Showing posts with label Montreal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Montreal. Show all posts

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Memories of Expo 67 on Canada Day

The first time I visited Montreal was as a student taking a school trip to Expo 67 during Canada's centennial. Here's the guide book, saved all these years and in good shape!

By 1967, I was a young veteran of giant expositions like this, having visited the New York World's Fair in 1964 and 1965 at least a dozen times. My father, a travel agent, received complimentary entrance tickets. All we had to do was hop the subway from the Bronx to Queens with family or friends, carrying pocket money for sodas and snacks. Lots of fond memories!

So when the Expo 67 trip was announced, I was ready for the adventure. And it was an adventure, starting with the first day. After a long, long bus ride from the Bronx to Montreal, we arrived at what was supposed to be a brand new motel, built to accommodate Expo visitors.

I'll never forget teetering off one of the two buses and staring at the motel building, which had walls and a roof, but not much else. It was dusk, and our group was standing at what was clearly a construction site. The motel simply didn't get finished in time, and we had no place to sleep for four nights.

Somebody scrambled to make other arrangements, and after a delay, we wound up in a different, newly-built motel far, far away from the expo itself. But at least we were in Montreal! The Expo exhibits were fascinating and sometimes futuristic, the fair food was fun, and we had stories to tell when we returned home. Plus souvenirs like this guide book.

Happy Canada Day, and happy 150th to a special country.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, Week 9: My Aha Moment While Digitizing Daisy's Album


Sometimes the first time I see a document or photo, I don't understand what I'm seeing. But later, with more info or more context, the fog clears and it becomes clear why that photo or letter is important.

This photo is a case in point. I'm organizing, inventorying, and digitizing old family photos as part of week 9 of the do-over process. And I had an aha! moment just today.

This photo is in an album started by my Mom, Daisy Schwartz, after she became engaged to marry my Dad, Harry Burk. In July, 1947, the newly-married couple took a trip to Montreal, returning with more than a dozen black-and-white photos of people and places.

Years ago, when I originally saw this photo in Mom's album, I didn't know the significance of the caption: "Cuthbert St. - Montreal."

But since I learned last year that Dad had an Uncle Abraham, Aunt Anna, and four first cousins in Montreal, photos from this trip took on new meaning.

In researching Aunt Anna, I recently located her 1948 obituary, which mentions that her oldest son lived on Cuthbert Street in Montreal. Aha! That little detail puts the significance of this photo and its caption in a new light.

Thanks to the do-over, I'm finding more connections between people, places, and events that I didn't originally know were connected!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Quebec Area Ancestors? Use the Drouin Collection!

Last night's local genealogy club program was all about researching ancestors in Quebec province. My Uncle Sidney Burk was born in Montreal and lived there for less than a year--that's the entire extent of my Quebec-area ancestry, or so I thought.

On the recommendation of the speaker, I clicked to the Drouin Collection of Quebec vital records to find Sidney's actual birth record. Here's the direct link to the Drouin Collection's gateway on Ancestry. I clicked on "Quebec Vital & Church Records," then typed "S. Berk," "1914," and "Montreal." In an instant, the search put somebody named "Samuel B. Berk" at the top of the results. 

Samuel B. Berk's 1914 birth record (Sidney Burk in New York)
Even though I'd never heard of Samuel Berk, I clicked anyway--and there was my uncle, with the name given to him at birth, as registered with Congregation Tifereth Israel in Montreal. Parents shown are Isaac Berk (changed to Burk in NY) and his wife, Hereitta Maller (really Henrietta Mahler). Isn't it lucky that maiden names are shown in these handwritten records!

Lily Berk marriage record from June 7, 1931
On Isaac Burk's border crossing record from 1915, he listed his brother as the nearest relative in Canada: Abraham Berk of 431 Mt. Royal Ave., Montreal.

AND there was a marriage entry for "Lily Berk" in the Drouin search results, so I clicked. As you can see here, she's the Montreal-born daughter of Abraham Berk and Annie Horovitz, marrying Polish-born Joseph Goldberg (Farber). Both bride and groom lived at 66 Bagg Ave. in Montreal in 1931, when they were married. This address is less than one mile away from Mt. Royal Ave.

More Drouin research is in my future!