Tuesday, 5 February 2013


I have been absent from my blog for the past six months due to a broken wrist and the resulting surgery and physiotherapy but just before my accident I began collaborating with my first cousin once removed Patricia Blaney Koretchuk on a family story.

Pat is the daughter of my grandmother Elizabeth Blaney's brother, Stanley Blaney. We have kept in touch sporadically during our lives although we have lived 3000 miles apart for the past sixty years. We have seen each other a few times in the past ten years and in the past couple of years we have particularly shared our love of family stories and their relevance to our understanding of our family.

Pat is a former teacher and vice-principal, now retired and an experienced writer of biographies. She has written and published a biography (Chasing the Comet:A Scottish-Canadian Life), published some of her poetry and written many family stories including those of her mother, a favourite uncle and others.
She has done a large number of interviews with family members over the years and I have done a good amount of family history research, so with the help of email and long distance telephone conversations, we decided to collaborate on the story of Harry Blaney. He was my great-grandfather and Pat’s grandfather.

Pat has a collection of Canadian family interviews, bed-time stories from her parents and conversations with relatives in England during her visits there to draw from. I have research documents relating to his life such as birth, marriage and death registrations as well as census records. I also have my grandmother’s personal papers and family photographs. In my next post, I will introduce Pat as a guest writer by publishing Harry Blaney’s story. 

Pat gives us a story that provides an interesting and balanced look at Harry’s character, personality and lifestyle. I have been able to confirm most of the information from my research documents as well as my grandmother’s journals and poems regarding her relationship with her beloved father. 

The documents show that there is a conflict in his age at the time he married. In the marriage registration document, his age and that of his bride, Jane Elcocks is stated as several years older than their age shown in all the other available documentation including four census reports as well as his birth and death registration. Perhaps they had a reason for overstating their age at the time.

Pat has included many anecdotes and I have added a couple of my grandmother’s photos to illustrate the story.

We are currently finalizing our document and I hope to post it soon. We are enjoying working together on this project and we hope Harry’s descendants will enjoy the story and gain some additional insights in to our family history. Perhaps someone will come forward with additional information about him or another point of view. If so we will welcome their input.