Sunday, 30 August 2020

Saskatchewan Ancestors: "Saskatchewan History" Magazine

 Once you delve into Canadian sources, you'll find that some provinces are absolute gold mines for online records. Saskatchewan is not one of those provinces. It's a combination of the Province's privacy laws and the youth of the Province compared to some others. Only becoming a province in 1905 means there isn't the long history that you see in Provinces like Ontario or British Columbia. Because those essential BMD records aren't as readily available as in a province like Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, those with Saskatchewan ancestry have to be a little more "out of the box" on resources.

This week I found a great resource on Internet Archive that will appeal to both genealogists and history lovers in general. Saskatchewan History is a magazine that was published by the Saskatchewan Archives Board. Internet Archive has issues from 1948 to 1957. It was published 3 times a year. History lovers and those wanting to know what their ancestor's life was like will find it a great read. 

Each issue has articles on different aspects of early pioneer life. The articles are well sourced, complete with citations.In the very first issue (Winter 1948) there is a small article highlighting a problem early settlers had that was unique to the Prairies: readily available water.

 There were also book reviews on the latest history books written about the province. This can give you new avenues of research to track down. Here's a review on Fifty Golden Years. A Brief History of the Order of St. Benedict in the Abbey Nullius of St. Peter, Muenster, Sask (Winter 1955 issue)

And here's a useful article on how Saskatchewan Places got their names (Winter 1950 issue). This section appeared regularly in the magazine

So what about the genealogy side of things? Well, there's plenty of articles focusing on specific people. One section to look at is the Notes and Correspondence section. Very much like today's "Letters to the Editor" section in newspapers and magazines. Here's a example from Winter 1949. Just look at the great extra information in these two letters:

Some issues had profiles on individuals. There's an in depth article on Philip Turner in the Spring 1950 issue. Philip was an inland surveyor.

If you're a descendant of Arthur Rowe Miller, how excited would you be to find his diary transcribed? Here's the first three pages. The article in the Spring 1957 issue is much longer.

In 1952 the Archives Board put out a Pioneer Questionnaire. In the Winter 1953 issue they featured snippets from some of the responses. Here's the page showing some memories of Mr. H. F. Copeland, who came from England in 1910.

Click here to access all the issues on Internet Archive.

As I was about to upload this post, I realized that the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan has digitized the entire run of the magazine from 1948 to 2017. Each entire issue can be downloaded as PDFs. They also have a PDF list of all the featured articles. You can get the links for each on the Archives' website.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both sites. The Provincial Archives has the complete run. However, you will have to download the entire issue. With Internet Archive you can have the ability to download specific pages. You do this by right clicking on the page and saving as a jpeg. Either way, if you have Saskatchewan ancestors, you'll want to take a look at this resource.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Banking Ancestors and WWI on Canadiana

 Sometimes you find the most interesting things on Canadiana. I stumbled across a unique resource today that had to do with employees of what is now the CIBC during World War I. From 1915 to 1919, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce published 11 pamphlets titled LETTERS FROM THE FRONT - Being a partial record of the part played by officers of the Bank in the Great War. Canadiana has all 11 volumes digitized. According to the pamphlets, by volume 11 in January 1919, a total of 1709 employees had served in the War, with 226 losing their lives. 

The pamphlets are a bonus to those with ancestors who worked with the Bank. Each issue listed every member serving. The information from the pamphlets were taken from letters by the soldiers to other employees. Family and friends of those serving also passed information along to the Bank to include in the series. 

Each issue listed all employees who have served as of publication. These were anyone from the lowest ranks to bank executives. Here's an example from Volume 2, showing name, rank, and CIBC branch

After the preface, the first section of each issue is the Honour Roll section, showing those who had died in the War up to that issue. By Volume 3 in late 1915, the Honour Roll was already growing. It lists name, rank, CIBC branch, date of death and cause of death.

The next section listed Casualties. This was further divided into subsections:

  • Wounded
  • Missing
  • Prisoners of War
  • Ill
Here's the some of the wounded as of Volume 4, which was published early 1916

Here's the Missing, POWs, and Ill soldiers from Volume 6, later in 1916

What I find are interesting is the extra information you can find here. In the Prisoners section, it tells you were they are being kept as a P.O.W. In the Ill section, you can in some cases see the cause of illness. As with other sections, you get name, rank, contingent/enlistment information, and the CIBC branch they belong to. Those researching Corp DA Wilson would find the fact that he enlisted in England a handy bit of information.

The best section though is the last section of the pamphlets, called Notes. Here they give specific information on soldiers. The information includes excerpts of letters written by soldiers, as well as Military dispatches. And what great information they have for those lucky enough to have an ancestor listed. I'm a little jealous, to be honest. 

Look at what was written about Mr. C S Cameron, who worked at the Fernie, British Columbia branch. This was from Volume 7 in July 1916

H.G. Murray was the lone survivor in a blast, from Volume 9 

The last section of the pamphlets are titled Letters from Bank Officers at the Front. This awesome section has whole excerpts of letters from the soldiers themselves. 

Here's an entry for nursing sister H V Petrie, who worked for the CIBC at the offices overseeing Western Canada

Here's an interesting one from Dr. Crozier, of Port Arthur. The letter was submitted by the brother of Dr. Crozier's partner in his medical practice. The brother was a Halifax branch manager

And here's one more example from V E McLeod, who worked at the Windsor, Nova Scotia branch

Remember that the CIBC had branches outside of Canada, and they made a point to include these employees as well in the publications. Here are the links to each individual volume on Canadiana: