01 June 2011

Ottawa professional genealogy, 1932

The following is an article from the Ottawa Citizen dated 15 April 1932

Ottawans Are Rewarded For Research Work

George H Wilson, "Old Time Stuff" Editor. Among Four Listed in American Handbook of Genealogy

Can Now Expand Their Scope of Activities

Norman Fee, Magdalen Casey and François J Audet, Public Archives are Honored

Years of genealogical research have found their reward for four prominent Ottawa genealogical researchers, including George H Wilson, editor of the Saturday Evening Citizen;s "Old Time Stuff" page. The three other Ottawans whose names have been included in the list of leading active genealogical researchers in the Handbook of American Genealogy issued by the Institute of American Genealogy in Chicago are employees of the Public Archives, Norman Fee, M.C,, chief of the map division; Ms. Magdalena Casey, librarian, and Françoise J Audet, chief of index and information.

Recognition in this field will enable the four Ottawans to expand the scope of their work materially. It affords access to the extensive lineage files of the National Clearinghouse for Genealogical Information, as well as professional contact with genealogists in 1331 counties throughout the United States and 16 other countries.

The Institute of American Genealogy has listed the four Ottawans in the handbook because the Institute wanted someone here fully qualified to carry out genealogical research. Years of experience are behind the four persons listed in the handbook. It was pointed out by Mr. Fee that the names of genealogical researchers are customarily placed in the handbook on recommendation of someone and that no special work is required of any researcher to have his or her name listed.

The four Ottawans expressed their pleasure at being listed, when being informed this morning by the Citizen of the honor bestowed upon them.

Has Gained Reputation

Some time ago Mr. Wilson said he received a letter from the Institute informing him that his name had been submitted to them. Mr. Wilson has spent nine years in genealogical and historical research, his delving's into things of the past appearing in printed form each Saturday evening in the Citizen's "Old Time Stuff" page. His reputation spread rapidly and as a result, especially during the summer months, tourists whose ancestors resided in Ottawa often looked him up with a request that he attempt to trace the family tree. While Mr. Wilson's research work has not been that of a professional family tree tracer, his historical researching has provided interesting reading for readers of the "Old Time Stuff" page

Mr. Fee has been employed in the Public Archives for 24 years. Now chief of the map division, his experiences in genealogical and historical research have also gained for him an enviable reputation not only in Canada but in many parts of the United States and other countries. He is Secretary of the Canadian Historical Society.

Active in Research

Miss Magdalen Casey, librarian at the archives, has been employed there for 37 years and has been active in considerable genealogical and historical research in connection with her position. Françoise J Audet, a member of the Royal Society of Canada, and an employee of the archives for more than 40 years, likewise has lead an active life of research and his been commended at various times for his fine work by the government.

Genealogical and historical research work has reached enormous proportions, it was stated to the Citizen. Many people who never before thought of tracing their family histories are now spending large sums of money in this respect. Professional genealogy has taken a stronghold in some parts of the United States but in Canada there are few men whose profession is that of a family tree tracer and who charge considerable money for their services.

"Many people are delighted to find their ancestors fought in the Revolution while others are not so proud of their ancestors once they have been traced," Mr. Fee laughingly said to the Citizen.

The greatest work in genealogical research was with respect to the Acadian (corrected, thanks to DWP) and early French settlers it was stated.


DWP said...

"The greatest work in genealogical research was with respect to the Arcadian and early French settlers it was stated."
For persons not familiar with the history and geography of what later became part of eastern Canada, it may be helpful to know that
Acadia, not
Arcadia, was intended here.

GW said...

Thank you for posting this interesting item on former employees of the then Public Archives of Canada. Your readers may be interested to learn that these three individuals were tirelessly devoted and dedicated to serving the public over a long period of time. Francis-Joseph Audet (1867-1943)was first employed in 1888 in the Secretary of State Department with the Keeper of the Records. Records and personnel were transferred to the Archives in 1904, and Mr. Audet remained in harness until he retired on 1 March 1939; he was named Archivist Emeritus in recognition of his long service. His 51 years as a public servant was eclipsed by Norman Fee (1889-1973). He joined the Archives Branch when it still part of the Department of Agriculture in 1907 and retired in 1964! Both men assumed a variety of responsibilities during their long careers with the Archives. Magdalena Casey (1866/67-1933) entered the public service in the early 1890s and found her way to the Archives several years later. She served as librarian for several decades and would have continued if her position had not been abolished in June 1932. All three were dedicated employees, all three were devoted to serving the public, all three have been sadly forgotten ... so thank you again for your blog.