Luck of the Irish! AncestryDNA Results

Well, the verdict is in. I’m Irish. After waiting for 3 weeks, my AncestryDNA results arrived via a message from an AncestryDNA Relative who is definitely a 3rd cousin, on my father’s side from the Palmer/Boyles line.

But the most exciting thing was seeing the chart below and having to do a double take on the ethnicity percentages:

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 3.42.55 PM

I’m not only Irish, I’m 57% Irish!  I thought that would be impossible, that my father’s side who had both Irish and English roots would dissipate my results to maybe 23% if I was lucky, but it turns out I’m IRISH Lucky – over half! And that’s an average. Some of my DNA strands or markers tested as high as 71% Irish, while others were a lower 41%.  So I’m “above average” Irish at 57% and quite happy to see my Irish roots declared in writing based on scientific evidence.

Here is a more detailed breakdown:

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 4.10.28 PM

(Note: Europe West includes German/France/Netherlands and Scandinavia includes Norway, Denmark and Sweden.)

Also astonishing was that I had about 18% French/German and over 17% Scandinavian! My Norse roots may come through my mother’s Scottish line, as the Anderson/Andersen  clan may have come over with the Vikings. These are also averages, and can be lower or higher depending on the DNA strand/marker they are testing.  For example, Scandinavian tested anywhere between 1% to 33% depending on the strand/marker; the average helps us know overall just “how much” of our genetic make-up is from that region overall.

My motivation for doing all of this was to find my Irish ancestors and living cousins. I have already found many potential cousins, and I am quite amazed how AncestryDNA has managed to match them to my family tree on ancestry.com with specific matching surnames and in some cases actual common ancestors.

This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship… And, this will make my Moore “plus” family reunion a whole lot bigger!

It feels good to be Irish.

Thanks AncestryDNA!

Krista

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DNA May Solve Family History Blocks

Hello everyone!

It has been almost 3 years since my last confession! Seriously, it just tells you how time flies when doing family history research. I hit a roadblock in my search for the Moore Family, and kind of put it aside.

Just this spring, I decided to have my DNA test done with ancestry.com and am now awaiting the results.

In the meantime, it is important to follow the trail. I have reached out to 3 possible cousins so far that found me via ancestry, one in Ireland, one in Australia and another here at home, only a stones throw away.

Next is a family reunion. Perhaps that will pull us all together, and reveal some threads that have long been awaiting completion.

I will let you know as soon as the results are in!

Krista

Moore & Chambers of Dundonald Newtownards Down

I am back! After a long hiatus, I have reclaimed my genealogical map, my puzzle pieces and clues, my missing links and my stubborn brick walls in my research papers.  I have reconnected with long-lost cousins floating on ancestry.com with no response on my part for over a year.  I have realized – no determined – that I have ENOUGH, I know ENOUGH, and that the answer to this mystery is right in front of my nose.

Hence I have picked up my quill (aka. blog post), armed with what I know, and will put it down as best I can, inferring the rest with common sense and the obvious, blatantly obvious gifts that I neglected to claim long ago. It’s TIME!  The Moore Family tree deserves this last piece to link us to our Irish ancestors and enjoy the benefits of my ancestral and current family, brought together at last by intriguing stories and the knowledge that we are the offspring who will now carry those legends (and create new ones) into the future.

Alas!  Here I am.  Let’s get started, shall we?

IMG_1072

My people (Moores) came from Ireland about 1829, likely from around Belfast, in a place called Dundonald, Down.  That is where our distant cousin, Dr. Thomas Moore of Picton, born 1796, and his most likely brother, my Gr-Gr-Gr Grandfather, William Moore were born (parish names may vary).  There are many William Moores in that vicinity, as well you can imagine, along with Thomases.  Movilla cemetery in Newtownards nearby is filled with them, along with Samuels, Hughs and other related men who are waiting to finally be claimed as fathers, brothers and cousins on this disconnected family tree.  I’m over here! they sing – you’re almost there!  Just connect the dots and it is complete.

They say, begin with the end in mind.  So, here it is:

This is the headstone of my likely Gr-Gr-Gr-Gr-Gr grandfather buried in Movilla in Newtownards, Northern Ireland (near Belfast and Dundonald, Down), born 1720:

William Moore 1720 Movilla Cemetary Newtownards Down Ireland

William Moore 1720 Movilla Cemetary Newtownards Down Ireland

 

A David A. Chambers has contacted me who lives in the area and has offered to provide pictures from Movilla, and any other information pertaining to the family.  Chambers is the name of the family who married into the Moores before Ontario I am sure.  My Gr-Gr-Gr grandfather Thomas Moore of Maberly, Ontario, (Reeve/Mayor of South Sherbrooke), married Margaret Chambers, daughter of Moses Chambers – Moses and his wife Sarah Harrison married in Tullyish, Down (Dec. 30, 1824) at a quaint All Saints church in Tullyish, Down, where the famous poet W.B. Yeats’ grandfather had been minister (I’ll dig that up again shortly).  Here is the church:

All Saints Church Tullyish Ireland (were Chambers married) Yeats minister

All Saints Church Tullyish Ireland (where Moses Chambers married) Rev. W.B. Yeats served 1836-1862, grandfather of famous poet/dramatist of same name

The Moores and Chambers moved around a lot, so sometimes it is hard to connect them from one town or village to another. Especially if they move half way around the world!  But trailing them is a life long passion of mine – insane as that is, because, well, it’s fun. And I can’t wait to go to Ireland to celebrate all OUR hard work.

My next job is to take this William Moore 1720 and put together a family tree for him – his sons and daughters, and see how that connects in with my more recent ones.  I am sure my William had not only a Thomas as a brother, but also a John,  George or Hugh.  For example, I think I have found the father of said William Moore 1720, to be a possible John Moore 1683 of Ballyskeah.  If I sort it by the centuries I will have a list of names for each generation, and the linking will become easier and more obvious.

My thanks to Maree Moore of Australia for providing most of the information on the Craigantlet Moores who are in that area and are likely related.

MOORE to come, soon….

“Mooreville” Maberly

On our trek to Maberly, Ontario, our local host Karen Prytula showed us around – by foot. Yes, you can walk most of the Maberly road without getting too tired, in about half an hour. However, you can’t take everything in, the sights, the sounds, the whispers of old, in less than that. It takes time after time, memory even.

Eventually, it sticks to you like meat to the bone, until stories take shape out of sticks and stones.

Maberly Town Hall, South Sherbrooke  1884

Up on the wall of Town Hall we find the “Reeve’s cane”, with my great-great grandfathers, Thomas Moore, Esq, and Ephraim Deacon Esq. (unbenownst to them at the time, their son and daughter later married). I could see Thomas Moore now, likely six feet tall (his son Lawrence was 6′ 4″ with attitude) with a dignified walking stick, and Ephraim twisting his moustache as the meeting was called to order.  Thomas takes the Chair’s seat, listens and reviews many decisions that will be made in forming the future of South Sherbrooke, from the early 1860s to the late 1880s.

Reeve’s Cane, Town Hall, Maberly

See More on Maberly Moores.

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More on Maberly Moores

Since my last visit to Maberly, Ontario (near Perth), much has been brewing with local history buffs helping to put together information for the 200th Anniversary of South Sherbrooke (now Tay Valley Township) coming up in 2014.

PRESERVING LOCAL HISTORY OF MABERLY

We are currently investigating the original Wesleyan Methodist chapel that was built on Conc. 10 Lot 14 of S. Sherbrooke and a petition that was signed by local residents in 1852, including Thomas Moore Esq. (later magistrate/Justice of Peace/Reeve) and many of the early settlers of that area.  This chapel and old burying ground is no longer visible, but we are cooperating with local families to research and locate the original location of these sites and preserve what we can of local history.

More photos from our last trip.

List of Reeves, South Sherbrooke Town Hall, Maberly

Reeve’s walking stick; List of Reeves, South Sherbrooke Town Hall, Maberly including Thomas Moore and Ephraim Deacon

Bethel (Maberly) Women`s Institute, a picture of the Maberly Hotel

Bethel (Maberly) Women`s Institute, a picture of the Maberly Hotel. See pic below for the same tree beside the hotel, still standing.

Krista in front of oldest tree in Maberly, where Morrow Hotel once stood.

Krista in front of oldest tree in Maberly, where John Morrow’s Maberly Hotel stood.

We visited Town Hall where my forefathers, both Thomas Moore Esq., Reeve, and Ephraim Deacon, Reeve, served on council for many years, and many of their descendents.  Thomas Moore Esq. was also a local magistrate or Justice of the Peace to the King, and must have been sworn in at some point by the Lieutenant Governor General.  Magistrates were put in place in local towns in the new British colonies to settle local disputes outside of the larger courts.  He was not likely a lawyer, but a loyal servant who was passionate about politics, justice and local law.  He fought to preserve the original Weleyan Methodist Church and old burying ground, in a signed petition with his fellow settlers and trustees of the church.

Here we are on the land that William Moore worked with his father, originally owned by Thomas Hughes and later requested to be deeded to Robert Hughes.  It is where the Zealand Rd meets the now Trans Canada Highway, Highway 7, constructed in the late 1940s/50s.  The lines of the land have changed, so locating the original burying ground has been a challenge. The land is now occupied by a modern house with new owners.

New highways divide the land once inhabited by the Moores and Wesleyan Methodist church.

Karen and Steve discuss where the old landmarks may be on the 1860s map to modern day Tay Valley Township

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New highways divide the land once inhabited by the Moores and Wesleyan Methodist church

Here is a letter of petition the old inhabitants wrote to protect the Wesleyan Methodist church and old burying ground on this property:

Original petition to save Wesleyan Methodist church and old burying ground, Maberly, undersigned Thomas Moore et al

Original petition to save Wesleyan Methodist church and old burying ground, Maberly, undersigned Thomas Moore et al

“Petition 0526”, Township Papers, Township of SHERBROOKE SOUTH, Microfilm Series C-IV, Archives of Ontario, copy: June 2, 2010, transcribed by Krista Moore September 21, 2011.  (Describing petition of Church trustees for Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and burying ground on south South-East Lot 14 Conc. 10 S. Sherbrooke, Oct 14th 1856.)

Transcription:

[marks: 10.165 /slash 58]

To Anthony Leslie Esqr    Agent for the

Sale of Crown and Clergy Lands [v mark] at Perth in

The County of Lanark.

[Petition: 0526]

We the Undersigned respectfully state for your

consideration that on the south part of the South East

half of Lot No. 14 in the 10th Concession of South Sherbrooke

there is a plot of ground used as a burying ground

that on a part of this plot or contiguous to it there has

been a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel erected and in [our?]

[start?] occupancy and use for public worship for more

than twelve years. The undersigned Settlers in the nei

ghbourhood of said Chapel and burying ground re-

{ spectfully request that in the event of the said lot being

{ sold that at least two acres be preserved for the use of a

Wesleyan Methodist Church and burying ground

or not deeded  to any [purchaser ]  except to trustees du-

ly appointed whose names shall forthwith [was? Some or seem as] prac-

ticable be forwarded to you and through you to the land

granting department.

South Sherbrooke Oct 14th 1856

[signed by:]

Abrah Adams                                }    Malcom Morrow

Robert Lewis                                  }   John Chambers

John Buchanan                               }    William Armstrong

George Buchanan                          }    Charles Judge

Thomas Moore                               }    Da[vid or Daniel?] Conboy

George Buchanan                          }     John Armstrong

Wm Charlton                                 }     John Duffy

William Morrow

[along right margin:]

John Morrow

The now Maberly United Church:

IMG_1072

Krista beside the now Maberly United Church. Below an embroidered picture hanging in the local bar and grill on Highway 7.

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Welcome to Maberly

Tay River, Maberly

This past weekend my husband and I ventured to Maberly, Ontario to visit my long-gone relatives: the ancestors I have been researching for nearly 20 years.  Needless to say, it was a quiet visit. But quite reflective, tangible and fulfilling.

Local kids in Maberly

Local kids in Maberly 1950s

Maberly used to be somewhat of a “Mayberry” in its time.  Once a thriving pioneer village of  sawmills, blacksmith’s shops, a general store (or two), school houses, local churches and a town hall (still in operation), and the men’s local tavern – a favourite up until 40 years ago – Today, Maberly is crying out for some reinvention.

Entering Maberly

For sale, Maberly 2011

Although, there is a very good restaurant when you come in to town, the Fall River Restaurant on the corner of Highway 7 and Maberly/Elphin Rd. which officiated our visit with happy taste buds (who would have imagined gourmet Mole chicken pizza in rural Ontario?) and a Guinness, perfect after a dreary day of traveling.

Fall River Restaurant & Gift Shop, Maberly

Our proprietor Ian was the perfect welcoming host, dousing us with a local history (the structure we were standing in used to be the general store), and fascinating me with their awards as the “Greenest Restaurant in Canada”.  In Maberly?  Yup.

Falls Inn Restaurant

“Greenest Restaurant in Canada” – Maberly

Adventures in Maberly

To be continued…

The Women Who Made Me

This is an homage to the “Women who Made Me”, a series of portraits I plan to develop in more depth later. For now, their names, and pictures where possible.  The last 200 years or so of Krista Moore‘s grandmothers… both paternal and maternal, in no particular order, other than time. More pictures and stories to come…

Me

Krista Moore

Born in Kingston, Ontario, same hospital as Bryan Adams (and my father, Jack Moore!). Grew up in Elmira (Birdland) with maple syrup and mennonites, & then Kitchener, Ontario, where I graduated and moved to Toronto in 1999. Mother, actress, writer, and family historian.

Mother – Mary

Mother Mary

My Mother Mary (living). Born in Botwood, Newfoundland. Can play the spoons and guitar at a kitchen parties (good ole down home jig), jives wickedly, loves retro diners of the 50s, Dire Straits “Walk of Life”, and is a recently re-discovered Artist (painter). Also, most perfect mother ever.

Grandmothers

Helen B. Moore (Keech)

 Helen B. Moore (nee Keech) on my father’s side. Born 1918 in Edmonton, Alberta. Married to Earl Lawrence Moore of Kingston, Ont. They celebrated their Golden Anniversary. Died Jan 3, 2012 just shy of 94, Kingston. The one who got me hooked on the family tree. She says, “I’m so glad you caught the bug!”

Matilda Kemp Hart (Anderson)

Matilda Kemp Hart (nee Anderson) (nickname “Bunty”) on my mother’s side, born 1920 in Aviemore, Scotland. Married James Everett Hart of Newfoundland. They celebrated their 50th Anniversary. Died in 2005. “Bunty” was a great baker, I still can smell her “lassie buns”.  A very stern, jolly, strong woman who could drink my father under the table. I wrote a family history for her of Scotland, filled with her stories, and her sister’s stories called “Journey to the Homeland”, 1999.

Great-Grandmothers

Emma Bell Deacon born on the Deacon farm (still there today) in Bolingbroke, Ontario 1876. Married Lawrence E. Moore of Maberly, Ontario.  Lived to 1968 and died in Kingston. My father still remembers her singing those devilish Irish victory songs. Oh boy!  She could play the piano beautifully by ear and the mouth organ.  How I would love to be a fly on the wall of her dining room when they had their rousing jigs!

Isla Isobel Keech (Bagnall) with Helen & Harold

Isla Isobel Keech (my Nanna Keech)born 1897 in Hazel Grove, Prince Edward Island. Married Harold Leroy Keech of Tamworth, Ontario.  Ate her apples right down to the core. Died in Huntsville, Ontario, 1988?  English.

Emily Jewer (Grandma Hart) in Newfoundland

Emily Jewer (my mother’s grandmother), Newfoundland. Never met her, though my mom remembers her Grandma Hart. My Uncle Cyril of Newfoundland just sent me a picture of her, with my “Poppy” Hart, and I believe, my mother Mary.

James Anderson & Mary Dickie Davidson, Scotland

Mary Dickie Davidson (mother of Matilda Kemp Anderson), Scotland. Married to Grandpa James Anderson of Scotland, who lived to 99, and died in Aviemore,  in the Highlands (up the A9). Beautiful church overlooking Loch Alvie. Visiting in 1999. Never met either unfortunately but had a great time with their offspring!

2d Great-Grandmothers

[Picture of Margaret Chambers]

Margaret Chambers born 1833 in Ballydugan, Warringstown, Tullyish Parish, Down, Ireland (one of my many planned visits!). Mother of my great grandfather, Lawrence E. Moore (roadmaster and cheesemaker of Haileybury), wife of my great-great grandfather, Reeve Thomas Moore, Esq of Maberly who lived nearby as she was growing up in Maberly). They had many children. After the sudden death of her husband Thomas and her older son William E. Moore (local merchant), she remarried the local Miller/Hotelkeeper, John Morrow of Maberly, where she died in 1897.  Pictures to come.

Ellen Ann Palmer

Ellen Ann Palmer (mother of Emma Bell Deacon). Married Ephriam Deacon, of Bolingbroke/Maberly. This is a  tintype found in a wooden frame, salvaged from her daughter Emma Bell Deacon (Moore)’s house in Kingston, Ontario.  Likely 1860s, at the age of 15 or so.  May have been a present to Ellen & Ephriam on their wedding day. The Palmers were English, though they married Northern Irish (British).  I have older pictures of her as well, with her family.

Emma Keech (Vannest)

Emma Vannest (mother of Harold Leroy Keech, wife of Hiram Keech of Tamworth.)  My grandmother Helen still calls her “Grandma Keech”, and my father remembers her at the end of her life.  She made the  most delicious pies that my Nanna Moore can still taste. Oh! She would exclaim. She describes her as fairly prim and proper, some called her “Lady Keech”. A true Victorian lady.  Her parents are James Vannest & Elizabeth Shannon – American/Dutch & Irish.

Margaret Jane Bagnall (MacMillan)

Margaret Jane Bagnall (MacMillan)

Margaret Jane MacMillan (mother of Isla Isobel Bagnall). Edmonton, Alberta. My grandmother Helen Moore loved her Grandma Bagnall when she was growing up. I have a feeling she spoiled her!

Sophia Ellen Gill (birth mother of Nathaniel Hart), Newfoundland (English). There’s a story there!

Charles Hart & Mary Ann Waterman, Botwood Nfld

Charles Hart and Mary Ann Waterman (adoptive parents of Nathaniel Bruce Gill/Hart),  Botwood.

Ann Phelan/WHELAN &
James “Jimmie” JEWER Jr.,
Botwood Nfld (1880s)

Anne Phelan/WHELAN (wife of James “Jimmie” JEWER, mother of Emily Jewer/Hart). Possible micmac roots? Investigation in progress.

Jane Angus (mother of Mary Dickie Davidson), Scotland.

3rd Great-Grandmothers

[Picture of Winnifred Stephens]

Winnifred Stephenswas born in Ireland (unknown), and married William Moore (also of Ireland). She had her first son Thomas Moore back home, and then travelled by ship to North America around 1829, landing eventually in Ontario. She and her husband settled a farm in Maberly, South Sherbrooke, Lanark County South, Ontario, on Conc. 10 Lot 14E, and after 1842 her husband died suddenly leaving her with an abundance of children and responsibility. She continued to farm as the “Widow Moore”, until she remarried in the 1860s and moved to Lampton with Thomas Garrett.  She returned by 1870s to Maberly, without him, where she died at the home of her son John Moore in 1874.  A hard life to begin, and to end, I am indebited to her for her bravery and resilience in raising all those children and bearing so much of the weight alone.  God knows what her life was before, but her story continues, as we prepare for the 200th anniversary of South Sherbrooke in 2016, honouring the pioneers who settled it, like my oldest known Irish matriarch, Winnifred Stephens (Moore).

Sarah Ann Harrison (mother of Margaret Chambers), Maberly, Ontario and Ireland.

Mary Harper  (mother of Ephraim Deacon)

Mary Ann Castle (mother of Ellen Ann Palmer)

Caroline Ann Thurston (mother of Hiram Keech)

Elizabeth Ann Shannon

Elizabeth Ann Shannon (mother of Emma Vannest), American/Irish. From Camden, Ontario. Elizabeth died young, cared for by her only daughter, Emma Vannest.  She lost two babies, who are buried in Tamworth with her.

Christiana Anderson (mother of George W. Bagnall)

Isabella McLeod (mother of Margaret Jane MacMillan)

Rebecca Warrick (mother of Charles Hart, believed to be natural father of Nathaniel Hart), Newfoundland.

Mary Dickie (mother of Jane Angus), Newfoundland.

Ellen Unknown Gill (mother of Sophia Ellen Gill), Newfoundland.

Ann Garland (mother of James Jewer), Newfoundland.

4th Great-Grandmothers

Elizabeth “Betsy” Card

Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Card (mother of Elisha Vannest), Likely Quaker.

Mary Margaret McGregor

Mary Margaret McGregor (mother of Elizabeth Ann Shannon)

(Possibly) Mary Jane (Robinson/Henderson). Mother of William Moore. Irish.

Unknown mother of Winnifred Stephens.

Susannah Chambers (mother of Moses Chambers). Ireland.

Unknown mother of Sarah Ann Harrison. Ireland.

Unknown mother of John Deacon, Ireland.

Mary Beaton (mother of Charles Beaton Gill), Newfoundland. b. abt. 1800 Exploits Burnt Island, Newfoundland, possible Mi’Kmaq, servant in Mr. PEYTON’s house along with the last BEOTHUK Indian of Newfoundland, Shanawdhidit (Nancy April) as per the book “RIVER LORDS” by Amy Louise Peyton. More to come!

Isobell Davidson (mother of Robert Davidson), Scotland.

Agnes Muccersie (mother of James Angus), Scotland.

5th Great-Grandmothers

Mary Ellen Boyle (mother of Mary Harper)

Unknown mother of James Palmer (father of Ellen Ann Palmer), Ireland.

Unknown mother of Mary Castle (mother of Ellen Ann Palmer), Ireland.

Eunice Gillett (mother of Barton R. Keech)

more….

6th Great-Grandmothers

Esther Hunter (mother of Eunice Gillett)

Matilda Unknown Thurston (mother of Caroline Ann Thurston)

Janet Sim (mother of William Davidson), Scotland.

more…

7th Great-Grandmothers

Elizabeth Ann Cantelo (mother of Edwin Cantelo Bagnall), England.

Margaret Mutch (mother of Robert MacMillan)

Elizabeth  Whitehouse (mother of John Richard Bagnall), England.

Mary Dix Salmon (mother of Elizabeth Ann Cantelo), England.

Sarah Unknown Bagnall (mother of Samuel E. Bagnall)

Elizabeth Taylor (yes!) (mother of James Cantelo), Isle of Wight, England

Mary Byerly (mother of John Cantelo),

Betty Bartlett (mother of Elizabeth Taylor), England.

Janet Hood (mother of Robert Davidson), Scotland.

8th Great-Grandmothers

Amy Hills (mother of James Cantelo sr.), England.

To be UPDATED continually. Not to be relied upon for accuracy. This is a family history document meant to honour those listed, not to provide accurate details for genealogical purposes.

Moore & MacDonald Reunite

Recent Update to last week’s post Let Sleeping Lions Lie:  My grandmother Moore, who started this whole family history fascination with me was in the hospital in Kingston last week. At the age of 93 I thought that was it. But no, she has chosen to rehabilitate, and has just been moved to a beautiful facility on Lake Ontario, where she is enjoying her new view – overlooking…. the house of….  Sir John A MacDonald!

Sir John A

Moore & MacDonald come to blows!

        For those who missed the first post on how the Moores are connected with Sir John A, read this.

Historical Matters: Famous Moore Clash with Sir John A MacDonald

Sir John A MacDonald – 1st Prime Minister of Canada


What is the term for the expression, “famous by association”? Well, that is what has happened to me in my pursuit of my family history.  Little did I know that a prominent scholar would contact me about a relative of mine and his association with a famous Canadian, Sir John A MacDonald.  Well, I can’t tell you the details – yet – I posted some earlier, as I promised the fellow that I would keep  my trap shut.

But what I wanted to say was sometimes history does matter. And sometimes shedding light on it in the present can turn the facts into fiction, or fiction into facts.   These links to the past, sometimes glorious, sometimes downright embarrassing, can illuminate our origins and why we think, feel (or vote) the way we do. The hand-me-downs of the past include beliefs engrained in our ancestor’s lives, often political, religious; even prejudices.

The said historian was surprised that another source of his on the case was angered by his questioning of her family’s illustrious past.  She was frightened, likely, that he might shed some light on it, and shake the firmament of family legend and her own belief systems thereby.  But why not?

Often those who have not done for themselves rely on legend to tell their own stories. And I am guilty of that. Again, why not?  Are we really the sum of our family/nation/creed’s stories? Or are we searching for meaning within ourselves through connection to our rich past?

These are a lot of questions without answers, I’m afraid. But I admit to the crime of loving to hear about it. Tell me all about what so-and-so did in 1834, the court case fight, the tavern brawl, as well as the mighty things they did to build this country and put bread on the table. I love it all. I am guilty as charged for loving my family history and riding on its coat-tails all the way.  Why not tell the world how you (your family) had a hand in building one of the greatest nations in the world (Yes, I speak of Canada)? And yes, they were human too, with mistakes (and scars) to boot.  Even these are fascinating fodder for our lives.

I’m just like them. Infamous – or famous – by association. Sometimes visibly, and sometimes quietly living a life of extraordinary measure.  I have my own stories too. Undocumented at times. And Unapologetic. And I can’t wait to write my way to the finish line. Or by-line.

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

– Helen Keller

Living history – or making it – is far more satisfying, but resurrecting one can be just as much fun.

A Captive Audience

This past weekend I had the pleasure of sitting with my father in his ravine-side gazebo overlooking a canopy of trees, with tea in hand, and many folders full of material from our family history.  I had never sat with him before in this manner or read to him aloud.  It was “very Chekov”, a friend of mine pointed out.  I thought it was sublime.

On one of his birthdays past, I gave him a family history with all of the information in it, including a picture of his great grandfather. It did not seem to spark his interest.  Something was missing in my pursuit to inspire him, or hook him, into the past as I had been many years before. I lacked the confidence to convey to him the importance of it to me, or to engage him in a way that he could understand.

This time was different.  I had collected some new facts, and found a nugget that really interested him.  Our grandfather was a Reeve and owned his own land.  He had many properties.  My dad smiled at me as I read aloud, himself a business man with property.  He challenged me on a couple of things.  His questions peaked my interest and we sparred over whether or not such and such was true or not, or if we were related to so and so at all.  I believed we were, which fascinated him more. As he lay there on his lounger, head leaning back, eyes closed, I thought he fell asleep, only to arise with another question, “Do you think they were drinkers?”  I laughed out loud.

And…

“When are you going to find out more?”

I smiled. He was hooked.