bifhsgomarg

Family history and genealogy can be your hobby and passion no matter what your walk of life. You encounter soulmates from all centuries and locate your spot on the human map. Technology has just given your searching a huge boost. Selling my books in the atrium at the three-day 23rd annual conference of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, I got glimpses into this world. You too may wake up one day wanting to find out more about where you came from and who you are:

1. DNA testing is an increasingly common tool. More than one type exists, beginning with a mouth swab done while you sit in a chair. It costs upwards of $100. You may also find out an ancestor’s DNA. Author Jane Simpson was next to me selling her book entitled Sailor, Settler, Sinner. She used DNA testing to trace the multiracial offspring of her womanizing great grandfather.

2. Old family bibles, diaries and documents need not be thrown out. They can be restored to perfection. Kyla Ubbink, sitting at the table on my other side, says paper (especially the old kind) is very permanent. As an expert, she can bring what is still there back to life and even fix tears. Musty-smelling books need not be thrown out. You can clean them up yourself by buying a fairly soft-bristled brush, with hair about 3/4″ long, and sit in the sunlight going through it page by page. You must be careful to get into the spine where dust, tiny particles of food remnants, etc. have collected. When it is clean and fresh the book can go proudly back on display.

3. Old newspapers, court documents and church records not formerly available have now been digitized and are accessible online.

4. Writing things down and taking pictures will be appreciated forever by your descendants. They will no longer be able to complain, “I wish somebody had told me about that before.”

5. Spelling is not all that big a deal. The way a name is pronounced is far more important in indicating family lineage. I talked to Heather Boucher Ashe of the Ontario Genealogical Society whose husband’s name is pronounced “Bow-cher”. They are not related in any way to any Boucher pronounced “Boo-shay”. Terry Finley, who publishes a beautiful glossy genealogical magazine with his wife, is related to Finlays, Findlays, Finlys, etc. etc.

6. Location and physical characteristics are very important. I spoke to a Mr. Parker whose people were farmers from Yorkshire, England. He was very interested to discover that’s where my Kell family also came from in 1850. He said we might discover in old church records that our relatives had intermarried. I must confess he looked a lot like some of my male cousins. One wonders about what spelling changes and marriages took place over the centuries.

7. Perils often accompany passions and I felt sorry for the curly-white-haired woman who told me her bathtub was full of her great grandmother’s letters. She looked exhausted from tracking four family names, one of them Smith, all at once.

8. Libraries as well as incidental encounters produce good contacts. One woman told me she had found a curator at the Glenbow museum in Winnipeg who dug out a newspaper article in which her great-grandfather was quoted. She also has found a woman in B.C. who keeps records on world war one war brides — something the Government of Canada did not do.

Researching family history is the least lonely and most personally gratifying of all hobbies. No wonder people are attracted to it in droves. You can always find a relative who lived at the same time as, and even rubbed shoulders with, someone famous, like Napoleon. A good place to start is by joining one of the many heritage societies that exist, such as BIFHSGO. It has monthly meetings, as well as special interest groups (e.g. ‘DNA testing’, ‘Scottish’ and ‘Family History Writing’) that also meet separately. Look for more information online at www.bifhsgo.ca.

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My father started as a cadet in high school and became a gunner in WW I. The only weapon of mass destruction we had in our home was a fly swatter.

I’m thankful this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend that I grew up in a home where the only weapon of mass destruction was a fly swatter, and the only guns seen were in news photos or Hollywood films. A far greater threat was depression or addiction which were in the family and would get us if we didn’t watch out. So we got enough sleep, ate mother’s home-cooked meals, went to church on Sunday, seldom got sick and did well at school.

  • Our recipe for civilization, security and freedom boiled down to these simple behaviors.
  • What bothers me about the debate over guns in the United States is that it never gets connected to the debate over the care of the mentally ill. There is no coming together.
  • I am no statistician, economist or politician, but on behalf of thousands of bullet-ridden corpses, one named “Jesus” to use the Christian metaphor for love, I am a mourner and protester enraged by the prospect of another ‘high-noon’ confrontation between us survivors.
  • Some believe protecting their second amendment rights comes first.
  • Some believe protecting their democratic human rights has priority.
  • Corpses can’t help. 
  • Mentally ill people can’t either, as long as they’re in prison, on the streets or at home without professional treatment.
  • Call me naive, but I see restoring mental institutions as the lone shred of hope. It is a disgrace that they were abolished. People who are mentally ill can be treated and even be cured.

Here’s my remedy:

1.The NRA has a heart somewhere and should do itself justice by showing it by raising funds to pay for mental institutions as a noble cause. It would be good PR for them. It’s a better place for their money than bribes to politicians or increasing gun sales. Democrats might even learn to love them for it and contribute generously.

2. Gun owners should pay a tax for mental institutions on the purchase of guns and attachments. If they don’t like it, they might have to forego an addition of one or two to their collection of arms.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving weekend!

  • Let’s stop creating “crazies,” the product of a badly behaved, uncaring society.
  • Let’s make the NRA and the ‘Abolishers’ and the restored mentally ill all part of the solution, not the problem.
  • Let’s all fight the battle against mental illness by looking after those in our own families and then looking for ways to help those we see around us who may be vulnerable to it.

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 Here’s an event to stimulate finding about your old roots in the British Isles.
“Walk in for online registration to join in the 23rd Annual British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa’s Family History Conference. It starts at 5 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa and runs until Sunday, Sept. 31 at 3:30 p.m. Simply drop by 501 Centrepointe Drive, Nepean, Ottawa to register and pay.
The  conference brochure describes program details and rates and says, “Come for one or two seminars, one day, two days – or all three days.
“Learn about English and Welsh family history and genealogy research methodology. Read about our speakers, seminars, lectures, and activities.
Browse, shop, and chat with vendors in our Marketplace that is open to the public with no admission fee.”
I’m proud to take part as a vendor and will be launching a new editing service especially for writers of family history manuscripts who have submitted them to traditional publishers but been rejected.

BIFHSGO is a wonderful network with over 600 members from all over. I’m looking forward to chatting with many congenial people and hope to see you among them. I’ll be there from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
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NF Northrop Frye Statue

Professor Northrop Frye Statue at Victoria College, University of Toronto invites you to sit and have a chat.

“Attending a university for several years is potentially the greatest experience to be ordinarily had in life.”
Alma mater (meaning a nourishing or abounding mother): in taking one’s first degree there’s a genuine rite of passage, an acceptance of a new motherhood in which the maternal spirit is one of companionship rather then protectiveness or externalized authority.”
“Genuine education starts with the passive knowledge of elementary reading and writing and then tries to transform this passivity into an activity, reading with discrimination and writing with articulateness.”
“The ‘basics’ are not bodies of knowledge they are skills, and the cultivating of a skill takes lifelong practice and repetition.”
“Without this background of practice and repetition, one may be able to read and write and still be functionally illiterate.”
“The university is a community in which the intellect and the imagination have a continually functional place and so gives us a sense of what human life could be like if these qualities were always functional in it.”
“What knowledge of the future we have, or think we have, we glean from a study of the past.”
“The book becomes a focus of a community and may come to mean, simultaneously, any number of things to any number of people.”
“Canada is a good training ground for the detachment, without withdrawal, that the university gives, because it is a secondary and necessarily observant country.”

The View from Here‘, Selected Essays by Northrop Frye 1974-1988

https://www.amazon.ca/Myth-Metaphor-Selected-1974-1988-Northrop/dp/0813913691

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cozybookbasics

keepsake In September 1967 I was a stay-at-home wife and mom with a six-year old son and two baby daughters.

Our kids were not my major problem, however. Nor were our means of support and security. My husband had taken a job as a patent examiner with the Government of Canada. His starting salary was $8,000 per year, with annual increases promised and monthly deductions for income tax, health insurance, public service union dues and a  pension.  I could cook, sew, clean, garden, manage  and be thrifty.

Not One Moment to Sit Down and Write
My big concern was that I didn’t have a moment in my day to sit and write down what I was doing and thinking. My passion was to record and pass things on. What I was doing was important and should not be forgotten.  How could I capture my fleeting thoughts on these lonely days…

View original post 372 more words

orieloucks.jpg.fcaf306d

Loucks’ heart was amongst the trees. Minden (ON) Times photo and cutline.

With scientific precision, superb literacy, brilliant intellect, fatherly tact and noble modesty, Dr. Orie Loucks http://www.mindentimes.ca/remembering-orie-loucks begins his family’s story by advising us how to approach the awesome task. Loucks was an esteemed scientist, author and conservationist.

1. Family history must be more than births, marriages and deaths. It needs to tell who the people are and why they came to the places where we find them.
2. We should learn what concerns drove them from one home place to another, in poverty or wealth.
3. We should also try to learn what are the values and interests of the family line that continue from one generation to the next. We may find family values that are evident over four or five hundred years.
4. One must wonder whether character traits, and not just physical resemblance, may have been carried along. Did the qualities that led to stubborn persistence on early Huguenot faith traditions continue until certain family leaders supported the British in the American Revolutionary war, and does it still continue today?
5. Great changes in circumstances faced by nearly every generation should be seen as a critical influence on each family’s life. Through all the change, we can expect to see continuity of family character.

6. This report tries to highlight both the ups and downs of each generation’s prospects. The record suggests the family aspired to be fair and just and try to make the world a better place in the future. Each one adapted and then practiced what they learned or believed in from the former generations.
7. Relevant history was passed down in 2010 at the 300th reunion of Laux/Loucks family members of the 1710 Palatine refugee migration. It not only added depth to the historical record, but also family relationships across generations were sustained, along with evidence of the continuity of physical appearance. Many participants at the reunion were struck by the resemblance that continues in males of the family, the square face, the strong though not prominent nose, and the firm but often dimpled chin.

8. Looking for the source of the surname revealed it spanned languages such as Spanish, French, Latin and Occitan, according to David Loux, author of part I, chapter 2 of the book. Different spellings in English are all pronounced the same way.
9. Other sources he consulted were the French armorial coat-of arms; dictionaries to give meanings of the name, maps to show localities, mountain ranges and lakes named du Laux, du Loux, Lau or Loucks. Pronunciation research was done into Occitan (they spoke this patois every day but used Latin for business and diplomacy.)
10. Finding out the influence of historical context on this family’s fortunes was crucial. The major social upheavals that impacted them, for better or worse, were the Crusades starting in 1096, the Albigensian ‘Crusade’ (persecution) two centuries later, and the religious wars that mobilized French society from the 10th to 17th centuries. France had no separation of church and state and Roman Catholicism was the state-sponsored religion. French reformers
(Huguenots) were driven into a major exodus.

“As minor nobility, some du Laux families would have held Huguenot church services in their homes. They would have fought alongside other families in defense of their religious cause and, as identifiable nobility, their homes would have been at risk for being ravaged and burned. The du Laux name turned up in Wiesbaden, Germany and from there they migrated to the United States.”

To find out more about Surviving 4 Migrations: The Loucks of Haliburton or to purchase a copy, please click on http://www.lulu.com/ca/en/shop/orie-loucks/surviving-four-migrations-the-loucks-of-haliburton/paperback/product-20163703.html

It is described as “A history of the Loucks family: France to Germany, to New York State, and Ontario from the 1620’s to the present.” pp. 280

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orieloucks.jpg.fcaf306d

“Loucks’ heart was amongst the trees.” Photo and cutline courtesy of Minden (ON) Times.

With scientific precision, superb literacy, brilliant intellect, fatherly tact and noble modesty, Dr. Orie Loucks http://www.mindentimes.ca/remembering-orie-loucks begins his family’s story by advising us how to approach the awesome task.

1.Family history must be more than births, marriages and deaths. It needs to tell who the people are and why they came to the places where we find them.
2. We should learn what concerns drove them from one home place to another, in poverty or wealth.
3. We should also try to learn what are the values and interests of the family line that continue from one generation to the next. We may find family values that are evident over four or five hundred years.
4. One must wonder whether character traits, and not just physical resemblance, may have been carried along. Did the qualities that led to stubborn persistence on early Huguenot faith traditions continue until certain family leaders supported the British in the American Revolutionary war, and does it still continue today?
5. Great changes in circumstances faced by nearly every generation should be seen as a critical influence on each family’s life. Through all the change, we can expect to see continuity of family character.

6. This report tries to highlight both the ups and downs of each generation’s prospects. The record suggests the family aspired to be fair and just and try to make the world a better place in the future. Each one adapted and then practiced what they learned or believed in from the former generations.
7. Relevant history was passed down in 2010 at the 300th reunion of Laux/Loucks family members of the 1710 Palatine refugee migration. It not only added depth to the historical record, but also family relationships across generations were sustained, along with evidence of the continuity of physical appearance. Many participants at the reunion were struck by the resemblance that continues in males of the family, the square face, the strong though not prominent nose, and the firm but often dimpled chin.

8. Looking for the source of the surname revealed it spanned languages such as Spanish, French, Latin and Occitan, according to David Loux, author of part I, chapter 2 of the book. Different spellings in English are all pronounced the same way.
9. Other sources he consulted were the French armorial coat-of arms; dictionaries to give meanings of the name, maps to show localities, mountain ranges and lakes named du Laux, du Loux, Lau or Loucks. Pronunciation research was done into Occitan (they spoke this patois every day but used Latin for business and diplomacy.)
10. Finding out the influence of historical context on this family’s fortunes was crucial. The major social upheavals that impacted them, for better or worse, were the Crusades starting in 1096,  the Albigensian ‘Crusade’ (persecution) two centuries later, and the religious wars that mobilized French society from the 10th to 17th centuries. France had no separation of church and state and Roman Catholicism was the state-sponsored religion. French reformers
(Huguenots) were driven into a major exodus.

“As minor nobility, some du Laux families would have held Huguenot church services in their homes. They would have fought alongside other families in defense of their religious cause and, as identifiable nobility, their homes would have been at risk for being ravaged and burned. The du Laux name turned up in Wiesbaden, Germany and from there they migrated to the United States.”

To find out more about Surviving 4 Migrations: The Loucks of Haliburton or to purchase a copy, please click on http://www.lulu.com/ca/en/shop/orie-loucks/surviving-four-migrations-the-loucks-of-haliburton/paperback/product-20163703.html

It is described as “A history of the Loucks family: France to Germany, to New York State, and Ontario from the 1620’s to the present.” pp. 280

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Canada's First Nations third edition cover

Storyteller of the Ages painted by Ojibway shaman Norval Morrisseau depicts the eloquent, sinewy tongue that bound the people together.

Homo sapiens sapiens (doubly wise man) began to arrive in North and South America some time after his origin 50,000 years ago. When the first contacts arrived from the Old World to the New they found people living patterns of life that had evolved over tens of thousands of years. In her book, Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding People from Earliest Times, Olive Dickason detects values that popped up among them in spite of hundreds of thousands of different locations, family groups, languages, climates and settings. Major assumptions gave them a framework to live in that met social and individual needs; we can speak of an American civilization in the same sense as of a European civilization.

1. Sharing

  • The people, whether mobile or sedentary, emphasized the group as well as the self. Land, like air and water, was for the benefit of everyone and so was communally owned.

2. Culture & Storytelling

  • Cultural knowledge  was the property of those ‘in the know‘, a jealously guarded privilege selectively passed on through the generations. Their history was passed on orally by storytellers.

3. Egalitarianism

  • They were egalitarian to the extent allowed by their sexual division of labor and responsibility. (An offshoot, in French Canada, was that this prevented celibacy. A consequence of clearly defined roles was a major factor in the harmony inside certain encampments.)

4. Consensus

  • The leaders’ role was to represent the common will; not only were they not equipped to use force; they would have quickly lost their positions if they had tried. This lent extreme importance to eloquence, the power to persuade; a chief’s authority was in his tongue’s end. The centrality of ‘the word’ was signaled by the importance of keeping it, once given.

5. Giving

  • Goods were accumulated to be given away on ceremonial occasions. The value of goods was appreciated but prestige was more important than the accumulation of wealth as such. Acquiring goods required generosity, among other virtues. Gifts were a social and diplomatic obligation. They were essential for sealing agreements and alliances with other people. Without gifts, negotiations were not even possible. Treaties, once agreed on, were not regarded as self-sustaining. To be kept alive, they needed to be fed every once in a while by ceremonial exchanges.

6. Humor

  • Humor was one of the first characteristics to be reported of New World peoples. It was highly valued; they highly approved of anything that provoked laughter. They rejoiced when they had an abundance, even of articles of little value. They had to know how to keep their spirits up in the face of starvation.

7. Hospitality

  • They all observed the law of hospitality, the violation of which was considered a crime. It could be carried to the point of self-impoverishment.

8. Unity

  • Belief in the unity of all living things was central to Amerindian and Inuit myths. The unity of the universe (although filled with powers of various types and importance) meant that all living beings were related — indeed were ‘people,’ some of whom were human — and had minds.

9. Harmony

  • Of utmost importance was harmony, the maintenance of which was by no means automatic. Peaceful co-operation could be shattered by violent confrontations with malevolent, destructive powers.

10. Trickiness

  • The demands of life could make it necessary to break the rules; hence the importance in Native legend and myth of the trickster, who could be an individual but could also be an aspect of the Creator or world force.

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olive2
Native people were so noisy on Canada’s Parliament Hill last July 1st Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t kick off 150th birthday celebrations until after he visited their protest teepee and assured them they are at the top of his agenda. The Hill symbolizes land never ceded by Native people and a million other grievances. The newly amplified native voice springs from Olive Patricia Dickason’s seminal book that gives them their history and identity. Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples From Earliest Times was my summer reading project but it will take me until the end of this sesquicentennial year to finish.

  • I met Olive 60 years ago when she was Women’s Editor of the Toronto Globe & Mail and I called on her in my job as public relations officer for the
    Metropolitan Toronto YMCA and National Council of YMCAs.
  • In 1998 we ran into each other in the cafeteria of the National Library & Archives building in Ottawa and lunched together. She told me about her early life “living off the land” in northern Manitoba and gave me good advice for the book I was writing.
  • Her father  Frank Leonard Williamson, an emigrant from the UK, was a successful business man in Winnipeg until he lost his money in the Great Depression. He moved his wife and two girls Olive and Alice to his one remaining asset, a bush property in the inter lakes region.
  • Their Métis mother Phoebe Philomena Côté taught them how to trap, fish, hunt and gather. She was descended from an aboriginal woman and a Frenchman who settled in Canada in 1634. With shining eyes, Olive fondly recalled those long walks up and down to check the traplines in all weather. She felt very lucky to have lived such a free, outdoor life in her adolescent years.
  • The survival skills she learned enabled her to succeed in later life: assess each situation as it arises, use common sense, be realistic, don’t give up nor play games. 
  • A Scottish remittance man, a classical scholar, lived along the same trapline and let Olive borrow his books and newspapers, including current issues of the Times of London. She read them all and they had discussions on the ideas of Plato and Marx; otherwise she completed grade ten in correspondence courses.
  •  When Olive was 17 years old, she left the bush to further her education. She met Athol Murray, the priest who was setting up Notre Dame Academy (affiliated with the University of Ottawa) in Wilcox, Saskatchewan.
  • He asked her what she wanted to do and she said, “Go to university but I have no money.” He said, “Don’t worry about that.” She finished high school and graduated with a BA in philosophy and French in 1943.
  • She got a job as a reporter for the Leader-Post in Regina, covered women’s and aboriginal issues and decided to aim to become a women’s editor in the male-dominated field. She did not find out about her Métis heritage until her mother introduced her to her relatives in the area.
  • She became passionate about learning more Canadian aboriginal history and was very upset to discover nothing was written about it in books. One day she would right that wrong.
  • Olive built her career while simultaneously supporting her three daughters from a failed marriage. She was a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, Women’s Editor of the Montreal Gazette and then Women’s Editor of the Toronto Globe & Mail.
  • In 1967 she became Chief of Information Services at the National Gallery in Ottawa, so I sometimes saw her at monthly meetings of the Media Club. Her first book, Indian Arts in Canada, won three design-concept awards; then she switched to academia.
  • At age 52 she got an MA at U of O despite resistance to the idea of studying in a field of history that didn’t exist because no one had done it before; aboriginals had only an oral tradition. Professor Cornelius Jaenan from Belgium was the only one willing to be her advisor.
  • He suggested she narrow her thesis topic to Louisburg and the Indians: A Study in Imperial Race Relations 1713-1760. He was able to get the Smithsonian Institution’s native American anthropologist/historian Wilcomb Washburn to adjudicate her work.
  • U of O now accepted Olive to complete a PhD in Canadian Aboriginal History (the field she had invented), which she did in 1977. That same year her earlier thesis was revised and published under the title of The Myth of the Savage and the Beginnings of French Colonization in the Americas to great academic and popular acclaim. 
  • Next she combined writing a series of books with her growing career as a history professor at the U of O and the University of Alberta. She became a full professor of history there in 1985 and stayed until 1992, two years past the mandatory retirement age which she had challenged in the courts, saying it violated the Province’s code of individual rights.
  • She won at the lower level but lost in the Supreme Court of Canada. The university made arrangements to give her temporary appointments to fill in for absent professors so she could stay long enough to finish her book, Canada’s First Nations.
  • Her meticulous research included visiting the Paris Archives to look at  mounds of paper resources of transactions and letters. She spent a year at the Newberry Library in Chicago on a Senior Rockefeller Fellowship, consulting scores of professional experts from other institutions related to Amerindians’ history.
  • She attended three important conferences organized by First Nations’ people in Canada. The treasured, signed Oxford University Press third edition copy I have came out in 2002 but I had no idea she was such a celebrity when she came to a humble heritage fashion show at our church that year with a mutual Media Club friend.
  • The last time I saw her before she died at age 90 in 2011 was at an 2006 exhibition of Norval Morrisseau’s paintings at the National Gallery. It was the first time this Olive-sensitized country had given an aboriginal artist his own show. She used one of his paintings, Storyteller of the Ages, on the cover of the third edition of her book. It was a privilege to view the show with her and chat on the way home in our car.
  • She still loved to walk in the fresh air and, I hope, relish her success. Her textbook, A Concise History of Canada’s First Nations, is in all Canadian high schools and her works are on university curricula all over the world.
  • She was awarded an Order of Canada, Lifetime Aboriginal Achievement Award and received many honorary degrees. Most of all she was a supremely intelligent, beautiful human being who linked all the citizens of our country to its long-neglected ancient history.

The day we ate lunch together she told me the family history I was writing would be a better book if I actually went to see the Indian reservation in northern Manitoba where my parents lived in the late 1920’s. In her spirit, and the spirit of the people who have always lived there, I will still try to find a way of doing that. I’m sure Olive could have.  I’ll walk along a winter trapline in her memory. When I come home I’ll be able to right a wrong and do justice to the first nation people whom I portrayed only through secondhand sources.

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Being the editor and co-owner of a community newspaper with a man of great guts, ability and integrity was life on the top of the world in Quebec’s exciting eighties. The inimitable Art Mantell passed away on Aug. 24 four years ago.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/journalist-art-mantell-loved-to-cover-human-drama/article13806669/