Genealogy is an ideal way for children to learn about their ethnicity, history and culture.
By researching their own ancestry, they will learn about the times, locations, circumstances and eras in which their ancestors lived.
A nomad yearns for roots.
There’s no malice or insult intended in this word as it was the way we did and still do refer to ourselves.
As a result of living in a military family, we relocated frequently and were not able to get to know our extended family.
What a surprise it was to learn how much a part of Canadian history both my mother’s and father’s branches were.
As I’ve posted about several times in the past, my mother comes from the Melanson family.
Original Acadian settlers, they came over on ships from France in the 17th century.
They used their knowledge of agriculture to make lives for themselves in the Atlantic provinces and a few even married and had families with MiqM’aq Indians.
My father’s family were original French settlers who proceeded further along the St. Lawrence River into Quebec.
His direct line descends from Abenaki Chief Roch Abenaki Manitouabeouich and his children.
They were his son Étienne whose daughter married a French settler, and Roch’s daughter, Marie Olivier Sylvestre Pigarouic, who also married a French settler.
My husband’s paternal branch originates from Welsh Quaker settlers, pioneers of the New World in Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, etc.
Mark’s maternal branch were Swedish immigrants who came to the United States in the late 19th century.
They subsequently took advantage of land offers in Canada for settlers and relocated to Saskatchewan to farm in the early 20th century.
Genealogy: a love of our own history.
Prior to my taking up genealogy, my historical knowledge comprised only of what I learned in school or picked up from television.
Let’s face it, most of us spent our youth watching ‘entertaining’ shows and not ‘historical’ or ‘educational’ shows.
As I’ve progressed through documenting our genealogy, it has become a regular point of discussion in our household.
I frequently tell Mark and the kids about my latest discovery, whether it be about honor, scandal, valour, tragedy, wealth or poverty. Our family through history has experienced all of these.
I’ve also found common ground when things come up in every day conversation or on television related to someone we are related to.
Whether direct or distant, I mention the connection and how it affected history and our family. It has become a natural part of our conversation.
The most recent story that related to our genealogy was that of the man who killed Richard III. He was Rhys ap Thomas, a distant ancestor to Mark and our children.
This followed earlier excitement about the discovery of the remains of Richard III in a Leicester parking lot – and his re-interment.
Families take up arms.
It’s interesting to note that some of my husband’s Welsh and British ancestors included some who participated in the expulsion of the Acadians in order to claim the land they had worked so hard to cultivate.
These same ancestors also included some who took up arms against the French in the French and Indian Wars. They also fought against upper and lower Canada (and some Acadians) in the War of 1812.
A lasting legacy.
Although I wondered for a while if any of what I was relating to my kids was having an affect on their knowledge and understanding, it soon became apparent it was.
They both chose their own ancestral cultures for school social studies and history projects.
It was rewarding to see how much more personal these projects became because they were about their own family history.
Over twenty years of research have gone into the invaluable genealogy I now have to pass on to them.
This legacy includes almost forgotten photographs; documents such as military records and war diaries that provide deep and profound explanations of events that led to deaths and injuries; a library of published materials and books about various aspects of our families’ histories; as well as some artifacts.
All of this material is organized, sourced and detailed in my extensive database.
I intend to give them copies of everything, but my one hope is that one or both of them will carry on to research further as more and more information, documents, and photos became available over time.
(Images at top right: War of 1812: clockwise, from top: damage to the US Capitol building after the Burning of Washington; mortally wounded Isaac Brock spurs his troops on at the Battle of Queenston Heights; USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere; death of Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames; Andrew Jackson leads the defence at the Battle of New Orleans.)
The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.
It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.
All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.