Saturday, November 8, 2014

BIFHSGO - British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa - Dr. Jonathan Vance

We were treated to a rather excellent set of lectures this morning at the BIFHSGO meeting.

Dr. Vance from my alma mater (Western University formerly University of Western Ontario) gave two interesting talks on soldiers of the First World War. Principally looking at the Attestation Papers but also the full record as needed, he is examining the makeup of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) which I rather found very interesting as I have done some tracing particularly of French Canadians in the time period just prior to the First World War. What surprised me was the number of Canadians (particularly French Canadians) who could be found in New England and the midwestern States of Michigan and Wisconsin. I didn't get a chance to ask my question during the question period but did later.

Dr. Vance had talked about the American cohort in the CEF possibly being as high as 20% but I wondered if in his analysis of this particular cohort he would separate out the Canadian born and those born of Canadian parents who were in these border states as my thought is that they would represent a large contingent of this American cohort. I am looking forward to his eventually publishing his paper(s) on this particular subject.

Kudos to BIFHSO for a very good speaker especially just prior to Remembrance Day here in Canada. This Remembrance day will be especially poignant given the recent murders of two of our soldiers - one out shopping (Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent) and the other standing guard at our National War Memorial (Corporal Nathan Cirillo). Undoubtedly the most sacred ground in Canada, our National War Memorial is the place where we especially remember our war dead particularly in this year from the First World War where nearly 68,000 Canadians lost their lives and another over 200,000 injured. For a young country of just 7.2 million at the 1911 Census, this loss of young men was enormous and its impact on Canada following the war was great.

We walked to the War Memorial after the meeting as we have not yet been downtown since the murder of Corporal Cirillo. There were a number of people gathered there and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is becoming covered by flowers once again. God bless our soldiers and keep them safe. 

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