Tag Archives: family history

Who Speaks? Who Tells? Who Listens? – Part 3

Excerpt of A World Without Martha: A Memoir of Sisters, Disability, and Difference By Victoria Freeman For so many years, my knowledge of my sister had been defined more through her absence than her presence, through the shape of the void she left in my life. I had been able to approach who she was only through echoes and shadows,… Read more »

Who speaks? Who tells? Who listens? – Part 1

By Victoria Freeman In 1960, my twenty-month-old sister Martha was admitted to the Rideau Regional Centre, an institution for people with developmental disabilities located on the outskirts of Smiths Falls, Ontario. For the next thirteen years she would live in this isolated and overcrowded complex of 50 buildings that at its peak housed 2,600 inmates. I use the word ‘inmate’… Read more »

Tombs with a View: Memorial Stones and Transatlantic Family Histories

Krista Barclay  As I entered Edinburgh’s New Calton Burial Ground in the fall of 2018, I was struck by the placard on the front gate advertising ‘tombs with a view’ – the view from the cemetery’s perch on Calton Hill really was spectacular. I was visiting the site as part of my dissertation research on the families formed by Indigenous… Read more »

Memory and Objects: Family History, Local Economy, and Hook Rugs

Stephanie Pettigrew I would like to thank all of my family members who participated in helping me put this together, particularly my sister Debbie, my great-aunts Cecile, Stella, and Sophie, and my cousins Yvonne, Lisa, and Laura, who helped immensely with photos, by sharing memories, and spending hours chatting with me about what were sometimes difficult topics. Thank you. I… Read more »

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 »