Roots to the Past

Following a hare trail

Diana Tibert
Published on November 21, 2009

When I was a child shadowing my older brother as he checked his snares, I was amazed by his ability to find a hare trail. He'd crouch low, point his woolen mitt into the woods and say, "There it is. See it?"
I'd peer into the bushes, trying to see what he saw. If snow was on the ground, I saw the tracks, but if the ground was bare, the trail was invisible. He gave clues to help me. "See how the branches separate for the hare to squeeze through? Can you visualize the circle made by it?"
Eventually, I was able to see the trail made by the hare, as well as spot deer trails and identify the many scats of the local wildlife. My brother was a great guide and taught me how to connect the clues to solve a puzzle.
I apply this same sleuthing technique to genealogy when I find names that might be connected to my family tree. By following the clues, I either eliminate them as possibilities or confirm they are related.
For example, when I discovered the surname Vibert, I wondered if it was related to Tibert. Through the centuries, the Tibert name (originally Diebert) had been spelt several ways, so it was easy to believe at some point, the letter T was mistakenly replaced by the letter V.
I began my investigation on the Library and Archives of Canada ( with the Immigration Records (1925-1935) database.
There I found Alfred Ralph Vibert, a 16-year-old who arrived at Halifax onboard the Arabic, a White Star ship. His nationality was English, which suggested he wasn't related to the German Tibert.
On the same website, I searched the Immigrants to Canada database and found Henry Vibert who immigrated in 1816. The document title was List of Inhabitants of the Island of Guernsey who wish to emigrate to British North America, April 24, 1816. Searching Google, I learned the Island of Guernsey was located in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy.
In the 1901 Canada Census (, there were more than 180 individuals with the Vibert surname, most lived in Quebec (155). Only three lived in Nova Scotia. Philip Vibert, born 1849, lived with his wife, Mary J., born 1852, and son, Foster C., born 1889, in Lower Stewiacke. Referring to the digital image, I learn Philip was born in England and came to Canada in 1879.
Next I searched the Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics (https://www. and found one birth, four marriage and four death records. The delayed birth registration for Foster Clement Vibert, born July 31, 1888, Lower Stewiacke, states his father, Philip, was English, born on Jersey Island.
Philip Elias Vibert's death record states he died July 5, 1920. He was born about 1845 at Jersey, Channel Islands. He lived in Nova Scotia for 31 years, six months. It clearly states he was British.
These records indicate the Vibert name originated from the collection of islands in the English Channel, and the families were English, not German. From following the trail and piecing together clues, I can surmise that the Vibert surname is not a misspelling of Tibert.
Researcher's File…
Seeking information on the name LaTrasia in Nova Scotia. Is it a surname? Where did it originate? LaTrasia (Tracy) Benjamin, wife of Ebenezer Benjamin (1785, Gaspereau, Horton, Kings Co. - 1852, son of Lucy Coldwell and Caleb Benjamin), signed an 1811 land deed at Horton. They possibly had three sons: William (1808), John (1810) and William B. (1811-12). Contact: Sandy Loughman, 10150 Belle Rive #703, Jacksonville, FL 32256 USA; email:
Diana Lynn Tibert is a freelance writer living in Milford. Submit a query. It's free! : RR#1 Milford, Hants County, NS, B0N 1Y0; email: