Ruth Blair of Blair Archival Research. And her blog "The Passionate Genealogist", has nominated Veterans of Southwestern Ontario for the Ancestor Approved Award. Thank you very much Ruth. Ruth is a professional genealogist and researcher based, I believe in Toronto. Or as we say in London “Tranto”.
The Ancestor Approved Award was created by Leslie Ann Ballou of the “Ancestors Live Here” blog who asks two things of those who receive the award:
1. Write ten aspects of their research that surprised, humbled, or enlightened them.
2. Pass the award along to ten other researchers whose family history blogs are making their ancestors proud.
What ! - only ten aspects that surprise, enlighten, or humbled me in my researches ? Surprises seem to come every day !
1. I restricted my research to the counties of Southwestern Ontario partly because my own ancestors largely lived in this area, and I naively thought that researching in a restricted area might lessen the scope of my research. Give your head a shake Bruce! The shear volume of the material (I might add most of which is not online) is awesome.
2. Of all the frontline battalions that were in the trenches from 1915 to 1918 two do not have a published history. Guess which two ? The 1st. , and 18th. , from Southwestern Ontario, of course.
3. Tim Cook, a military historian from Ottawa, writes that the 1st. Battalion had the highest casualty rate in the First World War - a turnover of over 600%. (1) Increasingly, I am becoming aware of the fact that it is a rare family that was not affected in some way by the war.
4. That a Canadian identity predates what many historians identify as starting after Vimy Ridge. In the nineteenth century people viewed themselves as good Canadian subjects of the British Empire. I suspect, but its only conjecture that part of that has to do with an increasing number of 2nd. , and 3rd. , generations away from the pioneers. These generations have fewer or no memories of the old country, and are rooted in Ontario.
5. Just how many from my own family (paternal as well as maternal) served in the various wars, or skirmishes, that involved militia units (the Fenian Raids 1866-1870) , the Canadian Expeditionary Force (1914-1918), the Canadian Army, Airforce, and Navy (1939-1945). Quite surprising for a family that were largely peaceful hard shell Baptist farmers.
6. I have not yet found anything that would fit a Hollywood script. Anything I have seen from veteran memoirs outlines only a profound respect of soldiers for the Nursing Sisters - their Bluebirds. I suspect that anyone mistreating a nursing sister would have to answer to the “poor bloody infantry”.
7. Like the British we seem to be able to throw up some real eccentrics. These people are fun !
8. Local archives on the whole are not aware of what they have. I have found treasures that have not been catalogued. I do not think that the archivists really know what to do with this material.
9. Studying the 19th. Century militia units can give you a real insight into the social and cultural values of the society. It is clear that these people are Victorian Edwardian. They do not think as we do.
10. Genealogy is indeed a insight into the history of our province. It is interesting to see how our ancestors coped with the economics of the times, world events, and each other.
Ten blogs I would recommend ?
As I have said in a post in my other blog “Hillman’s Of Elgin County” I am not a big blog reader. I tend to be somewhat tough in my regard for blogs. I divide them into worthwhile, and fluff. I do keep tract of the following some of which I am sure have already been nominated:
1. "Anglo-Celtic Connections" by John Reid. John keeps us informed of the goings on at Library and Archives Canada. This is the most important archival source for military historians.
2. Brenda Dougall Merriman. A genealogist and writer. She is the author of “Genealogical Standards of Evidence: A Guide for Family Historians” (2010) published by Dundurn Press.
3. Diane Rogers "Canadian Genealogist, “Or“, “Jane’s Your Aunt” A well written blog that keeps me informed as to what’s happening in the British Columbia genealogy world.
4. Elizabeth Lapoint’s “Canadian Genealogist“. Elizabeth is a genealogist writer, and editor, of the Ontario Genealogical Society’s journal “Families”. Surprising this journal is in the London Room at my local library.
5. Elsie Cole’s “Librarians Helping Canadian Genealogist Climb the Family Tree”. God knows we need all the help from librarians and archivists that we can get.
6. I like Lori’s blog “Family Trees May Contain Nuts”. Actually the goings on in British Columbia fascinate me. Yes, I’ve been there.
7. You will notice that so far I have not listed any military blogs. Most seem to be centered around an individual soldier. A listing of what is available to date can be found on a blog sponsored through the CEF Matrix Project. “CEF WW1 Soldier Blogs”.
8. Annette Fulford’s blog “Canadian War Brides Of The First World War” looks at the War Brides of the First World War. This is a little known subject. Far better known are the Second World War war brides. For one thing there were more of them. Probably due to where the troops were in the two wars. The trenches were hardly a place for romance in spite of Hollywood.
9. There seems to be considerable interest in the nursing sisters. Sue Light’s blog “This Intrepid Band” looks at the British nursing sisters, and their experiences in the Great War. I find it of interest probably because the British nurses often found themselves working in different theatres of the war.
10. “Mole’s Genealogy” looks at the South African War. It’s an interesting history especially as there were some lessons of trench warfare which it appears no general paid much attention to.
(1) Tim Cook, "Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting The Great War 1917-1918", Vol.2, Penguin Canada 2009.