Friday, July 3, 2009

22nd Wedding Anniversary

Tomorrow is our 22nd wedding anniversary, and to celebrate, we are going to take a circular trip through the Quebec side of the Ottawa River towards Montreal (in the Outaouais region), then cross the river to Hawkesbury (on the Ontario side) to celebrate its 150th birthday, and then we will return to Ottawa via Eastern Ontario.

Some of the places we plan to stop at are Thurso, Papineauville, and Montebello on the Quebec side, and Hawkesbury (of course), Vankleek Hill (they have a special museum there), and various towns along the way back.

For those not familiar with the area, let me assure you that it is very scenic — as our pictures will show — and historic in nature.

As usual, I am packing my notebook, pencil, and camera, and will gather information for the various publications I write for, and for the blog.

It's supposed to be fair tomorrow - sunny and warm - so here's hoping for a nice trip, and a lovely supper!

Canada's New Tombstone Project

We are invited to drop by the Canadian Headstone Photo Project, where digital images of tombstones will be put online <>.

The founders of the project say that the stones are becoming harder to read, and in order to read the inscriptions, they are archiving the images.

The website covers all provinces and territories, as well as Ireland and the United States.

So I checked Canada's section, and found nothing yet, but that understandable because it is a new service.

You can do either a surname or cemetery search - or both.

The service is free - both to upload and download.

But if you check Ireland, you will see tombstones for County Tyrone and County Farmanagh, and a transcription is right under the picture.

The date which the transcription was done is also given.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nipissing University, North Bay

I've been researching Nipissing University in North Bay and their Institute for Community Studies and Oral History, and discovered that they have a robust interest in the social history of the area.

Not only is it a "robust interest", but over the past few years, have been sending their students to collect local history stories about the people and places of the Near North in Ontario, from the earliest times to the present.

Current interests include Family Rituals, the Early Families Project, and the history of local townships.

So if you have any ancestors living in the Near North of Ontario, consider contacting them at <> or go to their website at <>.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

The 142nd birthday of Canada (July 1st) has rolled around again, and it is raining with thunderstorms in Ottawa - but it's a birthday!

I remember when it was Dominion Day, for it was only changed to Canada Day in 1983, and it took a bit of getting used to the new name.

Typically, everyone has the day off, and although it is a day for picnics, and having fun in the great outdoors in the summer time, it is also a time to remember our ancestors - the French and Anglo-Celtic peoples who first came here in the 1600s and 1700s, and the hard times they had in making a life for themselves in an often unforgiving land.

We also remember the Irish Potato Famine Immigrants who came here in the 1800s, and what a difficult time they had settling in their new land; of the Eastern Europeans who, in a great way, settled and tamed the Prairie Provinces in the early 20th century with nothing more than hard work and an unswerving dedication; and of the Chinese, who came and developed the railway, and in so doing, opened up the West to the rest of Canada.

And, of course, all these new immigrants came and built upon a land originally settled by the Aboriginal peoples, who themselves came here thousands of years ago.

And to all the other immigrants who have come to Canada, and have found a home and prosperity here - welcome to Canada!

There are only eight more years before Canada's 150th anniversary, and I hear that planning for it has started already.

So Bonne Fête, Canada - Happy Birthday, Canada!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Newfoundland Memorial Day - July 1st

Not only is it Canada Day tomorrow (July 1) in Newfoundland and Labrador, it is also their Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is held in memory of those Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that lost their lives in combat, especially during World War I.

Members of the Newfoundland Regiment fought and died at Beaumont-Hamel in France during the opening day of the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916.

Because Newfoundland and Labrador was not yet a part of Canada until 1949, they were still considered a British colony.

They went to war in August, 1914.

The first day of the Battle of the Somme was particularly hard for the Newfoundland Regiment because only 68 of 801 soldiers survived. All of the others were either killed, wounded, or went missing in action.

You can visit the trenches at Beaumont-Hamel and see the statue of a caribou - the Newfoundland Regiment's emblem.

For more on their history, visit the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial website at <>.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hattie Perry Passes Away

I received word that Hattie Perry died this weekend.

Who was Hattie Perry?

Well, Hattie was a writer in Barrington on the southwestern shore of Nova Scotia.

She wrote about her adopted town, and it happened to be the place where my maternal family lived (the Blades-Hichens family), and they included such notables as Mary Hichens, a savior of many people who shipwrecked on Seal Island ("Mary Hichens and her Namesake"), and Annie Elizabeth Hichens ("Mrs. Mary and Others: Women of Barrington") both originally from England who married into the Hitchens family from Barrington.

Phil Verge—who had done Hattie's website for her—has agreed to keep the site up for an extra few days, and you can go to <> to see what she has written.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Canada Day (July 1) is a Free Day!

Be sure to catch's Free Day on July 1st - Canada Day.

Actually, it's free until July 3rd.

The only catch is that the immigration records are the only records which are free - but check them out anyway.

They cover Immigration Records from 1865 to 1935.

This is the press release I received -
"Happy Canada Day Elizabeth!

Canada Day is not only a great day to spend with family - it's the perfect time to get together and learn more about how your family came to be Canadian.

For the first time ever, is making available The Canadian Passenger Lists Collection, 1865 to 1935, FREE* until July 3rd, 2009.

Don't miss this great opportunity to discover your Canadian story in The Canadian Passenger Lists today."
Happy Hunting!