Sunday, April 9, 2017

April 9, 1917 - VIMY RIDGE - Canadian's Show Their Grit

    ONE HUNDRED YEARS ago today, Canadian soldiers jumped into the battle for Vimy Ridge. Other's had tried and failed; but the Canadian's won the day. It cost them dearly; but from that point on they were counted on for getting the job done. I had a number of relatives / ancestors that were in the Canadian Expeditionary Force's of WWI. I haven't found any proof yet that any fought at Vimy. Never the less they served their country and our allies at a time of great need. Follow the events of today with the ceremonies and Remeberances of the day. I know two students that are over in France for the festivities today. Pray it makes an impression on them and others so we don't continue these kinds of acts into the future. The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Follow the battle: - So today let's Remember When and never forget.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Doing research at the Windsor, Ontario, Public Library

     Well we all know that not everything is available on line; despite what some may believe. When doing research on the family you often need to go to the cities, towns, counties or even countries they came from. Once there you have to visit the local records office, genealogy society/group or in our case Library.  My local main library is the monthly meeting place for the local chapter of the Ontario Genealogical Society (The Essex County Branch). While I am interested in joining this group there are some personal issues that have kept me from doing so. I won't go into those here. However the library has a large collection of local Geneologies donated by people over the years. They have the local newspapers on Micro Film, local grave yard info., maps, a large collection of yearbooks from most of the schools (including ones that no langer exist), the city Directories and local history books. One of the coolest things is that most of this is located on the second floor inside a Local Research room. It is a seperate glassed in room with tables & chairs for the researcher, a Micro Film viewer, and there is a desk with a Librarian on staff at all times. They are there to assist you if you are looking for anything and or to direct you to the best source available. They also can also go and get you books or documents that they have in their holdings that may not be readily available on the shelves. Some of these are in ill repair and so more delicate and they don't leave them on the shelf there fore. However if you inquire and they have it they can bring it in and you can use it. Then they will take it back to the hoding area. You also cannot put things back on teh shelves for yourself. They insist that you leave it on the table when you are finished with it. They will re-shelf it after they record the use of that specific book or document. To show that the room and resources are being used.  The room was built about 2-3 years ago. Up until then everything was just up on teh second floor more or less together and a lot of the things where in the holdings area and hard to get your hands on. Now a lot of it is available on the shelves and only a little is still locked away. I go in about once every 3-4 months and have ment to blog about this a few times. However I kept forgetting to take photos to go with the blog. Yesterday, I finally remembered to do so. If you are interested in researching your family and are in the Windsor area; I would encourage you to use this resource. If you aren't; but can make the trip it is worth while. The other thing is that if you have a quick question about someone from the area; lets say you know that your grandfather lived here in 1956 or so and have his full name you can call and speak with that librarian that is on duty and they will look in the local city directories for that year and or the ones around it to see if he his listed and where he lived. The directory will also tell if he is living with a wife and where he worked. All just a phone call away.  So if you need help to Remember When, then check out the Library.

The view at the door to the second floor research section of the Windsor, Ontario, Public Library, Main Branch.

Local School Year Books.

Local donated Family Histories.

The CIty Directories (this is where I am focused at the moment, copying the info. on my family).

This is the stack of City Directories I left on the table after my 4 hour visit.

The Local History section. 

Micro Film of the Newspapers (The Windsor Star & it's predecessor (Locally)) & the Toronto Globe & Mail.

Census, Death, Cemetary, Land Grant Micro Films.

Ancestry DNA helping fill in the missing pieces (Part 2)

   Just a small update. I have contacted my father and let him know that I have an Ancestry DNA kit coming to me for him; and as of today I sent it to him in the mail this afternoon. He will have it by Tues. or Wed. at the latest. He is interested in finding out the answers related to his relationship to his sister (whom I have also sent a kit to - she already recieved it and sent it back for processing weeks ago). I also told him I have one for my brother and he said that was good. He didn't have much more to say about it yet. We will have to await the results; before we get the real reaction. I gave my brother his last week end. I don't know if he sent in yet; I assume he did. He was interested in the information that this will open up for me and the family and how to make links from it. I explained it a liitle to him adn told him to check out the You Tube videos on it. Something else of interest to add to the whole story is that while talking to my oldest daughter about this; she revealed that she and her husband had ordered and sent in their own kits with another of the Genealogy web sites. So we will be able to compare the info from both sites and make links possibly with others who are only on one or the other web site. Very interested to get to the next step in this process. Until then; Remember When.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ancestry DNA helping fill in the missing pieces (Part 1)

   Well my kids got me the Ancestry DNA kit this past Christmas. Being the family genealogist and having an Ancestry membership they thought it would be a good gift. They were of course, right. Now don't ask me why it took so long; however I just filled my saliva test tube and sent it in about a week or so ago. Yesterday I received an e-mail that they had received it at there testing center and that it had been placed in the line-up to be tested. It will be between 8 and 9 weeks to see the results. As long as it took me to send in my sample; it took almost no time at all to decide to test other family members. My brother and I had already talked about both doing this test; and just haven't gotten around to it. Price being a small factor. We were waiting to see a sale on the kit. My father has always insisted that my brother can't be his biological son. My mother insist he is. So we figure we can lay all questions aside and let the DNA speak for itself. Also if you read my previous blog about my father's mother (my Grand-mother); then you know there is a similar question about my father and his siblings. So I ordered this past week a kit for my brother and one for my father and his sister. Unfortunately my Uncle died back in 1992 (as you would also know from that previous blog) and so I can't test him; Also his daughter was killed a few years later, so I can't test her either. I called my Aunt in Minnesota and she was exited by the idea and of finding out the answers after all these years. My brother is waiting for it. I'm not sure how excited or nervous he is. It has been a question hanging over him for years. I talked to my father a year or two ago about doing this and what it would mean if we find out that he is his son. I know it would hurt him inside to realize what he has missed out on. Family is very important to him. He is I think a little apprehensive about the test from that point of view. However I think he is very interested to learn about his sister and their actual parentage.
    So I have the Ancestry membership and I own all these test. they were purchased by me and I get to administer them through my account for the family. I am excited to see the matches that we may be able to make as well as the answers to the questions we have. Now we just wait for them to arrive, activate them, send them in and get the results. Check out the video if you want to know more about this test  I will keep you updated as we complete more steps. As always Remember When and share those memories with others.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day 2017 ...Remember When Grandma Dennie..

    SO since it is International Women's Day, I thought I would talk about my Grand-mother. Elva Irene Dennie was her name and she was born in Dundas, Ontario, Canada on August 27, 1923. The Daughter of William George Dennie (who I have spoken of many times in previous blogs) and Gladys Irene Forwell. She was the oldest of their children. Now my Grand-mother lived a life that was dedicated to her own enjoyment. She was married many times and it is assumed that my father and his siblings have different father's. Or at least my father and his brother have a different father then their sister. We never got to hear the truth of this from her however; because the day we as a family were going to sit down with her and finally have it out; that is get to the truth of it. She died. My birthday 1992. My uncle Vince was dying of cancer and had only a month or two left. My aunt had come in from the states to see him and for us to get together and have this conversation with her before Vince died. He wanted to go to his grave having all the past issues and questions taken care of. So even in the end she took the secrets with her. However all this being said, I know that she loved me and her children. She may not have been able to be the best mother in life; but she did love us and I know she held a special place in her heart for me. In her earlier years she was a part of history, such as it were. She joined the Military during WWII as a Leading Aircraft Woman and served for about one year. I recently ordered and received a DVD from The National Film Board of Canada entitled Wings on Her Shoulders which is a short documentary about this group of woman that served. They did jobs to free men up for the combat roles and played a vital part in the war effort.  You can view the video here  I also have a document she kept that was with her important papers when she died. It is her statement of service.  It shows her time of service and states she received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and War Medal 1939-45. She was honorably discharged Nov. 23, 1943 in Toronto, she served in Hamilton, Ontario.  I also have photo copies of a section of the book A History of Women in the Canadian Military about the Aircraft Women of WWII.  All in all I Remember When I sat with my Grand-mother and I will always be proud to know that she served our country.

Statement of Service for Elva Irene Dennie (from the collection of John Goodwin)

Above cover and section of the book 'A History of Women in the Canadian Military' featuring the Aircraft Women of WWII.

Picture of the Volunteer Service Medal 1939-1945. While she never had these in her possession when she died, I found this on line.

    I almost forgot; she told me how she and her friends from the service use to hang out at this cafe in Hamilton called the 'Air Way' and how after someone was discharged they would all go their to say good-bye and good-luck. So I have a picture of her in front of that cafe ( I think it was scheduled to close and so she wanted a picture in front of it; if I remember correctly). Anyway I post that picture and I have a copy of the menu from when she was discharged. I guess part of the ritual of saying good-bye was that all your fellow service people would sign a copy of the menu and send you off with it. She kept hers and I found it in with her box of pictures and things after she died. I don't have it copied; but will dig it out and try to update that into this blog later.

My Grand-mother outside the 'Air Way' Cafe in Hamilton May of 1955. (Part of the collection of John Goodwin)