Lecture Tonight: Fort Point Frasers

I learned about this late last night from a fellow genealogists. The event takes place today… Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Public Lecture Topic: The “Fort Point Frasers” and the Great War Facilitator: Bruce MacDonald Date: Wednesday May 17, 2017 Time: 7:30 pm Place: Nova Scotia Archives, 6016 University Avenue, Halifax, NS This presentation provides an overview…

Maritime Nursing Sisters of the Great War

The following column appeared in print in March 11, 2017. Additional data has been added that would not fit into the published format. Maritime Nursing Sisters of the Great War Diane Lynn Tibert Canadian nursing sisters first saw action in 1885 when the government sent them to Saskatchewan to support soldiers fighting in the North-West…

Canadiana Launches online Database of Aboriginal Soldiers

April has been a good month for genealogists researching their Canadian ancestors with several new or expanded online databases, and here is another one. The following is the release Canadiana.org issued yesterday. OTTAWA, ON, April 26, 2016 — The World Wars Aboriginal Veterans Portal (WWAVP), the largest and most comprehensive source of data about aboriginal…

Guysborough County CEF Enlistments – March 31, 1916

“For the past two years, I have been “tweeting” Guysborough County enlistments, in addition to events related to Nova Scotia’s First World War battalions, one hundred years to the day after their occurrence. The tweets are available on my Twitter feed @brucefmacdonald and also appear in a window to the right of this blog column.…

First World War Veterans of Guysborough County: “Valcartier Boys”

The next installment of the Bruce MacDonald’s First World War Veterans of Guysborough County has been posted. “After more than four years researching and writing detailed accounts of First World War Guysborough County soldiers’ experiences, I have decided that it is time to take this blog in a new direction. Several reasons have prompted this…

Private John Angus McNeil

John Angus McNeil was the second of six children—four sons and two daughters— born to Donald “Brown” and Sarah (Grant) McNeil of Malignant Cove, Antigonish County, NS. Donald passed away around 1886 and the couple’s two youngest children—daughters Catherine and Isabelle—died before 1891, leaving Sarah to care for four young boys. While Sarah’s eldest son,…

Private Dennis Simon Levangie

Dennis Simon Levangie was the second of three children—two sons and one daughter—born to Philip and Bridget (Gerroir) Levangie of Port Felix, Guysborough County. According to family sources, Dennis spent several years in Boston, Massachusetts prior to the First World War. The 1911 Canadian census lists Dennis as a boarder in the New Glasgow, NS…

A Nursing Sister’s Story

Catherine Mary Nichols Gunn was the third of seven children—four boys and three girls—born to William and Mary (McInnis) Gunn of East River St. Mary’s, Pictou County. Catherine left home sometime before 1911, making her way to Seattle, Washington, where she completed a professional nurse’s training program. After she returned to Canada, as with so…

First World War Inscriptions on inside of Cave Found

NAOURS, France — A headlamp cuts through the darkness of a rough-hewn passage 100 feet underground to reveal an inscription: “James Cockburn 8th Durham L.I.” It’s cut so clean it could have been left yesterday. Only the date next to it — April 1, 1917 — roots it in the horrors of World War I.…

Ledger Sheets for Canada’s Navy

The following Roots to the Past column originally appeared in November 2013. There’s a new way for Canadians to search for ancestors who were naval veterans. On November 2nd, the Library and Archives Canada launched an index to the Ledger Sheets for the Royal Canadian Navy. In total, there are16,788 references to military personnel who…

Column: Facelift for Canadian Virtual War Memorial Website

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: Facelift for Canadian Virtual War Memorial Website Snippet:…

Great War Veteran: Arthur Blain Baker

Arthur Blain Baker was born May 2, 1889 (January 15, 1887 according to death certificate) at Liscomb to Elizabeth Rudolph (1847-1926) and William Baker (c.1838-before 1901) of Liscomb, NS. He was raised with nine siblings: Abner, Margaret, Zebah, Alexander, Matilda, William, Caroline, Charles and Henry ‘Kenneth’. Arthur’s parents Elizabeth Rudolph and William Baker were married…

Great War Veteran: Albert Baker

Albert Baker was born December 26, 1893 at Liscomb to Hannah Nauffts (1866-1950) and Albert Baker of Liscomb, NS (c.1860-1934). He was raised with twelve siblings: Deliah F, Emmerson, Violet, Wilfred, Tenna ‘Florence’, Tracey, James D., Florence, Henry E., Orphie, Bruce and Rita. Found in the 1901 Canada Census, Albert is seven years old and…

Second World War – Sicilian Campaign

During the Second World War, Allied maritime traffic in the Mediterranean was under constant threat of Italian and German attack. In an effort to turn the tide, at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, the Allies proposed an invasion of Sicily, code named “Operation Husky.” Read the rest of this blog on the Library and…

A Forgotten Threat to Our Dominion

We are the Fenian Brotherhood, skilled in the arts of war, And we’re going to fight for Ireland, the land we adore, Many battles we have won, along with the boys in blue, And we’ll go and capture Canada, for we’ve nothing else to do. ~ Fenian soldier’s song I first learnt of the Fenian…