My greatest challenge commencing this new blog is deciding where to begin! I have pursued genealogy for five years but I consider myself a family historian from far further back into my childhood. I have reflected on my fascination with genealogy and I believe I can trace it back to my maternal grandmother, Madeline Grace Blancher-Carter. I have early memories of sunlight Sunday afternoons sitting, legs curled beneath me, on our living room floor as my grandmother, waxing reminiscent, told stories. A beautiful family photo of my grandmother’s parents and their 13 children sat on the bookshelf in our front room–that same photo now sits on a shelf in our home–and it was this photo which was the inspiration for many a tale.
My grandmother was a genealogist without the self-realization of being one. Grandma kept a journal listing all family births, deaths, and marriages. We called the tattered, black covered journal her “little black book”. When my great-grandfather John Blancher passed away it was my grandmother who rescued the family bible from the reign of terror of her nieces and nephews and their ill-placed crayons! It was also my grandmother who preserved the only known portraits/photos of my 2nd and 3rd Great Grandparents, and impregnated family Heirloom pieces with notes explaining to whom they belonged. Beyond all these physical manifestations of genealogical preservation it was the stories which she held safely within her and was so willing to share that became the key to the door of our family’s past! I wish I had asked more questions, I wish I had written down more of my grandmother’s reminiscences. It is essential to remember that our most important resources as genealogists and family historians are our living family members!
I carried my love of history, antiquity, and ethnology through my entire educational career, and as an archaeology student I spent many a time trolling through archives when I wasn’t digging in the earth. After university however a long stint of teaching I began to lose my hold on my passion for the past. I was so busy just fighting through the slog of the day-to-day that I had little time to pursue my personal interests. It wasn’t until 5 years ago when my son came home from school with a family tree homework assignment that my excitement for genealogy was rekindled. I joined Ancestry.ca originally using the free trial and was soon hooked. Living away from my childhood home and my family I find online research essential. Through my online research and Ancestry.ca membership I have demolished many a and solved family mysteries with surprising results I am on “pins-and-needles” eager to share here.
We all believe when we begin our search for our family’s past that it will most probably be a study in the mundane but it is often surprising, possibly even shocking the stories we discover and the skeletons–both good and bad–we uncover!