Treasure Chest Thursday

I’ve been browsing through some of the great Canadian local history databases lately.  For general Canadian history, Canadiana.org has some terrific content. There are a couple of free databases there but the most inclusive one is Early Canadiana Online which requires a subscription. For western Canada, Peel’s Prairie Provinces is free and hosted by the University of Alberta.

Yesterday, while researching my Rycroft post, I popped the name “Goddard” into the search field over a Peel’s and found this postcard:

Buffaloes at Elk Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. [Fort Saskatchewan: ca. 1910].
The text on the back reads:

From: Ralph
To: Mrs W.D. Goddard
Address: Fragmew, Cheriton Rd., TolReston, Kent, England.
Message: “Very best wishes & happiest returns of 30 Dec. Just having another cold spell. Had a good time this xmas, will write more fully very soon. House still progressing very slowly, but hope in the * dim dark future to see it finished. Just off there now, C. going to hunt this morning. glad to say all well. Expect to go up to his Close New Years’ day when we anticipate a good time. A & his wife up at his shack whilst Sullivan is building his house quite a grand affair I can tell you. Hope all well. Best love from Ralph. Ballentyne Dec 30th”
I was excited to see this and posted it to the Goddard Association of Europe’s Facebook page. My Goddards come from Kent so I was wondering whether this might be an ancestor. Regardless, I figured it would be interesting to someone.
I did a little research on Ancestry and determined that William and Mary (Hyde) Goddard had a son Ralph. After posting, one of the admins who is a cousin of mine (and who blessed me with my Goddard family tree back to the 17th century when I joined a few years ago) contacted a Gail Goddard in Ottawa who’s husband is a descendant of these Goddards. While we’re not in the same family, it was exciting to link up this artifact with the descendants of the writer.  Gail writes “Ralph had arrived in Canada in 1907. In 1910 Hilda Mary Goddard came to Battenberg, Alberta (later called Gibbons) to join her parents and siblings. In 1912, she and Ralph were married.”
While the sites I mentioned above are not specifically genealogical, this demonstrates the importance of having a peek at other resources to flesh out local history of our ancestors and maybe come across something special!

 

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