I took early retirement (from the job not my family) and began to volunteer in my community. I volunteered with the Red Cross; the Ovarian Cancer Society and a local Women & Children’s Shelter. I found a local Family History Centre and my interest was renewed in the materials that my cousin had given me. The people volunteering at the centre were so very helpful to me that I ended up being a volunteer myself. Not only did I help others with their research but I was able to work on my history.
Growing up my family often visited my father’s hometown of Fredericton, New Brunswick. My renewed interest in family history had me searching for all the photos taken of those visits with grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. I then put names to their faces with the help of my mom. I then began to research birth, marriage and death records. (Remember that research is about finding and linking with your ancestors. Privacy laws and privacy rights prevent researching for “lost” living family members.)
It was fun to discover that my father’s family came from England in 1640 and settled in Connecticut, U.S.A. (How did his family end up in New Brunswick? More on that later.) It was fun to discover that my mother’s family came from England and Ireland, settling in Toronto, Ontario. Researching English records can be fun but have you ever looked for Irish records? This is where I met my “brick wall”. Many of the records have been destroyed over the years and so Irish research can be a challenge. I attend workshops on Irish research and breaking down the “brick walls” of research whenever I can.
I would like this blog to be used like a community forum where we can exchange ideas and resources to help each other. I encourage you to send comments that I will share so that we can as a community learn more!