hilly forest/thick scrub: 15 / 24 7 / 11
Un-blazed Mountain passes: 10 / 16 5 / 8
Marshland: 10 / 16 5 / 8

According to Chapter 7 Settlement Evolution since the Late Nineteenth Century. Saskatchewan Geographic Perspectives by Hansgeorg Schlichtmann and M.L. Lewry, towns “were usually spaced 12 to 15 km apart along a railway line so that, in the age of horse-and-cart traffic, a farmer could make a round trip to town and back in one day. Along GTP lines (e.g. the Regina-Fort Qu’Appelle-Melville line) they were rather more closely spaced and, subsequently, more of them have declined or even disappeared more than towns on other trunk lines.”. Local Improvement Districts (LID’s) and, Statute Labour and Fire (SLF) Districts improve the local community, establishing cemeteries, honouring war dead, providing health care, roads, bridges. The horse and cart were greatly assisted by the work of the early precursors to the RM and to the Department of Highways and the ensuing Rural Municipality formation. LIDs and SLFs were replaced by Rural Municipalites (RM) following the Spencer Commission findings. Roads were straightened in the 1960s following World War II as more families had access to motorized transport with improved technologies from World War II. When the veterans returned home, society made further improvements. These improvements phased out the need for travel by horse, horse and cart, and ox and buggy. Gradually the extensive railway system saw branch lines closing due to the same phenomena. The one room school house gave way to the consolidated school in town. Families shifted away from the rural farm following the drought and depression in the 1930s seeking economic recovery in the urban centres. The consolidated school also attracted younger families to urban centres and away from living a rural existence.

“First, farms became larger and the rural population declined, so that the sales volume of small-town stores decreased and many businesses ceased to be viable. Second, motor vehicles became more affordable and highways were improved, thereby increasing mobility. Third, this mobility, along with greater disposable income, enabled rural people to purchase goods and services available in higher-order, more distant central places. Fourth, to achieve costs savings, many smaller grain elevators, and public service facilities such as schools and hospitals were replaced by larger ones, at fewer locations. …A number of small settlements have disappeared.” Schlichtmann

Good luck on your journey, and have a lot of fun discovering where once there was a thriving and active community of settlers, which may no longer exist. What can be found today? Does the foundation of a store, or a school district flag pole still remain? Here is another mystery; McMichael near Melfort on Larry Walton’s Canadian National Railways Western Lines Map. This placename of McMichael does not appear on contemporary maps, and is not discovered by Bill Barry in his book, so what is known of this placename that has disappeared? Are there any other placenames on historic maps which are not listed at Search Saskatchewan Placenames? Lost places collect placenames without a location, and the Search Saskatchewan Placenames seeks to update its listing with new additions as they are submitted.

Have fun on your genealogical journey discovering what are the neighbouring communities of an ancestral ghost town. By locating a historic settlement it is easier to find resources such as local history books, libraries, museums, historical societies, cemeteries and perhaps a descendant still farming on the “Century Farm” to help discover further information for the family tree. If you are tracking down a historic placename in correspondence or a treasured historic letter, please bear in mind, that pioneers and settlers often referred to their placename where they lived as the name which may be indeed the one rom schoolhouse district as it was an integral part of the new community, and settlers gathered together at the school house for meetings, dances, rallies, the Christmas play etc.

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Related Posts:

Country Roads Leading Home

Where were Saskatchewan homesteads located?

How do I locate my Ancestors Home Town in Saskatchewan?

Locate Your Saskatchewan Place-name

How did pioneers travel to their prairie homesteads?

Maybe the Ghosts Will Live Again! Saskatchewan Ghost Towns… Do you have oral history about a Saskatchewan placename not on a current map? How do you find those communities which were once dotted around the prairie every six miles or so?

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All rights reserved. Copyright © Julia Adamson All my images and text are protected under international authors copyright laws and Canadian photography laws and may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without my written explicit permission. They may be licensed through Getty images. .. Peace and love be with you.
Namaste.

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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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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

Saskatchewan Genealogy MagazineSaskatchewan Genealogy Web : Sask Gen Web E-Magazine
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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.

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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”

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Are there Genealogy Web Sites other than Ancestry.com?

10 Feb

Are there Genealogy Web sites other than Ancestry.com?

Celestial Blue

As more records enter into the public domain and are not protected by privacy and copyright laws, there are more and more books, records, and information being digitised online by a virtual plethora of web sites. How does one sort through the internet to find the web pages most useful in your ancestral search projects? There is not one way to find the best sources for information but several web sites which will hold up a torch and help to light up the path on your journey.

Ancestry.com is the new name for Rootsweb. Rootsweb has many volunteers manning the World Gen Web which includes the United States Gen Web, Canada Gen Web for instance and all the various states or provinces and their regions as well. Rootsweb volunteers provide regional local information, mailing lists and query – posting boards for internet visitors for free. rootsweb also provides the World Connect program where users can submit their family tree ged com file to share online as well, for free Ancestry.com took over Rootsweb and does charge for select databases, but not those databases or transcription projects put online by volunteers.

As far as other sites to use for genealogical research other than Ancestry.com, it would depend upon your region of ancestry to know if there would be additional sites to use. It is always best to search online for as much information as is available and not just search on one web site.

In Canada for instance the National Archives and Library web site has been making huge improvements and additions, and genealogists have appreciated the census being put online in the form of primary source documents, which have been transcribed on other websites as secondary source documents. It is on this website as well that WWI records can be found as well as Dominion Land Grant Patents, and scrip land records.

For researching ancestry in the United States one would be amiss to not check the Social Security Death Index SSDI, which is searchable now on many and several web sites.

If your genealogical research takes you afield to the British Isles, GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) has some excellent resources.

To try to keep a handle on the huge amount of information that is flooding the internet for genealogists and historians, Cyndi’s List has been cataloging the information by subject.

Family Search.org is the web site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This denomination provides a large amount of information via microfilm in their LDS libraries and a lot this is coming online as well.

There are too many web sites world wide to include them all here. Start from what you know and work towards the unknown. Local sources may indeed be the best source for birth, marriage and death certificates as well as cemetery photographs or internment records. The regional library or archives would have the newspaper records for obituaries, birth, wedding and anniversary announcements. The genealogy society in your ancestor’s country of origin is devoted to helping professonal genealogists and researchers and can provide resources and information guidelines. Rootsweb, by providing regional genealogy web sites through World Gen Web helps to find regional genealogy internet URLs, local web sites and postal addresses of interest to genealogists. World Gen Web also has established various transcription and assorted genealogical and cemetery projcts depending on the region and resources available. As well Cyndi’s list mentioned above helps in fiding the relevant web site or the “needle in the haystack” in a very organised way.

This brief introduction to online genealogy intends to help researchers discover where to research the internet for reliable sources. Good luck with your genealogical endeavours.

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Related posts:

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 prarie homesteads?

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

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

For more information:

Saskatchewan Gen Web: a Rootsweb genealogy regional web site on ancestry.com

All rights reserved. Copyright © Aum Kleem All my images and text are protected under international authors copyright laws and Canadian photography laws and may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without my written explicit permission. They may be licensed throgh Getty images. .. Peace and love be with you.
Namaste.

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