- When did you first start working on your family history?
I first took up research on my family history in the early 1980s.
2. What was your most surprising discovery?
It seems there are surprises at every turn, but I am particularly interested in my Quaker connections.
3. Have you done a DNA test? Were there any surprises about countries of origins?
Yes, I have done a DNA test and if the results were described as an ice cream flavour, I would definitely be vanilla, especially on my Wright side where almost everyone is English in origin. My Ukrainian heritage (half) is a much more exotic mix of central European, Mediterranean, etc.
4. What is the brick wall you would most like to break down in your family history?
My great-grandfather, Arthur Harland (1863-1951) and his father, my great-great-grandfather, Robert Harland (c1838-?). Robert married Christiana Andrews in 1861 in Newmarket, Canada West, and Arthur was born two years later. I have never seen any record of Robert Harland or his wife after 1861 – no census, no land, no cemetery, no nothing. In addition, I have never been able to confirm Robert’s birth, although evidence points to Yorkshire. Arthur too is a mystery – he is not found in the 1871 or 1881 census, but he surfaces in the Newmarket area in 1884 to marry. He completed National Registration in 1940 and I learned nothing new; I have his death registration from 1951 and again, absolutely nothing learned!
5. What is your favourite part of researching your family history?
The discovery of “connected” people, the broader historical context in which I find my family, the research experience – these are definitely among my favourite things!