Saturday, September 05, 2015

Finding More Roots In Nova Scotia

The gold paint on top of what we've always called "Granny's chest" revealed a long-ago connection to Nova Scotia I never knew about.
"Why did you let us play with this chest, Mother?" I asked, appalled that this historical artifact was treated so casually. Because on the lid of the chest you can read the words "Liverpool, England" and "Halifax, Nova Scotia."
So somehow or other, I have a connection to Nova Scotia that is older than 1979, the year my family first arrived here on vacation.
This required a research trip to Pier 21 in Halifax. It didn't take long in the Family History Room to learn that my mother's ancestors, her great-grandparents, arrived in Canada prior to 1865, when this country began keeping immigration records, but the chest proves someone came through Halifax, likely the long-lost Pier 2 through which 2.7 million immigrants passed, and for which there are no records.
I didn't know that Pier 21 opened in 1928 and welcomed a million immigrants until 1971; it wasn't a wasted trip, however. We explored the immigrant experience in a vast and fascinating display room and that was worthwhile since I am, undoubtedly, descended from immigrants to this country.
And there was that chest sitting in the attic of the house my mother grew up in (her Gran's house which is how the chest got its name), and there was my sister and me playing in and around that chest for years, and now it sits in my mother's room here in Nova Scotia, 120 kilometres from where it landed sometime in the 1800's.
Even though I didn't notice the gold paint until a few months ago (how did we ever miss it??), I can't help but see it as yet another sign, a truly subliminal one, that pointed me east.

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