I wrote this post in honour of Chinese New Year and the changing of the years from Tiger to Rabbit. In 2023, I feel we could all use some good fortune. And it doesn't matter if you believe or don't believe in astrology. What matters is if your ancestors believed. Chinese culture has long associations with ideas around luck and prophecy, governing every aspect of life from birth to death. I like to check the signs of the people I'm researching, to get a sense of what they might have thought. The next topic I'd like to tackle is the belief system that added a year to a newborn's age. What was that all about? Until next time!
What a year for interviewing, studying, travelling, visiting, writing, and working. Looking back, my main impression is this. Yes, I did a lot. But what feels more important is I met a lot, by which I mean I met a lot of folks I'd previously only known virtually, or hadn't seen in years. After such a drought, it was soul-expanding to see people in person, even it it did sometimes mean six a.m. flights and wearing masks.
From my research, it appears the famous school room at Wing Sang has a deeper history than first suspected. In this post, I've compiled building permits, family stories, immigration records, newspaper articles, original correspondence, and passenger manifests to create a richer picture of the past. Yip Sang did indeed build a school in his home that his family could enjoy, but he also founded a school for the community and used his influence to hire its first principal and teacher.
Catherine and I were successful in unravelling the mystery (and it was also great fun). The photo was taken by C.B. Wand to capture the nomination of the candidates for Jubilee Queen. Using a combination of curiosity, expertise, an original photo, and published sources, we were able to answer almost every question.
A quick post today. I've built a new page on my site as a quick reference to western Canadian censuses: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. This is a page for genealogists: when was the census held, what genealogical data does it contain, where can it be found online, and what schedules survive. (Also see… Continue reading Western Canadian censuses
... Before, you went to Library Archives Canada's site, and then you went to the siloed databases. Like if you wanted "Immigrants before 1865," you search there. And then if you wanted "Russian Immigrants," you'd search there. So it was extremely difficult to find anything at Library and Archives Canada. And what was missing was a central collection search. Well, guess what, there is now a central collection search...
In this post I explore the new Chinese Canadian Museum (Victoria) and hear a few stories from my host, Charlayne Thornton-Joe. Before my visit, I knew Charlayne slightly from the Facebook group Chinese Community of Victoria. Charlayne Thornton-Joe is a third-generation Victorian. Until recently, she served as a long-time city councillor, encouraged to run by… Continue reading The Chinese Canadian Museum (Victoria): a peek inside and a chat with Charlayne
Like you, I spend inordinate amounts of time researching obscure documents at odd hours. (Truthfully, sometimes it's research and sometimes it's getting lost down rabbit holes.) If only everything was online. I read archival finding aids like a Christmas wish list: I want this, and this, and this too. My curiosity is far bigger than my budget (to pay external researchers).
How to read the codes for vital statistic records at the BC archives:I'm excited to share this with you. Despite pulling birth, marriage, and death records (BMDs) back in 2018, I'd forgotten this little trick for reading registration codes and was utterly confused my first day. Now I'm sharing it with you (and my future self, who will forget again). There are two different methods depending on whether the records were produced before or after 1944. We will start with the easier ones: record produced after 1944.
Here is my solo performance All That Jazz by Liza Minelli, choreographed by Caelia Gardiner, and performed before a live audience on 13 Aug 2022 at The Refinery, Saskatoon.