Tag Archives: family history

Negotiating the Personal: Working with the Diaries of Ida Martin

Bonnie Huskins & Michael Boudreau Ida Martin, a working-class housewife from Saint John, New Brunswick, kept daily entries in a series of five-year diaries from 1945 to 1992. These diaries are the basis of a manuscript for McGill-Queen’s University Press that we are currently revising. They are the focus of the reflections here, which also consider the importance of “life… Read more »

Professional Historians, Personal Histories: A Roundtable on Objectivity, Subjectivity and Family History

Laura Madokoro This week, Active History features a roundtable on history called “Professional Historians, Personal Histories: A Roundtable on Objectivity, Subjectivity and Family History.” As the title suggests, the four contributions from Benjamin Bryce, Leslie Choquette, Bonnie Huskins and Michael Boudreau and Brittany Luby focus, from different perspectives, on the question of the relationship between professional historians, family histories and… Read more »

Hussar: My Grandpapa and the Polish Experience Under British Command in the Second World War

This is the ninth post in a series marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the end of the Second World War as part of a partnership between Active History and the Juno Beach Centre. If you would like to contribute, contact series coordinator Alex Fitzgerald-Black at alex@junobeach.org. By Sean Campbell An officer on my staff, a former student at Gdansk Polytechnic,… Read more »

First World War Postscript: “Fed Up and Tired” in the Months Following the Armistice

Robert Alldritt Following the end of the First World War, representatives of the Allied and Associated nations agreed that a medal, which would be officially known as the “Interallied Victory Medal,” would be awarded in commemoration of victory over Germany[i].  In all, approximately fourteen million bronze medals suspended by distinctive double-rainbow ribbons symbolizing “calm after a storm” were distributed; their… Read more »

“Tom’s Return” — or A Girl’s Heroic Adventure? Great War Fiction by a Canadian Schoolgirl

By Sarah Glassford What did Canadian children think of the Great War? We know they played with war-themed toys and games, read adventure stories and acted out dramas with wartime plots, contributed money and labour to war-related causes, and in some cases lied about their ages in order to enlist[1]… but accessing their youthful thoughts, feelings, and imaginings about the… Read more »

Settler Records, Indigenous Histories: Challenges in Indigenous Genealogical Research

Stacey Devlin and Emily Cuggy Genealogy is having a moment; from genealogy websites and DNA test kits to television series like Who Do You Think You Are and Genealogy Roadshow, it’s undeniable that genealogical research and the underlying desire to discover one’s personal and familial identity are more popular than ever before. There are countless resources available to both the… Read more »

Six Nations Soldiers and British Women’s Activism during and after the First World War

Alison Norman Settler Canadians seem to be increasingly interested in acting as allies with Indigenous people, interested in reconciling and learning, in this post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission era.  The runaway success of Crystal Fraser and Sara Komarnisky’s recent post on 150 acts of reconciliation (over 25,000 views!), the popularity of the University of Alberta’s free online course on Indigenous history,… Read more »

DNA And The Quest For Identity

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Stacey Devlin Whether or not family history interests you, it’s hard to escape the recent surge in advertising for genealogy-driven DNA tests, particularly the service offered by genealogy giant Ancestry. Ancestry has been heavily promoting this service through both online ads and television commercials, and it represents a fascinating development for family historians who can now use genetic information to… Read more »

“Deeply regret to inform you”: War and Loss in the Trapp Family

By Mike Bechthold The loss of a loved one during the First World War was often conveyed by a telegram beginning with the life-altering preamble, “Deeply regret to inform you….” This simple piece of paper heralded the deaths of sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers leaving families to pick up the pieces.  Rudyard Kipling, writing of the loss of his son… Read more »

Bleeding Him White: How Canada Stole an Indigenous Veteran’s Identity

By Lynn Gehl In the Anishinaabeg tradition dibaajimowinan, which translates to personal storytelling, is valued as a valid and legitimate method of both gaining and conveying knowledge. The dibaajimowinan method is holistic in that it values knowledge that is more than what is rational: it is emotional and spiritual too. As most know, the oral tradition was recognized in the… Read more »