Muddled in Mystery & History

Jamie Heap
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Parrsborough Shore Historical Society Holds Successful Genealogy Symposium at Ottawa House

Parrsborough Shore Historical Society (PSHS) President Colin Curleigh and local historian Ed Gilbert enjoy some coffee and conversation Saturday on the verandah of the Ottawa House By-The-Sea Museum, site of Mysteries and Muddles, a genealogy symposium organized by the PSHS.

PARTRIDGE ISLAND-Over forty participants, presenters and volunteers packed the Ottawa House By-The-Sea museum for the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society’s (PSHS) day-long genealogy workshop Saturday in Partridge Island.

Ottawa House, the former summer home of former Prime Minister Sir Charles Tupper, hosted the PSHS’s first ever genealogy workshop. It won’t be the last.

“We’re very pleased and excited today, and, to have found the success we did,” stated PSHS president Colin Curleigh on Saturday. “We will be having others.”

Curleigh’s sentiments were shared by fellow PSHS members June Wagstaff and Harriet McCready. “We’re absolutely thrilled,” exclaimed McCready. “The quality of the presentations is excellent. You can feel the excitement in the air,” she added. “We’ve never held anything like this before,” stated McCready. “This is what the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society, the preserver of our heritage, is all about.”

The symposium, titled Mysteries and Muddles, explored those people who lived or travelled along the Parrsboro Shore from the earliest of times. The morning session began with morning keynote speakers Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu and Theresa Halfkenny who discussed the Early African Nova Scotians of Cumberland County.

Presenter Deborah Trask discussed how every gravestone tells a story while local historian Ed Gilbert talked about the early people of the Parrsborough Shore.

From there, Pamela Wile demonstrated how to utilize a Flip Pal mobile scanner. “This scanner, which can only be bought online, can scan 4 x 6 photographs,” explained Wile. “To scan bigger pictures, just take off the screen,” she added.

The afternoon’s keynote presentation focused on Mi’kmaw place names and legends. Dr. Trudy Sable presented her findings while Ruth Whitehead answered questions. Whitehead, the author of the new book Black Loyalists: Southern Settlers of Nova Scotia’s First Free Black Communities, gave a separate seminar on individual enquiries of First Nations or African origins. Simultaneously, Clemm Larsen provided a Pictorial Tour of the Parrsborough Shore to those interested.

Other presenters included Lawrence Nicoll (internet resources) and Harriet McCready, who provided an overview of computerized genealogy programs.

Tours of the museum and refreshments were also provided to participants who enjoyed a visiting exhibit that included a 1920s doll with intact original clothing.

“That doll belonged to my mother’s aunt,” stated Cindy Tupper. “My husband is a descendant of Charles Tupper. All of the Parrsboro Tuppers descended from him.”



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