O Canada – I knew you not!

Back in October, I attended the Family Search United States and Canada Research Seminar.[1] This was a week-long series of onsite classes and webinars that covered various topics on both the U.S. and Canada. The Canadian sessions were eye-opening for me. I didn’t realize how little I knew about Canada. I guess I thought that the Canada was always pretty much the same as it is today. I knew that there had been French settlers and I had heard of the battle of Quebec during the Revolutionary War but that was the extent of my Canadian knowledge. By the way the classes given in this seminar are now online; you must search for them individually in the Learning Center.

What I learned was that Canada was first settled in the early 17th century by the French and was called “New France”. Due to France’s defeat in the Seven Years’ War, the New France colony was turned over to Great Britain and renamed the Province of Quebec. From the English point of view, at the time of the American Revolution, there 15 American Colonies, Quebec and Nova Scotia being the extra two. After that there were various changes to these colonies.

In 1784 the colony of Nova Scotia was partitioned, and the colony of New Brunswick was created.[2]

In 1791 the colony of Quebec was divided into two provinces: Upper Canada (later Ontario), which was mainly Loyalist, Protestant and English-speaking, and Lower Canada (later Quebec), heavily Catholic and French-speaking.[3]

In 1840, a single province was named Canada was formed from Upper and Lower Canada. The Ontario area was then called Canada East and the Quebec area was Canada West.

In 1867, the Dominion of Canada was formed by the confederation of the provinces of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The provinces of Quebec and Ontario were created from the old Canada province. Canada became a self-governing dominion with four provinces [4]

Why does all this matter? When researching Canadian records, depending on the time period, they will reference the different names for these four provinces. I happened to be able to put this new-found knowledge to use the very next week. A family I was researching had its North America roots in Canada, going back to the 18th century. As I looked at various records, I saw abbreviations that would not have made sense to me before the class.

In the 1851 Canadian Census, the birth location was given as UC meaning Upper Canada[5].

A close up of a map Description generated with high confidence

It wasn’t until the 1881 Canadian Census that the birth location was given as Ontario abbreviated as O.[6]

1881 Canadian Census example

  1. https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States_and_Canada_Research_Seminar
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Brunswick (viewed 1 Nov 2017)
  3. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/discover/section-06.asp (viewed 1 Nov 2017)
  4. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/discover/section-06.asp (viewed 1 Nov 2017)
  5. 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, Census Place: Orford, Kent County, Canada West (Ontario); Schedule: A; Page: 29; Line: 10, Amos Wade household; image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 1 November 2017), citing Roll: C_11729.
  6. 1881 Census of Canada, Census Place: Orford, Bothwell, Ontario; Page: 42; Family No: 196, Amos Wade household; image, , Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 1 November 2017), citing Roll: C_13276.

Writing Award!

Wow – I won an award for my writing!

The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors is proud to announce the winners of the Excellence-in-Writing Competition. All entries were exceptional this year.

 

Category 4 – Unpublished Material, Unpublished Authors

1st Place – Joan F. Vitale: “The Messenger”

2nd Place – Bonnie Dodge: “Getting to Know Grandmother, A Step Back in Time”

3rd Place – Robbin M. Smith: “I Have an Aunt Alice?”

HM – Linda D. Fritz-Langston: “Grandpa & His Puzzle”

For the full list of winners click here.

Welcome to rmsfamilyresearch

An introduction:

My full name is Robbin Moira Therese Smith, a virtual road map to my ancestry.

Moira is Gaelic for Mary or Marie and is a acknowledgement of my Irish heritage.

Therese is to honor my maternal great grandmother, Therese (Hilbert) Schwob who was from Alsace and was a french speaker.

Smith, the most common surname in the United States, is also Irish. My grandfather Smith was my most recent immigrant to the U.S and came from Moynalty, County Meath, Ireland in 1876.

As for my first name? Perhaps my mother was contemplating the arrival of spring when I was born.

I think my name led me to genealogy because I didn’t know much about my family when I first started.  Almost 20 years later, I have reconstructed the American  and some of the Irish history of my father’s family.  I still have brick walls on my mother’s side but continue to pick away at them when I have the chance.

As for my professional career in genealogy, I have been researching for clients for 10 years. My specialty is assembling family history books to present a more complete story of clients’ ancestry.

In these books, I put much more detail about your ancestors – social history, what their residential area was like (including maps if available), and much more.

  I am a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists