NBGS Miramichi Helping Visitors Search their Roots

by Denver Matchett

Continuing an annual tradition, the Miramichi Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society (NBGS Miramichi) took part in Canada’s Irish Festival on the Miramichi. Volunteers set up a Research Room at the Rodd Miramichi River Hotel, and over two days they assisted the many people who attended with tips and tricks in finding their genealogical roots.

The entire conference room was filled with tables showcasing the impressive collection of books and records, which includes information from census’s, cemetery records and newspaper clippings dating back to the 1800’s, along with a variety of books. The mass of invaluable information is key in aiding those seeking to trace their genealogical roots.
From Alabama, to Western Canada, to Vietnam, and many points in between, visitors dropped in to view the collection. All were amazed by the beauty of the region. Some were enthusiastic to share what they had learned over the years of tracing their very own genealogical roots – including one who had traced their roots back to royalty!

On Saturday afternoon, a workshop was held for those who are new to the field of genealogy, and for those who are most curious about their roots. The workshop, entitled Tracing Your Roots – Lessons We’ve Learned, was hosted by Faye Baisley and Dianne Mullin. The workshop was highly beneficial and greatly enjoyed by the dedicated group who attended.
The Genealogy society’s involvement played just a small role in one of the largest festival’s in New Brunswick. People of all ages enjoyed live music and activities at Waterford Green throughout the weekend, while thousands showed up for evening pubs on Friday and Saturday evenings. The cultural celebration is an annual tradition that continues to grow every year, and the Miramichi Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogy Society is proud to continue to be part of the festival every year!

Summer student Denver Matchett conducted an interview with Mike Rediker who travelled from Birmingham, Alabama to trace his family roots.

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Above: Mike Rediker (left) from Alabama, gets help from NBGS Miramichi volunteers to research his genealogical roots during Canada’s Irish Festival on the Miramichi.

What Brings You to Miramichi?
Mike: “Genealogical family root tracing.”

Is this your first trip to Miramichi?
Mike: “Yes it is. It’s beautiful. The river is spectacular.”

Who were some of your ancestors from this area?
Mike: “The first settler or oldest arrival that I have is Charlotte Taylor and her second husband Captain John Blake.”

When did your family move to Alabama?
Mike: “My family on my mother’s side has been in the United States since 1619 at Jamestown and they migrated from Virginia to Maryland to South Carolina, Tennessee, then Alabama. On my father’s side they went from New Brunswick to Fort Fairfield, Maine to Minnesota. My father came south when he was working for the United States Steel Corporation which had a big plant in Birmingham, and he met my mother. So North and South joined then in 1938.”

What are some significant pieces of genealogical information you have found?
Mike: “I have found two of my ancestors came to New Brunswick in 1783 as a result of the British Fleet coming from New York. One was a Scot Duncan McCray, and the other was a German farmer from New Jersey, who had been in the New Jersey volunteers, and they were offered land grants here in New Brunswick in the 1780’s. Then later, John Rediker moved into Maine with his offspring, but the McCray side merged with the Blake side here in Miramichi.”

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About the Miramichi Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society

Formed in 1991, NBGS Miramichi has “a constitutional mandate to promote the collection, preservation and accessibility of genealogical and heritage records through projects pertaining to genealogy and heritage.”
With 153 members spanning 3 countries, 8 provinces, and 20 US states, the group has a very diverse membership intrigued by tracing their genealogical roots.
Meetings are held on the 4th Tuesday of every month (excluding June, July, August and December) at the Chatham Public Library at 6:15pm, and guests are welcome at all meetings. The next meeting is Tuesday September 24th.
Membership in NBGS-Miramichi is $40 a year and gives you full access to the website, a copy of the groups newsletter and a copy of the provincial genealogy magazine, Generations. You can also access their private library held at the Chatham Public Library which contains all of their published books of census, cemetery transcriptions, obituary collections, church records, vital stats from local newspapers and several family histories as well as local books of genealogy and history.
For more information on the society and how to join, please visit our website at www.NBGSMiramichi.org

This article was first featured in the 2019 Early Fall Issue of the Giv’er Miramichi Magazine!

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