Thursday, 20 July 2017

Focus on an Archive: Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, NWT

On my recent trip to the Northwest Territories, I made sure I made a visit to the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC). I'm very lucky in that my significant other is a history buff like me. He was all for taking a look with me. We made a point of planning our trip in such a way that we would be able to have lots of time to spend there.

Built in 1979, it is the Territorial Government's archive and museum.Now, unlike some of the Government Archives around the country, the PWNHC does not hold those usual records that we as genealogists crave, such as BMD's and land records. The reason for this is that these records are just too new to be publicly available. They are still held in the custody of the particular government department they belong to. Older records that don't fall under privacy legislation are most likely held in the Archives in the Prairie Provinces, all of which used to be part of the Northwest Territories.

The PWNHC instead focuses on a general history of the Territories. They do have some government records that relate more to the running of the Territory. They also have private collections of records from both individuals and businesses. There's an extensive photo collection, audio and visual files, and maps. You can also take a look at their collection of publications on the history of the Territory. For a more detailed explanation of their holdings, you can check their website here.

The jewel in the crown though is the museum. We spent a long time going through the building. I was very impressed with how interactive all the displays were. They have dioramas of all the various arctic animals. In front of each animal was a information stand, with statistics on the animal's size, habitat, etc. Many of them had pelts attached that you could touch. In a glass case beside each diorama were example of all the products that were made from that animal and tools. At the bottom of each case was the name of the animal in English, French, and several of the indigenous languages. You can also listen to audio files, some with elders talking about their experiences




There are also displays telling the history of the many different Native groups, and a general history of the Northwest Territories. There are displays of clothing, furniture, and an absolutely huge mooseskin boat. I learned a great deal in just a couple of hours.




Along with their permanent displays, the PWNHC have travelling exhibits available for NWT communities to display. They also have virtual exhibits online here.

The museum is open daily from 1030 a.m.-5 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. There's a cafe onsite that is open the same hours. The archive is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m.-12 noon and 1 p.m. to 430 p.m. If you have mobility problems, both levels are designed to accommodate.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

I'm on holidays!

Just a heads up that there will be no regular weekly blog post this week. I am in beautiful British Columbia at the moment, and will be leaving for a road trip today to the Northwest Territories. Internet and cell service will be sketchy. But rest assured I will be back next week!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

What's in a Name? A Look at Naming Patterns




Our ancestors seemed to have loved reusing names. For us, many many years later, it can be enough to yank your hair out to have discovered that you've traced back to yet another John, James, Mary, or Margaret. Middle names become very important. My own two middle names are from one paternal great grandmother, and one maternal great grandmother.

If you have a strong heritage to a particular country, your family may have followed a long standing naming tradition for first names. On the surface it may seem frustrating, but there are some great clues in these traditions that can help you establish another generation back.

French Canadian Naming Patterns
These can be confusing, without throwing in "dit" names. That's a whole blog post in itself. Usually a child would have three names


  • First name: Joseph or Marie, depending on the sex of the child
  • Second name: name of Godfather or Godmother, depending on the sex of the child
  • Third name: the name they were generally known by
On my maternal side, this has occurred right up until my mother's generation. The only deviation in my mom and her siblings is that there were only two names. It is their middle name that they go by. 


Scottish Naming Patterns
According to FindMyPast's blog post, they were actually two different traditional naming patterns people followed. They caution that not everyone used the naming traditions.

The first pattern for boys was:

  • First son: father's father
  • Second son: mother's father
  • Third son: father
  • Fourth son: father's eldest brother, or father's paternal grandfather
  • Fifth son: mother's eldest brother, or mother's paternal grandfather
For girls:
  • First daughter: mother's mother
  • Second daughter: father's mother
  • Third daughter: mother
  • Fourth daughter: mother's eldest sister, or mother's maternal grandmother
  • Fifth daughter: named after father's eldest sister, or father's maternal grandmother
See the link above for details on the second naming tradition.

English and Irish Naming Patterns
The traditional naming pattern of England is very similar to the Scottish. 

Boys:
  • First son: father's father
  • Second son: mother's father
  • Third son: father
  • Fourth son: father's eldest brother
  • Fifth son: father's second eldest brother, or mother's eldest brother
Girls:
  • First daughter: mother's mother
  • Second daughter: father's mother
  • Third daughter: mother
  • Fourth daughter: mother's eldest sister
  • Fifth daughter: mother's second eldest sister, or father's eldest sister
The British also tended to use maiden names as middle names. This can be extremely helpful with tracing your female ancestors. I once had a friend ask me to find out where the middle name "Steel" came from in her family line. It was a long standing tradition to give the first born son this as a middle name. It turned out it was the maiden name of her 3x great grandmother. It had traveled down through 5 generations of sons as a middle name. 

German Naming Patterns
Similar to French Canadians, Germans traditionally used a religious name first, and the name they went by was second. In my Lunenburg ancestors, I have a lot of "Johann" and "Anna" as first names. For the commonly used name, they usually followed the following pattern:

For boys:
  • First son: father's father
  • Second son: mother's father
  • Third son: father
  • Fourth son: father's paternal grandfather
  • Fifth son: mother's paternal grandfather
  • Sixth son: father's maternal grandfather
  • Seventh son: mother's maternal grandfather
For girls:
  • First daughter: mother's mother
  • Second daughter: father's mother
  • Third daughter: mother
  • Fourth daughter: father's paternal grandmother
  • Fifth daughter: mother's paternal grandmother
  • Sixth daughter: father's maternal grandmother
  • Seventh daughter: mother's maternal grandmother
Ukranian Naming Patterns
The Canadian West in particular has strong Ukranian roots. A traditional Ukranian name would follow the following:

For boys:
  • First name: name they are called by
  • Middle name: (father's name) with the suffix "ovych" or "yovych"
For girls:
  • First name: name they are called by
  • Middle name: (father's name) with the suffix "ivna" or "yivna" 
So if the father's name was Ivan, then the son's middle name would be "Ivanovich". His daughter's middle name would be "Ivanivna".



Now keep in mind that not everyone stuck to ethnic naming patterns. Some families tended to have their own unique versions. I've seen traditions where a son's middle name was a father's first name. But if you're lucky enough to see a pattern develop, it can give you some great clues on getting another generation back.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

My Canada 150 Ancestors

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Canada


HAPPY CANADA DAY!


Patricia Greber at My Genealogy Life has challenged Canadian bloggers to list their ancestors who were here in 1867, our country's year of Confederation. We are supposed to list our ancestor, their year of arrival and where they settled. Now, my ancestral lines that were here in 1867 actually came in the 1600's and 1700's. Because of this, those alive in 1867 were born here. I'm also only going to concentrate on my direct line ancestors, because otherwise it would be next Canada Day before I was able to finish listing them all! Here's my list of ancestors confirmed alive in 1867:


Name                                                 Born                                  Where they were in 1867

James Edward Johnson  Jr.               1864                                   Halifax County NS

James Edward Johnson Sr.               1841                                   Halifax County NS

Jacob Johnson                                   1792                                   Halifax County NS

Catherine Boutilier                            1811                                   Halifax County NS

Deborah Covey                                 1844                                   Halifax County NS

John Covey                                       abt. 1814                             Halifax County NS

Maria Anna Hubly                            abt. 1811                             Halifax County NS

Anna Maria Kohler                          1774                                     Halifax County NS

William J Boutilier                           1834                                    Halifax County NS

Martha Eisenhauer                           1840                                     Halifax County NS

Micheal Eisenhauer                         1803                                     Halifax County NS

Sophia Lantz                                    1812                                     Halifax County NS

Johann Jacob Lantz                          1787                                     Lunenburg NS

Regina Magdelene Ernst                  1785                                     Lunenburg NS

Mary Govereau                                1855                                  Northumberland Cnty NB

Honore Govereau  (aka Germain Deneau) 1812                    Northumberland County NB

Appoline Savoie                              abt. 1823                        Northumberland County NB

Helene Breau                                   abt 1790                         Northumberland County NB

Jean Julian Mallais                          1847                                      Gloucester County NB

Joseph Jules Mallais                        1818                                      Gloucester County NB

Marie Aylward                                 1822                                      Gloucester County NB

Marie Victorine Ferguson                1846                                      Gloucester County NB

Francois David Ferguson                 1811                                      Gloucester County NB

Jean McLaughlin                             abt 1857                                 Gloucester County NB

Jacques James McLaughlin             1821                                       Gloucester County NB

Jean McLaughlin                             1795                                       Gloucester County NB

Isabelle Saulnier                               abt 1790                                Gloucester County NB

Elizabeth Robinson                          1824                                      Gloucester County NB

Mary Louise Elizabeth Fournier      abt. 1858                                Gloucester County NB

Guillaume Fournier                          1832                                       Gloucester County NB

Marie Anne Brideau                        1829                                       Gloucester County NB

Louis Brideau                                  1799                                       Gloucester County NB

Josephette McLaughlin                   1802                                        Gloucester County NB



I hope next year to possibly add in my Douglas line. My great grandfather James Henry Douglas was born after Confederation. There's conflicting evidence on his birth. Some documents say Ontario, while others say England.

You may have noticed no McDonald names in the list. This ironically is my biggest brick wall line. My great grandfather was born about 1894 in Ontario. His parents were John Angus McDonald and Mildred Murphy. He states on his marriage certificate from 1956 (he and my great grandmother were together for over 30 years before they got married) that his parents were born in Ireland. I have not found a birth for John Wellington, or any records on John Angus or Mildred.

Was your family here in 1867? Let me know in the comments below!