Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Canadian Connection

My sister, Audrey, has served as our family historian and genealogist for many years.  I recently received from her a voluminous stack of documents that record her work researching the origins of our family back to the mid 1600’s and mid 1700’s.  What a fascinating read to discover all those who lived and died on my mother’s and father’s sides of the family. It is a record of hard working, industrious men and women who struggled through life with a lot fewer resources than I have today. Many dealt with the same health issues that I have had and it makes me grateful for the blessings of modern medicine. Neither my sister nor I would be alive today if we had lived in “the good old days.” Many had a strong faith in God that allowed them to survive and thrive in spite of life’s circumstances and I am the inheritor of that legacy.

My family tree on both sides has been traced back to Canada. I was raised in a small town close to the Canadian border in upstate New York. When my ancestors moved there, New York was not yet a state and the lands were populated by the Mohawk Indians. France and the Catholic Church controlled the Canadian provinces. The need for arable farm land and timber drove my ancestors from French controlled lands into what would become The North Country of upstate New York. The bitter cold winters and short growing season presented many challenges to be overcome in order to survive in that area.

I moved from that area further south in New York State when I was six years old to the Rochester, New York area near Lake Ontario across from Toronto, Canada. This past year, my oldest son, Stuart, accepted a position with the Bank of Montreal, with headquarters in Toronto. I visited his family before Christmas and was reminded again of my Canadian roots. Yes, the Polar Vortex is alive and well in Canada, but Toronto stays somewhat warmer than much of the country because it is on Lake Ontario. Nevertheless, it was very cold, windy, and snowy, and a true test of character every time we walked to the subway station or to a store. My granddaughter, Marcella, helped me navigate the icy streets. I borrowed a coat from my daughter-in-law so I wouldn’t turn into a Popsicle and promptly ordered a “puffer” coat to have for future visits. I hope to visit next time in July so that I can enjoy the brief, but beautiful Canadian summer.

We’ve all heard the saying “What goes around, comes around.” I can truly say that my life that began with strong Canadian roots has come full circle. 
Read more about my growing up years near the Canadian border in my memoir, Born Three Times-A New Life, A New Liver, A New Love. It is available in soft cover and Kindle formats at Amazon.com:   http://www.amazon.com/Born-Three-Times-Life-Liver-ebook/dp/B00A3UBK9C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1389722852&sr=1-1&keywords=Born+Three+Times


  1. Fascinating information about your family history! I always have admired those who persevered and survived in the harsh environment of the far north. You have a heritage to be proud of! I hope you can make many more visits to Canada. I have traveled to all the provinces and the three territories - wonderful people and beautiful country everywhere you go! .

  2. And I am so glad you moved, moved and moved some more until you got to Atlanta! We would not wish that chilly part of the world on you, dear Frieda.

  3. I am glad Frieda got to the South. I don't think I would have gone that far north to find her. However, There must be some kind of magnet drawing us to Canada. I have to go in February, the worst time of the year.

  4. I would freeze to death up there. I got chilled just looking at that picture of you in the coat with your Granddaughter. I think my roots are from the south, because I know I could not survive those temps, the last few weeks have been brutal enough for me. I too am glad you came south or I would have missed the pleasure of knowing you.

  5. Another fascinating insight into your life! Although I'm very thankful you made your way to the southeastern U.S., I am convinced that you would not only survive, but thrive, anywhere you called home.

  6. Of course, I loved these comments since I am your Middle Sis! I am so glad we both have had the chance to experience life in the North & the South. Both areas are special and think of all the friends & people we would not have meant if we had remained in one place. The Lord directs our steps! Keep on writing!