I started taking an interest in genealogy about ten years ago. I’ve always been a firm believer in the notion that what makes us what we are today is determined not only our life experiences, but by traits and characteristics of our decedents. You often find families that have generations of musicians, or athletes, or police officers. Evidently what, and who, went before us has some influence on what we become. Not entirely, of course, but the blood that courses through our veins, handed down from parent to child, seems to have some influence, I believe, on our lives.
And a one-off membership is not on offer. Six months or a year’s fee is required to see if the results are, in fact, a match for your relative.
When looking into my family tree I quickly realized that there is no shortage of search scams out there. Numerous sites will ask you to enter as many details as possible in their search function. Then show you results that indicate possible matches. The key word there is possible. To gain access to the potential match you require – yep, you guessed it – a paid subscription. And a one-off membership is not on offer. Six months or a year’s fee is required just to see if the results are, in fact, a match for your relative.
Yet there are still some sites that offer free information. The good folks at Library and Archives Canada provide a database of World War One files. I have been able to download several of my family members’ documentation. My understanding is that the individual hard-copy files are scanned by volunteers and made available online. The COVID19 pandemic has slowed down, if not stopped that process, but there are still many veterans files available.
The first relatives I researched were my paternal grandparents. I knew that my paternal grandmother had been a Home Child. According to Library and Archives Canada, between 1869 and 1932, over 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada through assisted juvenile emigration. These migrants are called “home children” because most went from an emigration agency’s home for children in Britain to its Canadian receiving home.
One of the many enjoyable elements of genealogical research is the number of coincidences that one comes across
I knew that my grandmother and her two siblings had been a residents at the Quarriers Homes in Scotland. I contacted Quarriers via email, and for a donation of £25, I received the entire file for not just my grandmother, but her brother and sister as well. This research led to an article I wrote for Family Tree Magazine in England.
I have found that one of the many enjoyable elements of genealogical research is the number of coincidences that one comes across. On a pre-pandemic trip to Ireland, being good tourists, my wife took a photo of me at the Viking Longboat Statue located near Essex Quay in Dublin. I have subsequently discovered that the building directly behind the monument, which is now Smock Alley Theatre, (as seen in this post’s featured photograph by Smirkybec.) was once the Church of Saints Michael and John. My maternal great grandfather was baptised in that church some 160 years ago.
The day before, March 1, 2020 we visited St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral on Marlborough Street in Dublin. At that time I was unaware, but have since learned that my maternal great grandparents were married in the cathedral on November 21, 1880.
I’ll keep up my research, at least until I happen upon any serious criminal elements that may lurk in my past. But then I think I’d just select another branch to look into!
3 thoughts on “Genealogy and Serendipity”
FYI- All World War 1 CEF files have been digitized and are available on-line.
Brilliant, Deegan. I was about to call you about your cat when I saw this. Keep the blogs coming….and you are certainly right about the genealogical scams out there. How about those “family crests”? Lin
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