The reason, well excuse really, for
my trip to Nova Scotia was to attend the [Great Canadian Genealogy Conference].
I had needed a reason to go back and the conference provided dates that I could
work around. Besides, I wanted to check out what was heralded as a new concept
in Canadian genealogy conferences, one that would move from one part of the
country to another and involve local experts. I was looking forward to hearing
the presenters but the day before the conference as an option, a day at the
Nova Scotia Public Archives was offered.
I had been at the archives before and
remembered my time there as being all too short. Perhaps I should have done
more work in preparation because I didn’t find as much as I wanted to. The
staff was very helpful with my main query about a death in Halifax but,
unfortunately, the records just didn’t exist to confirm a death around 1881, as
there are gaps in the records. I was able to fill in some omissions from my
previous research but I now know that I need a good research plan and much,
much more time to go through their records.
After our time at the archives, the
summit itself kicked off with a mini-buffet and a keynote speech by Jan Raska
from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. He told us about the museum
and touched upon major events in the Canadian immigration story. He was
obviously knowledgeable about his subject and suggested that we follow the
immigration museums blog to find out more. The passion of Joe Raska’s address
promised a great caliber of speakers for the rest of the summit.
Just being on location and walking
the streets can give a researcher a better idea of the lay of the land. How
close did your family live to major buildings and roadways? Was there anything
noteworthy about their house or neighbourhood? You won’t know what questions
you can answer until you visit.
One of the families that I was
researching lived close to Spring Garden Road in Halifax. When they lived there,
the street was called Rottenburg but the name was changed to Clyde. The area
has been redeveloped so the original houses no longer stand but I got a sense
of the area, with its short blocks, and some idea of the houses that had been
there by checking out streets close by. The area is known as Schmidtville.
Maybe a search for histories of the area will give me a better idea of the
family’s living conditions and why anyone would call a street Rottenburg.
Besides looking at areas where the
family lived, being in Halifax gave me access to other information sources. The
brand-new Halifax Library has a large area for local history research. I spent
some time there looking at Acadian resources but, I am sure there were
resources there that would have answered some of my questions about
Schmidtville. I just have to come up with a game plan for my next visit.
The new Halifax Library
One of the highlights of my trip was
a visit to the Immigration Museum at Pier 21. I went there on a whim because
none of my family actually came through Pier 21 when entering Canada. The
information there was about the whole immigration experience. There were photos
of families entering at different time periods in different places including
Dorval Airport, my own point of entry.
Canadian Museum of Immigration - Pier 21
While at Pier 21, I went to the Scotiabank
Family History Centre. My aim was to confirm my grandfather’s point of entry in
1911, after all, I had that research pretty well nailed down. I gave my
information to the young lady at one of the computer terminals and she came up
with two possibilities for my grandfather’s point of entry. You know what, the
second entry, the one that I didn’t have, looks like a better bet. It just goes
to show that it pays to keep an open mind!