Monday, December 31, 2012

Notes of Thanks for 2012

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year who has been reading my blog, has visited it, or has contributed to it in any way. Thank you so much for your support. My Descent into Descent has been a great tool for focusing my understanding of my family history research, as well as to share the stories of my ancestors with others. I believe that the sharing part is so important. I have loved how writing this blog and doing my family history work in general has connected me with family and friends who are close, more distant, and previously unknown to me.

I have done the bulk of my family history work in the past year, as I only began it in August 2011. The highlights of the past year include connecting with cousins in England and Australia to work collaboratively on our Sanderson and Saunders lines. My relationships with my new-found cousins Shirley, Ann, Bert, and Julie have been bright spots of my year, as have my connections with those on my father’s lines in the United States and Canada, such as those with Sarah and Deb sorting out the Bosomworths and the Marlows. I am also thankful for all the materials, documents, and photos which have come my way. I have appreciated the support and contributions of all those who have connected with me over genealogy this year, including my mother, brother, sisters, uncles, and cousins. It has been a wonderful way to stay in touch with people over a topic of mutual interest. I have to add that I am also grateful to my colleagues at work, who are not related to me, for showing genuine interest in every exciting new discovery I am bursting to share. I wonder how they keep track of it all. I also would like to share my gratitude to my fellow members in the B.C. Genealogical Society, such as Diane Rogers, to the volunteers at the Bellingham Family History Center (thank you, Tamara and Peg), and to the local Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, including the very knowledgeable Lil.

I would also like to thank Lisa Louise Cooke for sharing my email about my blog on the premium version of her Genealogy Gems podcast, and for her excellent instructions on how to create a blog on her Family History Made Easy podcast. My thanks also go out to Thomas MacEntee for inspiring me with his  Geneabloggers podcast, and for featuring my blog on a recent  blogpost. This resulted in my blog coming to the attention of Elizabeth Lapointe, who mentioned it in her Genealogy Canada blog. Thank you, too, Elizabeth.

I would also like to thank my son for the inspiration of his own blog (not family history-related), and for encouraging me to write. In this vein, I would also like to thank the women of my writing group, The Champagne Club, Darlene, Sheryl, Anne, Michelle and Jill, for their support of my writing all these years. They are finally getting to see some of it.

Much of my work this year has focused on two of my great grandfathers, Herbert Charles Saunders and Melvin J. Hart. What I knew about Herbert led to so many unanswered questions, such as what were the circumstances of his being sent to Canada as a British Home Child, who were his family in England, what was his experience in the Royal North West Mounted Police, and what happened in World War One? All the records that came my way this year, as well as information from family sources, helped to answer these questions. I promised myself that when I had received all the documents about him that I would start my blog, which I did. Melvin and his lines fascinate me. This whole dimension of having deep American roots is enthralling, particularly as I have always been interested in American history and politics. I always knew that Melvin had fought in the Civil War, but I didn’t know very much else about him. I remember when I was a child my father bringing back Confederate bills from the farm in Alberta for us to play with. Little did I know that Melvin’s roots on both his lines went back to the earliest times of Colonial America, including, it appears, the Mayflower. In fact, the impetus for starting my family history research came from mentioning to my husband that I wondered if anyone in my family had fought in the Revolutionary War, and him offering to give me a subscription to Ancestry for my birthday. I now know of at least five direct ancestors who were Revolutionary War patriots. Thank you, my darling husband.

Nevertheless, writing this blog, particularly my series about those who came to Canada, has brought home to me how Canadian I really am. I was thinking that I was mainly British and American due to the depth of my roots in both lands, but when it really comes down to it, all of my great grandparents were either born in Canada (Susan Monk) or came to Canada. Four of my great great grandparents on both sides came to Canada (Jacob Monk, Jane Crawford, William Cook, and Emma Green), and at least three of my three times great grandparents also came here (Johannes Jacob Monk, John Crawford and Margaret Ann Diamond). All of this immigration to the Great White North started in about the 1830’s or 1840’s and ended in 1922. That is a long time ago in the history of a young country. Not only that, but there is family history to discover all across Canada, (except for the Maritimes), including Quebec, Ontario, all of the prairie provinces, and British Columbia. My Descent into Descent truly fits into the category of a Canadian family history blog.

Finally, I would like to thank my parents and my grandparents, some of them no longer with us, for sharing their knowledge of their family histories with me throughout my life and piquing my interest. I think I may now have captured most of the stories told to me by my grandparents, Alice Saunders and William Sanderson, which I did not want to be lost. I would also like to thank all my ancestors who are probably helping me behind the scenes in the world beyond. I, like virtually every other family historian, have had the sense that the departed are providing such assistance. I believe they may be behind those moments of “genealogical serendipity”. (You know who you are, Maud Marlow).

Tomorrow, I will be sharing some of my plans for this blog in the New Year. In the meantime, Happy New Year everyone!

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