Monday, May 18, 2015

Canadian Week in Review 18 May 2014

I have come across the following Canadian websites, social media websites, and newspaper articles this past week that were of interest to me, and I thought you might be interested in them, too.

This Week in Canadian History

In 1803, Philemon Wright, the founder of Hull (now known as Gatineau) Quebec, helped open up a new timber trade of pine and oak staves, with huge rafts of squared white pine being floated down the Ottawa River to Quebec, where they were broken up and loaded into ships bound for Britain.

To read more, go to

In 1871, an Imperial Order-in-Council in London, England let British Columbia join the Dominion as Canada's sixth province.

To read more, go to

Social Media

(Photos) The root cellars of Twillingate: A personal passion for local history
Elliston has earned its reputation as the root cellar capital of the world, but Twillingate could give it a run for the title.
   Some 232 root cellars have been counted SO FAR in the Twillingate area, and Otto Sansome is the man who has taken the time to document each and every one.

(Photos) HANTS HISTORY (May 14, 2015 edition),-2015-edition)/1
Here's a look at what was making the news 25 and 50 years ago in the Hants Journal.



No caribou statue for Gallipoli to honour Royal Newfoundland Regiment
Plans for a new caribou statue in Gallipoli in Turkey to mark the contribution of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in the First World War have been scrapped due to provincial budget cuts.
   The statue was meant to honour soldiers from Newfoundland and Labrador who were killed in Turkey. Gallipoli was one of the first battles N.L. soldiers fought. Thirty of them died in combat, and ten others died from disease.

First World War life recreated in Elliston
The Great War Living History Committee in Elliston has done a lot to pay tribute to history, and now they are sharing their resources with Parks Canada.

Nova Scotia

ED COLEMAN HISTORY: A school on wheels: the shopmobile
The "shopmobile" began in Kings County early in 1942. Its aim was to prepare kids in rural areas for training in vocational and industrial arts.

Black Loyalist lineage is world-wide
Referencing census counts, birth and marriage records, Carleton’s Book of Negroes (regarded as “the single most important document relating to the immigration of African Americans to Nova Scotia following the War of Independence” by the Nova Scotia Archives), as well as other resources, Hill has traced the genealogy of Black Loyalist descendants near and far.

First-hand history in Halifax: Beer, boats and things that go bump in the night
You don’t have to read about history in Halifax — you can live it instead.
   The 266-year-old city offers many ways to experience its past in person this summer.

Lights out at Sydney Harbour’s Low Point Lighthouse
A Cape Breton lighthouse that faces an uncertain future is no longer functioning.
   Rob Romard, a professional photographer who lives in the Whitney Pier neighbourhood of Sydney, said he is alarmed after noticing the strobe inside the Low Point Lighthouse had stopped working late Monday evening.


Victoria Day 2015: 24 facts about May 24 long weekend
From historic controversy to Victoria Day disasters, the weekend known in Canada as the unofficial start of summer is our oldest state holiday.

Russian-Canadians in Belleville celebrate May 9
The Russian-Canadian had a special thought for her 80-year-old mother Sunday, not only for Mother’s Day, but because Natalie Le Chat survived 100 days of Leningrad Blockade when she was a child.
   Le Chat and about 20 other members of Belleville’s Russian-Canadian community attended ‘War and Life’, an event at the Greek Community Hall,  to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945.

LEE DICKSON GENEALOGY: Tap into the records of Toronto’s earliest jails
The first Toronto jail was built in 1798 to 1799 on the south side of King Street West near Toronto Street, Town of York; a rough log structure hidden inside a hewn cedar stockade. The Home District Gaol serviced the Counties of Peel, York, and Ontario.

Afghanistan mission and Victoria Cross recipients to be commemorated
The National Memorial to Canada's Mission in Afghanistan and the National Victoria Cross Memorial will be placed at Richmond Landing, along Confederation Boulevard, as part of the new Memorial Route.
   Both memorials and the Memorial Route will be officially unveiled in 2017, helping to mark Canada's 150th year since Confederation.


Restoring treasured but decrepit heritage homes costly, controversial
It's like debtor's prison for heritage homes.
   Behind a chain-link fence is the seventh-oldest building still standing in Manitoba. It once belonged to the family for whom Henderson Highway was named.

British Columbia

Gold Rush: Royal B.C. Museum mines rich vein of history
One hundred kilograms of the purest gold ever minted into one coin greets visitors to the latest exhibit at the Royal B.C. Museum.

A forgotten history: tracing the ties between B.C.'s First Nations and Chinese workers
First Nations people and Chinese immigrants have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship since before B.C. joined Confederation. Now, archeologists are chronicling this chapter of history by documenting sites where the two communities lived together.

Stories of the Week

Editorial: Are genealogical societies stuck in the mud?

This is a question that has been trending this week in genealogy – is there still a need for genealogical societies as they exist right now, or, as David Pike—President of Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, in his article on Global Genealogy—asks, “Will genealogy societies always just be there? Not necessarily.”

The article is at

This discussion has been brought to the fore by American blogger Susan Petersen, when she recently wrote an open letter to genealogical societies in which she listed seven recommendations, including asking questions like why do some societies hoard money, can they change the way they put on conferences, and the validly of newsletters and journals – questions I have asked myself.

The response was almost immediate! Some people agreed and some disagreed – but everyone agreed that we should talk/write about it. This type of disagreement is good for the societies, as the societies will learn from this, and hopefully will grow in new and dynamic ways.

So what do you think? Are societies stuck in the mud? Are they missing the new opportunities out in the world today – like social media?

In Canada, a series of belt-tightening has started because the societies are losing members ‘hand over fist’ - people are simply not joining, and some people would say, the old way of putting on conferences are going the way of the dodo bird, too – people are simply not going.

The frequency of conferences are declining. Two have been cancelled this year – one national conference planned for Halifax this summer, and a provincial one in Saskatchewan – and it has been suggested that Ontario’s yearly conference be turned into a bi-annual conference. Are these changes in direct relationship to the increases in membership to online, commercial companies? I wonder …

If, for example, I have Internet access, then I don't have to travel (especially in the winter) to attend monthly meetings, as most societies have them online. Furthermore, I can take genealogical courses, listen to webinars in the comfort of my own home, access online records at my society, and interact with other genealogists through Facebook, genealogy communities, Google Hangout on Air, and chat with fellow members face-face through Skype, or even send them a quick email from my laptop or smartphone using a ubiquitous Wi-Fi connection.

With all of this convenience, then why should I care if a society doesn’t hold conferences anymore, especially if it's the same old, same old?

I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter. Please send them to me at

Genealogical societies have to change in order to keep current with the times. The days of being a closed society are gone. Genealogy has opened up to everyone now – but everyone has to voice their opinion, and we have to come to some sort of agreement – else the exercise will be for not, and that would be a shame.

And that was the Canadian genealogy, history, and heritage news in Canada this past week!


Need help in finding your Canadian Ancestors?

 As a nod of the hat to the Ontario Genealogical Conference being held in Barrie, Ontario from May 29 to May 31, may we take this opportunity to offer a month-long discount on our research and consultation services of 15%.

If you are interested, go to Elizabeth Lapointe Research Services at and see how I can help you find that elusive Canadian ancestor.

The email is

 Let us help you find your elusive Canadian ancestor!

The Library and Archives Canada has the history of ethnic Canadians at

You can access photographs, art, texts, music, and any other material that is available and associated with that group.

The next Canadian Week in Review will be posted 25 May 2015.

It’s the ONLY news blog of its kind in Canada!

It has been a regular post every Monday morning since April 23, 2012.