Derek England
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What I Like To Call The Main Page

Forget Norway! Netherlands! long ago

Meanwhile, back in Canada, I attended a family get-together and my grandmother's maiden name came out, as well as her approximate age upon arrival in Canada. The Canadian government has a website called ArchiviaNet which allows one to search various databases, including one containing immigration records from 1925 to 1935, which was the range I was looking for. A quick tappety-tap and up came my grandmother's name, plus the names of her parents and two sisters.

Now, my grandmother was from the Netherlands, so once I had this information, I surfed over to the Dutch genealogical archive at Genlias and punched in her parents' names. Bingo. Several weeks later I had a fully-populated family tree for my grandmother, five layers deep, extending as far back as 1731.

Forget Kenya! Norway! long long ago

With all due respect to the creators of the fantastic Flash animation Kenya, I've decided not to forget Norway. In fact, I've gotten really interested in Norway all of a sudden.

After living most of my life content with the knowledge that I was utterly rootless and had no idea who or what my ancestors were, ethnically-speaking, one of my uncles shattered my ignorance about two years ago by informing me that I was descended from Norwegians. This little tidbit I filed away in the back of my little brain for safe keeping. It didn't seem like a very dangerous tidbit at the time since he didn't actually tell me just how Norwegian I was, and ignorance is, as they say, bliss.

Fast forward now to a few weeks ago, when my genealogically-obsessed Internet arch-nemesis (some people would say friend, but that would wreck all that we've fought for) tipped me off that the 1911 Census of Canada was now online and mostly searchable due to the fine work of the people at

So off I went, thinking I might be able to find a name or two. I didn't start off with the alleged Norwegian connection, though. First I played for a few hours looking for the oldest man I've ever known personally, and his family. Then I went looking for some people who were famous but old or dead by the time I was a kid... and then it struck me that I might be able to find my grandfather in there.

Sites like the one above should have big warning messages on them that say YOU MIGHT FIND OUT WAY MORE THAN YOU EXPECT IF YOU START SEARCHING HERE. See, it occurred to me that I might find my grandfather but because I wasn't really thinking, it hadn't dawned on me that I'd find not only him, but everyone he lived with. And so, without warning, I found out the names of all my grandfather's living siblings and his parents. Oooo. But hold on a minute — there's more! It also told me where they were all born and their citizenship and *gasp* religion.

In an instant I was no longer just vaguely rootless with a hint of Norwegian perhaps thrown into the mix. There it was in black and white. My grandfather was a Norwegian-American Lutheran.

Americans? What the...? Where'd that come from? I figured I was as Canadian as baby seal blubber pie. This calls for some detective work.

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