Bob Main said he'd been to a Rotary meeting before, arriving in a blinding snowstorm in Rod's Vega.  That was one of the striking memories of his arrival in Midland.  The other was that soon after he got here the Fire Hall caught fire.

Bob quoted a Spanish proverb to the effect that a man dies twice - once at the end of his life and the second time when his name is spoken for the last time.  Geneology is a way to continue our stories.  It started as a way to sort out land claims and inheritences and as an identity - we know who we are by where, and who, we come from.  The Bible pays a lot of attention to ancestry with its begats and the Book of Ruth is basically a family history.  Everybody's ancestors are a part of history and every story is  sort of micro history, all of it joining into the whole story.

Bob's grandmother died comparatively young and his father's memory seemed uncertain so when Bob's questions were not answered his curiosity led to an interest in tracing his roots.  The internet is now a marvellous tool.  It saves trips and time.  DNA can now trace blood types.  His own shows traces of a type from Iran though his family had been Scottish for generations.  Did a Roman legionnaire contribute way back when?

Another source is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who are trying to reunite families in heaven and have transcribed and copies massive amounts of information - a huge library of records to which they allow anyone access.  They are very generous.  Church records, passenger manifests, military records - they are all on line.  Census records - those that are public - are also easy to access now.  Through a huge commitment of volunteer time all the Ellis Island records are now available.

People are always moving.  Away from hardship or turmoil or to a better life.  Canada's Loyalists were refugees from what was essentially America's first Civil War, the War of 1812.  This can lead to confusion.  Bob said there's a family of Waltenbury's who think their heritage is British because there's a town in England and because they came to Canada as Loyalists.  But originally they were Waltenburgs from Germany, loyal to the Hanoverian King George.  There's a large francophone population in New England descended from economic migrants who had to leave Quebec because the population outstripped the available farmland.  They went to the mills.  The Barnardo Children were orphans who were, with the best of intentions, sent to North American because they were a burden on the limited social safety net of the time in Britain.  Hundreds of thousands of them were sent and some were still coming as late as the Depression.  Many ended up in near slavery conditions.  But each is a story - find the names, find the stories.

Bob found a house in Quebec that belongs to a distant cousin and which has been in the same family for 250 years.  When he moved to Midland he thought he had no previous connection to it but finally discovered that he had 4 ancestors who had worked at Sainte Marie among the Hurons back when.

He invited us all to start.  Talk to him about the internet.  Interview members of our familes.  Get the artefacts and photos organized and put captions on them so you, as an ancestor, can leave your story for your descendants.

Bill thanked Bob for coming and for sharing his enthusiasm with the Club.