subscribe to the RSS Feed

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ten-day Escorted Tour of Scotland

Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 5, 2014

My friend (and distant cousin) Tom Caulley has been very helpful with my research so I am returning the favor by sharing his opportunity with you. He is organizing a 2015 tour of Scotland for Kirkpatrick researchers and it looks to be a very interesting one.

Visit castles! Cruise lochs! Enjoy some amazing Scottish breakfasts!

The dates are 22 June to 2 July 2015.

Click here for more information.

Vintage film of Alkali Lake in 1946

Posted by Dawn-Ann on January 21, 2014

I’ve written about Alkali Lake a few times. It is where Herman Otto Bowe settled and where the wild football game great uncle Sam wrote about took place.

So, imagine my surprise and joy when cousin Bernice posted this amazing video on Facebook. Many of these people could be family – I just wish I knew who.

Enjoy!

Convoluted family links

Posted by Dawn-Ann on November 24, 2013

The more research I do, the more confused I get about our family history. For instance, I am trying to make the leap “across the pond” from our American Kirkpatrick immigrants to specific families in Scotland. Not going so well.

The Alexanders and the Georges and the Jameses I am looking for seem to have nearly-identical families with identical names, all in the same area. And none of them left good records, that I can find. Or maybe I’m not looking in the right places…

But it’s a good mystery. One I can sink my teeth into. And if I can prove the lineage, I can link us to very ancient and sometimes royal family ties.

I know it’s been awhile since I posted but I am back in the research saddle again, so keep an eye on this little blog.

Emma (Bowe) Kirkpatrick

Posted by Dawn-Ann on January 15, 2013

Emma (Bowe) Kirkpatrick. In her beautiful face I see my grandfather's, along with some of my aunties' faces.

My great grandmother Emma’s marriage to James Douglas Kirkpatrick was the point where the Kirkpatrick line first merged with the Bowe line, back in the day. Great grandma was quite the extraordinary woman.

Born 8 March 1872, Emma was the daughter of Herman Otto Bowe, a German, and Quilinick “Caroline” Pasho, a Shushwap girl and the daughter of Chief Pasho. She had three brothers – Henry, Fritzee and John – and one sister, Charlotte.

From what I’ve read about Emma, she was legendary – a woman full of energy and fire. Here are a couple of quotes I found about her:

“She was a promising child and her parents expected great things of her.  She completed all of her schooling in New Westminster and then went to Chicago with her father to see the World’s Fair and to complete her music studies.  She was a gifted musician and artist.  She was also a keen horsewoman and could shoot a rifle with great accuracy.  She had only been home a year or so when a group of musical Kirkpatricks came to surprise the Bowes with a visit… They danced until day light and breakfast was announced by the voluntary cooks.

“The second night Emma Bowe went to the Indian Village which was less than a mile from the ranch house.  She invited the young folks to come down and take in the dance. They were all good dancers, as they had been dancing for years in their own hall, so they came eagerly and had an enjoyable time.  There was no discrimination, they mixed and danced and had more fun than the previous night.”

~ Kirkpatrick Gold, June 15, 1992 edition

Somehow I came to possess a medal that Emma got at the Chicago World Fair when she was there. It is on a worn little ribbon and is one of my most cherished possessions.

And this quote from one of Great Uncle Sam’s writings:

“[Emma was a] remarkable ranch girl of a bygone period… she was more than a remarkable woman, she was a rare specimen of humanity. She was a planner, a manager.”

Source: A Short History of James Douglas Kirkpatrick, by S. D. Kirkpatrick, 1963

Jim and Emma had 11 children, some of whom I have written about in this blog: Anna Christine “Nana,” Alice Isobel (“Aunt Alice” in this post), James Douglas II, Francis Ludwig “Lud,” Charlotte May, John Gillham, Elsabe Violet, Jean Caroline, George Theodore (my grandfather), Olivine Emma “Ollie,” and Samuel Thomas.

All went on to have children, except Jimmy, who “died for freedom and honour” at Vimy Ridge, France, in World War I. Great grandma Emma saw his death in a waking dream as she was dozing one day. She was not surprised when she received official word, but she was deeply grieved.

Great Uncle Sam’s writings are a great blessing for we researchers. He was gifted with being able to paint wonderful pictures with his words and the following tale illustrates Emma’s pluck, determination, and horsemanship.

“The following year, I came to town and Jim was there. He said that he had taken a job at the livery stable and was, at present, breaking horses to the harness, to be used on the stage lines to the Cariboo. He said the family was with him and Emma was running a restaurant in town, so I paid them a visit and stayed with them a few days.

“That evening Jim said to Emma, ‘I have a job for you.’ Some society group in Victoria wanted 6 saddle horses for ladies’ use, gentle and well broken to the side saddle with a lady rider. Jim said the manager had left it up to him, now he said I am leaving it up to you.

“Apparently, this appealed to Emma. She smiled and said, ‘I’ll be there at 8 tomorrow morning.’

“Now, it may be as well to mention that it had been said those that knew the facts, that Emma had broken many wild horses with a stock saddle, and had ridden bucking horses on a side saddle.

“Anyway, I was loafing around the barn at 8 a.m. when Emma came along wearing a long riding skirt that she had to hold up off the ground. Jim had saddled a well broken horse that they had on hand for hire. Jim led him to the middle of the street and boosted Emma up on the saddle. The horse paid no attention to her till Jim let go of the halter and walked away. Then he noticed something strange; his ears pointed back and the whites of his eyes showed. She let him stand while she patted his neck and gave him horse talk. Then she shortened up on the left bridle rein and pulled his head around towards the skirt. He glared at it but made no move. Emma took her time. She allowed him to straighten out, then the performance was repeated.

“This time, he was not afraid of the skirt. When she got him back to normal position, his ears were pointing to the front. It was then she tightened up on the bridle reins and chirped to the horse to move ahead, which he did, with a spring to his step, as if he was prepared to go into action, but he soon quieted down to a natural walk. Two blocks down and back, a rest period, another trip… this time she came back at a trot. The third trip she walked him to the turning point, then suddenly she let out a ‘Yippee!’ and hauled him roughly to the left, then slapped his right shoulder with her riding whip and used the English spur on her left foot.

“The horse whirled and broke into a gallop. She increased it to a dead run. When they came to the starting point, she hollered ‘Whoa!’ and hauled roughly on the bridle, stopping him in two jumps. She slid down without help, went to his head and made herself acquainted by rubbing his face. Scratching his ears, she talked to him. She lifted his upper lip and looked at his teeth. Then she drew a laugh from the spectators when she pulled the horse’s head down and whispered in his ear, then winked at the crowd. She stroked his neck, his front leg to the hoof, she picked up his foot, tapped his shoe with a rock. She didn’t only put on a show – she put the horse entirely at ease.

“Then she said, ‘Come on, Buster. That will be all for now.’ She headed for the stable. Buster followed her on a slack rope.”

Source: A Short History of James Douglas Kirkpatrick, by S. D. Kirkpatrick, 1963 (I have tidied up the spelling and punctuation a little to make the reading of the tale flow more smoothly.)

James and Emma and their family. My Grandpa George is sitting on Jim's lap. (Click to view a larger image.)

Spies and intrigue

Posted by Dawn-Ann on January 8, 2013

Dusting my bookshelves this morning I came across a book I have been packing around with me since I was 8 years old. Untold decades, in other words.

It was given to me by my grandmother, but that’s not the reason I’ve been keeping it. Grandma gave me a lot of things I have managed to let go over the years.

For some reason, though, this book has always carried an aura of importance. I had a vague recollection of her impressing this upon me, but I could not recall what its import was, aside from the fact that the author herself had autographed it.

Handwritten text, including the author's autograph, inside my First Edition book, "Upside Down in the Magnolia Tree." (Click to see larger image.)

Today, I decided to find out. If it was nothing special I was going to recycle it and haul it around no more. Gramma, I love you dearly but sometimes you just have to guard against hoarding!

I carefully read the inside cover. The author, Mary Bancroft, had signed it, “To Mrs. Helen Biggar [not sure of this name], with kindest regards, Mary Bancroft. Zurich, December 1952.”

Under that was noted, “To dear Milly from Auntie Alice, Xmas 1961.”

Under that was noted, “To Dawn from Grandma Milly, July 1966.” (If you are paying attention, you now can calculate my age, but that’s beside the point.)

So, who was this Mary Bancroft? Who was Helen Biggar? Who was Aunt Alice? I had no record in my genealogical database of an Aunt Alice in Grandma’s family.

The first thing I did was Google Mary Bancroft and I clicked on the very first link that came up. The words I read at the top of the page were, “Author and intelligence analyst Mary Bancroft (1903–1997) had a colorful career as a journalist and spy for the United States in Switzerland during World War II.”

Whoa! Seriously?

Now I was REALLY interested! The signature in the book did say Zurich – could this be the same Mary? I scrolled through the article and found that yes, she did indeed write an autobiographical novel called Upside Down in the Magnolia Tree, which is the title of my book. Now I was really intrigued. I cracked it open and started reading immediately.

Unfortunately, the book was quaint but boring. It was the life of the little girl growing up but there were no real “grabbers” in there to keep you hooked. I got halfway through, then skimmed to the back and cheated my way across the finish line. I think it would have been more interesting if she had used real names and written it as non-fiction. But I’m keeping the book for interest’s sake, anyway. You just never know what will become valuable someday.

I did find out who Aunt Alice is, though. She was my Great Grand-Aunt by marriage. Here is where she fits into my tree:

Edward D. “Irish” Mellon married Elizabeth M. Flitten McGraff (he was born in Co. Antrim, Ireland, and she was born in Hong Kong!).

Irish and Elizabeth had 9 children, one of whom was my great-grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Mellon and one of whom was the man who married “Aunt Alice,” Edward Mellon. I know nothing more about Edward and Alice, except for Edward’s birth and death dates.

Great-grandma Sarah married Anthony George Charlton and they had six children, one of whom was my grandma, Mildred Bertha “Milly” Charlton.

Grandma Milly married Jozef Reichert (aka Joe Richards) and they had two daughters, one of whom was my recently-departed mama, Sheila Rose Richards.

Mom married my daddy and they had four girls – me and my sisters!

Change of plans

Posted by Dawn-Ann on January 6, 2013

Sometimes life takes strange twists and turns, which is what keeps things exciting, right?

Well, looks like I am hoisting up my 50-something ol’ self and heading back to school. Law school, to be exact.

I’m excited and nervous, but I have quite a bit of time to prepare.

Here’s the real story, in my shiny new blog. Enjoy!

LSAT practice books

Some of the studying I'll be doing...

Lean into it

Posted by Dawn-Ann on September 26, 2012

“Lean into it. It means the outcome doesn’t matter. What matters is that you were there for it. Whatever it is. Good or bad.” ~ Quote from the movie People Like Us.

This is one of my newest mottos. Lean into it.

To me it means more than just I was there for it. It means I leaned into the occasion / event / catastrophe / happening and hung on for the ride.

It means I paid attention and squeezed every ounce of learning I could from it.

It means I laughed and/or cried fully, openly and honestly at all the right moments.

It means I grabbed life with both hands and lived it, truly LIVED it, every moment, to the max.

May I always “lean into” all that life throws to me, from now on.

Knocking down preconceived notions

Posted by Dawn-Ann on August 22, 2012

I’m training myself to ask questions that buck the norm. To see the world from a different perspective. To challenge my current ways of viewing things.

For instance, What if there really is no God and we are actually part of someone’s dream? A bad dream, at that.

What if the government is really a force for good and has only our best interests at heart?

Anyway…

Today, when I stopped into a hair salon I had never visited before, I had already decided to take whatever I got with grace and good humor and learn from the experience.

That isn’t to say I wasn’t a little nervous when I first saw my stylist.

He was a young fellow who looked like he’d be better off skateboarding in Millennium Park. He had a black T-shirt on over jeans. He washed and conditioned my hair in record time and I thought, There is no way he could possibly have rinsed all the soap out.

But he did.

As he worked, he was at first very quiet and his snip-snip-snips seemed tentative. I observed calmly, noting to myself that he was perhaps new in the trade and a little unsure.

Oh well, I thought. If I get a crappy cut I just won’t come back again.

But as he progressed his movements became more sure and the scissors began to glide.

“I haven’t heard that song in ages,” I mentioned as Boney M’s Rasputin came on the radio.

“No kidding,” he replied, and the conversation took off from there.

New haircut and new silky nighty.

As my young stylist performed his magic I learned that he had worked out really hard yesterday and was a little stiff, which is why his first snips were so labored. I loved his pleasant, respectful tone with me and I detected a sweet, gentle soul beneath that black T-shirt.

I was out of there in record time but the cut really didn’t turn out half bad. I took his card when I left and he bid me a cheery goodbye.

I walked away amazed at how far off my first notions were. You really can’t tell a book by its cover.

Oh! And the bonus of the day was stumbling upon a quaint little boutique with silky oriental nighties on sale for $20. I bought three, all in bright colors. I am a happy camper today! :)

For me, God is in the birds and trees

Posted by Dawn-Ann on August 18, 2012

The hills were silent again except for one birdsong, and it cheered me slightly. See? If there were no other proof of the existence of a bigger reality than birds, they would do it for me.

~ Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith

Life is an adventure

Before I start my new reading adventures, I’d like to finish up a couple of books I am already reading.

One book is Anne Lamott’s Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith and the other is Hugh A. Dempsey’s Always an Adventure.

I have very eclectic tastes – what can I say? And normally I prefer non-fiction, which is why King and Tan are such departures from the norm for me.

Anyway…

Annie never disappoints. Her books are filled with humor and wisdom and nitty-gritty life experience. I actually met her once – we have a mutual friend in the Bay Area. Her observations on everything, from raising her son Sam to overcoming addiction, are always very thought-provoking and – well – human.

Hugh Dempsey’s book is a fun read for a different reason. That is, if you’re a nerdy historian adventurer-type person. A local figure, Hugh was instrumental in building the first historical collections of Calgary’s Glenbow Museum. He married a Blood woman from the Cardston area and traveled, explored and archived his heart out, writing about his journeys as he went. My dream!

I met Hugh, too, during a reading he gave a year or so ago. I had never heard of him before (a fact I’m a little embarrassed about) and immediately snapped up four of his books – all of which he signed for me while politely inquiring about my interest. Such a kind, knowledgeable gentleman.

People like Anne Lamott and Hugh Dempsey are the people that have helped shape my life and my self over the years. They have helped me define who I am and what is important to me – and even, sometimes, how to deal with life’s ups and downs.

New beginnings… er…

Posted by Dawn-Ann on August 16, 2012

Okay. Well, that title sounds a little cliche but I don’t know how to say it better.

Celebrate life! :)

I’ve been away for awhile doing other things. But now I am coming close to finishing up some big projects and my calendar is finally starting to clear a bit and I’m thinking, What next?

I don’t know, but I have a lot of ideas jangling around in my head. I want to try some new things, for one. For instance, I have never read a Stephen King novel. Seriously! And me wanting to be a writer.

So I’m thinking this blog, besides being about family research, could morph into a tale of my own journey. I want to try new adventures, read literature I’ve never tried before, travel, write, and dream. In that spirit, I picked up a couple of books at Chapters tonight – one a Stephen King novel and the other Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.

I’m going to challenge myself to write (almost) every day and make every day count. One day you may read about horseback riding adventures and another you may learn something new that I’m reading about.

I want to learn to grab joy from every minute. From every experience.

And worry less.

Join me. It’ll be fun!