Saturday, October 16, 2010

Who To Blame? Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

It's time for Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun over at his blog, Genea-Musings.

Here is this week's SNGF task and the questions we're to answer -

1) Read Brenda Joyce Jerome's post Who or What Do You Blame? on the Western Kentucky Genealogy blog. She asks these questions:

* Can you identify person or event that started you on this search for family information?

* Did you pick up researching where a relative had left off?

* Did your interest stem from your child's school project on genealogy?


I don't think there was any one event or person that started me on my family history research and no, when I started, I knew very few doing genealogy research, certainly no one in my immediate family, although a cousin quickly 'found' me. And my children did no 'family trees' at school, although my grandson did.

Anyway, I wouldn't be blaming anyone, that's for sure. It seems to me that my genealogical interests were a natural outgrowth of my interest in Canadian history, particularly women's and British Columbian and prairie history. After researching historical individuals and families in the census and directories, etc., it was comparatively easy to start looking for my own family.

I can say, however, that my mother was always interested in Canadian and women's history, especially in western Canada, and also, that being a child in school during several centennial celebrations gave my interest in history a early and healthy boost - 1958 British Columbia centennial; 1966 centennial of BC mainland and Vancouver Island colonies merging; 1967 Canada's centennial; 1971 centennial of British Columbia's joining Canada; later there was the 1986 Vancouver BC centennial. (And, my father took me to Mountain View Cemetery regularly too where most of his Vancouver relatives were buried.)

My mother never did any family research, although I know she tried to check out some of her own memories of visits to 1930s Vancouver, but when I started 'doing genealogy' in the late 1980s, she quickly came up with lots of questions she hoped I'd answer (like what ever did happen to Samuel WOOD's first family and to that cousin, James SCOTT, who went to the US...) as well as some topics she might have wished me to forget (like that SCOTT d-i-v-o-r-c-e).

As for the centennial celebrations, I still remember going to City Hall in 1958 to talk to the legendary Vancouver City Archivist, Major James Skitt Matthews, about Vancouver, British Columbia's early history while doing research for a class project at Simon Fraser Elementary.

My parents knew him and Dad was the first to say 'you need to ask the Major, Diane' when I started reading and talking about the 1880s in Vancouver. (My Dad was born in South Vancouver so I thought he should have known all about the city's history. )

The Major was very tall - of course, I was little - and he was both very enthusiastic about Vancouver and very patient with my questions, as I recall, pulling open filing cabinets to show me things - a great introduction to archives research. And he gave me a pamphlet to use - my first citation!

So, thanks Mum, thanks Dad - and special thanks to the Major! Both my historical and genealogical interests have shaped and enriched my life.

City of Vancouver Archives, history:


Anonymous said...

Many, many years ago when I was young and fresh and full of life, my parents sat me down and presented me with my great great grandmothers silver cross. They told me the story of my great grandmother coming from England to Canada to meet up with her husband. She brought their three children across the ocean with her. One woman two rambunctious kids and a six month old infant. At that time I had them tell me all the names they could remember and as close an approximation of birth and death dates as they could for both their families. Then I put the information away and forgot about it.
Many, many years later when I was old and grey, my parents passed away and in the pile of photo albums I inherited was my little booklet of names and dates. I guess I have myself to blame for my current addiction to anything family. I got started on and have amassed quite the collection of ancestors.
The best part has been the people I have met on line.

M. Diane Rogers said...

Thanks for sharing the story of your start in genealogy. And, I certainly agree, the people I've met doing genealogy are the greatest! (Even if we can't connect as kin - yet.)