Monday, November 28, 2011
I see this happening to often lately; in my home town of Windsor, Ontario, Canada; there was an article about another graveyard being vandalized in March of 2009. While as a family genealogist and just a person of some conscience, I have never been all to happy to hear about these sorts of things; this one struck home for me. My paternal Grand-father (well step grand-father as I learned later in life) is buried in this Cemetery. I was upset when I saw the story in the paper that someone had brought into work that day. However as I read the story I became increasingly upset. This Cemetery is one of the older ones in our city and the biggest in the city center. It includes three separate sites split by two major roads. After work and before heading to my small group bible study that night, I had to go and check it out for myself and find out if grand-pa was still resting peacefully. I drove in the one end and parked, I could see about 10 toppled or damaged grave stones. I walked over and located my grand-fathers grave stone and was relieved to find it still standing and undamaged.
I see the degradation of society continues. I think that those that are caught in such an act of vandalism should suffer a like punishment. Namely no name to identify their final resting place. Just a stone that reads something like “Here lies a vandal, who had no thought for grave markers, don’t know who he was, and guess we never will”. Unfortunately this only punishes those left behind, who may actually miss and want to visit them. The main point is there needs to be a real punishment for these individuals. More times then not it involves youth that are run through the legal system and shot out the other side with a slap on the wrist that allows them to go back and repeat the crime again. The old joke about a grave yard being locked because people were dying to get in, takes on a sick meaning when they are dying to get in to cause damage. Do we have to lock them; and then what? How do we, that have the proper reason to be there; go about gaining access? It becomes a long drawn out solution. Best solution caring involved people. Your neighborhood, watch out for it.
Just my rant on the subject. What’s your thought?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Well I figured that since I have just started trying to blog regularly that I would concentrate on a theme for the most part. With remembrance day having just past and having looked at Great Grandpa Dennie, I figure lets continue with some other info. His tombstone was purchased and placed on his grave sometime within the last 15 yrs or so. My Great Aunt Pinkie (Glady) one of his last surviving children and sister to my deceased Grandmother Elva, still lived in the Hamilton Ontario area, and so her children bought the tombstone as a gift for her. She wanted to see to it that he had a stone at some point; but was never able to afford one. She was laid to rest next to him June 1, 2007. As I said in the blog on his enlistment into the Canadian Expeditionary Force of WWI he lied about his age to enter service, listing a date of birth in 1899. He later continued the lie, as can be noted in the post with his son Ordell's birth certificate. He stated on that form that he was born in 1899 also. I have the 1901 census with him and his family and it was dated April 8th of 1901 and at the time William George was 2 months old. I think the parents and census taker would be able to clearly tell the difference of a 2 month old and a 2 year old. This would seem to be the most accurate and reliable record. So even here because of all the lies and mystery surrounding his age in life, the family still recorded the year of his birth incorrectly on his Tombstone. Just one example of a complete record to determine the truth.
Monday, November 14, 2011
As the saying goes, “The time has past”. A few years back my father had made contact once again with his aunt Yvonne and her daughter. His mother’s last surviving sibling. He found out that we hadn’t heard from his uncle Ordell in California because he and his wife had died about a year before. No one let us know. He told her about my work on the family history and he sent me her address etc. So I had been meaning to send off a letter to her along with a family sheet for her and each of her kids, a small questionnaire and some photos I have restored. Unfortunately life happens and I got been busy with my own kids (4 trips to the emergency in the one month between the 2 kids). Then; ‘the time has past’ and I got the call from my father the one day soon after things had returned to a relatively normal state (no more hospital trips, namely) that my great aunt Yvonne had past away from the cancer she was dealing with. I was saddened further to realize that she was the last of that generation; of that group of siblings. I missed the opportunity to hear her family wisdom and record it for posterity. I pray she found rest and peace, as well as Great Uncle Ordell & Aunt Connie. Ordell was the only brother of my Grandmother Elva Dennie, they where the children of William George Dennie and Gladice Forwell. William Dennie I spoke of in the previous blog; he served in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in WWI. I remember Uncle Ordell well as we use to see him and his family regularly when I was a kid. That is until they moved down to California. Uncle Ordell even gave me a copy of his long form Birth Certificate to help with my research (seen above). It was one of my first major records for my collection and research into the family history. While it certainly helped spark my interest, here again is a lost opportunity. The time has past to speak with him some more, and gain insight from a truly wonderful man. He will be missed. Don't let the time pass on you and the opportunity to get to know your relatives, that you are researching, from other older relatives that knew them personally. This is probably one of the biggest research blunders we make as "The Family Genealogist". Just my opinion of course, but I don't think I'm far from the truth on this one.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Well on Christmas eve 2009 I had my middle child (Miranda) with me and my ex had our youngest (Liam) with her. We had just arrived at my long time friend (Liana's ) home and my ex (Wendy) called me. She said that they had gotten home early and Liam wanted to join me, could I pick him up. I said sure and then she said that she had something else to tell me and that she should probably tell me face to face but couldn't wait. She asked if I was seated and told me that Pam, her step sister (her mother is living in common law marriage with Ray N. and they have been together since before Wendy and I even started to date) has been looking for her birth mother now for 2-3 years (she and her brother were adopted as Ray and his first wife couldn't have kids). Anyway, Wendy said that on that very day when Pam arrived home to grab everything that she and the family needed to head out to her mother-in-laws for Christmas eve (Ray, Carol, Wendy, the kids all go each year), she found a letter from the Canadian Govt. She took it with her and they headed out to the family get together. On the way she opened the letter and the last name of her birth mother was familiar, so when she arrived at the party, she immediately found Wendy and asked her to look at the name. Wendy looked at it and at the address of the birth mother when she gave up her daughter. She did a double take she tells me and then told Pam that she knew this woman. She had met her. Pam’s birth mother it turns out was Orleen Adell Goodwin, my aunt, my father’s sister. My ex wife’s step sister it turns out was my first cousin. I had known my first cousin for nearly 20 years and we didn't know we were related. What’s more my father worked with Ray (her adoptive father) and before that Ray’s brother at Chrysler’s and had been that close to his niece for about 25 or more years. Ray and Carol have been friends with my father and his wife Ivy even after our divorce. How crazy is all this? What a small world, as they say. Well I got to tell my aunt Orleen on Christmas day that I knew her daughter, and gave her the details as here in written. I passed on her telephone numbers and Pam and aunt Orleen talked on Dec 27, 2009 for 2 hours. The best Christmas gift ever.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
With remembrance Day here, I am thankful that in time of need ordinary men step forward to serve their countries. Some go to war and never return home. Others return changed by the experience. We in Canada and the other Allied countries enjoy a freedom that is taken for granted all to often. At this time it is important to say to those that served; "Thank you". It is so little a thing to say and yet means so much. So tell a veteran today, "Thank you; for all you did". It so happens My great grandpa Dennie (pictured above with his wife Gladice nee-Forwell), was a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces during WWI as an engineer. He joined late in the war and so by the time he got over seas, I believe he was just helping with the consolidation and clean up. However late in the war he joined up however; was early for him. You see Great Grandpa Dennie was only 16 at the time and lied to enlist. His mother signed his papers knowing she couldn't stop him. He was determined to do his part. I searched out the date he enlisted and fighting was still intense and the Germans where making a hard stand of it. I believe Great Grandpa fully expected to see combat. I have a copy of his full service record, that I ordered from Archives Canada. While it gives me more insight into the man; I still wish I had gotten to meet him and further to say thank you to him personally. Don't miss the opportunity to tell a Vet you know how much you appreciate what they did. God Bless all those that serve. Let us all "Remember When...." "Lest We Forget".
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Who Are We?
So who are we? We are a conglomeration of all who came before us. We are the product of our parents, our 4 grand-parents before them, our 8 great-grand-parents before them, 16 great-great-grand-parents before them, and so on. All coming into the gene pool that makes for each of us as individuals. My ‘Gene pool’ is as follows. I am the Product of the Goodwin’s (Paternal / Father’s side) and the Lafleur’s (Maternal / Mothers side).
On the Paternal side my grand-father was obviously a Goodwin and my grand-mother was a Dennie. Now with out going into family history itself anything past my grand-father is one of my ‘Genealogical Brick Wall’s’. My grand-mother was the product of Dennie (Father) and Forwell (Mother). Great-grand-pa Dennie was the product of the Dennie’s and the Walker’s. Great-grand-ma Forwell was the product of the Forwell’s and the Brown’s. Now I do know the first names for all 4 parents of the Walker and Dennie line; obviously only know the paternal lines back that next generation with the full names.
On the Maternal side my grand-father was obviously again a Lafleur and my grand-mother was a Ouellette. Grand-paLafleur was the product of the Lafleur’s and the Trudelle’s. Once again in the next generation of the Lafleur and Trudelle lines I know all 4 of the parents first names but only the Paternal family names, and so that is as far as I go with that line.With theOuellette line Grand-ma was the product of the Ouellette’s and the Gervais’s. Great-grand-pa Ouellette was the product of the Ouellette’s and the Archambault’s; and that is as far back as I go with that line. His wife, my great-grand-mother Gervais was the product of the Gervais’s and the Cousineau’s. Great-great-grand-pa Gervais was a product of the Gervais’s and theLongpre’s; and that is as far as this line goes. His wife, my great-great-grand-ma Cousineau was a product of theCousineau’s and the Beauchamp’s. Now great-great-great-grand-pa Cousineau was the product of the Cousineau’s and theGascon’s. His wife, my great-great-great-grand-ma Beauchampwas the product of the Beauchamp’s and the Laronde’s. Now this line is the one I have traced back the furthermost so far; however from this point back I don’t trust the info completely as I haven’t been able as of yet to verify it myself. As of yet the other names I have are Legault, Beautron, and Kekjicakoe andWonsneswesquigigo and go back to the 1750’s.
How many of your family gatherings end up with everyone reflecting on the past? In one way or another we all seem to ask this question of others in our family (or group of long term friends). And then everyone is entangled in a conversation about when “such and such happened” or was “said” or “so and so did this/said that …etc.”. Everyone is sharing their memories of the time when, and just what the details where. As time goes by these details are lost or forgotten or the people involved as it happens, pass on. Well isn’t that why we are interested in genealogy? To help preserve not only our family line but those stories and the character of the people that were there? In the picture above, why do all the kids appear to be laughing except me? Was I the butt of a joke that I don’t remember now? Time is running out to find out. My Grand-father who was in the photo holding me and my cousin Susie, died when I was about 10 yrs old and long before I was into family history. His wife, my grand-mother died less then 2 years later, I assume she was there when the photo was taken; it was my grand-parents home where this was taken. My Uncle Bernie (in the Montreal Canadians top) died in 2006. Now someone in the photo may remember; but most are young here and may not. So then we make some more assumptions. The parents where probably present. So my parents, Aunts & Uncles. You get the point.
We need to make sure that we take the opportunities as they are available to get these first hand accounts. That goes for preserving our family pictures. There is a very important piece of the story. That individuals appearance, the family resemblance. But who are these people in the old photo’s? Here again we need to take the time to sit down with the older generation and go through them with them, having them identify everyone in the photo. Again we need to remember to ask more then who is in the photo; we need to ask when was this (year or full date if possible), what was the occasion or event (Christmas, birthday and which one if so), did anything special, unusual or memorable happen at this time? Take notes and mark the photo with pencils or markers made to do so. Ones that won’t damage the photo. Once again look at the photo above. In it we find my aunt Denise (Kneeling down next to her father and me in the bottom right of the picture), My cousin Susie ( in the pink night gown next to me, being held by Grand-pa Wilfrid), and my other cousin Sheri (in the light Green night gown front bottom left of photo). That ‘anything special’ to note, that I mentioned earlier. The night gowns the three are wearing in this photo were all hand made and stitched by my grand-mother as part of their Christmas gifts that year. This gives us insight into her abilities, filling out the family history a little more.
Lastly let’s remember we are doing this because we have an interest in our family history and in preserving it. So share it, and then everyone in the family will “Remember When”.