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Article posted: February 1, 1999

World War II Historical Resources
By: Ryan Taylor, Biography and Archived Articles

Helpful resources for writing family history if you have World War II veterans in the family are the many books detailing military activity during the war. There are accounts of individual regiments or units, or if you are lucky, personal narratives by people who served in the same area as your relatives.

One example of these that I encountered recently is Canada’s Flowers: History of the Corvettes of Canada 1939-1945, by Thomas G. Lynch (Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 1981). The Corvettes were small patrol warships which had worldwide activity with the Canadian navy during the war. Many of them bore the names of Canadian cities. Some had flower names.

There are many pictures of individual ships, and a complete listing of all the flower class vessels, with their dates of commissioning and retirement and names of commanding officers. A friend in St. John’s had sent me information about my father’s Corvette, the Orangeville, many years ago, and I realize now it came from this book.

In Memoriam

Eric Jonasson, noted Canadian genealogist, died in Winnipeg on 11 November 1998 at the age of 50. Although he had not been as active in family historical circles recently, he was founding president of the Manitoba Genealogical Society. People from coast to coast knew him through his Canadian Genealogical Handbook, published in 1976. It was the first thorough treatment of genealogy in our country and a great help for those who were working in the field in the days before large societies and extensive library collections. His name will always be honoured by those who benefited from his work.


One of the reason for doing genealogy is to see how our ancestors lived. The most dramatic experience was emigrating across the ocean, but how much do we know about what it was like? It would be terrific to hear an actual emigrant describe the trip.

Clearing A Road In Early Upper Canada Across the Waters: Ontario Immigrants' Experiences, 1820-1850
by Frances Hoffman and Ryan Taylor gathers together selections from firsthand accounts so that today's readers can discover what it meant to be a pioneer in Ontario. From the day they decided to strike off across the Atlantic to the first harvest in their own clearing, the settlers will tell you about the seasickness, the quarantine station, the mosquitoes--the fish you could scoop out of streams with your bare hands, the pride of owning your own land and the joys of helping one another build a house.

Hoffman's and Taylor's previous book, Much to be Done, gave diarists from the Victorian era the chance to tell us about their lives. Their new book offers the same opportunity to those diarists' parents and grandparents.

Across the Waters: Ontario Immigrants' Experiences, 1820-1850 will be published in March 1999 ( originally planned for May '99) by Global Heritage Press in softcover and hard cover (library binding) versions. Reserve your copy today!.

Books By Ryan Taylor

Across The Waters, Ontario Immigrants Experiences 1820 - 1850 - by Frances Hoffman & Ryan Taylor, 1999. Riveting first-hand accounts of the immigration and settlement experience, taken from the diaries and letters of 150 immigrants.

Routes To Roots, The Best of Ryan Taylor's columns from the Kitchener Waterloo Record, by Ryan Taylor 1997

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