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In honour of my female ancestors

On International Women’s Day, I’d like to honour a few of the women in my family tree, the mother, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and great-great grandmothers whose stories brought me to where I am today:

  • 3 were born in Scotland, 2 Belgium, 2 Germany, 3 USA, and 5 Canada: Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and BC

  • 3 spoke French, 2 German, 1 Norwegian, and 1 Shetland dialect

  • 1 was a nurse until she married

  • 1 loved horses and hunted ducks

  • 1 became an artist during middle-age, using colour to brighten walls around the world

  • 1 hid her youngest child in a carpet bag to avoid the ship’s fare during emigration

  • 1 saved her family from starvation during the Depression by raising and tending ten milk cows

  • 1 married a man thirty years her senior, whose language was different from hers

  • 1 married a WWII soldier two months before he was shipped overseas and gone for four years

  • 1 had 9 out of 15 children die by the age of three

  • 1 watched three young adult children return home to die of tuberculosis

  • 1 was sexually assaulted before marriage, became pregnant, and gave up her baby for adoption

  • 1 lost her eyesight in old age and continued living on her own, blind

  • 1 was a camp cook and could make tasty dishes from almost anything (a favourite was Flapper Pie)

  • 1 died in childbirth

  • 3 died in mental institutions

Though these snapshot facts don't define my grandmothers, learning of their strengths and struggles inspires me along my own journey. 

Deveta, Minnie, Céline, Christina, Margaret, Beverly, Olga, Vinetta, Laura, Renate, Evkelina, Ann, another Céline, Kathleen, and Marie.

All live on… through me.


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