If you are interested in genealogy, the Yorkton branch of the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society is interested in you! The group will be holding their first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the History Room at the Yorkton Public Library. Special guest speaker will be Mary Ann Yanke speaking about a recent trip to Europe and family information. Whether you are just beginning your genealogy research or are well on your way, you are invited to attend! New members are always welcome!
Researching the location of family is often very important to filling in gaps about your family tree. If Uncle Fred and Uncle Joe and Uncle Bill all moved away from their home town in a short space of time, it is interesting to research why. Were there better job opportunities elsewhere? Or did the local opportunities fade away for some reason? This information helps to make family migration a little more clear.
There are many interesting books with history about various communities in Saskatchewan, but an especially fascinating one is “Our Towns: Saskatchewan Communities from Abbey to Zenon Park” by David McLennan. It can be a valuable resource as you go back in time for information about your family.
Thumbing through the book helps to reveal a pattern about how communities began prospered, and sadly, how many faded away. Much growth and demise had to do with the railway and the elevators.
Take, for instance, the hamlet of Doremy, north of Wakaw. The construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway made the entire location of the hamlet shift by two miles. By 1965, five elevators were still serving the community, but as they came down, the community began to decline as well. It ceased being a village in 2006.
Insinger was named after Frederik Robert Insinger, a Dutch settler, who homesteaded near Willowbrook. With the railway running from Yorkton to Sheho in 1903, the little village began to thrive. From the ‘30’s to the 60’s, Insinger grew and had a number of businesses, a hotel, a post office, churches and a school. But in the 60’s the town began to slowly go downhill, businesses began to close in the 80’s, and the two elevators came down in 1999. The village of Insinger dissolved in 2003 and became a hamlet.
The book “Our Towns” describes “one of the most dramatic stories of decline in the province” while describing Forget. A flourishing community with businesses, a bank, and a local paper, Forget suffered greatly during the Depression, and never recovered. The closure of St. Joseph’s Academy, then the public school, the last grain elevator, and the abandonment of the railway in 1990 were the final blows. But the spirit of little Forget still glows, with weekly church services in the Church of Our Lady of Salette, and a lively arts community.
Every family has a story: discover yours with the Yorkton branch of the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society! For more information call Glenn at 782-7969 or Dave at 783-1093.