Friday, January 1, 2016

2015: Year in Review

Well, for the most part, 2015 was a very productive year for growing a number of databases for Heritage Charlotte. First off, the “Charlotte County Database of Interments/Burials” surpassed 31,000 entries. This database, row by row, represents individual burials in Charlotte County. Each person’s entry includes surname names (maiden name), dates of birth and death, relation information (info on their parents and spouse) as well as the local of their burial (the cemetery). While all cemeteries in the county have been added, I am still slowing picking away adding entries for St. Stephen Rural Cemetery and the occasion unlisted burial when sorting through death certificates at the Provincial Archives (which often mention the location of the burial). Just as morbid is the fortunate/unfortunate growth of the “Charlotte County Obituaries & Death Notices” collection which ends the year at over 865 pages. On a more pleasant side, there have been additions to the “Charlotte County Soldiers of the First World War” database. Throughout 2015, another 40+ soldiers were added to the list, bringing the total to 1,307. In addition, the central “family tree” for Heritage Charlotte, known as the “TreeRoots” project has grown to over 12,495. This project intends to link the generations of people in Charlotte County through a single, common “community” tree. While it does not suggest everyone is related, it does highlight earlier generations living in small communities throughout the county. While many of these databases received additions in 2015, I believe things will slow down considerably in 2016 due to other commitments and some new focus.

For me, one of those new focus will be the renewal of the Charlotte Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society. The society in this area has declined in membership and experienced little activity in recent years. While some have called to disband the branch, I feel that there is still potential. And perhaps for me it’s a case of not wanting to witness the end of an era. The local branch has a rich past and, through the tireless efforts of its members, has contributed greatly to the knowledge of the region’s genealogy. I will be dedicating my time and efforts in restoring the branch in 2016.

And finally, in 2015 we lost a valuable member of the local history/genealogy community. Doug Dougherty, who was very active with highlighting and preserving the history of Charlotte County, passed away on August 30. Doug put together histories on communities such Getchell Settlement/Mayfield, Todds Point, Milltown and St. Stephen. Doug was also a key member of the Charlotte County Museum and like many of us, dreamt of a day when the region would have a new museum and archives. Doug was a regular contributor to the Saint Croix Courier with his articles on local history. During my many trips to the St. Croix Public Library, I would run into Doug. We would chat about research that we were conducting and occasionally Doug would share a tidbit on history that would never be put into print. Those stories were insightful but always humorous.  Doug will be missed.

Here’s to 2016 and a goodbye to 2015. Another year without your own obituary is a good year!

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