Perth Festival of the Maples April 26 2014

James Brothers edit

With over 160 vendors, live entertainment, and the finest tasting maple syrup produced in the world, the Festival of the Maples in Perth is the place to be on Saturday, April 26th, 2014.

You may not know that Lanark County is the maple syrup capital of Ontario, and you may not know some of the history leading up to the very first festival that was held back in the 1970s.

The story that follows is dedicated to the Lanark County families who played such a significant role, back in the early days, leading up to this annual festival in Perth: Andrew and George Korry, Bowes family of Glen Tay, Ernie and Evelyn Miller family of Glen Tay, Robert McEwen of Prestonvale, Ken VanAlstine of Maberly, Leonard and Tom Adam of McDonald’s Corners, Brien and Marion Paul west of Hopetown, Lanark, James ‘Carman’ and Edna Gibson of Dalhousie Township, Don and Marion Dodds of Clayton, George Coutts of Rideau Ferry, Wheeler family of McDonald’s Corners, and Fulton family of Pakenham to name a few.

Taffy on the Tay

Years ago, many of the local farmers produced maple syrup. Some just made enough for their families and for some it was a supplement to their farm income at a time of year that was less busy than during the summer months. There were also a few dealers in the area that sold sugar bush supplies – Max Miller of Snow Road, Percy Drysdale of McDonald’s Corners, and W.J. Ballantyne in Lanark. James Brothers Hardware and the Co-Op also sold supplies for maple production. Labels for the bottles were often printed by ‘The Perth Courier’.

The Korry family across the road from us had a medium sized sugar bush and they produced not just enough for the family, but enough to sell locally. Andrew’s son-in-law John Chaplin sold it through his dairy to the local customers on the milk routes. Andrew Korry and his son George spent a few very busy weeks making syrup each spring and my brother Tim worked with them in the bush one year. They used a team of horses with a tank mounted on the sleigh to draw the sap back to the evaporator at the sugar shack; typical of many other producers at that time.

The Bowes and the Miller families near Glen Tay also produced their own syrup. I remember that Art Bowes used to tap quite a number of trees in the mid-sixties. Their farm was known as Tayview farm and it straddled the Tay River and was very picturesque. At that time they had about 300 acres which included hay fields, pastures and of course maple bushes. His son Doug was on our school bus and he used to talk about helping his Dad back in the bush each spring.

The Miller family’s farm, known as Tayside was owned by Ernest ‘Ernie’ Miller and his wife Evelyn (Mather). The Miller family arrived from Scotland in 1809 and their farm was purchased by Ernie’s great grandfather Dodds in 1858. Their kids were Diane, Nancy, John and Ruth. Evelyn was a lovely, soft-spoken lady and she was my first 4H club leader. I also remember that Ernie was tapping about 1,500 trees back in the sixties and had about 30 acres of maple woods. Ernie was a forward thinker and one of his ideas at that time was that sap should be gathered by trucks from each farm and taken to a large central evaporator – similar to the way that milk was trucked to cheese factories. It seemed through the years that Ernie was into everything. When he wasn’t farming he wrote history books, he researched genealogy, he worked with young people and it was no surprise to me when he was inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2003.

The McEwen clan in Ferguson Falls was another family who made their mark in the maple syrup business back in the 60s. In 1966 Robert McEwen of Prestonvale opened up the first pancake house in the area. Originally, Robert made his syrup the old fashioned way out in the bush and boiled a cauldron of sap over the fire. Later, in the 1970s I remember that he was one of the first to use plastic pipelines to bring the sap from the trees to one main location. Dad knew the McEwen family well, having grown up in that area and said that Robert often spoke of the difficulties involved in syrup production. There were always problems like getting reliable labour and often the lack of capital to purchase new equipment. Robert was very active in the local industry and at one time was the President of the Lanark and District Maple Syrup Association.

Ken VanAlstine in Maberly had over 2,000 trees tapped when I was a kid and he was among the first to use pipelines. He experimented at first and tapped just 200 trees using the pipeline system but the rest was collected in buckets the traditional way and transported to the evaporator by horse and sleigh.

Ken, like other producers in the area found the cost of hiring labour prohibitive and that distributers wanted too much money per gallon. Ken was well known in the area for his excellent quality maple syrup and said on his best day at that time he gathered 3,300 gallons of sap.

Another local family of producers was the Adam family of McDonald’s Corners. Leonard Adam and his brother Tom tapped an average of 2,250 trees and had about 500 acres of land between them. They were hard workers and spent many days sawing, chopping and stacking the 20 cords of wood required for their evaporator and were one of the first to use a brand new style of evaporator which was 4 by 14 feet. They produced enough to sell locally and the remainder was shipped out West.

Brien and Marion (McLaren) Paul of R.R #3 Lanark had a 575 acre farm about three miles west of Hopetown and began maple production in 1953. Marion was raised on a farm near the village of Lanark, was known locally as the ‘First Lady of Maple’ and became a maple judge at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Their kids Kathy, Wayne and Darrell were also very involved and provided additional labour for the family business. In 1972 Kathy was even crowned Maple Queen in the local competition.

Back in the 1960s they used two sleighs, one pulled by a tractor and the other by a team of horses. Brien’s father Raymond Paul often tended the evaporator, keeping a watchful eye as the steam boiled off into the air. Russell Foster and Raymond Watt often assisted the Paul family with the production. They tapped an average of 4,000 trees at that time and produced about 700 gallons of syrup and used approximately 30 cords of wood during the season.

The Paul’s were pioneers in the maple industry and were very modern in their approach. They were one of the first to install plastic tubing and an oil fired evaporator. The plastic pipes were attached to the tree spiles and the sap flowed through the pipes and emptied into a storage reservoir located behind the evaporator. Brien and Marion were inducted into the International Maple Hall of Fame and were members of the Ontario Maple Producers and the Lanark and District Maple Producers Association.

Gibson was a name known for their excellent syrup. James ‘Carman’ Gibson and his wife Edna (Rodger) had a maple business in Dalhousie Twp at R.R. # 4, Lanark. The nearby areas of Hoods and Poland were also known for their fine quality maple syrup. The Gibson family began tapping trees in 1821 with the arrival of James Gibson from Lanark, Scotland. He was the first pioneer settler in the area and named their new home Lammermoor after the Lammermoor Hills in Scotland. Their five children Verna, Beatrice, Norma, Carol and Earl all helped out with the operation. They also raised beef, dairy on their busy farm and hauled milk to the Middleville cheese factory.

When locals think of a long running maple operation, the name Dodds comes to mind. They had a substantial sugar bush at R.R. 2 Clayton in the Lanark Highlands. The Dodds family has owned Springdale Farm for generations and Don and Marion Dodds and their sons Bryan and Stephen helped with production through the years. The family has won many awards for being long term maple producers and as recently as last year Stephen Dodds won Grand Champion Trophy at Perth Festival of the Maples for 2011. Their long, long, list of awards include trophies for World Champion Maple Syrup, Sugar Maker of the Year, and a meeting with HRH Prince Charles at the Royal Winter Fair.

One of the maple syrup families that I remember fondly was the Coutts family on the Rideau Ferry Road. I’ll never forget how George Coutts used to invite the local kids to visit his sugar shack and he would take the time to patiently explain how the maple syrup was made. Miss Norma Devlin from the North Elmsley School was invited each year to bring her grade one class to visit the Coutts farm. George along with his son Kenneth showed the children how syrup was made and even provided the kids with some maple taffy at the end of the tour. At that time the Coutts family was tapping about 1,300 trees and produced more than enough syrup for both the family and for area sales.

The ancestors of the current Fulton family began to tap their maple trees back in the 1840s. Their large 370 acre farm is located between Almonte and Pakenham and they have tapped their huge 4,000 tree sugar bush for generations. Well known for their high quality syrup they have also operated a pancake house for many years and their sugar camp has been a popular attraction for both area families and visitors.

With these and so many other excellent producers in Lanark County, it’s not surprising that back in the 1970s there were talks of having a maple festival in the town of Perth. It was Vic Lemieux, owner of Norvic Lodge at Christie Lake, who first came up with the idea and presented it to the Perth Chamber of Commerce. Vic was successful in his campaign to launch the first festival, with the hopes that it would bring people out to celebrate the spring season after a long, cold, winter.

On April 19, 1975 the very first Festival of the Maples was held in Perth and it was quite an event!

When we arrived at the Festival that Saturday, they had closed part of Gore Street and Foster Street and the local maple vendors had set up their displays. At 10 a.m. the Festival was officially opened by the Ontario Minister of Industry Claude Bennett. The Legion ladies and the ladies from St. Andrew’s church had home baking for sale, and there were also side-walk sales on Gore Street and many arts and craft exhibits.

There were a tremendous number of district producers and many of them offered syrup for sale in various sized containers. Pancakes were available for purchase and free samples of Balderson cheese were given away and I recall we went back a couple of times to that booth! One of the oddest things was to see a wood burning evaporator set up on one of the main streets of Perth. I’ve seen a few of those out in the bush, but I never thought I’d see one in town!

Fiddling and step-dancing competitions were held that year and I remember Dawson Girdwood saying that some of the best fiddlers from Eastern Ontario were competing in the open and junior fiddling classes. Jimmy Heney, one of our neighbours won the fiddling prize hands down, as he often did and Karen Grey of Perth was the top step-dancer that night.

The folks in Perth were always up for a good beauty competition and so part of the evening program at the arena that night was the crowning of ‘The Sweetest Girl in Lanark County’. Miss Perth 1975 Michelle Hughes crowned the winner, Maple Queen Susan Thompson of Perth.

Over the years we always attended the Festival and each spring it seemed to grow by leaps and bounds. Every year it seemed that there were more vendors selling their maple goods, more artisans displaying their crafts and an increasing number of booths and displays. We also noticed a steady growth of tourists who had come from Ottawa, Kingston and even as far away as the States to visit.

People in Lanark County, understandably, have always taken their maple syrup very seriously. Because of this, it was devastating to many when January of 1998 brought the most destructive ice storm in Canadian history. From January 4th to 10th Lanark County was severely affected by freezing rain and ice pellets that fell and accumulated on tree branches day after day. This ice created a thick, heavy coat, damaging both the maple trees and the pipelines in the sugar bushes. Millions of tree branches were caked with the build-up of ice and became so heavy that they split right off of the trees; severely affecting the sap flow. At the time, there were speculations that it could take forty years for production to return to normal.

Many of us, have participated in making maple syrup at one time or another and know from experience that it’s extremely labour-intensive. We also have a clear understanding of the enormous amount of sap it takes to make a very small quantity of syrup. No matter how modern the equipment or methods, it still takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.

Now, add in the hours of labour for the tapping, transporting from the tree to the evaporator, the boiling down, the straining, the bottling and the labeling. Next, factor in the cost of equipment such as the spiles, the pails or tubing, the evaporation tank, fuel, the straining equipment, the bottles, cans and cost of transporting to market. Fifty dollars a gallon really doesn’t sound like all that much anymore now, does it?

So, the next time you pass by the maple syrup display in the grocery store aisles, or visit a maple vendor at his farm or at a festival, please remember how it’s produced. Remember the proud, hard-working families who settled in Lanark County and passed down their knowledge through the generations. Think of the enormous quantity of sap required to make a very small container of syrup. Most of all please stop and consider the origin of your syrup and take it from this Lanark County kid – you won’t find any better, more flavourful syrup, than from the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario.

(an excerpt from “Lanark County Chronicle: Double-Back to the Third Line”,
ISBN 978-0-9877026-2-3 , available at local book stores)

http://www.staffordwilson.com

You May be Irish if…

Irish pub

The Top Ten Ways to tell if you’re Irish:

1. You have the ‘gift of gab’. There is an ancient rock near Cork, Ireland at Blarney Castle and they say that anyone who kisses the stone will have the gift of gab. If you are truly of Irish descent, then there’s likely no pressing need to make the journey, as you surely already possess the talent of talking rings around most other people.

2. You are musical. Maybe you play an instrument or perhaps you just sing in the shower, but the gift of music is in your Irish blood and you will not be able to resist tapping your toe or strumming your fingers on the table when someone gets their fiddle out and plays a tune.

3. You have strong convictions. Whether the topic is religion, politics or your favourite sports team there will be no point in challenging your beliefs which you hold dearly, and you will argue about these beliefs passionately and convincingly.

4. You have a gift for writing and story-telling. You will be the one at the pub or social gathering that will keep the crowd entertained with your vivid and colourful tales. There may even be a bit of exaggeration thrown in for good measure, but it just makes your story all the more interesting.

5. You’ve got lovely skin and pleasing features. You may have porcelain, pale skin, or you may have freckles that outnumber the days of the year, but your features will be pleasantly proportioned and your eyes bright, with a genuine smile that lights up your face.

6. Your dinner is not complete without some spuds at the table. Whether it’s home-fries for breakfast, French fries for lunch, or baked, mashed or boiled for supper, the humble potato is a regular, healthy staple in your diet and you wouldn’t think of going a day without it.

7. You will likely have a few Irish names in your family tree because people of Irish descent are proud of their heritage and often pass down the names of their ancestors: Sean, Shane, Annie, Maggie, Michael, Patrick, Francis, Kelly, Bridget, Daniel, Aiden, Liam, Eileen, Irene, Brian, Barry, Collin, Ryan, Katie, Thomas, Matthew, Molly, William, Robert, Mark, Elizabeth, Peter, Sinead, Eva, Fay, Julia and so on…

8. You are better at swearing than most people. Partly because of your natural gift of gab and partly because of your quick wit, the swear-words seem to roll freely off of your tongue. You have even been known to make up your own, or stick a word in the middle for good measure, like “abso-bleedin’-lutely”.

9. Nothing brings out your poetic nature, natural ability to talk non-stop, or your talent for swearing like a few pints at the pub. A drink or two or three tends to make your exaggerations a bit more colourful, your storytelling even more fascinating, and your talent for music and dancing shines even brighter.

10. You are loyal. Your strong convictions and unshakeable beliefs are the most visible when it comes to your family and friends. If someone insults your friend then they’ve likely got a fight on their hands that they won’t win. If someone says something unkind about your family then they will have a nasty surprise coming to them that they didn’t bargain for. You are fiercely loyal to all you hold dear.

So, what are the Irish really like? Perhaps the best description comes from the popular historian, Carl Wittke:

“The so-called Irish temperament is a mixture of flaming ego, hot temper, stubbornness, great personal charm and warmth, and a wit that shines through adversity. An irrepressible buoyancy, a vivacious spirit, a kindliness and tolerance for the common frailties of man and a feeling that ‘it is time enough to bid the devil good morning when you meet him’ are character traits which Americans have associated with their Irish neighbors for more than a century.”

Whether you are of Irish descent or merely admire this nation known for its great writers, poets and story-tellers, I will leave you with a traditional Irish blessing and hope that you have the ‘luck o’ the Irish’ wherever life takes you! Sláinte (cheers!)

An Old Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Maple Syrup: 10 Things You May Not Know

maple syrup

1. It is not a coincidence that Canada has a maple leaf on the nation’s flag. Canadians produce 85% of the world’s maple syrup.

2. The highest quality maple syrup is found in Lanark County, also known as the “Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario”. Lanark County is located in Eastern Ontario, Canada between the cities of Kingston and Ottawa. The historic town of Perth is the county seat, and hosts an annual maple festival each year featuring award-winning maple vendors.

3. Maple syrup is naturally ‘Organic’, because it is produced from natural trees in a wild environment.

4. Maple syrup has tremendous health benefits. This natural sweetener contains over 54 antioxidants that may help delay or prevent diseases caused by free radicals such as cancer or diabetes. Pure maple syrup has the same beneficial antioxidants found in berries, tomatoes, green tea, red wine and flax seeds.

5. A tablespoon of maple syrup has only 40 calories, versus honey with 64 or corn syrup with 60. Maple syrup contains more calcium than milk and more potassium than bananas.

6. Long before the Europeans arrived in North America, the native peoples were collecting sap from maple trees, heating it in hollow logs until it was syrupy and called it ‘sweet water’.

7. The sap which runs from the ‘tapped’ maple tree is 97 percent water and forty gallons are evaporated to make one gallon of syrup.

8. A maple tree is normally 30 years old and 12 inches in diameter before it is tapped. As the tree increases in diameter a maximum of four taps can be put into the tree. The tree is not damaged from the tapping process.

9. Maple syrup is graded according to colour and flavour: Canada # 1 Extra Light, Light, Medium, Canada # 2 – cooking grade and Canada # 3 darker in colour with a stronger flavour and used commercially. Lighter syrup is produced earlier in the season when it is colder. As the weather warms up the syrup becomes darker with a more robust flavour.

10. Warm spring days with temperatures above freezing and cold nights below freezing is ideal weather for maple syrup production. The season varies, but normally lasts four to eight weeks depending on the weather.

For more information on the 38th Annual Festival of the Maples in Perth:

http://perthchamber.com/chamber-events/festival-of-the-maples/

For details on the nutritional benefits of pure maple syrup: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20110401/Maple-syrup-contains-a-range-of-antioxidant-compounds-not-found-in-other-sweeteners.aspx

To discover more about the history and local maple producers in Lanark County, “Lanark County Chronicle” features a chapter ‘Taffy on the Tay’, recalling the ‘good old days’ of maple syrup production. http://www.staffordwilson.com/Order_Books.php

Easy, mouth-watering recipes for Maple Butter and Maple Fudge at the conclusion of this article.

Contact information listing vendors known for their premium quality maple syrup; many are award winners:

Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush
Address: 291 6th Conc Rd., Pakenham, On
Phone: 613-256-3867 Email: info@fultons.ca Website: http://www.fultons.ca

McFarlane’s Maple Syrup
Grant & Gail McFarlane
1550 Prestonvale Rd
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-259-5410
Email – grantandgail@storm.ca

Paul’s Maple Products
Brien Paul
267 Sugar Bush Way,
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-259-5276
Email – dpaul@storm.ca

Coutts Country Flavours
Address: 1230 Port Elmsley Rd. RR5 Perth, Ontario K7H 3C7
Phone: 613-267-0277 Email: couttscountryflavours@live.ca
Website: couttscountryflavours.ca/

Jameswood Maple
3231 Wolf Grove Road
Dwight James
249 Purdy Rd,
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-256-4466
Email – jameswood@storm.ca

Temple’s Sugar Camp
Address: 1700 Ferguson’s Falls Rd. (CR#15) Lanark, On
Phone: 613-253-7000 Email: TemplesInfo@xplornet.com
Website: http://www.templessugarcamp.ca

Dorian Heights Maple Products
3631 Watsons Corners Rd,
RR 1 McDonalds Corners, ON K0G 1M0
Phone – 613-278-2177
Email – dorian75@live.ca

Springdale Farm
Don & Marion Dodds
Home – 1790 Galbraith Rd, RR 2
Clayton, ON K0A 1P0
Sugar Shack – 1699 Galbraith Rd.
Clayton, ON K0A 1P0
Phone – 613-256-4045
Email – info@springdale@.ca
Web site – http://www.springdalemaple.ca

Fairbairn Farm
1827 Wolf Grove Rd,
Almonte, ON K0A 1A0
Phone – 613-256-5047
Email – dfairbairn@hughes.net
Web site – http://www.fairbairnmaple.com

Wheeler’s Pancake House & Sugar Camp
Address: 1001 Highland Line Lanark Highlands (McDonalds Corners), On
Phone: 613-278-2090 Email:webinfo@wheelersmaple.com Website: http://www.wheelersmaple.com

Ennis Maple Products Ltd
848 Ennis Rd,
Balderson, ON K0G 1A0
Phone – 613-267-3491
Email – ennismaple@yahoo.com
Web site – http://www.ennismaple.com

Ryan & Glenn Stead
5692 Hwy 511,
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-259-2578
Email – steadmaplesyrup@gmail.com

Sugar Maple Farms Ltd.
David & Paul Chant
3187 Thousand Acre Rd,
RR 2 Portland, ON K0G 1V0
Phone – 613-272-2616

2013 Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association Winner,
President’s Awards to Bryan Exley, Don Dodds and the Chant Family

Two of our favourite Maple Recipes:

Maple Butter

Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup softened butter
• 1/4 cup maple syrup

Preparation Time 5 minutes:

Mix butter and maple syrup with electric mixer until blended. Serve on toast, cracker or warm muffins. This is so tasty and could not be easier to make. Use this creamy maple butter spread on bread, pancakes, muffins, toast, and biscuits.

Yield: about 3/4 cup

Maple Cream Fudge

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cream (I use Heavy cream/whipping cream)
1/3 cup of butter
1/4 cup of maple syrup
pinch of salt
vanilla

Add the two sugars, butter and cream, maple syrup and salt into a sauce pan. Place over medium heat. Stir while bringing to a boil. Lower the heat and continue to stir slowly while the mixture cooks. After about 7 minutes, test by pouring a small amount into some cold water. You want it to form a soft ball. You might need to cook it for another minute or two. Remove from the heat, add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla and start stirring. It takes about 14 or 15 minutes for the fudge to cool and thicken. Pour into buttered dish. TIP: If you let the fudge sit for 10 minutes after removing from the heat and allow it to cool slightly this will reduce the stirring time. Option: Replace the cream and cup of white sugar with one can of Sweetened Condensed Milk and increase the maple syrup to 1 cup

Arlene Stafford-Wilson http://www.staffordwilson.com

Groundhog Blues in Lanark County

Groudnhog-1

Even though the winter solstice had passed months before, the days in Lanark County were still short and dark and lifeless for the most part. It seemed as though the cold months ahead stretched out with no end in sight, like the long, heavy trains that thundered and chugged down the tracks, back the side road.

Frigid, grey mornings were spent shivering at the end of the long lane, waiting for the big orange school bus to come rattling up the Third Line.

Winter in the country looked barren and lifeless. The soft green grass and fragrant flowers were dormant, as they lay forgotten under the heavy blanket of snow. The massive, frozen, white shroud seemed to conceal every trace of life that had ever existed in our yard.

Evenings after school were spent shoveling, pushing and lifting the snow, from one pile to another. Week after week, more snow fell, and it blew and drifted back into the paths that we’d made.

I was always cold, always shivering, cold face, cold hands, cold feet on the floors of the old house. Even with layers of tattered, wool blankets on the bed, the icy drafts snuck into my room and the windows were coated in a heavy layer of frost and ice. When the wood stove in the kitchen died out overnight, yesterday’s glass of water would be frozen like a miniature hockey rink by morning.

Groundhog Day was finally here. Would he see his shadow? Would there be an early spring or would there be another two months at least of these cold, grey days? Punxsutawney Phil had been predicting the onset of spring since 1890 in Pennsylvania, and his Canadian counterpart Wiarton Willie had begun his annual forecast in the 1950s. At our house we listened closely to both forecasts, hoping that at least one of these rodents would offer some hope of an early spring.

So, we had two possible groundhog predictions and two different radio stations. There was CJET in Smiths Falls, and Mother would often tune in and listen to Hal Botham after we left for school, while she did her ironing. CFRA was her usual early morning station and we’d often hear Ken ‘General’ Grant shouting, “Forward Ho!” as we ate our puffed wheat in the mornings, before walking down the lane to wait for the school bus.

I could tell that Mother was also growing weary of the long, cold days of winter and if the ‘General’ didn’t report the prediction she wanted to hear then she’d likely turn the dial to CJET hoping that Hal Botham would have another version of the groundhog’s forecast. If it was cloudy, and the groundhog didn’t see his shadow, we’d have an early spring – just six more weeks of winter. By the first week of February we didn’t want to hear any other forecast. Six more weeks of winter would be enough to bear without the possibility of the season being any longer.

When I came downstairs for breakfast that Groundhog Day morning, so long ago, Mother had already set up the old ironing board and was busy ironing a linen tea-towel. I asked her if she’d heard the groundhog’s prediction yet, and she didn’t look up, but continued to iron. “It’s just a myth, just folklore”, she said and she folded the tea towel neatly and started on the next one.

“So, he saw his shadow?” I asked. “Yes they both did.” she responded somberly, still not looking up from her work, and folded up the next tea-towel.

I sat quietly at the old kitchen table and ate my bowl of puffed wheat, drank my orange juice, and took my cod liver oil capsule without even being asked. Six more weeks would put spring sometime into the middle of March, but now it would be even longer. I finished my breakfast, put my dishes in the old porcelain sink, pulled on my boots and coat, grabbed my wool hat, mitts and lunch pail, and headed out the door.

As I trudged down the long, snowy laneway to the Third Line, I felt defeated. It was sad how a couple of groundhogs that we didn’t even know could make Mother and I feel so depressed. I didn’t even understand how they could have seen their shadows that morning, because it wasn’t sunny outside at all. I couldn’t see my own shadow and that meant that our local groundhogs wouldn’t be able to see theirs either.

I didn’t really know where Wiarton was located in Ontario, and didn’t have a clue about Pennsylvania, but I was sure that none of the groundhogs in Lanark County saw their shadows on that cloudy, grey morning in February. Maybe the other groundhogs were wrong. Maybe there would be an early spring after all. Maybe the snow would be gone soon, and I could ride my bike up to Christie Lake again. I had to stay positive. I had to keep hoping. I had to……..

(an excerpt from ‘Lanark County Calendar: Four Seasons on the Third Line”
ISBN 978-0-9877026-3-0)

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Celebrating 200 Years of History

Perth Military Settlement

The Perth, Ontario Military Settlement was founded in 1816, and as part of the local celebrations for the 200th anniversary in 2016, many of the nearby communities will be collecting local stories for publication in commemorative books.

Both Tay Valley Township and Drummond-North Elmsley Township are producing commemorative books and are looking for submissions from former and current residents.

Please send your family stories, special memories and recollections to be included in these legacy publications. Family life, stories about farming, anecdotes about attending local schools, memories of churches and local businesses are all welcome. They are also interested in stories of special events or stories that ‘made the news’ during your lifetime.

For those who have stories about life in Tay Valley, (formerly Bathurst, North Burgess & South Sherbrooke), please contact Kay Rogers at 613 326-0363 or email to: cameronrogers(at)xplornet.ca.

If you have submissions of stories for Drummond-North Elmsley Township please contact Karl Grenke kgrenke(at)dnetownship.ca.

“..what the next generation will value most is not what we owned,
but the evidence of who we were and the tales of how we lived”
― Ellen Goodman

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Free Online Searchable Family History Forums

Canterbury Meat Co

A genealogy ‘forum’ is a website where you can research in a safe, friendly and helpful environment. On most of these sites registration is free, and there are members who are dedicated to assisting all genealogists, whether they are beginners or experienced researchers.

On genealogy forums members may ask for advice or offer helpful tips to other researchers. To post your query on forums you have to be a registered member, although the questions and answers posted by others can be read by non members.

You will have access to the surnames database and most searches are possible using any combination of First Name, Surname, Place of Birth or Year of Birth. Some forums are even specific to regions and surnames.

Many family history forums have very active online communities where members can share research tips, show off family photographs or discuss new methods for working on their family trees.

In my own research, I have found that genealogy forums are a great resource when I’ve hit the ‘brick wall’. While working on my maternal grandmother’s tree I was trying to determine the location of a butcher shop that my great-grandfather had owned and operated in the city of Huddersfield, England. Through a genealogy forum with researchers in the U.K., I connected with ‘Pete’ who lived in Huddersfield and he kindly volunteered to stop by the local library and have a look in the city directories from the turn of the century. True to his word, Pete was able to find the listing for the Canterbury Meat Company at 34 Market Street, William Woolsey, proprietor. This is just one example of how forums can connect us with our past and help us to overcome obstacles in expanding our family trees.

I invite you to share the genealogy forums that you have found helpful in your family history research.

As always, good luck with your search!

RootsChat

http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/board,287.0.html

Genealogy Specialists

http://www.genealogy-specialists.com/

Rootsweb

http://boards.rootsweb.com/surname.aspx

Genforum

http://genforum.genealogy.com/my/

My Heritage

http://www.myheritage.com/page/genealogy-message-boards

Surnames from Around the World

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~jfuller/gen_mail_surnames-gen.html?cj=1&netid=cj&o_xid=0001029688&o_lid=0001029688&o_sch=Affiliate+External#SURNAME-QUERY

Family Workings

http://www.familyworkings.com/Chat/start.html

Family Tree Circles

http://www.familytreecircles.com/

Looking for Kin

http://www.looking4kin.com/groups

Ancestor Explorer

http://ancestorexplorer.proboards.com/

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Free Online Searchable World Census Records – Find Your Ancestor

Mary Rutherford 1940 census 2

Mary Rutherford census 1940

Census records give a snapshot of who your ancestors were and how your ancestor lived. Census records are a government sponsored enumeration or counting of the population of a given area. These records will contain names of the heads of household or often all household members, their ages, citizenship status, and ethnic background. Some census records will state the religion of the individual and may also list their country of origin. In some countries a census will also contain agricultural records, so if your ancestor was a farmer it may list the type and number of farm animals as well as the type and number of bushels of crops produced on their farm during the year.

There are a vast number of online records available from around the world. Many are free, some offer free searches with the option to pay a small fee to view and download the original record. If you are confident that the person in the record is your ancestor, it may be worth the small fee to see the entire record. It will certainly cost less than a trip back to your ancestor’s homeland! Regardless of whether you choose the free census websites, or choose the pay-per-download, you can still gather a wealth of information from around the world with the records available today online.

Shown, in the images above this article are partial census listings from the 1940 U.S. census. In the first image is Mary Rutherford, my great-grandmother, born in 1853, age 87 in 1940 living in Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County, New York. Mary’s listing was at the bottom of the page. At the top of the next page, the next image above shows her youngest daughter, Nellie Rutherford, age 42, born 1898, and on the line below Avis Exelby, age 21, their servant.

I invite you to click on the ‘Comment’ field at the end of the article and share your successes and online census records not listed that you have found helpful.

As always, good luck with your search!
Arlene Stafford-Wilson
http://www.staffordwilson.com

Canada

http://automatedgenealogy.com/census/

This 1901 Census of Canada features over 5,000,000 lines transcribed by volunteers.
This contains an index to every name in the 1901 Census of Canada including personal data , links to images of the original census pages, and other links including census records from other years, birth, marriage, death, and other related records.

1911 Census of Canada
Includes over 7,000,000 lines transcribed of every member of the household with links to images of original records.

http://automatedgenealogy.com/census11/

United States

U.S. searchable census records – 1790-1940

http://www.censusrecords.com/content/1910_Census

U.S. census tips and records:

http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1850-1930.html

Online, searchable – 1940 Census U.S

http://1940census.archives.gov/

African Americans census tips and records:

http://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/

Native Americans census tips and records:

http://www.archives.gov/research/census/native-americans/1885-1940.html

Scotland

http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

Ireland

http://www.nationalarchives.ie/search-the-archives/

Another excellent Irish database website, however there are fees to view records: https://rootsireland.ie/

England and Wales 1841 – 1911

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/census-records.htm

and

http://www.ukcensusonline.com/

Holland/Netherlands

http://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/population-registers/

Italy

http://www.italygen.com/italiangenealogicalrecords/censuses.php

Germany

http://www.germanroots.com/germandata.html

Poland

http://search.ancestry.com/oldsearch/locality/dbpage.aspx?tp=1652381&p=5183

Australia

http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/

South Africa

http://www.southafricanfamilyhistory.com/birth-marriage-and-death-records/

Caribbean

https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1804229

New Zealand

http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/search/site/census

Bulgaria

http://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Bulgaria_Census

Austria

http://www.feefhs.org/links/austria.html

Russia

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ruswgw/links.html

Croatia

http://www.feefhs.org/links/croatia.html

Denmark

http://www.sa.dk/content/us/genealogy/basic_records/census_lists

Sweden

http://www.genline.com/

Norway

http://www.rhd.uit.no/folketellinger/folketellinger_avansert_e.aspx

South America

http://www.genealogyintime.com/GenealogyResources/Country/South%20America/most_recent_genealogy_records_South_America.html

Africa

http://ecastats.uneca.org/aicmd/

Spain

http://www.ine.es/welcoing.htm

Greece

http://www.statistics.gr/portal/page/portal/ESYE

For more Genealogy tips and tricks:

http://arlenestaffordwilson.wordpress.com/category/genealogy-tips-help-links/

http://www.staffordwilson.com