Frissell’s The Viking (June 19th, 2013)
The Newfoundland Museum, when still on Duckworth Street, had a small collection of films to screen for visitors. The
first one I ever showed was The Viking. I had never heard of the film or the story behind it. After I got the reel running, I stood in the doorway to make sure it was working okay. And I began watching. Finally I pulled a chair over so I could watch the movie more comfortably while also keeping an eye on the lobby. It was spellbinding – the 1930 seal hunt with ice and cold and deprivation, and a romance and survival story. more…
The movie and Earl Pilgrim’s book The Day of Varick Frissell are not about the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland. However, families from all parts of the island were affected by the loss of the Viking so this seemed like the best category for this post.
Ancestry Search (Oct. 10th, 2012)
Thirty-three years ago I started doing Newfoundland Mi’kmaq genealogies. Over the years, I’ve added and corrected information and marked changes in families. This weekend, I sadly updated the database with the death date for Tony John of Glenwood.
FNI President and Vice-President Tony John and Calvin White hired me to do family history research in central Newfoundland. Tony’s parents, Greg and Mary, became my “Glenwood parents.” Tony never needed help in tracing his own Mi’kmaq roots; he knew his family ancestry through his father’s side and his mother’s, the Francis family of Clarke’s Head.
Tony was instrumental in establishing a political voice in the 1970s and in getting recognition and rights for all Newfoundland Mi’kmaq. Thank you, Tony, you will be missed.
For those of you searching for information and documents about your Newfoundland Mi’kmaq ancestry, it can be difficult and time-consuming but doable. Start with the internet if you don’t have family or neighbours to ask. more…
Tempting Providence, TNL (Mar. 27th, 2012)
If you’re near London Ont. you’ve got a couple days left to see a grand play at the Grand Theatre. Tempting Providence, by Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador, runs until Friday March 31st.
It’s the story of Myra Bennett, a British nurse who came in 1921 to Newfoundland for a planned two years. She married Angus Bennett from Daniel’s Harbour and stayed on the Northern Peninsula until she died in 1990 at the age of 100. We saw the play several years ago in Cow Head, near where Mrs. Bennett lived. My dentist, who knows nothing about Newfoundland or outport nursing, saw it in London last week. Like us, she loved it. more…
Newfoundland Mi’kmaq Books (Feb. 22nd, 2012)
The telling of a place often is told through the people who make up the place. Conversely, the telling of a family can also be told through the place they lived. Here are books about places or families in Newfoundland that may be of interest to those who are researching their origins.
Newfoundland has many prolific writers and storytellers who have documented its past and present. There are also many historical sources on the Mi’kmaq and more recent analyses of Mi’kmaq history on the island. I have not included those here; they can be found on other websites or are already known to those interested in this topic. more…
A Tale of the Sea etc. (Feb. 1st, 2012)
In January 1883 a dory was lost at sea off the south coast of Newfoundland. On it were
Howard Blackburn and Tommy Welsh. They became separated from their schooner in a sudden storm. The Captain and crew reluctantly had to give them up for dead.
Sixteen-year old Tommy Welsh did die, but Howard Blackburn managed to put in at the tiny village of Little River (now Grey River) near Burgeo on the south coast of Newfoundland. There, through the skill of Jenny Lushman and Susie Bushney, he was brought back to health, minus his fingers and toes…
But the story doesn’t end with him. Publicity around his survival led to the reunification of a family after fifty years and the discovery of branches of the family totally unknown to each other. more…
Qalipu Band of the Mi’kmaq Nation (Sept. 27th, 2011)
Monday it was announced: Mi’kmaq people of Central and Western Newfoundland are now members of the Qalipu band under the Indian Act. It’s been 39 years since they began politically organizing for that recognition. Hallelujah, and about time.
I’ve wondered if it actually would happen in my lifetime. I have spent my working life on and off involved in this process. I began in 1979, as a new graduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Over the years, I’ve continued working for the Federation of Newfoundland Indians. The early enthusiasm I felt every time there was a hopeful word from Indian Affairs faded long ago. All we have to do is show x, y or z? Yep, sure thing. Sorry, heard that before. more…
Newfoundland Mi’kmaq Family History & Genealogy (Mar. 29/11)
The internet is a good place to find out a lot about your family history. Unfortunately, it ain’t as easy as the tv ads for ancestry.ca pretend. Often, those ads with cheerful people clicking on a little leaf and finding some fascinating bit of information about their great-granddaddy come on as I’m struggling to figure out whether this Peter is son of this Paul or that Paul. It’s all I can do to not throw a shoe at the television.
There is a lot of information on the big genealogy sites like ancestry.ca and genealogy.com. And there are a lot of other sites with a lot of information where you don’t have to pay a membership fee. Some have vital statistics on them – birth and death records, census information etc. Others are the product of family researchers who have compiled data and present it in chart form. Below are some sites of the second type related to Newfoundland Mi’kmaq families that I have found useful. more…