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Article Published March 13, 2004

By: Paul Milner, Park Ridge, Illinois

BOOK: Pioneers of the Upper Ottawa and the Humors of the Valley.
    By Anson A. Gard (1906

    Historical reprint by Global Heritage Press Inc., Milton, Ontario, Canada 2000. (originally published in 1906)

    449 pp. Illustrations, Modern Index, Hardcover
This is a modern reprint of a rare book with a wealth of genealogical information about the settlers of the Ottawa Valley around Aylmer, Eardley and south Hull in Quebec. The author collected the material around 1905 by walking the neighborhoods and talking with the early pioneer settlers. As you read his descriptions of the buildings and the people, you can imagine walking with him.

His stories are anecdotal and humorous so they do not conform to more genealogical research standards, but they tell who lived next to whom, was related to whom and who did what. The Author suffers from the “great man syndrome” (wanting to connect everyone to a member of parliament, an industrialist or a lumber king.) thus, many of the people are termed “prominent” or “well-known”. However, the stories and period photographs provide a more balanced view.

The final 73 pages are a genealogy of the Valley. This lists the families in alphabetical order and describes where they migrated from, who married whom, when the children were born, whom they married and where they migrated to out of the area. There are often notes about when they died or another short story about the family. This collection is valuable because it often names the place where the pioneer originated in England, Ireland or New England and states where the younger members of the family who left the area were headed.

A modern every-name index has been created for this reprint. The introduction to the Index warns that Mr. Gard’s spelling is atrocious and the index needs to be used with creativity. This is a fine reprint of a rare volume for those with ancestors in this part of Quebec (Hull & Aylmer area).

Paul Milner,
Park Ridge, Illinois.

Read more about this book >>

Reprinted with permission: originally published in The Federation of Genealogical Societies' FORUM Magazine, vol 13, issue 1

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