Column: So Young and So Far Away from Home

Between today and Saturday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Tuesday: The Kings County Record (Sussex)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Title: So Young and So Far Away from Home

Snippet:

The world a hundred and fifty years ago was a very different place. Today we couldn’t imagine shipping boat loads of children to a new world without specific safeguards to protect them, monitor them and reunite them with family as quickly as possible. For several decades though, separating children from their family and sending them far away was not only common practise, but in many associations and societies, it was acceptable and encouraged.

The more than 100,000 children and young women who arrived in Canada in the 1800s and early 1900s may have come under difficult circumstances, but many endured to leave a lasting legacy for their descendants. Researching these individuals who had little say in where they were sent and what their roles in society would be used to be difficult. Increased interest in the young immigrants in the past dozen years, however, has brought their history to the forefront. Countless databases, records, websites and organisations have sprung up to answer the call for information, making it easier for researchers to locate their ancestors and to learn their incredible stories.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.

Column: Virtual Archives Enriches Local History

Between today and Saturday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Tuesday: The Kings County Record (Sussex)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin

Thursday: The Western Star (Corner Brook)

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Title: Virtual Archives Enriches Local History

Snippet: There are countless benefits to the Internet. Sometimes I often wonder how we survived without it. I’m not one who has it attached to my hip, but it has become my primary location to go when I have a question or seek information. It is a simple matter of opening my laptop and entering keywords into a search engine. The entire world is at my disposal twenty-four hours a day. If I can’t find the answer online, I can usually find tips on how to find it off line.

The fantastic benefit of the Internet for genealogy is that trillions of document pages can be stored online and accessible from anywhere. This is very different from decades ago when limited copies were available at certain locations and researchers had to travel to view them. The inability to search for them in one massive database (like the Internet) prevented many researchers from even knowing specific documents existed.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.

Column: One Province Becomes Two

Between today and Saturday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Tuesday: The Kings County Record (Sussex)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin

Thursday: The Western Star (Corner Brook)

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Title: One Province Becomes Two

Snippet: June 18, 1784 is a notable date for many genealogists with ancestors who lived in the Maritime Provinces at that time. That is the day a royal signature ‘moved’ thousands of people from Nova Scotia to newly created New Brunswick. Others were figuratively relocated to the province of Cape Breton. Although the smaller island province would not sustain itself, the two larger government entities would.

Prior to this date, these lands were one great territory called Nova Scotia. Approximately 20,000 people lived there. After the American Revolutionary War in the United States ended in 1783, the population more than doubled as those who remained loyal to the crown fled to Canada. Around 14,000 alone settled along the St. John River and Bay of Fundy area.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.

Wallace and Bruce exhibition

Originally posted on Flora Johnston:

And now for something a wee bit different:

Wallace and Bruce letters on show at Stirling Castle

Bruce letter

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-26886191

I’ve been working on the interactive to accompany this exhibition over the last couple of months. The exhibition brings together two extremely rare documents, one associated with William Wallace and one associated with Robert Bruce. Medieval documents aren’t instantly accessible to most of us, yet these two rare survivors have the power to link us directly back to some of the most exciting events in Scotland’s history.

The exhibition will set the documents in their national and international context, and the interactive helps you to explore both the actual documents and the story behind them.

It’s been fun to go medieval again!

The exhibition opens in Stirling Castle on 3 May. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

View original

It’s All Hair

The following Roots to the Past column was published around five years ago.

I’ve done many things with my hair over the past forty years. It’s been cut, curled, ragged, rolled, permed, bleached, coloured, gelled, moussed, sprayed, braided, twisted, wired (for the Pippi Longstocking look) and crimped. But there’s one thing I haven’t done: used it as art material.

Many of our European ancestors were skilled craftspeople. Women often prided themselves in needlework and weaving. During the Victorian Era (1837 – 1901), a different type of artistic medium became popular. Intricate jewellery, wreathes and framed images were created using human hair. White hair was rare, so horse hair was used as a substitute. Many art pieces have survived time and have been passed down through generations.

Women created the unique items with their own hair and gave them to family and friends as special mementoes. These items were cherished long after the woman passed away. Sometimes hair was gathered from the deceased to create remembrance items. Rings, broaches and bracelets made with this hair were called mourning jewellery. Black enamel and pearls were common on such pieces to indicate mourning and tears.

Continue reading

Column: Thousands of Books for a Dream Library

Between today and Saturday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Tuesday: The Kings County Record (Sussex)
Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin
Thursday: The Western Star (Corner Brook)
Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)
Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Title: Thousands of Books for a Dream Library
Snippet: If I could build any home I could dream up, it’d have a few small rooms in which to cook, sleep and wash. These spaces wouldn’t be the focal point, but they’d be necessary to keep a body healthy. My dream house would also contain one enormous library where I could keep the books I love and to read and write in.

Since I don’t have a library or even a den in which to store books, I’m forced to limit the amount of physical books I can own. Over the weekend I was reminded of this limited space while spring-cleaning. I pulled a box from a closet and found it filled with genealogy and history books that couldn’t fit onto the three books shelves I owned. Once again I dreamt of that house with small rooms and one big library.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.

Across the Vastness of Ocean and Space

This Roots to the Past column originally appeared in newspapers in May 2013.

What would you say if you were offered a trip of a lifetime? Would you go? Of course, you’d want more information about this wonderful expedition before accepting the ticket. The trip would be unlike any you’ve known in the past. You’d travel a great distance; months would pass before you reached your destination.

The trip is not without danger, so your safety cannot be guaranteed. You might fall ill or the vessel in which you travel may be destroyed. Space is at a premium, so you’d live for weeks, if not months, in a small area.

You’d have to pack only what you need because you’d have to carry it the entire way. It’s important to take tools that will help you survive when you reach your new home; sentimental items will take up valuable room, so they’re best left behind.

This trip is such a great distance with so many uncertainties that you should spend valuable time with family and friends because…because you’ll probably never see them again. The trip is one way only.

 

Continue reading