Alberta AGS Conference Day 1

I am attending AGS Conference this weekend in Edmonton and I have thoroughly enjoyed the first day. They have provided us with a great line-up of speakers, it has been wonderful reconnecting with people, meeting new friends and so much learning. DNA has been the biggest hit for attendees with topics covering all aspects and levels.

Being days away from a trip to Ireland meant Ruth Blair’s talk on Preparing for a Genealogical Trip in 7 Steps was a great session to attend. It also has me with a few last-minute To-Dos.

Organizing Your Genetic Genealogy by Diahan Southard inspired me to sit in my room after the banquet working on my DNA spreadsheet.

Today has Kyle Betit is giving the opening Keynote and I will be attending his later session on Advances in Irish Research.

A surprise for me during the AGM was hearing my name announced and being presented with an award for an article I had written for our local genealogy society. I tend to not have a lot of confidence with my writing and I found this encouraging.

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I guess I will keep writing!

Bring on Day 2.

How to Find Alberta Vital Records

Alberta has a bad rap for genealogical records, but it isn’t the black hole of the West as most people think. Well maybe isn’t as easy as its counterparts like Saskatchewan Vital Records or Manitoba but the records are there.

Vital records are available at the Provincial Archives (PAA) for

  • Births that are over 120 years (not adoptions
  • Stillbirths over 75 years
  • Marriage over 75 years
  • Deaths over 50 years

If you are looking for more recent records here is the link for more information on the Service Alberta web page.

Here is the process I used to get a record for a relative who was married in Edmonton in 1908.  The first thing I did was go to the Provincial Archives of Edmonton webpage and located the Genealogy tab.

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Once I selected the Genealogy tab I scrolled down to the b/m/d pdfs on the page to determine if there was a specific number I should be locating. I have to admit I did find this process a little tedious and confusing. In the end, I contacted PAA via email explaining what I was searching for, the names of the people, the date (I only knew the year) and the location.

I received an email from them stating that they had received my request and they would be in touch. A follow-up e-mail told me they had located the marriage record and asked if I would like them to mail it or come in and view it in their reading room. I replied that they should mail it, a digital copy was not given as an option.

Another email followed that included a link to pay for the record and they

accept Visa, Visa debit, MasterCard and AMEX. We are also not able to accept credit card information over the phone to make payments.

The cost for the record is minimal – $3.00 ($6.00 if outside of Canada) and photocopying fee of $.35-$.50 cents! Not bad Alberta, not bad at all.

If you have relatives in Alberta and have been putting off ordering Vital Records, I would like to encourage you to go for it. Overall the process to access the records is not difficult and as you can see full of information! Well, they call them VITAL records for a reason!

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Marriage record of William Lewis Young and Emily Mays at The Manse in Edmonton, Alberta 26 August 1908.

Following the Prompt

I have decided to participate in the #52stories project that Family Search is promoting. They have created prompts encouraging people to write about themselves and their experiences.

Initially, I felt that I didn’t have a lot to write about, I didn’t grow up saddling a horse to get to school or have personal stories about war or take part in a world event, but I was happily surprised after writing today on the first prompt. I realized do have my own stories to tell, they may not be huge events in the world but they are my stories and may be interesting to someone in the future. The prompt I started with was “What is your earliest memory of feeling proud of yourself -at school, in sports, in art or music, in a club or scouting?”

I went to my Evernote and created a Notebook and called it #52Stories,  each entry will be a note within that notebook. I also downloaded the prompts as a pdf file and added them to the same Notebook. Once I started writing I realized I would like to highlight some of my memories by adding photos.

Here is one of the entries I made for the first prompt – My earliest memory of feeling pride was in grade 1, I was attending McCaig school in Rosemere, Quebec. There was a draw for a radio, I am not sure how we entered the draw if we received tickets for good behavior or had to sell something. No matter, I was thrilled that my name was chosen which meant I was the recipient of the Sesame Street Ernie bubble bath radio. I remember loving the duckie he was holding and hurrying home after school to share my good fortune with my parents. Everyone was quite happy for me and Ernie had a place of honour in my bedroom. I can recall spending quite a bit of time playing with the dial trying to connect to a station. I am not sure what happened to the radio after we moved but it seems there are a lot of things that did not make the move to Alberta.

A quick search in google images and I was able to find my Ernie radio! I added the photograph to my entry as otherwise, nobody would know how awesome Ernie looks relaxing in the bubbles playing with his duckie!51ip6gmr2il-_sx300_

I realize this post is more personal but hopefully, it will encourage my readers to take the time to write about their lives. I for one would love to know some of the stories about the day to day lives of my ancestors!

Create Family History Videos

One of the things I learned while attending the OCG 2016 Conference in Toronto was to continue to work on using video to share family stories. Thanks to a session given by Lisa Louise Cooke on How to Create and Leverage Your Own You Tube Channel for Genealogy and her suggestion of Animoto as user-friendly I took the time to play with it. The video took about 20 minutes to create with most of my time spent gathering the photographs and adding the text. Animoto is quite easy to use, they do put a watermark on the video unless you upgrade, which costs $13 a month. This is not a bad a bad price but if I subscribe I would have some projects already prepared in folders and do more than one at a time.

Once on the Animoto site and create an account you can pick a theme from the choices offered. Next up is adding the photographs, drag and drop style. There are also text boxes that you can use to proceed the photographs, caption each one or both. Animoto even adds the music for you! I am sure there are more options but these are a few I used in my creation. I was then able to download my video which I uploaded to my You Tube channel. It was very seamless!

Animoto does put a watermark on the video unless you upgrade which has different options but runs $13 for a month. Although not a bad price I think if I subscribe I will have some projects gathered in folders ready to go and create more than one at a time. My reasoning for a month at a time is I seem to go in waves as far as what I am working on and what my time allows. All in all it was an easy experience and I can see where I can improve and expand my video.  Let me know if you give it a try!

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.