A New Adventure – Genealogy Summer Camp

I live in a fairly remote location and do not often get any Archives to do hands-on research. This has led me to hiring researchers but I confess this doesn’t give me the same sense of satisfaction as digging through and locating records myself. I love that feeling euphoria when I find a record that mentions my ancestors.

I am thrilled that I will be heading out this weekend to Toronto and take part in their Genealogy Summer Camp!

There has been some prep to the trip. We had to fill out a questionnaire about our ancestor and what information we were looking for.

We also had to decide which religious archives we wanted to go to. I picked the United Church Archives, although I do have some Catholic relatives as well.

We received our itinerary yesterday and I was delighted to read how well organized our days will be.

I am hoping to get familiar with the repositories as I plan to be back in 2016 for the OGS Conference that will be in Toronto. Now if only Ottawa branch would offer a camp as well!

Doing the Do-Over

It is kinda like doing the hockey-pokey. I feel like I am dancing a jig as I move at a turtles pace through the process.

I had been planning to rework my tree for some time and the Do-Over fit into my life perfectly. After working at the local archives for a year and a half I knew that I had to do something better. Not to say that I hadn’t been good. I had, but after moving twice and having two more kids the genealogy papers were in storage for a few years. Space was a huge issue. I didn’t stop researching, though I felt like a collector. It is time to put it all together in a consist manner.

I have been scanning and entering information for days. It feels like forever but it hasn’t been that long. I am actually enjoying going through my files and ‘finding’ things that have been tucked away for too long. I have not properly analyzed most of the papers that have been passed down from my grandmother.

Right now my new tree doesn’t have 20 people on it. I refuse to add to it until I have done all the steps on the people I have entered so far. I do not enjoy this as much as the hunt but the detective in me comes out when I see the overlooked data contained in a letter or a postcard. It is not a huge things but interesting tidbits, for example, my dad left Berkley, Detroit with his family and moved back to Montreal. I now have a window of months when that occurred. That kind of information helps me to start putting more detail on my family.

I still am struggling with source citation and making it just so, but I will not give up! I am reading when I get a chance and I thank everyone out there who is sharing their ideas, methods, successes and failures for me and others to learn from. It is a great community of people that is slvery willing to share their process and knowledge. 

I don’t know how long I will be at this. It could take me a year or two to get what I have recorded properly. I will continue to scan, cite and sort and in the end my computer, files and office will be conquered. I am thankful to be doing the hockey-pokey Do-Over and turning myself around!

Ribbon Against Domestic Violence.

Violence in 1840 – A Fearless Female

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out? Blog prompt from Lisa Alzo.

March 19, 1840 is the day my 41-year-old great, great grandmother Elizabeth Tipper laid charges against her attacker. Her attacker was a 5’7” dark-complected man who physically attacked and threatened her life.

March 19, 2015 marks 175 years since that day. The harsh reality of discovering this information was a shock; I had no idea of the horrors that her and her children went through. You see her attacker was her husband. Domestic violence is in my family tree.

I am not sure how often women had the confidence to stand up to their husbands in 1840 or are listened to; Elizabeth did just that. They listened

Elizabeth & Robert Jeffrey married in St. Andrew’s Church, on February 2, 1818 in Quebec City. Robert was a Scottish immigrant to Canada, a stone mason by trade. Children started arriving soon after, first a son John and then daughter Mary both born in Montreal. Mary died the following year, but children continued to arrive until Elizabeth had given birth to nine, with six surviving infancy. Being a Mason, Robert and his family went where there was work, Montreal back to Quebec City and in 1832, St. Etienne de Beauce. Robert signed a contract to build a mill for George Pozer. This answers the question, as to where my great grandmother received her name Hannah Pozer Jeffrey. With the building finished the family travelled back to Quebec City.

The evening of March 19th, 1840 was the last straw for Elizabeth. She took a step that she had avoided till now and went to the police filing a complaint. Was my great grandmother Hannah a witness to this? My daughter Jordan is eight, the same age Hannah was when the events unfolded. Did she hear her dad say to her mom, “…death was waiting for her…” How many times had she heard it before? What else had she witnessed her father do? Not being the first time that he had attacked her mother. According to the police report her father had “been in the frequent habit of beating and ill-using…” her mother.

Forgiveness granted, as is so often the case in domestic violence situations. Elizabeth is hoping that Robert is a changed man, and that bringing the charges against him worked, that he won’t do it again. She reconciled with Robert and their last child Julia Heathfield Jeffrey arrives in 1842. The story is not over though, Robert doesn’t change, things do not go well for Elizabeth.

Less than a year later she had him arrested again, and he served a month in prison this time.

Elizabeth finally stopped forgiving Robert in the 1851 census she is living with her daughter Elizabeth in Quebec City, and Robert’s gone. Elizabeth passes away two years later at the age of 54 “after a lingering illness of eight months, which she bore with becoming resignation”.

Quebec Mercury April 12, 1853

Quebec Mercury
April 12, 1853

Elizabeth (Tipper) Jeffrey, maybe one of my most Fearless Female. This white ribbon is for her.

ribbon_japan [Converted]

*I am very thankful to Elizabeth LaPointe for researching the prison records and to the BanQ Quebec Archives for their on-line databases but in this case specifically for Inmates in the Prison of Quebec 19th century.

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Mary Stewart's nursing graduation.

Working Woman – Fearless Female

March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation. Blog prompt from Lisa Alzo.

My mother Mary Stewart was one of my first female ancestors to work outside of the home. She grew up on a farm by Albright, Alberta, and the closest town was Beaverlodge. She decided nursing would be the career for her, the closest training school was the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton which was 540 km away. This was not a small distance for someone who had experienced a very small school and hadn’t done much traveling. I asked her about it, this is what she told me

I trained for three years at the Misericordia School  of Nursing. We all lived in residence which was right beside the hospital. Across the alley directly behind us was the interns residence and beside that residence was the Crèche, where unwed mothers were lived and were cared for. Many of these girls were very young.  After their deliveries, some of the girls gave up their babies for adoption.

Sister St, Delphina was in charge of the student nurses. I think she was a very smart  nice person, but we had our regulations. During our first year we had to be in residence by 9:30 every night.

We were allowed a few 10:30 pm and something like  four 12:30 passes each month, the number of passes increased slightly each year as we got older.

After three years, we wrote our government exams and I went with my roommate Collette to work at the Blairmore hospital in the Crows Nest Pass in southern Alberta. It took what seemed a long time before our marks from our exams reached and for us to find out that we had both passed .

We returned to Edmonton in September (I think) for our graduation ceremonies. My mother came out to Edmonton to attend. It was all so impressive to me. The graduation ceremony was at the McDonald Hotel.

A few years ago while I was in Edmonton my friend and classmate, Terri Ellis and I went there to have lunch and catch up. It is a very grand place.

I do know that my mom went on to nurse in Detroit, Michigan after she was married. Later the family moved back to Montreal (1971) and she taught at the preschool I attended.

In Rosemere Quebec, I worked with Binny Goldman at the Rosemere Cooperative Nursery School  Which I think she started and was very sought after place for people to enroll their preschoolers.  I initiated a little gym program for the children which seemed to go over quite well. I believe I worked there for three years before moving out to Alberta.

In 1981, we moved back to Alberta, very close to the place where my mom had grown up. Mom had to go back to school, redoing some courses so she could again nurse in Alberta. She returned to nursing as a VON and later worked at the Hythe Hospital, retiring a few years ago.

How Did They Meet – Fearless Female

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

I have no idea how my grandparents met, I wish I did.

As far as how my parents met, my dad and mom both attended a party. I think they really hit if off and started dating after that. My mom was nursing in Ontario and dad was working in Detroit. They had mutual friends that invited them both to the same party.

Favorite Recipe – Fearless Female

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family. Blog prompt from Lisa Alzo.

I do not have any of either of my grandparents recipes, but I do have some foods that have special meaning in my family. Tourtiere was a special treat in our house. I remember running to the door to greet my dad when he was arriving home from work. If he was  carrying a white box tied with string we knew we were in for a special supper. There was a shop he would go to and buy mini-tourtiere’s for each of us. We loved those days!

I asked my mom about it and this is what she said,

We usually just had them at Christmastime, so we would plan for him to go a few days before to have them in the house. As we got a fairly large order we would order them ahead . He worked in Montreal and we lived quite a long way out so he would pick them up after work. I never went to the shop.

His parents bought the same meat pies  from there. When we lived in Detroit they would come for Christmas on the train and would bring a supply of them as well as a variety of shortbread cookies from the same place. I wonder if that place is still there?

Another family favorite was split-pea soup. Great memories and great food.