Putting Leaves On The Tree

Passive is not my modus operandi when doing genealogical research. I have been doggedly pursuing leads on various free genealogy websites. I did not think I would find anything about my maternal grandmother’s family. I did not see much in Canada at first. My first attempts in Scotland came up empty. One reason was my grandmother always said she was from Glasgow. I couldn’t find any mention of my great-grandparents in Glasgow. There was one local genealogy group there that charges money to find your relatives. The idea of paying online in a different currency and using a credit card made me nervous. So I didn’t do that. Then I discovered FamilySearch.org, a free site run by the Mormons. And recently I found Scotland’s People.gov.uk which provides a bit of info free and will charge you if you want more. There are also some English and Canadian Archives. Family Search will give you access to documents like some death certificates, marriage and birth records, census records, and ship’s passenger lists.

SS Hesperian via Library and Archives Canada

Getting back to the hunt. I found them in Staffordshire, England and then traced them with Scotland’s People to Lanarkshire (Scotland), located documentation of my grandmother’s and one of her sister’s birth, found her two older sisters were married in Scotland, then traced most of the group to Halifax on ships’ passenger lists (so exciting!).  Turns out my grandmother was born in a parish not too far from Glasgow. Knowing the married names of the two sisters helped me find them in Canada. I discovered my great-grandmother’s maiden name, and I think I located her family in Staffordshire as well. I found my maternal grandparent’s marriage record in Nova Scotia and traced them to British Columbia where I discovered my mother living at 4 years old along with my great-grandmother. I found my maternal grandfather’s family in Nova Scotia and traced some of them to the US. It gets hard to locate people after the mid-1900s or so other than my immediate family records. The last published census in Canada is 1921. There was no census taken in England during the WWII years. There is an English register for 1939, and I found some info there. Ireland was the hardest with no verifiable information on my family.

This research is interesting, and it makes me feel a bit closer to my ancestors. I can imagine some of their hardships like traveling across the Atlantic in a ship with a baby without your husband, or as a little girl. Looking through lists of people’s families I saw that many people in those olden days died young. I wondered if there was an epidemic or did people die from hardships like overwork or not enough to eat. I wondered if some of my family were rogues.

Well, if they looked like Johnny Depp that might be ok.

Or were the places where they came from kind of dumpy.

I don’t want to be judgemental about any of my family. Let’s face it we probably all have skeletons in our closets.

I just realized today that Family Search.org automatically populated my family tree with A LOT of names I had spent time looking up by myself and on top of it they have birth dates and death dates which I had not found. I just haven’t discovered anyone who is still alive in current times.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt words ‘passive/aggressive.’ Featured image of Norman Rockwell Family Tree via Lori on Flickr.GIFs from Giphy.com

8 thoughts on “Putting Leaves On The Tree

  1. JoAnna

    I admire your detective work. And it is fun to imagine. If all pirates were as attractive and friendly as Captain Jack Sparrow, we’d all be happy to have pirate ancestors and friends.

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  2. cleemckenzie

    My son and I have done a ton of research. I know exactly what you mean when you talk about the work involved. I planned to post about one amazing find on my blog; if I ever get the story straight I will. Great work about tracking down your grandmother’s birth place.

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Your story sounds intriguing. Have online information that is accessible is wonderful and helps me verify things I was told by my grandmother and other relatives. I did not have a lot of information from them. My parents and grandparents didn’t talk about it. My cousin was in closer contact with my maternal grandmother growing up so she heard more things. I have this strange feeling that these people wanted me to find them. Thanks, C Lee. 🙂

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  3. doublegenealogytheadoptionwitness

    Deborah, I did the same thing; self research, as much as possible, using data, freely given. My principals were illegitimate, then adopted – causing data gaps – such that I needed to weave stories around the facts, as they appeared, to make family sense.Only then, could I move forward. The “tree sites” were wrongly associated for relationships, probably due to the factor of many illegitimate births. Too many wrong “hints” can be discouraging, or send one off-path. I did use pay-for data after I understood the family, and set the general path – and now, in my old age, I have actually authored a book on the effort. Maybe you agree, the immersion in data I produced myself, seemed to invest me more in the lives of my ancestors. Seems your road and mine are similar for Lanarkshire, BC and NS. – Marilee at MarileeWein.com

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      I think it would be difficult to trace illegitimate births, at least to find the father unless you had names beforehand. I noticed that birth records list the mother’s name and not the father. I did find connections though by recognizing the same names in certain records like death certificates or notices. I do agree that following my ancestors journeys with the limited data I have found has made me feel closer to them and helped me relate more to their lives. I haven’t wanted to pay for information yet. Interesting that some of our ancestors were in the same places. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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