Sunday, February 01, 2009

My 1916 Happy Dance - The Joy of Genealogy - Carnival of Genealogy Edition 65

The topic for this 65th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: The Happy Dance. The Joy of Genealogy. Almost everyone has experienced it. Tell us about the first time, or the last time, or the best time. What event, what document, what special find has caused you to stand up and cheer, to go crazy with joy?

Practice your Happy Genealogist tap dance. Click here for some radio instruction (yes, radio) from 8 January, 1941. "Tap dancing on the radio." The CBC Digital Archives Website, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

Despite my tap dancing past, I don’t really jump up and begin to soft-shoe in a library or archives reference room when I find something great. I have been known to (loudly) whisper ‘BINGO’ though when I find ‘them’ in a historical document, newspaper or photograph! So far, I’ve never been reprimanded for this; I’ve even seen a few broad smiles in response.

There was the time though, very early in my genealogy life, that I called home to check for messages and heard a phone call from a live, yes, a real live cousin who’d seen my name in a genealogical journal and figured out that I must be ‘my father’s daughter’ and so related to her. I have so few live relatives that my feelings were quite obvious. Boy, were they surprised at work – to see calm, quiet Diane shaking with excitement! Still, they could understand this much better than my cemetery trips.

I’ve had some great finds – the will and estate file for Samuel Wood (1820-1908; b Lockwood, West Yorkshire, England; d Nottawa, Ontario, Canada) in the Ontario Archives in Toronto, for instance, was probably still my most useful genealogically. It listed the names of all his living children, with the daughters' husbands’ names and occupations; most of that information was new to me.

This last week the 1916 Canadian prairie census films were finally available at Cloverdale Library in Surrey, British Columbia, and on Friday I was able to go out and look at these for the first time. No dancing for me, but lots of Ah ha!s.

Some of our Swedish relatives emigrated to Canada after the 1911 census so I was anxious to 'make their acquaintance at last', so to speak, in Canadian records and reading through some of the census pages was very exciting to me as people I had known or met were alive in Manitoba or Saskatchewan or Alberta where this census was taken in 1916. My own mother is shown with her parents in Newdale, Manitoba. I do wish she’d lived long enough to see these pages with me (and to tell me everything she remembered about those names I don’t recognize!)

I think there may be some ‘happy dances’ for those with connections in the Springfield District of Manitoba. Enumerator Conrad Gauthier (bless him) took down the places of birth for many entries, mostly Canadian ones, but still – I noticed WALLACEs from North Dakota, USA and many names from Ile de Chenes in Quebec. These place names were later scratched out and the province or country written in, but the original entries are readable. (1916 Census, Manitoba, Canada, District 12 Springfield, SD 05, Library & Archives Canada film # T-21939)

Many interesting connections seem to be in the 1916 for me. I will be happily checking these out for some time to come. For instance, one of our cousins, John Gilchrist McNabb (b 1881, d 1956; son of Diana Gilchrist and Alexander McNabb of Fenelon Township, Victoria County, Ontario, Canada) came to Newdale, Manitoba in the 1910’s. He married Rose Isabel Younger in Manitoba in 1917.

In the 1916 census, a John McNabb the right age is shown living in the Strathclair area of Manitoba on the farm of George Henry and Annie Pattison. (1916 Census, Manitoba, Canada, District 05 Marquette, SD 10, Page 3, Household # 27 Library & Archives Canada film # T-21927)

Was this the same John McNabb? More clues from this entry - Annie Pattison, the wife of George Henry Pattison, was John Gilchrist McNabb’s sister. Also listed as living on the farm in 1916 was a Rosa Younger who’d emigrated from England in 1914. Is this how John Gilchrist McNabb met his wife?

I will have to see what else I can find. I do have some McNabb/Pattison photographs but they aren’t yet scanned or described. That will likely be my objective for the next Scanfest. More on this later.

For more about the 1916 census, see my previous posts -

1916 Prairie Census, Canada - films available at Cloverdale Library, Surrey, BC:

Canada, 1916 - Taking The Census in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba:


Janet Iles said...

I am pleased that the 1916 census is providing so much useful information to you.

Isn't it a shame that the last Canadian census in 2006 required Canadians to indicate whether they would permit their personal information to be released when it became public in the future? They have denied their descendants and other interested researchers the opportunity to do the Genealogy Happy Dance.

M. Diane Rogers said...

Yes, the 2006 census privacy question was worded poorly and this will be a serious problem for family researchers in the future. Genealogists are working with Statistics Canada to ensure this doesn't happen again.
In the meantime, anyone who didn't say 'YES' to the future - to allowing access to their information after 92 years (in 2098) can still change their answer. (Anyone who didn't answer the question was taken as a 'NO', so this affects many Canadians.) For more information and the form to fill out, go to: English -
or French -

M. Diane Rogers said...

Let me try those links again -



Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I am so jealous!!! My ancestors are all in the east so we don't have that census too at. So, I'm hanging on till the 1921 Canadian Census comes out.
Evelyn in Montreal