I hope the past summer months have allowed you all to get out and about and find an odd ancestor or two! At a family reunion in England I got a lot of new names so now I have a full winterís worth of verification ahead of me ó maybe thatís more than one winter!
One beautiful evening at the end of August Ian Holmes, our AGS president, accompanied three members of our branch on a visit to the newly formed Peace River branch. It was an informal meeting with a good turnout of their members. We were able to share questions and answers while sitting on the deck of the old NAR station building ó it was nice to add a little history to our genealogy. The Peace River Branch have their inaugural meeting in September and I know you will join with me in wishing them well in forming a strong and active branch.
Plans to deliver a series of Beginning Genealogy workshops are underway again. This year we plan to offer the first session on October 21st, so watch for announcements and help spread the word! We are hoping that the workshops will help anyone interested in genealogy to either get started or to fine-tune their research techniques. Maybe we will attract some new members too.
The Genie program and the study group in the library will both be up and running in September. If you havenít used either resource why not give them a try. Itís good to work along with others and the study group especially provides lots of opportunity for sharing.
It is hard to believe we have already reached September 2000. As everyone becomes involved in their "winter" activities, I hope you keep our society's needs in mind. Societies such as ours are here for their membership, but require the support of their membership to thrive. We are a healthy vibrant branch of AGS, and we need YOU to maintain our strength.
It was brought to our attention that our members missed having the gleanings from publications received in our library as a regular feature in "Heritage Seekers". I am delighted to announce that Valerie JENNER has accepted the challenge of reading the various publications we receive in our branch and advising our membership about articles of general interest to our members. These gleanings will be published in "Heritage Seekers" on a regular basis starting with the next issue. Thank you Valerie for this valuable service.
I would also like to express my thanks to Gail SCHAU for volunteering to write a book report for this issue. Gail is often found "haunting" the Grande Prairie Public Library, and in this issue she shares a favorite book with you.
As always, this publication would not have been published without the dedicated volunteer spirit of Laura TURNBULL. Thank you Laura for sharing your expertise.
Out Future, Our Past: The Alberta Heritage
Digitization of Local & Alberta Histories. Fully searchable by author, title, or keyword and when the search term(s) are located you are able to bring up the actual page from the source.
Digitization of Alberta Newspapers. Newspapers can be identified by year or by place and pages are all scanned so that you can see the full newspapers, complete with advertising, online.
"Did you make those bedspreads, or did Gram?"
There are two spreads on the single beds in my parents' spare room. They are a glorious splash of color of odd-shaped pieces (none bigger than 5" x 3") of velvet and velveteen fabrics. Each piece is outlined in featherstitching and the backing is a dark, rich red of sateen. My mother takes great pride in her sewing and I know these creations took hours and hours.
When I asked my Mom the question it was more for Debby's sake than mine. I thought I knew the answer. Debby Was and I stayed at my parents' home in Calgary on our way through to Salt Lake City last September. We were staying in the spare room and Debby was very interested in the spreads and their keepsake value. I, on the other hand, had taken them for granted. So, when I asked my Mom, "Did you make those bedspreads, or did Gram?" we got the whole story.
It seems my aunt had asked my paternal grandmother (Gram) if she would make a spread for her room to go with her Mediterranean décor. Gram agreed and after a lot of hard work on her part, the quilt was completed and placed in my aunt's room. My mother had complimented her mother-in-law on a job well done and left it at that.
Well, sometime later, my grandmother decided to rid her sewing cupboard of some of it's contents and sent all her extra pieces of velvet and velveteen to my mother. The expectation was that she would make a spread of her own. My mother was not pleased with the assumption that she cared to make one and felt somewhat pressured. She put the task off for as long as she could and, considering that Gram had volunteered to do the featherstitching, she felt she could delay the project no longer.
In delving into the box of material pieces, my mother found that all she was starting out with was indeed only the odd-shaped scraps. Her spread could not be in the same format as Gram's (most pieces were probably at least 6" x 6") and would be a much more arduous task. But, she started and as she got two-foot sections completed, she sent them to Gram for the featherstitching. Another glitch in the plan - Gram wasn't expecting the pieces to be so small and complained about all the extra work this was going to be. After the first few sections were returned, all featherstitched as promised, and with the grumbling about all the work, my mother was about ready to scratch the whole project. Even as she tells the story, you can still hear a hint of resentment.
Anyway, as she got further into the project, there came a point of no return and the spreads (somewhere along the way they became two smaller spreads and not just one double-sized) were finally completed. They are beautiful and I know that my mother takes great pride in the workmanship. I know that she appreciates the work that Gram did on the featherstitching, and, now that Gram is gone, she can look at these spreads and see a joint collaboration of talents.
What do I now see in these spreads? I see my mother's and my grandmother's hard work, I see the past, and, in hopes of one day having one of these spreads passed to me, I see the future. For all these years, I thought these spreads had been a mutually agreed upon and willing joint effort. Aware now that they were not, it makes the spreads even more special. These are the family keepsakes Ö that almost weren't.
Births marriages and deaths as contained in the Grande Prairie "Herald" newspaper. Continued from the March 2000 issue of "Heritage Seekers".
June 12, 1923 Issue:
- "At the Presbyterian Manse, June 5, 1923, Miss Elsie ROBERTS married Herbert G. BESSANT. Rev. FORBES officiated Ö the bride, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry ROBERTS of Bear Lake Ö The groom is the representative of the Royal Fruit Co. for Northern Alberta (for the past four years)."
June 19, 1923 Issue:
- "Murder Trial: "Earl HANNA was tried on a charge of murdering his friend George MURRAY 20 Jan Ö" (shot while hunting together).
June 26, 1923 Issue:
- "Born to Mr. and Mrs. Chester MILLER, on Sunday, June 17, at the Grande Prairie local hospital, a son."
- "Born to Mr. and Mrs. W. D. ALBRIGHT of Beaverlodge, AB on June 10, a son."
- "Born to Mr. and Mrs. Fred WILSON, at Sexsmith, AB June 20, a daughter."
July 3, 1923 Issue:
- "A suicide occurred at the Kleskun Ranch on Tuesday night when Archie SMITH, an employee of the Ranch, took his life by hanging Ö no relatives in this part of the country."
July 10, 1923 Issue:
- " Ö June 27th - two pioneer families were joined by the marriage of Miss Clara TURNER and Mr. Charles HARRIS. Both from the Kleskun Lake district .. Ceremony performed by Rev. FORBES Ö bride attended by Miss Helen SUEK and her brother George TURNER attended the groom Ö "
July 17, 1923 Issue:
- "Wedding at Christ's Church, Grande Prairie, on July 5th when Arthur E. POTTORFF and Miss Bettie McCOLLOUGH married. Rev. Dean LITTLE officiated. Bride attended by sister Mary and the groom by Mr. Robert WILSON. The bride is the oldest daughter of Mr. A. McCOLLOUGH of the Hillhead district. Mr. POTTORFF is an old timer in the district having homesteaded west of here and has opened a machine shop in Grande Prairie Ö They will reside in their new home on Second Avenue South."
July 24, 1923 Issue:
- "No births, marriage or deaths found.
July 31, 1923 Issue:
- "Born to Mr. and Mrs. W.C. PRATT, July 24 (? - print unclear), a daughter."
- "Born to Mr. and Mrs. A.J. BERGERON, July 25, a son."
Aug. 7, 1923 Issue:
- "Married on July 13, at Christ Church, Grande Prairie, by Rev. Rural Dean LITTLE, Mr. William Elmer GREARSON, Councillor, son of Mr. and Mrs. Emery GREARSON, N.B., to Miss Ethel May Agnes TURNER, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam TURNER of Bezanson."
- "Notice - upon the estate of John Henry BYRNE who died on the 8th day of May, 1923 Ö "
Aug. 14, 1923 Issue:
- "No births, marriage or deaths found.
Aug. 21, 1923 Issue:
- "Automobile accident resulted in the death of Peter KOZINA, who lived five miles north and one mile west of Clairmont, occurred near here on Aug. 12 Ö deceased 19 years of age Ö Funeral held at the Roman Catholic Church here Ö by Rev. Father SERRAND Ö Internment at Flying Shot Cemetery "
- "Died: Dr. J.E. STATE - Provincial Legislature member for Clearwater."
Aug. 28 and Sep. 4, 1923 Issues:
- "No births, marriage or deaths found.
Sep. 11, 1923 Issue:
- "Born to Mr. and Mrs. I. NELSON, Sep. 5, a son."
- "Born to Mr. and Mrs. Samuel HUNTER, Aug. 20, at Bezanson, a daughter."
- "Clairmont farmer (Edward WARD) killed when frightened team bolted from binder Ö Deceased about 43 years of age and a bachelor Ö very little is known of his relatives Ö "
Tuesday's train brought in the first quota of British settlers, who have been directed to the Grande Prairie district by the Empire Settlement Board, under the direct of the Soldier Settlement Board. They arrived here perhaps a little travel weary after their long trip, but quite happy and looking forward to getting settled in their adopted land. Included in the party were four families, all from England, each family composed of the parents and from one to five children. Another family arrived on Friday, having stayed over a few days en route to visit friends.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wardill and family of three have been allocated a farm four and a half miles north west of town, formerly owned by Ed. Stone, who left here several years ago. They came from Guisborough, Yorkshire.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Sims, from Woodside, Yorkshire, who have a family of three, have been settled on a farm seven miles east of town, near the farm of J. W. Sawyer. Mr. Sims will be employed by Mr. Sawyer this summer.
Mr. and Mrs. McFetridge, with one child, who came from Burnley, Lancashire, have been allocated the farm formerly owned and operated by H. Taunton Coles, twelve miles east of Grande Prairie, near Martin Clarkson's.
Thos. Smith with his wife and family of four, have been directed to a farm nine miles north east of Sexsmith at which place they got off the train. They formerly resided at Bolton, Lancashire.
The other family, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur T. Bean, and their family, who arrived here on Friday from Guisborough, Yorkshire, have been settled on the land formerly held by Ed. Stone, five miles north west of town.
There was a large crowd at the station to welcome the new settlers, who were taken to the Immigration Hall, where the Women's Institute and the Board of Trade had made arrangements to receive them.
Altogether twenty-two families will arrive here under the scheme, and suitable farms have been allocated to them.
For the first year it will be necessary for these new settlers to secure work outside of their own farms, and we have been requested to ask any farmer who requires help this season to get in touch with Mr. D. Innes, Field Supervisor of the S.S.B. Included in the newcomers are a number of young ladies also who are desirous of obtaining housework, etc. Any ladies requiring help for household work will greatly assist the newcomers if they get in touch with Mr. Innes.
Several more families arrived from the Old Country, under the Empire Settlement Scheme last week, and have been directed to the farms selected for them. These are all Irish families, and have been engaged in agriculture back there.
Three families got off the train at Sexsmith, and were given a very cordial reception by the Sexsmith Board of Trade and the ladies of the town.
William McKeeman and wife and a family of seven, all grown up, arrived from Crough, County Tyrone, and have been allocated the Goulding farm, in the Buffalo Lakes district, west of Sexsmith.
Mr. and Mrs. B. McKerraghan, who arrived from Moneymore County Tyrone, have been directed to the Pearce farm, west of Sexsmith.
Mr. and Mrs. John Stevenson and four of a family have been settled on the B. L. Henderson farm, five miles west of Clairmont. Ed. Gully and Geo. Balmer welcomed them at the Clairmont station, and took them out to the farm of W. F. Bredin, where supper was waiting for them. Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson are from Belfast.
Alfred Brown with his wife and family of four have been allocated the farm of L. P. Bode, south and west of Sexsmith, and came from Closnes, County of Fermanagh.
The cordial reception that the new arrivals got was very pleasing to them, and we are advised that the new settlers are receiving the same reception at all places along the line.
The party of new settlers which arrived here last Tuesday, had a splendid welcome, which was greatly appreciated by them, after their long journey from the Old Country. The C. G. I. T. group acted as hosts on this occasion, and had a splendid repast ready for them, shortly after the arrival of the train. After supper, a number of the ladies of town, took the new arrivals for an automobile trip round the town, and into the country for a short distance.
The party included Mr. and Mrs. E. Hodges and family of two, who came from East Ham, London. They have taken up their residence on the Brown farm, in the Flying Shot District.
Mr. and Mrs. James Stark and family of three, from Crynant, near Neath, Wales; and Mr. and Mrs. John Stark of the same place, have been allocated to the Webb farm at Bezanson.
Mr. and Mrs. McGill and family, from Ayrshire, Scotland, have gone to the farm formerly held by Glen Brown, five miles west of town.
Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Munro and family left the train at Sexsmith, and were directed to the Lawrence farm at Buffalo Lakes.
The Grande Prairie Regional Archives was set up only a short time ago and is currently occupying space at the Grande Prairie Museum.
We are pleased that Mary Nutting, Archivist, will be speaking to us at our October meeting. She will be bringing us up-to-date on the valuable work that is being done at the Archives and will tell us how we can help with preserving our heritage.
One way that has already been outlined for individuals to help is by "volunteering" for a half-day work bee one day a week. Some of the activities already identified where you can help are:
The Archives is looking at the possibility of Friday mornings as a time when a group of volunteers can work together on these projects. If any of them strike your fancy, phone Mary at 532-5482.
The Grande Prairie Regional Archives is open Monday & Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Paulette Hrychiw and I had a chance to visit with Mary Nutting one morning in September and were shown around the facility. A number of collections have already been catalogued and many more are 'in progress'.
One very interesting addition to the collection is a "working copy record book" from the 1901 Census for part of this area. The enumerator was St. Pierre Fergusson and a descendant donated the papers.
What is interesting in this collection is that it is NOT ONLY the "Population By Names" sections that we are familiar with from the 1901 Census microfilms in our library collection. There are also pages showing "Furs and Other Products" which are not shown in the official version.
A copy of two (2) of the pages from the "Furs
and Other Products" section are reproduced below. I found
the values for the various types of furs very interesting
Looking at some of the pages in the working copy, they were all headed with the date 31 March 1901. The last page was signed by St. Pierre Fergusson, Lesser Slave Lake and dated 2 Oct 1901 showing that it was impossible to collect all the information from the residents of the area on the 31st of March. It took a long time for the enumerator to make his way around the area to all the various homes.
The catalogue outlining the records collection of the Grande Prairie Regional Archives is being computerized. Eventually this catalogue will also be available on the internet through the ANA Database. A number of archives and records collections in Alberta are already included in the ANA Database. It is searchable. I took the time to check it out and found some very interesting items. You can find it at:
Don't forget to mark the October meeting on your calendar and come out to hear Mary Nutting speak about the Grande Prairie Regional Archives.
Programme de recherche en demographie historique
(PRDH) - The Comprehensive Site of Quebec French-Canadian Genealogy
This is a 'pay for service' site run by the University of Montreal. The database gives you access to genealogical information presented in three separate but interrelated sections: a Repertory of vital events (1621-1799), a Genealogical dictionary of families (1621-1765), and a Repertory of couples and filial relations (1621-1799)
Locating Lost Family Members and Friends by Kathleen W. Hinckley
Call Number: 929.107 20.73 HIN
The Grande Prairie Public Library has a wealth of resources for both the beginning and the advanced genealogist. They regularly add to their collection with new books such as Locating Lost Family Members and Friends by Kathleen W. Hinckley. This is an excellent beginner book, which may also be helpful for anyone who may be at a roadblock. The author focuses on research in the U.S. but the type of records that she accesses are standard for any country. She intersperses her research information with case studies and a series of tips that run the range from "don't forget" items, to "stop before you make a mistake" items. There are also internet addresses if you happen to be computer literate. All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in genealogy.
Grande Prairie & District Branch, AGS will be offering a series of genealogy courses this fall and winter. Each course will be a one-day session, and will be independent - that is to say you do not need to take the first course to register for a subsequent course.
Our first course will be a beginner's genealogy course. The main focus will be "how to start your family history search" and beginner's record keeping. It is located at the Grande Prairie Public Library and will be held on October 21st.
Please contact Margaret KAY at 538-0009 for further details.
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October 31, 2001