In “I don’t seem to exist” of June 10, I wrote of some of the problems I’m having trying to track my father.
As I wrote, the St Catharines Standard had a large hole in their online archives that neatly covered the period I’m interested in. I contacted the Standard and was eventually told they don’t have any archives. Excuse me? You’re a newspaper and you don’t have copies of past issues? They did suggest I try the St Catharines Public Library. Contacted them and yes, they do indeed have copies of the Standard on microfilm. So, in mid-July I’m making a trip to St Catharines.
While I was waiting to hear from various people in St Catharines, I decided to check the archives of the Hamilton Spectator, since Hamilton is not only where I was born but is the largest city on or near the Niagara Peninsula. That was a wasted effort because when you try to check their birth and death records, they link you to Ancestry, which has so far not proven helpful.
The library did suggest I check the website for Victoria Lawn Cemetery in St Catharines, which is the largest cemetery in the city. Again, they have no record of anyone with my father’s name being interred there. Of course, if he was born in Nova Scotia, he may have been buried there as well.
I contacted the Salvation Army, since I’d been born in the Salvation Army hospital in Hamilton. Their reply was “I am sorry, but we do not have any records for the institution at all.” I could probably ask them for a document signed by General Booth himself and get it no problem, but they don’t have records from 1944.
Earlier today, I had a thought. My family doctor is also a coroner for the City of Oshawa. Tuesday, after the long weekend, I’m going to contact him. As coroner, he may have some insight on where records from closed hospitals might end up.
I’m not one to be paranoid, but with this amazing lack of information from any source either my son or myself can think of on my father, it kind of makes me wonder what the hell is going on? Is it that he managed to keep himself hidden that well? As I said to my neighbour, this makes me wonder just what my father was up to. Her reply was “maybe you don’t want to know”.
Cat (at least I think that’s who I am)