Karen Small, Coordinator


I am one of seven children, born and raised at Grand Manan; and moved to White Head 39 years ago when I married my high school sweetie. I am a housewife, book keeper and mom to three, grand mom to seven.

My interest in genealogy started when my eldest child had to do a family tree as a school project. This piqued my interest a bit and I dabbled at my own lineage which took me to Nova Scotia. My hubbies' family again saw me headed to Nova Scotia and Campobello. It seemed that the more questions I asked . .  the more I had to ask.  A thirst for knowledge grew by leaps and bounds until it became apparent to my children that I was "possessed". What was a small dining room had to be made over to accommodate all the books, boxes, films, papers and of course the newest in electronic toys.

Instead of being the person asking  the questions  I was now  being asked for answers.  This led to transcribing cemetery stones, making personal interviews with oldsters, and accumulating data, books, cds, visiting archives, reading films for others. I loved it!! Little did I realize that one school project would turn out to be such a rewarding life for me.

As one who has both a love for island history and genealogy, I was dismayed to see the state of some of the local  cemeteries so this was my next project:  restoring and maintaining our local cemetery to a respectful level. Six gals and I spearheaded a campaign to raise funds for necessary work. This work reflects the efforts of a whole community desirous of giving the the final resting place a place of honour. Another project which has taken over my life is the documenting of ALL those who died at Grand Manan from late 1700's to present day.   I have taken courses sponsered by the Provincial Archives and worked, for a time, as volunteer archivist at the Grand Manan Museum.

With the co-operation of a dear friend in Maine who has read films, vitals we have been able to, not only document the deaths, but also put a human face and family relationship to those who called Grand Manan home. To date over 4,000 persons are listed [still editing :)] Other projects in the works include, lighthouses and their keepers, marriages, newspaper articles relating to Grand Manan and the list goes on....

Along the way I encountered many dear and knowledgeable persons . . . a dear old lady named Marcia has been my mentor, answer gal and best friend. Another named Vernon  has dug faithfully at archives in Nova Scotia to ferret out any and all materials related to my family. Both of these did so out of kindness, and a willingness to share without recompense.

As the years went by I discovered many cousins from around the world all seeking answers and most willing to share their "finds". These contacts have added  greatly to my database and hopefully  I have to theirs. It is my hope that by sharing with others I can, in some way, repay the generosity of all who have greatly aided in my search for answers.