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Upcoming Heritage Events

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

doors

 

Doors Open Calgary: Do YYC Naked. This great event kicks off on Friday September 27 with a party sponsored by Yelp at Theatre Junction Grand. This year the venues that are going to allow you to see under their skirts, so to speak, are many and varied. There are a lot of City of Calgary sites, such as the Colonel Walker house, several of the city cemeteries, the Shepard landfill and the Fire Department training centre. Other places that you can see “naked” are Hillhurst Cottage School, cSPACE at King Edward School, Fort Calgary, and the National Music Centre. A map and list and an RSVP link for the kick-off party and all the other information you need to Do YYC Naked can be found at the Doors Open website.

Family History Coaching: We’re kicking off a new season of Family History Coaching at the Central Library starting on Saturday September 28 at 10 am. Coaches from the Alberta Family Histories Society and staff from Calgary Public Library will be on hand to help you with your family history research. Everyone is welcome from absolute newbies to the more seasoned researcher because, hey, we can all use a bit of help sometimes. There is no need to register in advance, just drop-in. We meet in the genealogy area on the 4th floor. Information can be found on our Programs page.

Calgary Herald Book Launch: And finally, Pages on Kensington and the Calgary Public Library are hosting the official launch of the book The Flood of 2013: A Summer of Angry Rivers Book foreword by our Mayor, Naheed Nenshi. This book chronicles how the Calgary Herald marshaled its reporters, photographers, videographers, and digital producers to cover the largest news event to have occurred in Southern Alberta. A number of special guests, including Herald journalists, photographers, and other special guests will be on hand to recount their flood experiences. This will take place in the John Dutton Theatre at the Central Library on Monday September 30 at 7 PM. For information and to register, visit our website. You can also register in person at a library branch or by telephone at 403-260-2620. Join us for this historic event!

 

Book Cover

The Flood of 2013: A Summer of Angry Rivers in Southern Alberta

By the Calgary Herald; foreword by Naheed Nenshi

(a portion of proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit the Calgary Foundation's Flood Rebuilding Fund)

 

 

 

Balmoral School Celebrates 100 Years

by Christine H - 4 Comment(s)

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Balmoral School, 1968

Alison Jackson Photograph Collection, AJ 0571

While chatting with some friends at the Historic Calgary Week volunteer recognition event, I was reminded that Balmoral School was celebrating its 100th anniversary. Actually, the school had planned its celebrations for June 21, but we all know what happened on that day, so it was postponed until the new school year. On Friday September 13 the celebration was held and the new clock faces unveiled. There is a great deal of history in that clock tower.

Built in 1913, Balmoral school was the last and most expensive of the nineteen sandstone schools built by the school board between 1892 and 1914. The sandstone building boom ended with the onset of World War I. After the war many of the artisans who worked the stone had returned to their homes in Scotland. Other materials were available at a reasonable cost, so no more sandstone schools were built.

When it opened, Balmoral was an elementary school, with the Crescent Heights Collegiate sharing the building. William Aberhart was principle of Crescent Heights. The High School moved to its own building in 1929.

The defining characteristic of Balmoral School is its clock tower. It has stood blank-faced since the school was completed. Stories about the clock-that-never-was abound. A favourite is that the works for the clock were shipped to Canada on the Titanic. It’s a good story, except the Titanic was sunk in 1912, a year before the school was built. The true story is that, as war approached and the boom ended, there was no money for a clock for the school. Over the years different groups have tried to remedy the situation, but fundraising is a difficult thing and there was never enough money raised. There was even a song written about it:

Old clock tower overhead,
Still no clock when we go to bed
No clock wakes us in the morn
No clock since our school was born

Finally, a corporate donor, BP Energy, offered money to pay for a clock for the tower. Sadly, the years had taken their toll on the tower and to bring it up to a state where it could hold the clock would cost over 100,000 dollars. As a compromise, clock faces, without working mechanisms, were installed to fill in the painted wood faces. They indicate 4:05, which was the time of the end-of-school bell when the school first opened.

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Balmoral School taken during a snowstorm, 1966

Alison Jackson Photograph Collection AJ 91-02

We have the 1921 Census, now what?

by Christine H - 1 Comment(s)

Electoral Atlas of Canada 1895

Electoral Atlas of Canada, Yale & Cariboo, 1895

(This probably won't help if you have family on the Prairies or other Unorganized Territories, but may be helpful for other areas)

Genealogists were very excited when the images of the 1921 Canadian census were released to Library and Archives Canada and then put into Ancestry’s database. The ardor has somewhat cooled as many of the researchers found out that there is no name index and to find ancestors, we will need to know where they were living and then, and this is the difficult part, find out what census division and subdivision they were in. (Unless, of course, you want to scan each of the nearly 8.8 million names one by one.)

But genealogists, never ones to accept the status quo, and even less likely to want to wait for the name index to be compiled, are pulling together resources to help us find those divisions and subdivisions and offering suggestions for using the records. I’ve pulled together a few and welcome any other suggestions. According to Ancestry, the census districts were roughly equivalent to electoral districts, cities or counties. Sub-districts were often parts of cities such as wards, townships, institutions, reservations, etc. This is not always the case but it is a good place to start.

In some cases, you can check for the district and sub-district in the 1911 census, which is free to search through Automated Genealogy. This can work if your ancestors didn’t move in the intervening 10 years and if the districts and divisions hadn’t changed. I tried this with my Saskatchewan ancestors and came up empty, but it is a good place to start.

If you had ancestors who were First Nations and living on a reserve, ancestors who were criminals and were incarcerated on census day or an ancestor who was confined to a hospital on the day of the census, you may be in luck as these institutions were often enumerated separately. Again, you need to have a general idea of where they were, but as you go through the list of sub-divisions under each division you will see the reservations, penitentiaries and other institutions listed in the descriptions.

If your people did move around and especially if they were urbanites, city directories can be invaluable. More and more of them are being digitized and can be searched online. Directories for towns and cities on the Prairies are available through Peel’s Prairie Provinces .

Other directory digitization projects can be found through Library and Archives Canada.

You can also find directories (among many other wonderful things) at Archive.org. You can search the archive with the place name and the term ‘directory’ to see what is available. I was able to find a 1921 directory for Saskatchewan, which allowed me to find the name and address of the orphanage in Prince Albert where my grandmother was sent, which allowed me to locate her in the 1921 census.

And it is always worth having a look at the website for the library in the area you are researching. Many libraries offer a look-up service so if the directory you need isn’t available digitally, the local library may have it in paper.

There are some very dedicated genealogists who are pulling together finding aids for the 1921 census.

Parts of Toronto – Rob Hoare has posted this finding aid for parts of Toronto:

https://github.com/robhoare/census1921/blob/master/index/combined-toronto-city.txt

Kingston Frontenac Public Library has published this for their area:

http://reads.kfpl.ca/2013/08/08/present-from-the-past-1921-census-is-here-at-last/

British Columbia Genealogical Society has this site to help guide you through their province:

http://www.bcgs.ca/?tag=1921-canada-census

And if you have Doukhobor ancestors, the Doukhobor genealogy website has pulled together a list of settlements:

http://www.doukhobor.org/1921-Census-Settlement.htm

 

Do you have any tips? I would appreciate hearing from you. Just post a comment to this site and I’ll add it to the list.

We're Back!

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

cpl 104-03-01

Circulation Department, Central Library, 1963

Calgary Public Library Archives: Our Story in Pictures, CPL 104-03-01

The Central Library officially re-opens today after the floods closed us down for more than two months. It is good to be back. We opened quietly to shake out some of the new procedures last week and it was so good to see many of our old customers return to welcome us.

Our old building took quite a beating but just like its staff, it has proved to be resilient (mostly, we’re still not 100%). In the 50+ years this building has stood, even before it was built, it has faced all kinds of adversity. A citizen challenged the legality of the city borrowing money for the new Central Library without requiring a vote on a money bylaw. A judge ruled that because the library would be built using funds held in reserve, council could proceed without a vote. That was in 1962. At this time the Memorial Park branch was so crowded that administrative offices, the technical services department and the reference and technical library were moved to building on 6th Street and 9th Avenue, more than 6 blocks from the main library.

The building of the new central library was long overdue, according the Mr. Castell, the head librarian at the time. The location of the new branch was to be next to the new police building and across from city hall. That raised some eyebrows as well, as the “East End” as this area was known in the 60s, was kind of a shady area. But council stuck to their guns, claiming that a new central library would be the starting point for a regeneration of the east end of the city. It was, in fact, said Mayor Hays, the safest place in the city, what with all those policemen all over the place. The plans went ahead and the new library was officially opened in June of 1963. It was a very different place from what it is now. The children’s department was in the basement (I’d always wondered why the fixtures in the staff bathroom down there were so low) ...

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Children's Department in the New Central Library, 1963

Calgary Public Library Archives: Our Story in Pictures CPL 104-05-01

...and there was enough extra space that the Glenbow had a gallery on the 3rd floor. There was a bindery, administration offices, an auditorium on the 6th floor and a sweeping staircase to get customers to the reference library on the second floor.

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Glenbow Gallery, 3rd Floor of the New Central Library, 1963

Calgary Public Library Archives: Our Story in Pictures CPL 104-09-01

Over the years the library has been extended, with an entire new building added to the north side in the 1970s, and renovated and rejigged to keep up with changes in the way we use the library and to make room for innovations like photocopiers, online catalogue and circulation systems, public access computers, coffee shops and the like. Though it seems that libraries are staid and conservative and have remained unchanged since the library at Alexandria, they are actually constantly in flux and continually change to meet the needs of the customers. We will look on this latest “reconfiguration” as just another opportunity to adapt, since we are so good at it.

Check out our archives photos if you want to see the Central Library in its original state. And drop by to say hi – we’re delighted to be back and would like to see you all again. We missed you.

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New Central Library under Construction in 1963

Calgary Public Library Archives: Our Story in Pictures, CPL 104-19-01