Welcome to Roots to the Past, home of the genealogy column by the same name and the genealogical ramblings of a proud Atlantic Canadian.

The page titles listed above include:

Blog: This is the front page for my genealogy blog. It contains snippets (usually the first few paragraphs) of blogs posted over the past few weeks. To read more of a particular blog, click the ‘read more’ link. You can subscribe to this blog by entering your email address in the box to the right under ‘Follow this Blog’. I blog at least twice a week, sometimes more. Comments are always welcomed.

Census: A list of resources where census returns for Atlantic Canada can be found for free.

Column: Lists the newspapers which publish my Roots to the Past column and the dates it appears in each.

Links: A list of links that will aid in genealogical research with the focus on Atlantic Canada. This is a new page which will grow in the coming months.

McDonald: This is my one-name study. The name I’m studying is William McDonald (MacDonald). I use Mc because until around 1910, the family name was spelt without the A between the M and C. Almost all the spellings for every family I’ve encountered in Nova Scotia spelt it this way. On this one-name-study page, I will listed every William McDonald I’ve encountered. To date (January 20, 2011), I have only 31 names. Eventually, I’m going to sort the Williams into birth groups. In other words, those born between 1850 and 1900 will be on one page and those born between 1800 and 1850 will be on another. It will make it easier for everyone to see if their William McDonald is in the list.

If you have links to a McDonald family in Nova Scotia, you may be interested in joing the MacDonald Nova Scotia mailing list. To learn more, visit the blog I wrote about it.

Municipality of St. Mary’s, Guysborough County Mailing list is open to everyone researching this area of Nova Scotia. To learn more about his list, visit New Genealogy Mailing List for Guysborough County.

Projects: This section contains projects I’m currently working on. They include research on veterans in and around Liscomb Mills, Guysborough County to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and Book Indexes. To date, two books have been indexed and added to this section.

1921 Census: Transcriptions of the 1921 Canada Census done by Diane Tibert. The areas include communities on the Eastern Shore between Harrigan Cove and Goldenville.

St Mary’s Municipality Mailing List: The Roots Web mailing list is for anyone interested in learning about the history of the Municipality of St. Mary’s which is located in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, Canada. This history encompasses everything from history on the individual communities to the families who made it their home. Interested individuals can join  the St. Mary’s Mailing List. I wrote a post about it here.

Please, visit again soon to see what I have in store. Better yet, enter your email address in the box on the right and follow me on my journey. You’ll receive an email message when new posts are added.

Thanks for visiting.

Diane Lynn Tibert McGyver, author of Roots to the Past genealogy column.

41 thoughts on “Home

  1. Hi Diane,
    I see your roots go back to the Burin area. I have the “Descendants of Charles Grandy” list which states he was born in the Channel Islands abt 1745 (Grandin). His son Morgan was purported to be a trader in St. Pierre. One of the two other children listed (Margaret Grandy) is my paternal ancestor. I am in possession of all the pertinent church records re: your ancestors and they are not quite the same. Please contact if you with to compare notes. I will be glad to “talk”.

  2. Good afternoon Ms. Tibert. I tried to send you an E-mail with more info. I’m trying to confirm that my family which goes back to the 1300’s in England is in fact decendant
    from Alfred the great Through William Brewster family and other maternal families.
    I can forward you my family tree by mail if you so desire to be able to give a better
    answer.. I will await your answer.
    John W. Prince

  3. Hi! Thanks for posting a link to my blog. Much appreciated. In the future, however, please only post a portion of my blog post with a link to the rest to encourage people to visit my blog. After all, one of the things bloggers like is visits to their blog. Although it was only a short item, it took me some time to write and edit. Thanks!

    Nice to discover your blog. I’ll be following.


    • Thanks, Gail. I did the auto-reblog this time. WordPress chooses how many words to snip. I don’t have any control over it. After reading your blog, I simply reblogged without realising WordPress had taken so much. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll watch for that in the future. And thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. Thanks for making the change — and thanks for following. I now also know how the auto-reblog works. Who knew? I learn something new every day. 🙂

  5. I’d like to check the WW1 Military Records online, but the link you provided “tllg.net/NC71” does not work. This was in the Moncton Times and Transcript on Nov 1, 2014.

  6. I am looking for information on The MacDonald’s who I am told came from Scotland in 1833. My Grandfather was Scott MacDonald who lived on Parker’s Ridge New Brunswick. His father was Alexander Young MacDonald who also lived in this area. Alexander’s parents were John MacDonald and Ellen Spencer who also lived in the Miramichi. I believe that John’s parents may have been the ones who immigrated from Scotland. I think their names were Alexander MacDonald and Jessee Young. I cannot find any further information so if anyone can help, I would greatly appreciate it.

    • In the 1851 Census Records for New Brunswick, Alexander’s wife is Jennet McDonald who I have found out had the nick name Jessie. However, In the 1861 Census for New Brunswick, she is noted as Catherine. 1871 census, she is noted as a widow. Therefore, I am not sure her legal name. On two of her son’s death certificates, she is named as Jessie MacDonald Young. The 1851 census also states that their entry to NB was 1833. Their children were as follows:
      Alexander b. 1836
      Thomas b. 1837
      Sarah b. 1839
      John b.1842
      Timothy b.1844
      Margaret b.1848
      George b. 1850
      Hugh b.1854

  7. I am a direct descendant of the MacDonald families who were ‘pressed’ from their ship during the US War of Independence and fought in a Scots Battalion. When these men were mustered out they were provided with land grants in Nova Scotia under Colonel Smallwood. All this happened beginning in 1776 – 1778.
    We have accounted for my MacDonald relatives, many of whom still live in the area of the original land settlements.
    I’ll do more research and share that with you so that you can add my family information to the portfolio you are creating.
    Laurel Ann MacDonald Armstrong

    • Thanks, Laurel. There are several Alexander McDonalds recorded who arrived in Nova Scotia around 1780. My Alexander ancestor came to Shelburne where he received a land grant. I have not found the ship he arrived on, but I believe it was around 1783, when the war ended. He was held prisoner when York fell.

          • The 1851 census for New Brunswick lists Alexander McDonald as 40 and Jennet at 37. They were both born in Scotland

        • The 1851 Census for New Brunswick list the McDonald’s in the Stanley Parish of York County. The children named are Alexander McDonald, Thomas McDonald, John McDonald, George McDonald,
          Margaret McDonald, and Timothy McDonald

    • Hi Diane,how are you doing.I judt wantef to give you something to go on .My father’s mom was named Auldis E. MacDonald and his dad was John Jack Snow.they lived in Halifax before and had relatives in Victoria ,B.C.too.I’m related to alot of Snows There.
      I’ll talk about that later on.I need to find out what Auldis ‘Elizabeth Macdonalds or McDonald’s parents names were.She was born in the early 1 1900’s so was John her husband,he was in the army there.The Snows come from along line of military.Lately I’ve been doing alot of research h and I have alot of Scotiish ancestry .I have it thru two other families too.One is on my mother’s side.Talk to you soon,bye,bye Suzie

      • Hello Suzie. Thank you for visiting. As far as I know, I don’t have a connection to the Snow family as far as I know, and there is no Auldis E. MacDonald in my McDonald family tree. There were plenty of Mc/MacDonald families who settled in Nova Scotia.

        Good luck with your research.

    • Laurel,
      In your research did any of your McDonalds settle at Balls Bridge, NS? Some records say Balls Creek. I am looking for Alexander McDonald ( b- abt 1800-1812) who lived in that area. I was told he was a loyalist- or at least his father was. Any help appreciated. My Alexander was married to Sarah/Marion McLean.

    • Thank You. The New Brunswick Census of 1851 says they came here in 1833 and names her as Jennet. I have also been told that she went by Catherine so I am not sure what her legal name was. I also found death certificates for two of their sons, Hugh and Thomas and they say Jessie Young (Apparently it was common for Jennet’s to get the nickname Jessie)

  8. Hi Diane
    Just a note to let you know how much I enjoyed your column “Song of the family tree” in this weeks paper. It made me think about how many events in my life are remembered by music. I admire your writing ability and the imagination it must take to come up with new story ideas every week. Looking forward to seeing you on the 18th. Cheers, Thom

    • Thank you, Thom, for the kind comments. Some might call me a music addict. They’d be right. If a day goes by without listening to music, I’m not myself. I’ll be thoroughly tired by meeting time. I have two markets plus a Brett Kissel concert to attend on Friday night. My longest weekend, however, began with a Huey Lewis and the News concert decades ago. Thanks, Diane.

  9. Hi. This maybe a shot in the dark but it’s worth a try. I recently read an old newspaper article which mentioned that my Great Grandmothers family originated from the Antigonish area however I have trouble finding any info to support this. Her name was Mary MacDonald and I’m thinking that she would have been born in the 1880-1890’s considering she started a family around 1915. The earliest info I can find has The MacDonalds living on an island in Bonavista Bay called Burnt Island ( some times referred to as Deer Island). Mary was married to James Maher. I’m not sure but I’m thinking that her family may have settled on the island years earlier as she had several brothers who also lived there. Most of the brothers eventually moved to Montreal and Boston. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Jason, I don’t have any information on this woman or her family. With a name like Mary MacDonald, she’ll be like finding a needle in a hay stack. At least you have her married name, so you have something to go on. Perhaps someone reading this blog will have information. Good luck.

  10. Hi Diane, my name is John McDonald and I am stuck at Alexander McDonald/MacDonald of Arisaig Antigonish NS born 28 April 1859 to John McDonald and ? This man attended St Francis of Xavier in Antigonish I would imaging about 1877-81 and moved to the states crossing at Port Huron Mi in January of 1883 and naturalized in 1896. I did find a St Margarets of Scotland christening record for April 20 1859 with father John McDonald and mother Anne MacDonald. HIs death notice at age 49 calls his father John and names no mother. HIs death notice in the newspaper says he has a “mother and three brothers in Canada and two sisters in Boston. He died Jan 20 1908 at 49 years of age, the newspaper said he was sixty, I have no idea where they got that. I have three census for Arisaig that I like but I can’t be sure of.
    The 1881 goes like this
    John McDonald born 1821 (Probably Scotland
    Mary 1828
    Allen 1856
    Alexander 1859 (My guy
    He moved to Peshtigo Wisconsin and in 1900 moved to Menominee Michigan. Any help you can give or if you can add this to your MacDonald blog so that someone might see it who is familiar with Arisaig Antigonish NS would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks John McDonald Spring Arbor Michigan email daddymac1961@yahoo.com

    • From my own experience searching for Alexander McDonald in Nova Scotia is a tough journey. There were many by that name. I don’t have any information on your Alexander, but perhaps someone will read the information here and be able to help. Did Alexander die in Nova Scotia? If not, where did he die, or where do you think he died? Michigan?

      It appears his mothers name was Mary because the 1871 Census confirms the 1881 Census.
      Starts here: http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/1871/jpg/4396739_00376.jpg
      And continues to the next page: http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/1871/jpg/4396739_00377.jpg
      Family 118: Mary (40) and John (52) had the following children: Allan (15), Catharine (14), Alexander (11), Mary (9), Margaret (7), Angus (5), John (3), Donald (2)

      The mother’s name may have been Mary Anne, and the same Anne you found in the record. It was not uncommon for people, particularly women to use their first name on one record and their middle name on another. In the instance of Mary Elizabeth, you might have Elizabeth, Eliza, Bessie, Mary E., Elizabeth M. or Mary.

      What information are you looking for exactly? Where he was born? A baptism record or a marriage record?

      Good luck in your search. If I find anything, I’ll let you know.

      • Thank you for the reply Diane and yes that os my problem, there were just so many Alexander McDonalds/MacDonalds in Antigonish county that is was nearly impossible to figure which one was his. Thia Baptism record was a godsend, I will spend some time today trying to figure some of this out.
        Death notice in the Menominee Michigan newspaper 20 January 1908.
        John McDonald Spring Arbor Mi

        “Mr McDonald came to Menominee some eight years ago and engaged in the grocery business, his present place of business being at 420 grand ave. He was a shrewd business man and gained Inumerable friends by his good natured and cheerful personality. He was a devoted father and a good Christian. Being a member of the Catholic church and a man who endeared himself to all who had the pleasure of knowing him .

        He was taken ill a week ago Sunday but was not removed to the hospital until Thursday, Saturday night his condition became critical about three o’clock this mourning. Mr McDonald was born in Canada 49 years ago. Besides his wife and four sons and one daughter he is survived by his mother, three brothers in Canada and two sisters in Boston.—–Illegible————- services will take place at St Johns church and will be —–of the Catholic order of foresters of which the deceased was a member” .

  11. This is what I came up….My grandfather –> John Angus MacDonald (Born Thorburn N.S.). My great grandfather –> Alexander B MacDonald (Born 1843 South River N.S.). My great great grandfather –> John MacDonald (Born Scotland) who was Married to Catherine (born Antigonish)

  12. I just read your article “A Shipwreck 200 years ago” published in the Moncton Times this morning re: the Beal family that emigrated to Canada 1817. You state that after the shipwreck, the Beal family settled in Middle Sackville, NS. Actually, they settled in Middle Sackville, N.B. (New Brunswick)

    Donna Sullivan (Beal)

    • Donna, thank you for clarifying the province. I knew there was a Sackville in both provinces, but I thought there was only a Middle Sackville in Nova Scotia. There’s also a Brooklyn not too far away from Middle Sackville, NS, and the man who bought the house and disassembled it was from Parsboro, NS. The two provinces are intertwined in many ways, particularly with place names.

  13. Re: Jan. 31 column in the Citizen-Record, “Different Types of pedigree charts” – in a conversation just yesterday a friend told me that she and her siblings received quite different DNA results. We concluded that just as siblings can differ from each other in looks and personality, so their DNA can pick up different strands from their common background. This may explain the small percentage of your German, rather than doubting your grandmother.

    • Hello Clare, and thank you for reading my column. I’m trying to figure out the ins and outs of DNA. Although I understand siblings can differ greatly, the very low percentage of German blood is baffling. The DNA tests are not the only thing that casts doubt. If it was, I’d not think twice. However, the stories of other children not be sired by my grandfather abound. The possibility of my father not being my grandfather’s son is not a great shock.

  14. My name is Jeff Brandal, my 3rd great grandfather was Robert Gould Sr. Born 1811 Guys borough Nova Scotia, his parents , unknown to me were born in Newfoundland . I am looking for ancestry to them.

  15. Diane .my name is George Rose.I was born and grew up in Rose Blanche.Iam presently residing in a retirement home in BEdford Nova Scotia.I have just finished writing a book about growing up there in the 1930,s and 40,s.I have a number of pictures to be in my book but the pictures on your site looks much better than the ones I have. Is there any chance that I could get permission to use your pictures instead of mine.I will credit all your pictures to you in my book.

    • Hello, George. Yes, I grant you permission to use them. Thank you for asking. If the quality from saving the pictures from the Internet is not good for your book, please, let me know, and I will email you the photos in high quality. Contact me at: tibert@live.com

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