Wednesday, January 31, 2018

George Percy DeKay (1938 - 2016)

Just remembering my fourth cousin George DeKay who first set me on this trek into genealogy. A trip to London, England in November 2001 was nudging me in that direction but George completed the nudge with the request in the winter of 2003 that I do a writeup on my Pincombe family. They were emigrants to Westminster Township, Middlesex County, Ontario and a history book for Westminster Township and Delaware Township was being produced (2 volumes) and George was Editor.

His method of recruiting was very like him. He told me quite directly that my cousin was willing to write up the family but he thought my grandfather owned a grocery store on Wharncliffe Road. That was actually my uncle William Edwin Pincombe and not John Routledge Pincombe my grandfather. Since it was going into a history book I decided that, in memory of my mother who had just died and was very interested in her Pincombe family, I would produce the profile for the history book.

Although my husband had been doing genealogy for more than 30 years at that time he had not done very much on England itself and so I decided to look more intently at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies and signed up for one methodology course. Two weeks into that course I signed up for the entire years of English Record Studies and then just a couple of months after that I signed up for the three years of English Record Studies and added in Canadian Records for three years.

The only items that I asked of George were one that he set up a meeting with my Pincombe cousins whom I no longer knew as we (my husband and I) had moved away from the area in the mid 1970s and trips back involved mostly visiting with our parents and siblings. George set the meeting up for the summer in 2004 and a great deal of scanning occurred of available images. We selected the images for the final article at that time. The article itself concentrated on the youngest son of the immigrant John Pincombe and his wife Elizabeth Rew - Richard in terms of pictures because his line remained in the Westminster Township area whereas my line had moved into the City of London after the death of my grandfather. My second item was that he arrange to borrow from my second half cousin the photograph albums owned by his mother my half-great aunt (half sister to my grandfather). George duly managed that as well working with our mutual cousin who had originally volunteered to do the Pincombe profile. The scanning of those three photograph albums took my husband and I most of one day but I discovered unknown pictures of my grandparents and mother that have been a treat to the family.

The profile was due in the summer of 2005 and I duly presented my effort to George which he accepted without revision. I had already passed it by all the cousins to see if they were in agreement with the written copy (and also all my siblings). It was published in the Fall of 2005 and probably still available for purchase unless all the copies have been sold.

George set me on a path that day. As I worked through my lessons I used my own family research to delve back into my family history. I really thought I knew my family history fairly well as my paternal grandfather liked to chat about his family (and he lived with us) and my maternal grandmother was closeby and I spent hours and hours with her going over items that she shared with me of her trip back to England in 1939. Now fifteen years later I continue to work away on my family tree as well as my one-name studies (my parents' surnames - Blake and Pincombe). Thank you George, not how I thought I would spend retirement that is for sure. My retirement was much more personal and involved watching many many movies, knitting and sewing. All of that has gone by the wayside as I avidly pursue genealogy and in particular genetic genealogy is of special interest to me.

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