Monday, 26 March 2012


My travels into the past began as a young girl, when I was impressed by my maternal grandmother's seemingly "total recall" of her life. My family was living in North Vancouver, next door to her and my grandfather, Harry Welch, in the late 1940s building our own homes.

She was Elizabeth (Bess) Jeanette Blaney and we would sit in her little kitchen on Coleman Road, at the top of Grouse Mountain, with a cup of tea while she told tales of her relationship with her beloved father in Birmingham, England, raising her family in Montreal and Toronto and stories of my mother's childhood. I loved her stories and admired her skill in telling them.I later learned that she inherited her story telling ability from her father, Harry.

She was very proud of her ancestors particularly her great uncle, Walter Langley (1852-1922) who was a well known watercolour painter and her grandfather, Edwin Blaney (1834-1885) who made a saddle for Queen Victoria.

I was in my early twenties when I began to pursue the genealogy of our family. There have been many stoppages in my research as life got in the way but I am now retired and resuming my research and the proving of the family lore. To me, family history research seems like a giant jigsaw puzzle that pulls you into needing to find all the missing pieces. It is always exciting when I uncover something previously unknown to me.

From the age of twelve I corresponded regularly with my grandmother but was only able to visit occasionally. My family had returned to Toronto and so we were 3000 miles apart. I regret not having had more conversations with her about her family history. I am lucky to  have her personal papers and some family artifacts that have further piqued my interest.

My mother is now almost ninety-five years of age, with a failing memory, so it seems urgent to capture her stories as well and preserve our family stories for my children and their children.

I am hoping to use this blog to share my research, tell these stories and make connections with extended family..