Showing posts with label Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Two Golden Rules of Researching Documents

I have been re-reading a great resource, a book by Ottawa's own Althea Douglas, called Time Traveller's Handbook: A Guide to the Past.

In Chapter 2, "Dealing with Documents", she has two rules of research. The first one is -

"Never trust a transcript made by someone else. Wherever you can, check the original document."

I once came across a census return which said that the person I was researching was born in Canada, and his marriage certificate (which took place in Canada) said that he was born in Ireland.  

Which is true? The same person – but two different countries. What was I to do? It was important to determine that I find the correct country in which he was born because the immigration date of the family depends on it.

Possible Solution: I have decided to visit a nearby genealogical society later this summer to see if they have any primary evidence which can support the proof I need to show one country or the other.  

Conclusion: I guess I could say that I have the very beginnings of a "brick wall". Gosh, I hope not – but I have a "feeling", since the immigration took place in the middle 1800s ... 

The second rule is -

"Always remember that clerks and clergymen, census takers and directory compilers, write down what they heard – what people said to them".

And isn't this statement true! 

Once again, in researching my own family (Haley) that went from Nova Scotia to California in the 1870s, I was confused by the different names of the places where they lived (or didn't live) – Centerville, Newark, Fremont, Washington Township, etc.  

I knew that these places were in Alameda County, across he bay from San Francisco – but were they the same place?

Possible Solution: I never have really answered the question. I have looked at many maps of the area, newspapers, and land records to get a good understanding of the area, but I am in somewhat of a quandary.

Conclusion: I have decided that the lived in Centerville (later known as Newark) in Washington County, California.

The book lists the following chapters -

Chapter 1 – A Time Traveller's Frame of Reference

Chapter 2 – Dealing with Documents

Chapter 3 – Dealing with Family Tradition

Chapter 4 – What Every Schoolchild Used to Know

Chapter 5 – Money

Chapter 6 – The Value of Money: It's Not What it Used to Be

Chapter 7 – Travel in the Past

Chapter 8 – Trades and Their Tools

Chapter 9 – Work Away From Home

Chapter 10 – Family and Connections

Chapter 11 – Home Sweet Home

Chapter 12 – How We Lived Then

Chapter 13 – Health in the Past

Chapter 14 – Our Heritage

Chapter 15 – Our VIP Heritage

Chapter 16 – Our Seafaring and Military Heritage

There is an Appendix (Date of Historical Events), Notes, a Bibliography, and an Index.

In case you are interested in the book, it is available from the Ontario Genealogical Society's e-Bookstore on their website at

Friday, January 6, 2012

World War I Veterans of Guysborough County, Nova Scotia

A retired Social Studies teacher in Nova Scotia has started collecting the personal history of people from Guysborough County, Nova Scotia who were in World War One.

He says that his "goal is to compile a biographical sketch of each veteran who was born and/or lived in Guysborough County"

He has had the blog since November,2011, and so far he has posted "Pte. Arthur Ellsworth Armsworthy: A Wounded Soldier's Story", "A Soldier's Wage", and "Pte. Robert Burns: KIA November 25, 1915."

He says he hopes to collect this material so that it will be available to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war from 2014 to 2018.

The blog is at, and if have any information, please contact him

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

African-Canadian Societies

Josiah Henson (June 15, 1789 – May 5, 1883). He escaped to Dresden, Ontario in 1830, and founded a settlement and labourer's school for other fugitive slaves from the United States. He became the main character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin. You can visit the Uncle Tom's Cabin website at

It is thought that the first Black person to live in Canada was Mattheu Da Costa in 1605. He had come to Acadia with Samuel de Champlain (commonly referred to as the “Father of Canada”) on the ship, Jonas, from France.

Da Costa was the interpreter for the French with the Mi’kmaq natives of Nova Scotia, having been in Canada on previous occasions.

Here are some of the websites of Blacks in Canada -

Africville: The Spirit Lives On This was a settlement of people of African descent who were former slaves, escaped slaves, and free people. In the 1960s, the community was destroyed in the theme of “urban renewal", but as the website says, “the community spirit continues to thrive today through annual gatherings and in the stories and photos of an aging generation”.

The Black Loyalist Heritage Society They are in the process of building a new centre to display the Black Heritage of Birchtown, Nova Scatia. There is also the Old School House Museum on site.

Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia They just celebrated their 28th Anniversary this year, and they have just completed the 2011 Museum Renovation.

The Ontario Black History Society A genealogy webpage,, offers leads in Black genealogy.

The Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society The Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society has a current exhibit called “The Black Mecca in the Heritage Room“.

Tomorrow's Post: French-Canadian Societies