google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Moment I Knew - Bruce's Story | The Armchair Genealogist

The Moment I Knew - Bruce's Story

Charles Pache, 1766-1849,
original owner of my inherited Grandfather clock
In the summer of 2006 I helped my son ferry his belongings on a long cross-Canada road trip as part of his move from Cambridge, Ontario to where I lived in Vancouver, British Columbia, and enroute we stopped in to visit  my eighty-one year old, widowed mother in Wiarton, Ontario. Dad had succumbed to cancer four years earlier and Mom was intent on dispersing her belongings to the family, most likely due to her own physical decline, signs of which were just beginning to exhibit themselves. She urged me to sort through her old pictures and take whatever I wanted.

Space was tight in the two vehicles laden with my son's belongings so I could not take a lot, and frankly, wasn't so inclined. But amongst the pictures that I came away with was a single sheet of paper detailing the basics of a Connor family tree which had been made a decade before by a distant cousin, Phil Connor. Phil had taken up genealogy in the dark ages prior to computers and on-line internet resources and I vaguely remembered him visiting and interviewing my Dad. It wasn't until the following spring that I took a good look at this family tree chart while trying to purge my own glut of space-consuming hard copy pictures, by scanning them to disk.

My father had tried to interest me in the family history three decades earlier, during a trip to his hometown of Saint John, New Brunswick, where he dragged me around while he interviewed what few relatives he could find still living there. Prior to this, Dad had never talked at all about his family, not even his immediate family members such as his father; a common Irish trait amongst our Connor progenitors, as I later learned through various cousins. The Connor clan also proved to be the least documented of all the branches of the family, and possibly of any other family in history.

Barely out of my teens, I paid scant attention and had little interest in the family history during that Saint John tour so long ago, and couldn't even remember who we visited or what we heard. Maybe it was the fact that Dad had now passed, or concerns about how Mom was declining with the years, but for whatever reason, looking then at Phil's concise depiction of six known Connor generations finally intrigued me, and I wondered if I could go on-line to expand on this basic information.

Inherited from by paternal grandfather,
 built in  England mid 1700's. Still works!
Soon I was accessing and joining sites such as, and, to see what was out there and to publish what little I had, and before long, emails started pouring in from other people who were researching the same ancestors. Seeing immediate results and "meeting" previously unknown relatives seemed to awaken my curiosity in this new hobby, and genealogy soon became what I'm sure my sons felt was an obsession. As details accumulated from birth, marriage, death and census records, and as pictures and personal stories from others on the same ancestral hunt came in, the dry names and dates on paper came to life, and my excitement grew.

Soon I was joining the local genealogical society and reading everything I could lay my hands on about the research process. I also read Sharon DeBartolo Carmack's book, You Can Write Your Family History, and thought this would be a terrific retirement project. I was hooked.

Meet the Storyteller - Bruce Connor

Bruce and his only granddaughter, the inspiration behind his book .
Bruce is a retired air traffic controller living in Vancouver,British Columbia. Sandwiched beside Stanley Park and the seawall, his location also facilitates his photography hobby. Bruce has been researching for over two years logging a lot of miles in Canada, the US and the Uk, pouring through BMD records and newspapers in various libraries and archives. Bruce is hoping to complete one more trip to the east coast of Canada and the US this fall, followed by another final research trip back to the UK in the spring. He's hoping these trips will help him to complete the family history book he is currently writing. He plans to self-publish this overly large effort by the end of next summer. Good Luck Bruce!


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