nova scotia, a genealogical journey

Posted by susan on August 1st, 2011. Filed under: getaways.

Until recently I couldn’t trace my family tree beyond a simple branch or two. My mom is Irish, and so am I, as she has always pridefully reinforced. On the other side though, my dad has been doing a lot of research to trace our history back to the first Forshner to make his way to this side of the pond, from Hesse Germany, before the Revolutionary War–Major Andrew Forshner.

Our recent Canada road trip–which included stops in Prince Edward Island, Halifax and St. Andrews–was kicked off with a genealogical exploration of historical centers, museums, and experiences of our nautical heritage, in Pugwash and Wallace Bay, Nova Scotia.

Our very fist stop was the Cumberland County Genealogy Center in Amherst, Nova Scotia. While my dad had mapped our prime locations for this portion of the trip, the folks here were really helpful in connecting the dots. After collecting the details, we headed to Pugwash, settled into our bed and breakfast, Shillelagh Sheila’s Country Inn, and then grabbed a lovely seafood dinner on the water.

Pioneer Cemetery was the highlight. And thanks to our friends in Amherst, we learned that it was actually tucked away behind someone’s private backyard. Without them, we never would have found it.

Pugwash Pioneer Cemetery

Our goal was to find the headstone of Andrew Forshner, but as we scoured each and every headstone we discovered that much of our history lies in this very spot…

nova scotia cemetery

pugwash cemetert

Mike discovered the correct one after deciphering the worn writing on the giant table at the top of the cemetery.

genealogy travel

And we captured a rare moment. Three generations of Forshner’s: young, a little less young and newly discovered.

genealogy travel

Our visit to the cemetery was followed by a stop at the Cumberland County Museum near Wallace Bay, which is a place that’s worthy of its own post.

Wallace Bay, along with Pugwash, is incredibly rural, but beautiful. There isn’t a whole lot to do and see, but the opportunity to relax and immerse yourself in the culture – the way of the town –¬† is always around the corner.

This is the center of town.

downtown wallace bay

And it is flanked by remnants of a once thriving boat-building industry and the currently thriving industries of fishing and farming.

wallace bay harbor

wallace bay lobster

harbor photo wallace bay

wallace bay

Not just learning about history and culture, but being immersed in it, are things that have always, and will always, keep me traveling. But when that history and culture is my own – it’s a whole different experience.

Have you ever traveled in search of your genealogical history?

What’s your story?

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