My Family Tree by Cari Moore – Coordinator of Volunteers
As we prepare for our Family Day event “You me and the Family Tree” I have been reflecting on what my family tree looks like. On one side of my “tree” I am a 3rd generation born Canadian. Very proud of the fact that my mothers’ grandparents took that giant leap and moved from Europe during the turn of the century (the 20th century). They homesteaded in 2 different areas of our beautiful province. Working to clear the land and grow food that they needed and to build community.
My Grandmothers parents were Danish and Settled in Cape Scott – the northern most tip of Vancouver Island, where my grandmother grew up close to the Pacific Ocean and would wait long hours by the shoreline for her brothers to come home from dangerous fishing trips. Until one trip – they didn’t. How this impacted the family is unimaginable! She would share stories of her brothers with me as I grew up, so their lives would not be forgotten.
Meanwhile in Bella Coola – my grandfather was one of 12 children living in a 3-bedroom home. Originally, they were blacksmiths – but when that was no longer a necessity, the family switched to commercial fishing. They were part of a Norwegian settlement that came to the valley because it reminded them so much of the fiords of Norway. My grandmother moved to the valley in her early 20’s to be a maid in my Grandfathers household where she eventually fell in love and married my grandfather and had 6 children. It sounds a lot more romantic than it was, as she had to form friendships with people who were prejudice against her because of her Danish background. My grandparents lived across the road from my parents until their original house was moved in the mid 90’s and my parents still live on part of the original settlement today. My roots run deep in the Valley.
My mother was the youngest of those six children and was related to most of the people in Bella Coola – which brings me to my fathers’ side of the family. My father was the oldest of 5 and his parents immigrated to British Columbia in the mid 60’s. On his side of my family – I am a 1st born Canadian! My fathers’ parents were very young compared to my mothers and decided to immigrate to Canada so that my Grandfather could become a hunting guide and buy a ranch in the Chilcotin. Had they stayed in the United States my father and his brother would both most likely had to have fought in the Vietnam war! Terrifying to think how different my life would have been had this happened. My Uncle has done an ancestry deep dive on my dads’ family, and they have roots in the United States going back to the early 1700’s. We can find no documentation on when they came to America.
My parents were very young when they started a family. They had 3 children before my mother was 22. I was always very proud that I had the youngest parents of any of my friends! My sisters and I have given my parents 7 grandchildren to love and although I am not a Grandmother, sisters both are, making my mother a great Grammy 5 times over (and she is not even 70!)
I grew up in Bella Coola as well and faced the same problem my mother did, how to find a husband that wasn’t already on my family tree. Luckily my husband’s family moved to the valley when he was 5. We went to kindergarten together and were high school sweethearts. We married at 20 and had 2 children before we were 25. We will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this year and are both very proud of the people my children have chosen to add to our family tree!
Keeping track of your history, and your family trees is important. It gives your children and future generations a sense of belonging. Family Day is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the families that came before you, and the families you will belong to in the future. What does your family tree look like? “You Me and the Family Tree” is a great place to help you start thinking about what kind of tree you may belong to.