Week 40 of 52 Ancestors has the prompt \”harvest\”. One of the biggest reasons for migration to Canada and then west across the country was the chance to own land and farm. So this post I decided to take a look at what a search using \”harvest\” on Peel\’s Prairie Provinces would turn up.
I\’ve mentioned what a great resource this website is in the past. It\’s a partnership between several different corporations, institutions, and the Canadian government. The site focuses on Western Canada research, and has a variety of material that would interest genealogists and historians.
When I did a search on their site using the word \”harvest\”, I got some really interesting results. I\’ve broken the results into their four categories of records.
A search of he bibliography section resulted in 1838 publications. Just click on the link of the publication, and then just to the right of the title you\’ll see FlipBook view. Click on that, and it will open a new window to look through the publication. I found some real gems in this section:
- Manitoba, the Canadian north-west: A record of the results of the harvest of 1887: With maps and valuable information respecting the country and its lands; advice how and when to settle upon and cultivate them; capital required, &c. &c.: Compiled from letters from actual settlers. Winnipeg: Canadian Pacific Railway Co, 1888. This publication lists the names and answers of farmers in the area. You can find out what they grew, how big their farm was, how much fencing they had. The farmers themselves gave opinions on soil, climate, how good their area is for animal husbandry. It\’s a great insight into your ancestor if he\’s listed.
- Manitoba and the North-West: The land of immeasurable promise: Happy homes for the millions secured by tickling the rich prairie soil: Facts from actual settlers: What the men who have been there say. Winnipeg: Daily Sun, 1880?. This booklet is another one that lists hundeds of farmer\’s names under different categories. You can find out how long they\’ve been there, and the improvements they\’ve made to the lands. It gives details of their farming efforts, and their opinions of living in Manitoba.
- Recent Canadian West letters (historical and descriptive). [Brantford, Ont.: Hurley Printing Co, 1912]. Rev. R.G. MacBeth was an Ontario pastor who was born in the Selkirk Colony on the Red River. This book is a compilation of letters he wrote to a local newspaper. They not only talk about his boyhood, but of the changes he saw when he made visits back there as an adult.
- Retrospect and prospect: The silver cord and the golden chain. [Saskatoon: s.n, 1939]. A publication by the Saskatchewan Homemaker\’s Club that gives great insight into the lives of the rural women.
- Pioneer historical number. Grande Prairie, Alta.: [Grande Prairie Herald], 1934. A history of the Grande Prairie and South Peace area. Of particular interest are lists of the first settlers and their stories.
The search through newspapers resulted in 41,393 hits. Don\’t be daunted though. By using the filters at the right of the screen, you can narrow the search. As you can see from the screen shot above, you can narrow by date, year published, language, and/or by publication. Here\’ a sampling of some of the interesting things I found
- The Strathmore Standard, August 20, 1942 – an article on the town meeting held few days earlier. The meeting was to discuss how to handle the upcoming harvest with so many men gone to war.
- The Edmonton Bulletin, August 1, 1921 (CITY EDITION) – an article discussing the recently mandated $4.00/day harvester wage
- Northern Tribune, August 31, 1933 – this particular edition of the regular column Wapiti News mentions a few men that had traveled to other areas to work on farms. It even gives the farmer\’s name of where they went to work.
- Crossfield Chronicle, October 13, 1932 – an article about a transient worker by the name of George Morden, who had been writing fraudulent cheques to local businesses
- The Calgary Weekly Herald, February 22, 1888 – a letter to the editor written by 7 local men. These men were disputing the findings of a Professor Sheldon about the unsuitability of the Canadian West for farming.
I received no hits for \”harvest\” in their maps section. However, when I used the search word \”farm\”, I got some results. here\’s an interesting one of St. Bruno farm in Alberta, about 1926
3 thoughts on “52 Ancestors: Week 40 – Harvesting on Peel\’s Prairie Provinces”
Love this! I have many paternal Canadian ancestors who lived in Ontario, but one of my maternal Michigan ancestral families spent a summer in Saskatchewan in the early 1910s working on a farm. My great-great-grandmother and her daughters, including my great-grandmother, cooked for the threshers, and my great-great-grandfather and his sons worked out in the fields. I am going to have to see what the search terms \”threshers\” or \”threshing\” will yield in PPP!
I got lost in the site for a while the last time you mentioned it. Must try the harvest search when I have time as my husband's great-grandfather farmed in AB from 1903-1918… Thanks for another great tip 🙂
It's a great resource!