Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

CCEEG #23 – Carousel – “My Silver Buckle”

I originally posted this to my blog on Multiply, but I thought I’d add it to my genealogy blog as well. I don’t know if it has anything to do with European genealogy, but I think the buckle was made there and the Haines family originated from Germany. This carousel is hosted by Amber at “Still More Genealogy

Searching for family history is really addictive, the more I learn about my ancestry, the more I need to know. I am interested in how they lived, what their daily lives were like, what style of clothing they wore, what they did to entertain themselves, their beliefs, both religious and political, well, everything.

I have some unanswered questions which may never be answered such as “Why did my great-grandfather change his surname a century ago?” and “Who was Sarah’s mother?” I have two Sarah’s with unknown mothers, they are huge brick walls but I’m trying my best to break through them. Family History research is very similar to detective work, you have to weed out the false leads and dig into people’s backgrounds, and find out as much as there is about them. Once in a while, if you’re lucky, an ancestor may become famous or infamous and there are lots of records available. Most of the time, however, the ancestor is only recorded in the census, vital records or passenger lists and immigration records.

Most people avoid cemeteries like the plague,only going when absolutely necessary, but genealogists take their cameras and go sight-seeing like tourists in among the gravestones. I’ve got to confess, I have arranged my vacation with a few trips to cemeteries I wanted to see. More than once I have dragged my husband from cemetery to cemetery for a hundred miles looking for a particular relative.

History and family history go hand in hand. You can’t really understand how your ancestors lived their lives unless you know the outside influences in their lifetime. I am especially interested in the Revolutionary war and the plight of the United Empire Loyalists. I guess it’s because my father took a great interest in the history of Canada and when we were young would take us to places which were historically significant, near or far. He would stop at every way-sign and memorial on our travels.

My dad had a silver buckle, my brother has it now, and he told us that it was from the Revolutionary war. My grandfather gave it to him, he said it had been given to him by his father. Of course, as kids, we couldn’t imagine something that old, it didn’t look that old. My dad kept it put away, and only brought it out to show someone and then put it back right away, it was the only heirloom from his ancestors and he was going to make sure nothing happened to it. I have since learned that that was the style of buckle in those times, and it would have been a treasured article, passed down from father to son. He treasured it as well, even more so, as he never really knew his grandparents.

My fondest memory of my dad’ silver buckle was the day of my first wedding. I was young, only seventeen, and my mom made my wedding dress. It was made of white satin and had a chantilly lace cape instead of a veil and train. The crowning touch was the silver buckle that my dad let me use for my dress. The silver buckle was the ‘something old’ and the ‘something borrowed’. To think that my wedding day was the first time the buckle had actually been worn in over a century! It was quite an honour and I wore it with pride when my dad walked me down the aisle.

I am researching my family history so that my grandchildren will know about their ancestors, where they came from, why they left their homeland, how they lived, what they did in their leisure, what they were like, well, everything. I want future generations to know all about our ancestors. My family history is my ‘silver buckle’.

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Filed under: Carnivals, Family Files, Genealogy, Haines/Hines, Loyalists, , , ,

Tidbits Gleaned From Small-Town Newspapers

I thought maybe I’d find some family births, marriages and obits when I started searching the old newspapers, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. The Essex Free Press is a small-town weekly newspaper filled with all of the news from the county. If you want to find out who bought what farm for how much and where the previous owners were relocated to, you read the Essex Free Press. When the December exams and June report cards came out, the students’ grades were published in the paper. There was nothing that wasn’t newsworthy, so and so had a cold, stop the presses!

My family has been in Essex County for over a hundred years and some were involved in local government. I was surprised to find so many references to my ancestors and their daily lives.
I discovered that my greatgrandfather’s family moved to Alberta in the spring of 1918 because of my greatgrandfather’s health. He had suffered from gall stones for years and at that time, Alberta was the place to go for health problems. Maybe it was the mountain air, or the warm spring water in Banff, but, for whatever reason, they went there. They returned in October, with no improvement to his health. He passed away in December of 1918, when my grandmother was six years old.

Another article gave me a lot of information about my grandmother’s family, my dad didn’t have much information about them to share as he would just sit on the front porch while my grandmother visited because he didn’t understand French and their family just came to Ontario from Quebec in 1890.

My granduncle was the first casualty of the First WW in the town of Essex:

There is over a century of my family’s history here, some amusing, some embarrassing, some tragic, but all in all, I’d rather read a small-town newspaper and learn alot more about the people than a big-city paper that doesn’t have the time or space for all of the everyday events that occur in a small-town.

Filed under: Genealogy, Obituaries, Research Resources, , ,

Advantages of Joining Genealogy Groups


One thing we are all interested in is free genealogy resources. What better resource than pooling say, one hundred people from different areas of the world, different skills, backgrounds, access to different resources, all with one common goal, to discover as much as they can about your ancestors? Where else will you find out where they came from, were they settled, their reason for coming, when they were born, married, died, often with photographs and images of documents for sources at no cost? By becoming a member of a Genealogy group. You get this and much more. You heard the cliche that “two heads are better than one”, well, in researching your family history, the more the merrier.

Descendant Chronicles
is one of the busiest groups on the net. With multiple postings daily, it is a great all around genealogy group.It has multiple message forums from regional , surname , history, tips and helps, to more specialized boards such as American Indians, Quakers, Wars, Obit & Wills, Brick Walls, Look-ups. We are serious about our genealogy research, but we like to take a break, chat, talk about current events, weather and our other interests too. We like to share ghost stories and family legends.

Descendant Chronicles has been around for years as Ancestor Chronicles – Our Kin and Their Times, an MSN Group, but, with the closing of MSN Groups this month, we moved over to Yuku in November and lost a few members that weren’t active in the fall. We have acquired a few new members, but we’re looking to increase our genie pool, so, if you’re looking for a friendly, helpful genealogy group, stop by and check us out.

Seeking Our Twigs is another group I belong to, started by a fellow member and a a longtime manager of Ancestor Chronicles in December, It is a new group, but the membership is growing every week.It is a Yahoo group that covers genealogy in general, as well,

Filed under: Genealogy, , , , , ,

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