Greetings to you all! I hope you had a wonderful summer filled with digging and delving ó into your family history of course!
My own project this summer was to tidy, correlate and generally sort all the information that I had in the house before I embarked on any more research. This was started in part because of the increasingly messy piles of papers and pictures that were accumulating but also because I really couldnít figure out what I needed to know until I was sure of what I already knew. I entered a lot of data into my new software program and "just like magic" the gaps were revealed! My winter will not be boring ó I have lots to do!
Judy Bradley hosted three study groups since June that focussed on research and were enjoyed by those who attended. I highly recommend that you attend a future session. The next one will be on Wednesday, October 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the Public Library. Apart from that the summer was a quiet one for our branch.
September also sees our next Executive meeting and our Branch meeting. For a fortunate group of members it means a trip to Salt Lake City to do some serious research. Good luck to you all. I hope you find lots of missing links.
Have you noticed how much space is taken in genealogy publications with advertisements and articles relating to internet use? It certainly is a burgeoning business. We have been fortunate enough until now to use a part of Laura and Bill Turnbullís website but it is getting full and we had to investigate a new location. Now thatís a sign of the times!
Our home on the internet has now been moved and you can find us at:
Summer has quickly passed, and as we feel the crispness in the September air we know a change of season is once again upon us. The leaves on the trees are beginning to change colour. Are there changes in your family tree? Has it grown up and out, developed stronger roots, or been enriched with colour?
September always seems to bring a feeling of a fresh start or new beginning. If you were able to spend your summer in research, you may have many items of interest to properly record and store in your family collection. If your summer has been similar to mine, your research has been tucked safely away while other matters have taken your attention. If this is the case, I hope you are soon able to resume your research.
It is not always easy to find enough hours in the day to both do your genealogical research as well as record it properly. Organizing your family records will be the topic at October's Grande Prairie and District Branch AGS Study Group. You will find information about this study group elsewhere in this publication. Also within these pages are stories written by study group members. The prime purpose of the Study Group is to encourage our members in their research and record keeping.
Perhaps as September brings us a new season you will find yourself with time available to join the Grande Prairie Branch Study Group.
(Ö Continued from previous issue article, "Does Anybody Here Know Harry?")
For those readers who missed the first episode of "Harry" the scene can be set by knowing that my daughter and I were in Anacortes, Washington, USA seeking the grave of my great uncle Harry Wallis who died in 1927. In making inquiries at City Hall we had forgotten to ascertain the exact location because the helpful staff told us about all manner of other things including the fact that a Mr. Harry Lomas had ordered a grave marker for Harry Wallisí grave only a few months before our visit. Armed with the phone number of Harry Lomas we stood in the afternoon heat and wondered whether we should try to contact this unknown man. Curiosity prevailed and we stepped into the phone box to make our call.
A man answered and identified himself as Harry Lomas. Hesitating and sounding very foolish to my own ears I explained that I was seeking information about my great uncle Harry Wallis and had been given Harry Lomasí name. There was a pause on the other end of the line and then an incredulous voice said "Harry Wallis? I never thought we would ever hear from his relatives, even wondered if he had any. Where are you?" I explained our location and gave a description of my vehicle. "You just wait there and Iíll come and get you" the voice said before the line went dead.
Abandoning the steaming phone box we retreated to our air-conditioned car and waitedÖand waited. Just as we were about to give up, a stretch limousine, a Lincoln, whose once shiny black finish was now a dull grey, parked across the street.
The driver, a short, wizened, nut-brown man wearing a chauffeurís hat whose once black fabric had a distinctly greenish moldy appearance, got out and came straight toward us. This was Harry Lomas. He invited us into his "limo" so that he could take us to the grave of Harry Wallis. And what did these two unprotected and supposedly sensible women do? We got into the strangerís car of course. What else would a dedicated genealogist do?
The day began to take on
an even more surreal quality. Harry was thrilled to find us and
had "sprung" the limo (and the hat) from their home
among the weeds. It had taken a few sheets of newspaper to clean
off the windshield he told us and he had even found a wild sweet
pea to put into a vase in the back of the car in our honour. We
could only just see him through the grimy glass partition but
we could all hear each other as the tale of Harryís life
in Anacortes unfolded. During that afternoon, and a subsequent
visit, we not only learned about the life of our Harry in Anacortes
but also about the life of the family of this elderly man. It
was the most fascinating look into the salmon fishing and canning
industry on the West Coast at the beginning of this century. He
invited us to his home. It was a house filled with equipment,
apparatus and machines from another age. A thick pall of dust
lay over everything. After removing a few inches of the stuff
from a pile of old crystal radio sets my daughter was able to
listen to pop music on a local radio station! I didnít
ask if any of the old telephones worked but nothing would have
surprised me that day. Outside in a few acres of hillside overlooking
the ocean and a promontory covered with new housing developments
lay old tractors, Model-T Fords and other vehicles. This land
had once all been his, our host told us. The largest, smelliest
dog I have ever seen kept guard over all. Her name was Lily and
she was as gentle as her name.
As we drove around Anacortes Harry Lomas told us what he remembered of Harry Wallis. He had been the accountant/clerk, working in the office of the salmon fleet, the salmon cannery and wharf owned by Harry Lomasí grandfather when Harry Lomas was a small boy. The two men, Harry Wallis and our "chauffeurís" grandfather had been good friends. One common interest was their membership in the Elks lodge. As a young lad Harry Lomas remembered Harry Wallis as a quiet man who enjoyed spending time with his friendís family and who gave hours of pleasure to the children. He relayed tales of blackberry picking in the summer on a nearby island owned by his grandfather, of family picnics and gatherings. He told how the American customs and excise men, who were patrolling the coast to stop the illegal trading of liquor from Canada, would often tie up at the salmon cannery wharf. With their uniforms they were attractive to women and always had a good time when in port. Harry was shy and a bachelor so on one occasion they dressed him up in one of their uniforms and took him with them for a night on the town. A photo of Harry wearing that uniform was hung for years in the Cannery offices. Harry Lomas tried unsuccessfully to find it for me. Had it been found, and without the story, I could have concluded that Harry Wallis was an American Customs and Excise man. So thatís why genealogists need documentation from more than one source! Apparently the two men, one English and the other American had also enjoyed gardening and Harry Wallis grew a glorious row of sweet peas against the cannery wall every year. Remembering that, seventy years later, a little boy with pleasant memories of his elders conversing and relaxing together when he was a young child, had put sweet peas in the limo which he brought to transport unexpected visitors.
When Harry Wallis died he was buried amongst the Lomas family in a beautiful cemetery overlooking the islands and waters around Anacortes. For a man who grew up by an English sea it seems fitting that he should rest by another. He was not buried in the family grave in Yorkshire as that gravestone might lead you to believe, nor was the date on the grave marker in Anacortes correct. Harry Lomas had H.W. being born 20 years too early. One mystery still remained and I asked Harry Lomas how it was that a stone had been put on Harry Wallisí gravesite only a few months before our visit and nearly seventy years after Harryís death. Harry told us that just before his mother died at a very old age she had asked him to update the family graves. There were several aunts and other relatives who had no grave markers and she wanted this to be done. "While you are at it you should have one made for Harry Wallis too" she said, "Your grandfather would have wanted that". Harry Lomas had procrastinated a little (for about ten years) but in the spring of the year that we visited had remembered his motherís words and finally gone into Anacortes City hall and arranged for name stones to be placed on all the unmarked graves.
We visited those graves with Harry Lomas. It was a strange feeling and I shall always wonder at the serendipity of it all. That kind man "borrowed" a potted geranium from someone elseís gravestone and put it on Harryís stone for our photograph. "Theyíd be glad to lend it," he said, "Harry was a kind man."
And that is the catch in this story. We laughed and joked and he told wonderful tales of life in Anacortes during Harryís sojourn there. But in notes, which I wrote several years ago while talking to my mother about our family history, I recorded that Harry Wallis was "No good", a "bad lot" and that he "went away". So you see, even though I "found" Harry and learned a little of his life in America he remains a mystery. Why would his own family in England consider him a "bad lot" while his adopted family overseas remember him with affection? Was his crime great or was he simply unable to follow the expectations of his reputedly ambitious, strong willed father. I have not yet traced how and when he went to America. Maybe he did not want to participate in the First World War. Was his greatest crime not toeing the family line? There are many lessons to be learned and many unanswered questions when you investigate your family history! Oh, and the most interesting people to meet!
Births marriages and deaths as contained in the Grande Prairie "Herald" newspaper. Continued from the June 1999 issue of "Heritage Seekers".
Mar 7, 1922 Issue:
- "Born to Mr. and
Mrs. Frank GUTHRIE, March 5, a son."
- "Mrs. J.A. EVANS received word her brother Capt. Ralph FORREST died in Winnipeg on Feb. 25th. Capt. FORREST resided at Lake Saskatoon in the years 1913 - 1915."
Mar 14, 1922 Issue:
- "Born to Mr. and Mrs. A. EDGEWORTH of Tate Creek Ranch, March 7, a son."
Mar 21, 1922 Issue:
- "Born to Mr. and
Mrs. A.J. BURGESS, a daughter."
- "Born to Mr. and Mrs. Sam LOWE, March 9th, a daughter."
Mar 28, 1922 Issue:
- "Wedding - March 22 at the home of the bride's parents when Miss Norah FISH, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H.R. FISH of Grande Prairie married Mr. Thomas PAUL, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. John PAUL of Fort Saskatchewan Ö groom attended by Mr. John MCAULEY. Ceremony conducted by Rev. Dr. FORBES."
Apr 4, 1922 Issue:
- "In the Estate of
James E. HOWARD, late of the Hamlet of Lake Saskatoon,
AB. Farmer, deceased Ö who died 6 Feb. 1922 Ö "
- "In the Estate of A.E. BROWN, late of Post Office of Bralnard (? - poor newspaper print), AB, Farmer, deceased Ö 10 June 1922 Ö "
Apr 11, 1922 Issue:
- "At the Manse on
April 5, 1922, Mr. Sven Hjalwar JOHNSON married Helma WALLIN,
both of Grande Prairie. Rev. FORBES officiated."
- "Born to Mr. and Mrs. SLATHER, at Valhalla, April 6, a boy."
Apr 18, 1922 Issue:
- "To the Estate of
William SYLVESTER, late of Clairmont, AB, Farmer, deceased
Ö who died on 13 Nov. 1921 Ö "
- "Peter S. HARLEY of Beaverlodge died April 10 Ö resulting from slipping and falling and striking his leg on a nail and severing an artery and then bleeding to death Ö 55 years of age Ö has a wife but has been separated for a number of years Ö "
- "Born to Mr. and Mrs. T. RICE, a daughter."
Apr 25, 1922 Issue:
- "At the home of Mr.
Cal CAMPBELL of Hermitt Lake, April 3, Mr. N.E. CLOW
and Miss C. WILKIE were married. Rev BURNESS of
Lake Saskatoon officiated Ö Miss WILKIE is the Secretary
of the local Hospital Board at Grande Prairie."
- "Notice to Creditors and Claimants in the Estate of Edward Peter Rae HEGLER, late of the City of Detroit, State of Michigan, USA and formerly of Grande Prairie, AB Ö who died 19 May 1921 Ö "
Mar 1, 1922 - Jan 1, 1923 Issues:
Note: There are no issues of the Grande Prairie "Herald" newspaper on microfilm at the Grande Prairie Public Library for any of these stated issues!!!!
In reading old Grande Prairie newspapers, I frequently come across the place "Spring Creek". I have often asked people where this place is located but no one seemed to know. In travelling west of Grande Prairie, I have seen the sign "Spring Creek Road" and there is also "Spring Lake", a popular campground and lake north of Hythe, Alberta. Recently in reading a family story printed in the Grande Prairie "Daily Herald Tribune" newspaper, I learned that "Spring Creek" is now what we all know as "Dimsdale", located west of Grande Prairie a few miles!
Emily Julia Cave, nee Frampton (1876-1961)
Work, Women's Institute, Whist, Worship and Winston Churchill. These words sum up what I remember about my grandmother, Emily Julia Cave, nee Frampton, born on November 29, 1876 at Wimborne, Dorset, England. On July 20, 1898, she married Sidney Herbert Cave of Longfleet Dorset. He died on March 8, 1939 just before I was born.
Her work consisted of owning and managing a small corner grocer store. It opened at 9:00 a.m. every day except Sunday and closed at 6:00 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays were early closing days. After dinner, she would add up her list of sales, itemized in pounds, shillings and pence, and compare the result to the contents of the till. Usually the two amounts balanced. Housework was relegated to a much lower status in her list of priorities.
Her social life centred around activities at the local Women's Institute for which she often knitted small items. Local Whist Drives also played an important part in her social activities. Her involvement helped her to maintain close contact with many of her customers.
Worship meant attendance at the local Church of England for Morning service or Evensong or both every Sunday. While she observed the letter of her faith, she seemed too pragmatic to seek a deep inner spiritual life.
Every November 29, her family would gather at her home to celebrate her Birthday. Glasses of port were distributed, even to children once they reached the age of 8 or 9, and a toast to Grandma was given. Because Winston Churchill's birthday occurred at about the same time, He also was toasted. The whole family with the exception of my father, a convert to the Labour party, thought the world of Winston. However, my father tended to use this time to begin a political argument with his brother, Howard, and the evening ended with antagonism and resentment. I was torn between a sense of loyalty to my father and a strong feeling of togetherness with the rest of the family.
My most vivid memories of my Grandmother occurred from the time I was about five until I was fourteen when we emigrated to Canada. I often spent a couple of nights at her home so that I could visit with my cousins. When I slept there, I shared a feather bed with Grandma. At night, when she came to bed she followed a ritual: a careful disrobing and donning of nightclothes, a taking down of her bun, an unplaiting of her braid and a careful brushing of her hair which was then loosely plaited again, a kneeling by her bedside to say her prayers, then into bed she would climb. We both slept soundly, she, from a hard day at work, I, from a hard day of play.
Such was the measure of her life until 1954. That year, Grandma, who had seldom left the county of Dorset during her 78 years, decided to visit us in North York, Ontario. She came alone by ship, suffering from seasickness most of the way. When my father picked her up in Montreal, he found her to be very shaky. However, she managed the trip from Montreal quite well and arrived at our apartment in better spirits. She had come for five weeks but because everyone treated her with great respect and kindness, she extended her visit and ended up staying five months. I think that she decided to return to her home after experiencing Hurricane Hazel that ripped through Toronto and area on October 15, 1954. It was a very scary storm.
She returned home in November and spent her remaining time in quiet retirement. She died on December 29, 1961 and was buried in Wimborne Cemetery next to her husband's grave. Her life of Work, Women's Institute, Whist, Worship, Winston Churchill and a Wonderful trip to Canada was over.
Going back to June (if we can bear to go back and recall those early days of summer......) several volunteers were involved with the Grande Prairie Highland Games. Thanks to Gail Shau, who is a member of the Scottish Society in town, our organization was invited to set up tables in the Muskoseepi Park Pavilion. With the help of Laura Turnbull and Debby Was, visitors were able to come inside and try their luck on the internet genealogy sites. Thanks go as well to Marian Ledger, Catherine Ledger, Dorothy McDonald, Leita Askew and Bertha Melnyk, who all helped that day.
Also in June was the last general meeting of the season, where members Catherine Ledger and Barb Moreau presented an evening of music and dance as the program. Volunteer guests from the community performed dances from various countries and played music from different parts of the world. The evening was informative as each group shared some history of their dance or musical instrument. As a highlight, Catherine and Barb got up in front of the group and participated in an English Morris dance with their newly formed Morris "team". (Quite entertaining to see the look of surprise on members' faces!!) Lastly, member Gail Shau and her friend taught the group a Scottish country dance. It was a fun way to round out the year and celebrate multiculturalism at the same time!
Over the summer, members continued to work on their obituary "adopt-a-year" projects in the library. Thanks to Tracey Kirouac as I neglected to mention her in the last newsletter - she has completed her year and handed it in. The new deadline for this project has been set as December 1999 (for the rest of us who are late!!)
In July the cookbook committee got together and had a meeting. They are presently requesting genealogical tidbits, jokes, sayings etc. for the book. Please forward to Catherine Ledger if you have any neat items to add.
Paulette Hrychiw was very busy this summer helping on the Grande Prairie Archival Records Survey Committee. In this capacity she was not volunteering for the genealogy society, but if an archives becomes available in this city the genealogists will benefit!! Paulette was helping to identify and locate archival material in the area.
Another activity Paulette took on this summer was to put together a quilt (called "Rhapsody in Blue") for a raffle this November. Thanks Paulette for your hours of hard work!! Thanks also goes to Debby Was and some of the members of the Grande Prairie Miniatures Club who are donating an "Attic" - a miniature room box also for the raffle. Thanks goes to Debby for her work on building the attic.
When I sat down to write this I thought not much had gone on over the summer but obviously a lot has! Let's keep it up Grande Prairie Branch!
This study group is for YOU the member. Please try to join us at our next meeting on Wednesday 13 October downstairs at the Grande Prairie Public Library. Our group meets at 7:00 p.m., and we try to be finished by 8:45 p.m. so that the library staff is not kept late. Please bring a twoonie to help defray costs. We always have time to help our members with any research problem or roadblock.
Our October topic is "Organizing Your Family History", and a number of our members will share their varied methods of record keeping and storing of family memorabilia. The display table theme is 'occupations', and you are invited to bring an item to show and share with the group.
As an ongoing project, members are developing their own millennium time capsule. There are no guidelines or rules as to contents or container. Projects are as varied as our members are.
All the activities we do are on a volunteer basis. Please don't hesitate to join us. The group is for you, and you may do as much or as little as you are able to. After our study group, we move on to Tim Horton's on Clairmont Road to visit over refreshments. All are welcome.
Hope to see you Wednesday, October 13th. If you have any questions, please call Judy at 539-3837.
Genies are back in the library starting October 6th - every Wednesday evening from 7pm to 9pm and Friday afternoons from 1pm to 3pm. Volunteers are welcome to drop in and share their knowledge. We would have started a week earlier, but the "Genies" are going to Salt Lake City (Woo Hoo!) Laura Turnbull, Paulette Hrychiw, Val Jenner and I are leaving on September 23 and will return October 4th. The Edmonton Branch AGS will be in Salt Lake City at the same time. Wow! Almost two whole weeks of doing nothing but genealogy research and sharing it with good friends who understand our enthusiasm.
Judy Bradley and Barb Moreau will be giving a presentation about genealogy at the Peace Library System's Rural Librarians' Conference on September 30. Judy Schultz of the Edmonton Journal will join them. Ms. Schultz will be speaking about her own personal research, while Judy and Barb will give a presentation on resources.
New in the GP branch library collection:
Two Ontario newsletters have decided to cancel their exchange with our branch:
In Volume 32, No. 4, the July/August, 1999 issue of the Ottawa Branch News, there is an excellent article titled "Researching Methodist Ancestors" by Donald A. McKenzie. Reverend McKenzie is a retired United Church minister and a member of the Ottawa Branch, OGS. He is also the author of several publications containing extracts from various Methodist papers.
Our library collection holds all of the publications mentioned in his article (thanks largely to Paul Gibson's generous donation) with the exception of "Obituaries from the Canadian Christian Advocate, 1873-1884" by Donald A. McKenzie. I will order this publication as soon as possible. Hopefully this list will make it easier to find those illusive Methodist ancestors in Ontario and Quebec.
These titles can be found in the Isabel Campbell Room of the Grande Prairie Public Library:
We also have two other publications about Methodist records:
My favorite ancestor has to be my maternal grandmother, Marie Eloise Alexina MARCIL (nee GIBEAU). She was born 26 June 1878 in Sherrington, county of Napierville, Quebec. She was the second child and daughter of Modeste GIBEAU and Marie Oliva THIBERT. She married Aurele MARCIL 28 February 1905 in St-Jean, co. St-Jean, Quebec.
Alexina died 17 October 1956 at Youville Nursing Home in St. Albert, Alberta at the age of 78 years. I had just turned 13 years old about a month and a half earlier. I remember Mom going to the funeral alone, she probably went by bus. Our financial situation would not allow for anyone else to go.
When my Mom returned home from her mother's funeral, several beautiful professional photographs were brought home. These pictures were kept in one of two top drawers in my mother's chiffonnier. These photographs were a source of great interest to me. I loved the old fashioned clothing and I wanted to know who all these beautiful people were. Being born and raised in Grande Prairie, we never had contact with any of my Mom's people other than by letter. As a result of the great distance I never met or had any grandparents in my life. Maybe this was one of the reasons for my interest in the family tree.
When I was about 16, I started pestering my mother about the photographs and wanting to know who these people were. Most of the photos had writing on them but everything was in French and I could not read what it said. My mother brought out two styles of family trees her mother had sent a few years before and started trying to explain about the people named there. This was the start of my interest in the family's history, the writing on the back of photographs by a grandmother I had never met. Over the past 40 years I have collected many photographs, backs of old calendars, memorial cards, religious cards from prayer books, even a small black book that have passed through the hands of this grandmother. Each and every one had something written on it, even if it was just the name of the person the item was intended for. I still have letters that need to be translated. I believe grandmere was a genealogist at heart.
Writing on back of photo above.
Translation in English:
Aurele + Alexina Marcil: married Feb. 28, 1905
Marie Jeanne Marouerite Stella; born Feb. 4, 1906
Joseph Marc Andre; born Mar. 11, 1907:
died March 1908
Joseph Charle Aimee; born July 30, 1908
Went to Montreal March 11, 1909
Left for the west May 21, 1909, Fri. night 10:00 p.m.
Marie Claire; born Aug. 2, 1909
Marie Reine Helene Cecile; born Nov. 5, 1910
Marie Ange; born May 14, 1912
Marie Rose Delima; born April 17, 1915
Went back east July 1, 1913
Came back west July 9, 1914
Grande Prairie & District Branch
Alberta Genealogical Society
Grande Prairie, Alberta
Grande Prairie Public Library
Meeting Room, 9910 - 99 Avenue,
Grande Prairie, Alberta
Third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m.
Except for July, August, and December
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August 8, 2000