The Yorkton branch of the Sask-atchewan Genealogy Society will be holding their first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, September 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Yorkton Public Library. New members are always welcome; whether you are just thinking about researching your family tree and don’t know where to begin or whether you have started delving into your family history and want to know about new avenues to explore, the Yorkton Genealogy group can help! Research becomes a fascinating adventure, made even more interesting when you hear about and share the experiences of other genealogy time travellers. For more information call Dave at (306)783-1093 or Glenn at (306) 782-7969.
For families who had relatives who served in the forces, one site to check is Veterans Affairs at www.veterans.gc.ca. This site has a lot of information about Canadians who served overseas. Another site to check is Archives Canada (www.archivescanada.ca) which can provide a wealth of information. Their site says “In homes, schools and libraries across Canada, people are looking for evidence of what it means to be a Canadian. Archives Canada is a gateway to archival resources found in over 800 repositories across Canada — it’s your gateway to Canada’s collective memory!”
The “collective memory” of the nation’s veterans were likely all focused on Eastend, Saskatchewan recently, as one of their comrades in arms, Pte. 1st Class Lawrence Gordon, was finally laid to rest in Canadian soil.
It’s the kind of story that would be a challenge to genealogists. Lawrence Gordon grew up in the very south of the province, worked in the United States, and later joined the United States Army. During World War II, he was stationed in France. As the battle raged, young Gordon’s unit was attacked by German tank fire. All 44 men in his unit were killed. But now the mystery begins: only 43 bodies were recovered. Everyone assumed that Gordon had been killed. But where was Lawrence Gordon?
The puzzle took seventy years to solve. When certain war records were finally declassified, Gordon’s family discovered that Lawrence had been buried in a German cemetery in France. After DNA tests with Gordon’s living relatives, and his identity at last confirmed, Lawrence Gordon finally came home, seventy years after his death. His body was laid to rest in Eastend on August 13, 2014.
What does this particular example teach genealogists? This story shows the various convolutions that genealogy research can often take. It also shows that persistence is key in genealogy research. Family records might have stopped in 1944 when word of the demise of Lawrence Gordon’s unit would have reached Canada. Missing and “presumed dead” were words that would have made many grieving families close the chapter on their fallen loved one. But determination to find an answer finally allowed a young fallen soldier to find repose on the beautiful, windswept prairie that he once called home.
The beautiful, moving song “Bring Him Home” is a signature piece for the famous Canadian tenor Michael Burgess who played Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables”. The words fit for any family who has a son or daughter in the forces. “He is young, He’s afraid, Let him rest, Heaven blessed. Bring him home, Bring him home, Bring him home.”
Now, Lawrence Gordon is home, and his family can find satisfaction in the fact that they found an answer in their missing genealogy.
Every family has a story: discover yours with the Yorkton branch of the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society. First meeting is on Tuesday, September 9, at 7:00 p.m. in the Yorkton Public Library.