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The Absolutely Literate blog is for people interested in writing, editing, design, history and family history.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cross-checking Newspapers

As family historians we know that newspapers are a wonderful resource for researching our ancestors. However, it is important to remember to look in more than one newspaper to gather pieces of the story.

My Grossman branch of the family lived in Chilliwack, BC. The September 5, 1906 edition of the Chilliwack Progress states:

Mrs. Carl Grossman left on Sunday morning’s [September 2] train to meet Mr. Grossman in Vancouver. They will spend about ten days visiting Vancouver, Victoria and Bowen Island. Dorothy and Babbie Grossman accompanied their mother.
Chilliwack Progress, September 5, 1906

In the early part of the 20th century it was common for newspapers to list hotel arrivals  — think of the privacy issues that would cause now! A search discovers “C. Grossman, wife and family, Chilliwack” as a hotel arrival at the Dominion Hotel in Victoria in the September 3 edition of the Daily Colonis.

The Vancouver Daily World of September 12, 1906 records “Mr. and Mrs. Carl Grossman and daughters, of Chilliwack, are visiting in Vancouver” in the “People Passing” column.

None of this information is ground-breaking but it tells me that they had the money to travel and stay at the Dominion Hotel. Six-years-old Dorothy and three-years-old Babbie (Eileen) travelled with them, but two-year-old George and four-month-old baby Grace must have stayed at home. Perhaps they stayed with Mrs. Grossman’s sister and family. What makes this trip even more curious is that it happened just a few months after Carl Grossman’s grocery store was destroyed in a fire and according to the newspaper Carl was busily getting his new store ready.

Broaden your searching beyond the place where your ancestors lived and you might also find out where they travelled, where they stayed, and who they visited.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Giving Your Word Docs Style

I was a co-presenter last night for Technology Skills for Writers at the Golden Ears Writers. I presented Microsoft Word for Writers and was reminded again at how well Microsoft has hidden some of its most useful features.

One of the most essential features of Word is Styles. It has been there since the beginning of Word, I used with with Word 95 but until they introduced the Ribbon toolbar it has been a hidden gem.

What the hay is a style?

A style is a group of formatting characteristics such as font, colour, and spacing that you apply to the text in your document at one time.

What does that mean? It means that if you use styles you can change the look of your document with just a few clicks. This saves you a lot of time when you are working on large documents and ensures a consistent and professional look to your whole document.

Learn styles and you will no longer waste hours manually going through your document and selecting text and trying to remember if you used 12pt Arial or 11pt Verdana on the last page. It means that with some time invested up front you can indent paragraphs, add space between paragraphs, double-space, add text and numbering to your headings (Chapter 1), and more with the click your mouse.

You can use and edit styles from the Ribbon.

On the Home tab, in the Styles group, right-click on the style and select Modify.

Or you can do it old-school (this is my preference).

On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click the Styles Dialog Box Launcher or use the shortcut keys (Alt+Ctrl+Shift+S).

The Style Pane will open.

Select a style and click on the drop-down button, select Modify.

Create Your Own Styles

If you like the dialogue in your book to be indented on both the right and left and in italics, create a style for dialogue.

From the bottom of Style Pane click on the New Style button.

Learn more about styles on the Microsoft site.

Friday, November 6, 2015

100 Years Ago

The Daily Colonist, May 28, 1916, page 19
100 Years ago on November 6, 1915 my grandfather, Tom Lister, enlisted in Victoria, British Columbia. He joined the Victoria Fusiliers 88th Battalion. He had been living in Duncan and working as a farmer. He had immigrated from Skipton, England in 1910.
Tom Lister, 1915. Courtesy Gerry (G.W.) Lister

The Daily Colonist from May 28, 1916 declared that "the Victoria Fusiliers hold the record for the number of Cowichan recruits."

The same issue has a wonderful image of the crowds in Victoria bidding farewell to the troops on board the C.P.R. S.S. Princess Charlotte.

Lieutenant Colonel Harold Joseph Rous Cullin, commanding officer of the 88th Battalion, wrote a letter to the Daily Colonist outlining their trip across Canada by train from Vancouver to Halifax. The bright and cheerful tone of the letter is punctuated with snippets of their training and welcoming receptions at the various stops. Marches in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Push-ups and knee bends in Schrieber, Ontario. Cigarettes and oranges in Kenora, Ontario. In Ottawa, Ontario they participate in a parade and a march to Parliament Hill where they are inspected by the Duke of Connaught and meet various colonels, generals, and government ministers. They saw the scaffolding on the Parliament Buildings; a fire destroyed the original Centre Block in February of 1916. Then they mark back to train to head to Montreal.

"Arrived in Halifax on Wednesday, May 29, at 11 a.m. Ten troop trains ahead of the 88th, two behind. Nearly 7,000 troops aboard. Heavy rain. Authorities very strict and guards everywhere. Lots of warships and destroyers in harbor. Men all intact. Wonderful behavior. No sickness in 88th. No deserters. No defaulters. Spirits simply wonderful. Message from Victoria Fusiliers to Victoria: ' Keep on recruiting. The war is only just starting. It will go another two years. Fill up the 88th again.'"

On May 31, 1916 they sailed from Halifax and headed to England.


"The Fire of 1916." Public Works and Government Services Canada. http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/collineduparlement-parliamenthill/batir-building/hist/1916-eng.html

"Soldiers of the First World War (1914-1918)." Record Group 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4930 - 35. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.

“Vancouver Island.” Daily Colonist, May 28, 1916, 17.
“Remarkable Illustration of Victoria's Hearty Tribute to Fusiliers.” Daily Colonist, May 28, 1916, 19.
Cullin, Lieut-Col. “Had Fine Journey Across Continent.” Daily Colonist, June 29, 1916, 5.

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