Column: Grandmother’s Lost Knowledge Uncovered

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: Grandmother’s Lost Knowledge Uncovered

Snippet: For decades I’ve been quizzing family members for genealogical information. They were questions like: Did any Appleby relatives in Newfoundland relocate to New Brunswick? Do you know if the Tipert family in New Germany is related to the Tibert family in Liscomb Mills?

I’ve asked other types of questions, too; they’re still important but not the usual ones found on genealogy charts. What colour was nanny’s hair? How tall was she? Did your grandfather wear glasses?

All this eventually led to yeast. As a bread-maker in training, I wanted to know how bread was made and stored a hundred years ago. My mother, who was born in the 1920s, has made countless loaves in her lifetime and clearly remembers her own mother rising early and setting bread.

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

2 thoughts on “Column: Grandmother’s Lost Knowledge Uncovered

  1. You have provided a clue to my search for the “starter” for buckwheat pancakes. I have done an internet search and can see how French Canadians came up with the starter but here in SW NB, I have not been able to puzzle it out. Even those of my Mother’s generation, the same generation as your mother, do not seem to know the basis of the starter. I have tried various starters but none as basic as aspen yeast spores. If anyone can give me a clue, I’d appreciate it.

    • I’m glad to be of assistance.

      It is no surprise our parents/grandparents forget. Those who used to make the dough have probably used store-bought yeast for the past 60 years. My mother couldn’t remember what she stored her bread in–back before plastic bread bags. I suggested a cloth, but this was used only as the bread cooled in the evening. When I mentioned a bread box, she thought that that’s what it must have been. She was 17 when she left home to live in Halifax. Her memories of those early years are blurry. She remembers a lot, but bread just wasn’t that important to remember.

      I discovered the Aspen spores when she mentioned (after a few discussions) that during one trip to Newfoundland in the 1990s, her childhood friend had made the comment about the tree, yeast and bread. She didn’t know what tree it was. I found that out on the Internet.

      I wish I had asked my grandmother on my father’s side (or one of his older sisters) before they passed away. That grandmother was born in the 1880s, and I’m certain she would have made her own yeast. They have all passed on now, leaving only two brothers (my uncles), they youngest, born in the 1930s who have no recollection of bread-making.

      Perhaps a reader will come forward with an answer.

      Thank you for comment. I wish you the best in finding the source of your starter.

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