All this month I have been thinking about roots. Recently, I both received my DNA results from Ancestry.ca and have enjoyed the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Hoito restaurant where my grandparents met and fell in love. I always joke that, “No Hoito = No Angela,” and in a way it is true. Fortunately, I have been listening to family stories all my life so now when I research my family tree I have some useful information with which to start. Of course, like most people, I also have some crazy stories to either verify or file under fiction.
This Mother’s Day, I would like to gently suggest to all readers that they spend some time with their mother and/or grandmother to ask them questions about the family roots. Where did they come from? What was their childhood like? Where did they meet their spouse? And anything at all that they would like to share with you. Not only will you learn some interesting things about your mother or grandmother, I assure you that you will ultimately learn more about yourself as well.
Your Library has many resources which could help you in your family research. One of the best tools is available at every branch – an Ancestry.ca database for your use. It is a treasure of information, from marriage, birth and death records to naturalization papers, passenger lists and military records. You can just jump in and start searching your ancestral names, or learn some good tips about how to use this amazing tool at one of the Ancestry programs coming up at the Mary Black Library on Tuesday, May 22 at 7 p.m. or Friday, June 8 at 10:30 a.m.
Of course, we have many, many books to both help you learn how to do genealogical research, magazines and even children’s books about family trees. Canadian artist Dusan Petricic wrote and illustrated My Family Tree and Me, a picture book for children which introduces the concept of family stories. The father’s story is told from the front to the back, and the mother’s story, from the back to the front in this unique book in our collection.
If you have family from Thunder Bay and region, then you may also want to search for your family in the Henderson’s Directories, the annual listings of people and businesses. There are myriad other tools such as cemetery listings for finding gravesites, listings of overseas deaths from the Thunder Bay District during 1939 through 1947, or even the Gateway to Northwestern Ontario. Gateway can be accessed from your home devices and allows you to search for articles, newspaper clippings, certificates and photographs from Thunder Bay and nearby sites like Red Lake, Schreiber and Manitouwadge. It is amazing what one can find on this huge site. Sometimes it is an actual mention of a person, or it could be a photograph of the store or company where they worked, or the organization to which they belonged or someone you have never seen before.
Library staff are always happy to help you use these resources whether you are searching for a name, a photograph or don’t quite know where to start. Ask us. We believe in lifelong learning and want to help you in your family adventure. Genealogy is like researching history through your own particular window, and I wish you all the best.
Written by Angela Meady, www.tbpl.ca. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below!