Tag Archives: Canada

Questioning my American Roots

I’ve been intrigued for awhile with regards to my American ancestors.

I know what you are thinking, a couple weeks ago I wrote about how Canadian I am and now I’m saying how I’m an American. What is wrong with me?

Well truth be told, I feel Canadian to my very soul. My heart sings when the national anthem is playing. I can sing it in both official languages and I can wear it on my backpack proudly no matter where I go. I truly feel red and white in my veins.

However, like nearly everyone living in this country, my family had to come from somewhere. I’ve mentioned the English connection in several posts, and my Irish connection in another. I’ve hinted at my Scottish ancestry but I haven’t talked too much about my American history.

Part of that is there are some questions. Big ones.

On my mother’s side of the family, there was some sort of mass migration to Canada around the time or before America became the United States of America. Several branches of the tree ended up here in Canada, most in Ontario and there is some question in my mind as to why.

Ancestry can point me to census records which indicate when we migrated, where we lived. Birth records and such from different states show that parts of my family were in New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts not too many years after the Mayflower landed.  I know that many who traveled to the continent in the first few years were escaping religious persecution. Is this the same as my family?

Members of my family were even living around Salem during the time of the witch trials. Is it possible that someone in my family might have been involved in them?

If my family had lived in the US for 100-200 years, why would they want to leave?

In doing some research, I learned quite a few things and it opened more burning questions.

  1. Were we complete Loyalists to the cause of the King and made our way back to Canada to avoid being under this new uprising?
  2. Did we suffer by all the new taxation laws being passed, where it obliged people to pay a tax to the king and then another tax to the state?
  3. Were we Quakers and therefore tried avoiding violence?

Ancestry announced the release of thousands of Quaker records. Books, meeting minutes, and many other items this week. It looks like I can finally get the answers to some of these questions about why my family came to Canada when they did and perhaps get a better glimpse inside their lives. If you need me, I’m most likely going to be lost on Ancestry.ca for awhile.

Ancestry.com has recently launched the Quaker Collection. As an ancestry.ca worldwide member I can use the records to research my family
Ancestry.com has recently launched the Quaker Collection. As an ancestry.ca worldwide member I can use the records to research my family

I am Canadian

No really. I am Canadian.

My entire life I have been incredibly proud to call myself a Canadian but it wasn’t until I really started to research my family tree that I started to see why.

MY FAMILY CHOSE TO COME TO CANADA

My great-grandfather was born in England but chose to move to Canada in 1908. He could’ve stayed where he was living in Moon’s Cottage in Long Ditton, Surrey to raise his children. Instead he packed it all in and chose to come to Canada. He decided to change his stars. My grandfather Albert came with him and their pride in being Canadian was passed down to my father, one of the first born members of his line to be born in this country. An incredibly proud accomplishment. No one is happier to wave the red and white flag or to explore this country as my father. He’s been to at least 6 provinces and has seen or touched nearly all of the great lakes.

MY FAMILY FOUGHT FOR CANADA

I’ve already talked about how my great-grandfather fought in World War 1 and I may have mentioned that my uncle fought in World War 2. But what I may have neglected to mention was that the other side of my family fought in the War of 1812. Over 200 years ago my ancestors stood together against an American invasion and fought to keep the true north strong and free. At that time, we were part of the dominion and were not our own little country, but that war, and many wars after that, helped shape our country into what it is today.

MY FAMILY HELPED SHAPE CANADA

With a history in this country spanning more than 200 years, we had a chance to really make our mark. Some of my Scottish ancestors came to take over land in that had never been worked and they helped clear the land to make way for farms and villages. Many of my ancestors were farmers who tilled the land and helped grow what we could.

We also had a big part in making some beautiful things as well. One of my Dryden ancestors was the carpenter that did the wood work in Knox Presbyterian Church in downtown Galt (now Cambridge.)

Some other of my ancestors made their way cross country and helped develop the railway and some cities in the west. Other ancestors stayed closer to Waterloo Region. My grandpa Hyde and a few of my great-uncles on the Lovejoy side helped build several of the war-time houses in Galt.

MY FAMILY WANTS TO BE CANADIAN

I can’t read their minds, but I can tell by the way I was raised and the people around me, that we really like to be in Canada. We are safe here. We have opportunity here. We can help build community and we can belong. Sure life isn’t always easy for all of us, but it wouldn’t be easy no matter where we lived.

I am proud to be Canadian. I am proud to be from a long and short line of people who are proud to be in Canada. I am Canadian.

Canada Relief Map
My father, Howard Hill, checks out this relief map of Canada in Brandon, Manitoba