In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Exploring local history

My search for more about the history of McNutt's Island took me to The Shelburne County Archives and Genealogical Society. It's above the fire station and the offices of the Shelburne Town Hall, on Water Street.Inside is a large and comfortable space, with plenty of room to work. During the summer the archive is open all week, but after that it's only open on Wednesdays.
It is a repository of primary and secondary sources. It would take many Wednesdays to become familiar with all that is here.

The SCA & GS has published a veritable library of excellent local history resources, which can be ordered through its online bookstore. Most recent publications include the transcription of Captain William Booth's Remarks and Rough Memorandums, a fascinating, often snarky, diary of life in the tumultuous days of Shelburne's beginnings; and Founders of Shelburne, an impressive summary of what's known about more than two hundred early Shelburnians who remained here after the Loyalist tsunami receded.
Kim Robertson Walker is the genealogical society's archivist, and encourager in chief. One Wednesday when Kim was in Halifax I was helped by two knowledgable and dedicated volunteers, Wally Buchanan and Laura Nicoll. On another Wednesday Kim took phone calls from people all over Canada and the U.S. who were seeking information about their ancestors.
As Wally explained to me, when ten thousand people pass through a place in a brief time, it means that two centuries later there are lots of far-flung descendants curious about that chapter in their ancestors' lives.

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