google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html Strengthening Our Heritage through Family History | The Armchair Genealogist

Strengthening Our Heritage through Family History

  On July 1st, Canada will celebrate it's birthday, 146 years since we officially became a country. I’m a very proud Canadian with a deep ancestry that I can date back to New France in 1650. I get a little emotional thinking about the sacrifices made by my ancestors and how they afford me the luxury of living in this great land.

In recent weeks, there seems to be a thought put out there that genealogy has little importance in the grand scheme of things. If you haven’t heard, we are waiting patiently (as we Canadians do) for the 1921 Census. I’m a little bewildered why our current Heritage Minister Mr. James Moore is sitting on the opportunity to release this census. There have been a few articles written over the past several weeks with regards to this delay and it still remains quite unclear as to why the wait with no response from Mr. Moore’s office.

I’m sure there must be some logical explanation and not the current thought that genealogy is irrelevant and only “3 old ladies in Kingston” have an interest as it has been implied in a recent article. Some indicate politics is at play. I’ve provided the links below if you would like to get caught up and read for yourself what others have to say about this issue.

 I’ve been approached by fellow family historians asking me what I know, when will we see this census, I direct them to the current petition.

This petition created by Bill Robinson stresses upon The Honourable James Moore that there are many waiting for the 1921 census all with varying reasons.  I’m a little disappointed in Mr. Moore, as the Heritage Minister surely he should have his finger on the pulse of Canadian history and genealogy and the importance it plays in this country’s identity.

The one thing I have come to understand through researching my family history is the incredible effect of identifying one’s ancestry can have on your own individual identity and culture. There is great power in motivating a nation to identify their family history within the context of their country’s history and the strength that brings to its culture and heritage. I don’t understand how we can promote our national heritage without including our individual family histories as part of that picture.
We are inching our way closer to the year 2017, when this country will be celebrating its 150th birthday, an important milestone in Canada’s heritage. There is a national project underway to encourage all Canadians to research and record their family histories, and then donate a copy to Library and Archives Canada in time for July 1, 2017. This leaves me scratching my head wondering; why the stall on the 1921 census release.  Let’s be honest, 4 years is not a long time to research and write your family history, even if you have started and especially if you haven’t begun.

Canada 150 is Canada’s largest history gathering project ever. It is a highly collaborative effort of organizations and individuals committed to recording Canadian family and community histories as our gift to our country on its 150th birthday. According to the Canada 150 website, the organizers met with the Canadian government in March to begin planning this incredible event. There is a vision to have the Governor General push a button to release the largest collection of personal Canadian histories and stories of our great nation on July 1st, 2017. I have to ask has anyone informed Mr. Moore of this initiative. Does he understand that the 1921 census is an important part of compiling and completing the family histories of millions of Canadians?  

Even today, as I post here, there is a conference taking place in Ottawa to help initiate and create enthusiasm to prepare for 2017. Canada 150/2017 Starts Now!  You can watch the final event today via live-stream. You can learn more about it here.

I believe that Mr. Moore’s intention is to celebrate this Canada Day by releasing the 1921 Census. I believe Mr. Moore is going to choose the perfect opportunity to encourage Canadians to discover their heritage and begin researching and writing their family histories in time for our 150th Birthday. (And if this hasn't occurred to him, he still has a couple of days to make it happen.)

A statement from his office on June 21st encourages us all to celebrate Canada History Week, which will fall from July 1st to July 7th this year and each year moving forward. 

We are encouraged “to reflect on our great country, learn about our history, explore a museum, visit one of our national historic sites, or join in a local event that celebrates the history of your community.In my mind, that includes family history.

Regardless of how Mr. Moore leans on family history and the release of the census, I plan to do my share in mobilizing Canadians to record their family histories over these next 4 years.

Let me know, do you plan to write a family history for Canada 150?

Happy Canada Day Everyone!