Imagine seeing the ocean liner ticket of your great-grandmother when she first arrived in Canada. Or finding a record of your family dating back to the 1600s. And how would you feel if you discovered that a long-held family story wasn’t completely true?
All this, and more, was uncovered over the course of SIRCH Community Services’ Family Roots pilot program.
As part of Family Roots, senior volunteers were trained to conduct online family research while learning about community resources. The trainees were then matched with other seniors, who were more isolated or needing connection, to research their family history.
“Family Roots has been a rich and rewarding experience for all participants. Trainees have gained skills, and with their senior matches have fostered companionship and friendship,” said Donna Gagnon, SIRCH’s Family Roots Coordinator. “There’s been so many amazing discoveries along the way—from learning more about a family’s country of origin, to finding long lost relatives. It’s been fun and exhilarating!”
Participants want to share their experiences and discoveries at a public event.
SIRCH’s Family Roots Reveal Night, “Family Secrets, Deceptions and Astonishing Truths” takes place Wednesday, February 19, 2020 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Haliburton Highlands Museum, 66 Museum Road, Haliburton. This is a free event, and all are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.
“At the Reveal Night, you’ll hear from a woman who discovered her Quaker ancestry, and about a 98 year old woman who found out she had three half-siblings in England,” stated Donna. “In addition, you’ll see examples of families that trace their roots back to France and Italy, and how they came to Canada and the Haliburton Highlands. You’ll also hear about the connections made between trainees and their matches.”
The Family Roots program is made possible by a grant from the Government of Canada New Horizons for Seniors Program, and is supported by the Haliburton Highlands Museum, and Haliburton Highlands CARP Chapter 54.