Monday, 8 August 2016

Donald Allen Smith -- my dad

  Don Smith of Calgary, AB, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 24, 2016 at the age of 84 years, following a long and well-lived life.

Don, Glen, Lynne, and Bob

Donald Allen Smith was born at home on Sec 33, Tp 50, Rge 20, W 3rd near Mervin, Saskatchewan, on October 11, 1931; the eldest son of Walter Smith and Gladys Waite. Don and his family moved from Mervin to North Battleford, Saskatchewan, in 1944, where Don was active in the Sea Cadets, the Kinsman Band, various sports, singing in a quartet and choir, and playing for dances. He worked in the farm implement business for five years before attending the University of Saskatchewan, where he graduated with a BSC in Geological Engineering in 1958. During his time at university he participated in various musicals, sports, and student activities.

Dad & Mom - 56th anniversary
Fishing became an annual pastime.
 Don met Shirley Lockerbie at a musical event, while he was attending university, and they were married in 1959. She truly was the love of his life. Upon graduation, he joined Sun Oil as a junior geologist and spent the next twenty-nine years with Sun Oil and Suncor. His job took him to Regina and Estevan, Saskatchewan, Wonowon and Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and Dallas, Texas, with the majority of his career spent in Calgary. Don retired in 1987 as Suncor’s Executive Vice President, where he oversaw all Canadian exploration and production. He thoroughly enjoyed his career. Retirement lasted only a month before he took the position of Vice President Team '88 Services with the Calgary Olympic Committee, an exciting and enjoyable job. This job ceased when the Olympics was done, after which Don and son Dave, also a geologist, had a small consulting company, D-Two Resources, for a number of years.

One of many genealogy library visits.
Don and Shirley loved travelling, and visited over sixty countries and every continent, except Antarctica. For the past twenty years, they spent portion of every year in Victoria, British Columbia, where they spent time with their daughter, Karen, and her family. Don’s family had always been the highlight of his life. He also loved the outdoors, and enjoyed daily walks, golf, and scenic country drives. After retirement, he was an avid genealogist, and researched family history with his daughter, Kelli. He enjoyed fishing, and over the years shared time salmon fishing on the West Coast with every family member. Family was Don’s passion, and he engaged in meaningful and ongoing activities with each person. Don and Shirley arranged a wonderful family trip to Kenya in 2009 to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

 Don is survived by his loving wife Shirley, their children, Kelli and son-in-law, Doug Taylor, David and daughter-in-law, Emma Smith, of Calgary, Karen and son-in-law, Jeff Smith of Victoria; Grandchildren, Jasper, Finlay, Dylan, Rachelle, Braedon, Teagan, and Aiden; Brothers, Lynne and sister-in-law, Marie, Robert and sister-in-law, Karen; Sister-in-law, Marion Smith; Brother-in-law, David (Orla) Lockerbie; as well as extended family and friends. Don was predeceased by his parents, and his brother, Glen.
Dad and I at his favourite corner table at the condo in Victoria.
Full obituary and condolence messages:

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Chipping away at our brick walls.

Not much progress since last fall, but there have been a few little glimmers here and there. We have had a couple of low-level matches on the DNA samples we have posted, and time will tell if those result in anything helpful down the road. Also, an Ancestry posting has led us to John Waite and family's emigration record from England to New York. Not certain this is our family, but it's provided some hope, and is worth further investigation.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Grandma Smith's Lefse Recipe

It has been some time since I have written a blog post about the Smith family (or any family, for that matter). Today I was prompted by Geneabloggers to take a few moments to share a family recipe, and I treasure this one, written on a scrap of paper many years ago by my grandma, Gladys Smith.

Each year the Smiths get together in December and make a whole lotta lefse before Christmas. It's the ultimate in family time, with amazing pot luck food, and a healthy complement of beer & wine! The family on the BC coast has grown to the point where they rent out a community hall in order to include everyone in the extended family. Those of us in Alberta can easily still fit in a home, and we have extended our reach to part of my husband Doug's family, as they are also Scandinavian and make lefse as a Christmas tradition.

An earlier blog post about our Calgary lefse experience with the Skavberg family can be found in the archive of this blog (on the right sidebar) from December, 2011.

I remember going to visit my Grandma Smith when I was a young adult, and feeling so relaxed and at ease with her. She always seemed to be baking or cooking, while we chatted, and it seemed I had not a care in the world when I went to visit her. One time I asked her about her lefse recipe, as my dad and his brothers always raved about how she made the best lefse ever. Although everyone tried to duplicate it, apparently they could never get it quite as good as hers. She claimed it was partly because she made it on an old wood stove "in the day," and now we all used electric pans that did not get as hot. Perhaps that was part of it, but I think she simply had a good feel for the dough, and had a knack for just how much flour should be mixed in.

We sure miss you, Grandma, but you can be sure we never forget about you, especially on Lefse Day! Here's to you ...

Sunday, 20 January 2013

I miss you already, Joan!

About a year ago I connected with Joan Miller on Twitter, and soon realized she also lived in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. What a blessing to me, as I was learning about DNA research, and she invited me to attend her presentation at the Alberta Family Histories Society. I was excited to attend, and to re-establish my connection to this group. Little did I know that this would be my one and only opportunity to meet Joan. I gained some valuable information that evening, and have spent many hours at the AFHS library in the months following that meeting.

Another of the positives to come of our brief relationship was her invitation to connect me with Judy Webster, her co-captain of the Genealogists for Families group on Kiva. I immediately joined this wonderful international group, and have made 14 loans in conjunction with them to this point.

I was saddened to hear of Joan's passing, and my most recent loan, to the San Miguel Archangel Group, has been commemorated in memory of her life. I will continue to remember Joan, as the funds repaid from this loan and others are re-loaned in the future.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Ontario visit

For months now, Dad and I have gone through the files at home and online with a fine-toothed comb. We have hired a professional genealogist in Toronto, and asked many other volunteers with various societies in Ontario to help out. All in an effort to break down the brick wall around the Wait(e) family.

Tomorrow we will fly to Toronto, where we'll spend a couple of days at the Archives of Ontario to search for a series of vital records and whatever else we can find. We'll leave as early as possible on Wednesday morning to drive to Cornwall, which is about 4.5 hours away. We've lined up someone to help us at the historical society there, and then we'll go to Morrisburg, where someone from the UEL association has offered to meet us. Thursday we'll drive to Ottawa, and we'll have 2 days to do our research at the national archives there. We've also got a distant relative to visit in Ottawa, and it will be wonderful to meet in person, as we have all been searching for the same information about the Wait(e) family for many years.

I've got my laptop as updated as possible, my camera, the GPS for the rental car, and a reasonably light suitcase. No doubt dad will have less, but then again, he's not really into much technology. Wish us luck, as we're going to need some on this trip!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Uncles' Journey

I'm not sure where the time has gone, but we're into the month of September, and dad and I are making some progress with out plans for our trip to Ontario. We've got our flights booked, and now we need to sort out where to stay and what our itinerary will be. We will fly into Toronto on October 13th and will fly home from Ottawa on the following Sunday.

In the meantime, Uncle Lynne and Uncle Bob came to Calgary for a quick visit, and we had a fabulous BBQ at mom and dad's place last night, with everyone there except Dylan (he was soaking up the sun in the Shuswap on a houseboat). This morning they packed the car and with dad at the wheel, left for Saskatchewan. They plan to spend about a week traveling through the province, and checking out some old haunts along the way. I am sure they will have a wonderful journey, and will tell stories the whole way! They will miss their brother Glen, certainly, but I have a sense he will be with them in spirit.

In the meantime, I'm at home with the significant task of listing all of the research and documents we have found for the Wait/Waite family. We have decided to hire a professional genealogist, and she has requested this information in order to avoid repeating any of the work we have already tackled. I hold out hope that she will have some strategies that will conquer our challenge, and will either link the two generations we think should be tied together, or will disprove that theory and will link us to another group of Waits.

I also plan to visit the Alberta Family Histories Society library again this week, as there are a couple of key volunteers who may be able to help us before we leave in October. There are many people here who have done a great deal of research in Ontario, and the resources in our local library are rich, indeed. I was particularly happy to receive an email this morning regarding our monthly SIG (special interest group) meeting, which will focus on Wills & Probate Records -- these will be important for us on this trip.

So, I hope the Smith brothers enjoy their time touring Saskatchewan, and I may just find a little new information before they return next weekend. Either way, it's always great to visit with family, and we had a wonderful family gathering last night. Memories in the making, and I treasure them.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Time to Re-organize!

Summer is here, and gives me time to get my information in order. At least I hope so! There are a few family members visiting, and I hope to acquire a few new leads, but also need to have my information in good shape in case I need to show anyone what we know already.

Dad and I are hoping to make a trip to Toronto later this year, and I need to determine what we need to find while we are there. I will develop a spreadsheet to record what we already know and what we need to search for. Then I will work out where we need to go in order to find those Ontario records. There are also a few to find in Quebec, but those will have to wait for another time, or perhaps we will hire someone to work on those.

The main surnames we will search for in Ontario are: Wait(e), Mason, Arnold, Manhard, May, Lytle, Stevenson, and Cameron. We have plenty of information to go on for most of those families, but we are stuck on a few as well. The Waite family is particularly stubborn, and will likely be our main focus.

On my husband's side of the family, we will take a look for Taylor and Brown, but they will take a back seat to my family's research. At least the Taylors and Browns are from one particular area, so they may be a little easier, despite the fact that they are common surnames.

Onward ho!