Saturday, May 17, 2014


When we visited Nova Scotia in 1972 I was aware that I had a connection here. My grandfather was with us. My brothers and I spent a fair amount of time sitting in the car while Mom, Dad, and Grandpa went into houses to visit Grandpa's sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews.

My sister, Katherine, has spent hours working on our family tree. She has traced us back to the second century and has checked and double checked thousands of names to authenticate them as our ancestors. She loves to talk about her finds so I have been aware of ties with Nova Scotia. This trip has helped me with visuals as we see places that would have meaning for those who lived before me.

As a child I couldn't understand my Grandpa's dislike of anything French. As I grew older and spent a bit of time with history books and the beginnings of family tree research. I began to understand that Grandpa's issue with the French came form his Huguenot roots. Clan or family memories are very long. What follows is an account from an article I found on the internet. I think the Jean Jacques mentioned is one of my ancestors. It will take a little more work to trace the lines but what I did find fits what I remember from our family tree.

While it is impossible to verify the details of this account, which was the version remembered by Jean-Jacques Teterey's children, there was certainly very similar things happening in the seigneuries in 1740, when Jean-Jacques was about eighteen (18) years old. A modern historian of the area describes the arbituary replacement of a deceased Lutheran pastor by a Roman Catholic priest at the Village of Chagey, already noted as the probably home of the Teterey (Tattrie) family. "(Renard, Nouvelle Historie, P.P. 94-149, as well as Historie Illustree du Pays de Montbeliard (1941)". On August 27, 1740, the priest came, accompanied by soldiers from the fortress town of Belfort, 21 of the villagers who assembled to resist were shot in front of their church. The "ancient culte" was re-established by force at Chagey, and in the same way at the villages of Selemcourt, Bondeval, Lougres, Blamont and Villars-Les-Blamont.

I think for Grandpa's family this was also heightened by the cultural tensions of the time here in Nova Scotia. While at the wharf in Halifax I became reacquainted with George's Island.

The French presence in Canada was established in 1604 with Samuel de Champlain at Port Royale. Ownership of this area bounced back and forth between England and France. In 1713, with the Treaty of Utrecht mentioned previously, Acadians became British subjects. In 1730 a majority of them swore an oath to the British Crown. But this oath exempted them from fighting the French or the Indians. By 1750 the Acadians reached ten thousand in numbers. In 1754 war broke out between France and England again. The English insisted the Acadians renew their oaths. This time it would not exempt them from fighting against the French or the Indians. Many Acadians refused. In 1755 the British expelled the Acadians. Six thousand were forcibly removed. In 1758 three thousand more from Ile Royale (Cape Breton) were added to this number. Over all about ten to eighteen thousand Acadians were displaced and thousands more killed. In 1764 some were allowed to return in small groups.

Starting on July 28, 1755, the Acadians were rounded up and placed on George's Island. It was a prison with inadequate facilities and terrible living conditions. It is a blot on our Canadian history.

The link between the Acadians and the Huguenots comes with what happened to the land. The English decided to repopulate the land with Protestant settlers. During this time my ancestors, who were living in Lunenburg at the time, moved to Tatamagouche (One of the places I was unable to visit this trip. There is a museum at Amherst that received a number of items from my relatives.)

The picture of George's Island was taken from Pier 21. Pier 21 holds a significant place in Canadian history.

If you are descended from immigrants who came to Canada from 1928-1971 chances are very high that they came through Pier 21 (As a side note: This is not my first visit to Pier 21. The banquet for the 2010 General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada was held here. I was a member of that synod and enjoyed a delicious meal and fantastic local musicians that evening.) The following is from a plaque at Pier 21.

Through these doors have come immigrants and refugees from every part of the world, often bringing with them little more than hope and dreams of a better life for themselves and their children. History records that many of these citizens overcame hardships, and often outright discrimination and hostility. Yet they endured, settling the landk building communities and forging links across this vast land. We, today's Canadians, owe much to their commitment, hard work and loyalty. The heritage they bequeathed to us is a unique multicultural nation committed to the full and equitable participation of individuals of all origins, bound together by citizenship and the common values of peace, respect for diversity and adherence to the rule of law.

It was from here that 494,000 troops departed for Europe during World War 2. Around forty eight thousand war brides came through here with about twenty two thousand chlidren.

While here I decided to trace my Grandpa Ash's history. I wasn't sure when he would have come to Canada. I stopped off at a little office where they will trace one's family through As the helpful young man asked me questions my mind went completely blank. I could remember my grandpa's name and that was about it. We managed to figure out approximate dates based on some pretty sketchy memories and finally found a Sidney Robert Ash who came to St. Mary's, Ontario with his parents when he was two. Most of it fit what little I could remember. What really cinched it for me was that his mother's name was Grace Andrews. That was one fact that I was sure I remembered correctly. The name of his second wife threw me off though. My grandma's name was Neina. The records had her as Diana. But a later census also listed a child, Edith Louise. I knew this was my dad's oldest sister. So I now have printed pages from that show my grandfather was in an English census in Staffordshire and that he came to Canada with his parents when he was two on the Nova Scotian.

I could have phoned my sister on this information but it was interesting going through it with the young man and remembering bits and pieces on my own. I came home that night and checked out my Huguenot relatives. That is when I found they moved from Lunenberg to Tatamagouche.

Love and Prayers,

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