Tag Archives: genealogy

Why I do family history research

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

This year I’m working on the 52 ancestors project, hoping to have fun and write some stuff about my ancestors. This week’s prompt is Start.

Giggling sunshine the four children skip and run down the back alley. It’s not really an alley, more like a path with grasses on each side almost as tall as them. Boy, girl, boy, girl. The youngest, Nancy, age 2, toddles after the others as fast as her little legs will go. They’re on the way to see Auntie Ganton. She has a huge rocking chair and always some cookies for the them. They enter the small house and Auntie goes into the back behind a black curtain, where they’re never allowed to go. Cookies! Tara and Kippy squeeze into the chair and wildly rock back and forth munching on a cookie while Willie and Nancy chatter away. Well, it’s Nancy who chatters, Willie is quiet as he eats.

Filled with cookies, they once again embrace the sun and race two houses down to the end of the lane to visit Uncle Bobby.  He sits on a chair as the children dance and do summersaults in his back yard.  The children fascinated by him; he only has one arm, play around him as he watches and says the right things.

Later that evening when Nancy and Kippy are in bed, Tara and Willie get to walk with Dad to Uncle Holmes and Aunt Edna’s store. Their apartment above the store has a fun red vinyl stool with steps that Tara loves to climb up and sit on. She’s almost as tall as her chain-smoking uncle so she feels really grown up. The children listen as their father and Uncle Holmes quietly talk.

These are a few vignettes of my childhood; a childhood that was always filled with family.  Aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma’s were always in my life, providing old beds, couches, and sometimes food to help my parents. The little village, Lavallee, Ontario,  where I lived until I was seven was “familyville” and I’m convinced that the security and warmth that wrapped around me like a blanket is the reason I do genealogy. This was the beginning of my desire to connect with the past, find out about those relatives, and  experience those warm, comfy feelings again.



  1. Auntie Ganton, Lizzie, nee  Elizabeth McCall born 24 January 1878, Kincardine, Huron County, Ontario, Canada; married William Noble Potter, 8 March 1899, Ashfield Township, Huron County, Ontario, Canada; married Thomas Ganton date unknown; died 4 Jun 1973 Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada; no children; sister to my great-grandmother, Maggie McCall.
  2. Robert McCall, born 21 July 1880, most likely Huron County; died 10 May 1981, Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada; single, no children. He lived to almost 101 years old.
  3. Holmes Andrew Miller; born 6 May 1919, Devlin, Ontario, Canada; married Edna Richardson 2 July 1940, Pembroke, Renfrew County, Ontario; died 27 January 1992, Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada


1881 Canada Census; Robert McCall Household; Bruce South, Huron; District 176; Subdistrict A1; page 35, family 154; Microfilm C_13254; viewed Dec 3, 2016; www.ancestry.ca; [database online]; Provo, Utah citing Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

1891 Canada Census; Robert McCall Household; Ashfield, Huron West; District 78; Microfilm T-6345; viewed Dec 3, 2016; www.ancestry.ca; [database online]; Provo, Utah citing Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

1901 Canada Census; Wellington Potter Household; Bruce West, Huron; District 50; Subdistrict B1; page 4, family 38; ; viewed Dec 3, 2016; www.ancestry.ca; [database online]; Provo, Utah citing Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

1921 Canada Census; Elizabeth Potter Household; Devlin, Woodyat, Fort William and Rainy River; District 79; Subdistrict 19; page 8; viewed Dec 3, 2016; www.ancestry.ca; [database online]; Provo, Utah citing RG 31; Folder Number: 58; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Ontario Marriage Registrations; #7690; LDS Microfilm 1870923; viewed Dec 3, 2016; www.ancestry.ca; [database online]; Provo, Utah citing MS932, 695 reels; Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Bethel Miller Collection; Elizabeth Ganton Death: Copy of handwritten page of book at funeral stating birth date and death date; in possession of Tara Shymanski, Calgary Alberta

Information from family.

Devlin Municipal Office; I viewed the original registrations in the early 1980’s. No copies were made.

Fort Frances Times Obituary, 5 February 1992

Tara Shymanski, genealogy specialist

I’ve been researching my family history for almost 30 years and decided to make career out of my passion for genealogy. To prepare for this new career I completed 40 courses to obtain a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies – Canadian Records from the National Institute of Genealogical Studies.  These courses coupled with years of research have made me a specialist Canadian records.

I have presented lectures on Canadian Newspapers, Researching in Ontario, Where to find Records in Canada, Fun with Family History and Land Records in Ontario.

I specialize in Canadian research but also do research in England and United States.

If you’d like to hire me to research your family please contact me at tshymanski@gmail.com