For it is in giving that we receive.
– Francis of Assisi
Life can be about giving a little and getting a lot. Today feels like one of those days.
Many years ago I made a promise to my grandmother. Something I do not do easily and once made, always kept. It is not for want of trying, but this one currently remains unfulfilled. John Bruin, an Irish immigrant to Canada was my grandmother’s grandfather. Where from in Ireland is the Holy Grail of the promise.
John Bruin died in 1923 at the age of ninety-seven according to his death certificate. His obituary, written by his grand-daughter indicates he was ninety-six-years-old. The headstone in the Lonsdale Cemetery supports the age of ninety-seven. The 1921 Canadian census, enumerated John as ninety-four-years-old. The following two earlier decennial censuses enumerated him as seventy-seven-years-of-age, and then as seventy-years-of-age respectively. You get the picture! As a result of the discrepancies with his date of birth, we have conflicting evidence. All before I’ve even gotten started on my targeted research question. I ‘m currently reviewing all the documents in my files that indicate John’s age and placing them into a timeline. At the moment we have a year of birth in the range of 1826-1836.
Moving to solely digitized files has also long been a goal of mine.”I am working on it, I swear,” I tell my husband almost weekly. Digitizing my documents from my paper files to my new digital system takes effort. It is a slow but satisfying process. Yesterday I was reviewing a photocopy of an unpublished manuscript I had acquired over a decade ago. The quality lacking from the acquisition in the copying, the tired crumbled papers had seen better days. Being lazy, I reached out to the archivist at the Hastings County Historical Society. My hopes had been to acquire a clean digitized copy of the manuscript without having to spend time cleaning up my own forlorn copy.
This morning I received the news that the Archives did not hold a copy of the typescript. Obviously, this little personal account was something of interest to the county archives. Making an offer to donate a digital version, I got busy creating the digital images from my tattered copy. With the offer well received I made short work of it. “Lonsdale – Then and Now,” by Mrs Annie M. Farrell, I am pleased to say is now a part of the Archive catalogue. Annie, the former Margaret Ann McAuliffe, had been a school teacher in Hastings County at one time.
What came back to me? Without any urging, Amanda shared with me some information about an online source for land records I previously was unaware of! The Marilyn Adams Genealogical Research Center located in Ameliasburg has the original Hastings County Land Records prior to 1955. Furthermore, they have an online database in which to search for the records of interest. For the rate of $20/hour, a research volunteer will photocopy the documents for you. Thus by end of day, I had submitted my request for the land records for John Bruin of Lonsdale.