Sunday, June 19, 2011

Promises I have made...

I can see, glancing over the last few posts on this blog, that I have made a few promises I have not yet fulfilled:
I have said I will tell you how to look for members of your French-Canadian families who might have come west by other means than the traditional fur trade of the North West Company;
I will speak of researching your HBC ancestors, from biographical sheets downloaded from the Hudson's Bay Archives site, through Lists of employees found in various places, and by reading the post journals of the places where your ancestor might have worked.
As you already know, when I talked about the men who worked at Fort Alexandria under Alexander Caulfield Anderson, I got a lot of interest from descendants of various people I mentioned.

I have also said I am prepared to write about some of the genetic diseases which might tie families together.
That will be an interesting project, but will include a lot of speculation -- at least in my family tree.
I have quite an interesting group of illnesses to speak of, and some fairly dysfunctional people in my tree.
It'll be fun.
I'll try to fulfill these promises over the next few weeks.

I have lots of news for you....

I didn't post last week, as you will have noticed -- I have been so busy.
Firstly, I had a meeting with the managing editor, the editor who is actually putting the book together, and the illustrator -- and so have had lots of work to do for these three people.
That work is done, except that I have to write a paragraph or two to get Charlot Birnie's photograph into the manuscript.
I also must finish the captions for the photographs that I know are going into the manuscript.
I think there are about sixty illustrations -- that's a lot!
Some of them are archival photographs; some are photos of items that are in the Royal British Columbia Museum collections -- other illustrations come from personal collections in Washington state and in England and have never been made public before!
It's very exciting!

Some images I have collected cannot be used because their lines are so fine and delicate they won't show.
But we have found good substitutes for those difficult images.
It's amazing how much negotiating, discussion, and researching goes into illustrating a book!
When you choose illustrations you have to keep in mind many things -- the quality of the paper, the size of the page, and how much the illustration has to be reduced!
I think I could write a book on publishing a book, from the perspective of a first-time author -- but I don't think I have time.

At this meeting I learned the publisher has decided that though many of the illustrations will be black and white (they are, after all, black and white photographs), some of them will be in colour.
So it will not be entirely a black and white book, and that might change its price -- be warned.
Anderson's rarely seen drawing of the Kamloops post will be in colour, as will be his paintings of the lower Fraser River -- yes, Anderson was a watercolorist, too.
There will be images to amaze and delight, and I am happy to be the person who brings them to you.

I have been asked when the e-book will be available, and now have the answer.
It is planned that it is published about a month after the publication of the book, or as soon as everything is loaded on and working properly.
E-books can load in a jumble, and the publishers' supplier has been having some problems that hopefully will be fixed by the time it's my books turn.

Oh, and on the subject of computer problems -- I wrote the book in Windows XP which had whatever version of Word was running ten years ago.
That computer crashed almost immediately after I got the manuscript sent to publisher, and any corrections or editing, on my part at least, have been done in Word Seven.
My editor's Word doesn't like my Word, so there have been problems with getting the end-notes to behave -- as you know, Word likes to CONTROL.
And then we need to insert some things after the manuscript, but before the end-notes, and Word is again objecting....
That's not my problem, but I think my editor has been tearing her hair just a little bit.

The illustrator uses a MAC that doesn't communicate with my computer, but I know my way around that -- my long-distance cousin Virginia has the same problem.
The illustrator has to draw the maps that show the four explorations and the two brigade trails, and she hasn't even read the book.
She'll draw a map that covers the territory and send it to me.
I will print it out six times, and on each separate map draw one exploration, or one brigade trail.
Then she gets to put them all together on one map!
It's not as easy as it sounds.

I think she also gets to put the book together, and she will place, at the front of each chapter, decorative pieces of Anderson's maps....
I am overjoyed, to say the least, and cannot wait to see the finished book.

Other exciting events are interfering with whatever spare time I have.
I signed up with Hope Mountain to hike up the part of the brigade trail they are travelling this year.
It's a steep section of the trail behind Hope, and they warn to be prepared for severe mountain conditions and to wear good hiking boots and use poles and if you have bad knees, consider how you are going to get down the steep trail.
My knees are fine, my feet a little iffy but I have good boots, so I think I'm okay.

"Holy Crumbs!" the man in charge wrote me, and offered me a chance to lead a group that was hiking the Snass Creek trail that Anderson followed to the top of the Coquihalla in 1846.
I'd love to do it; I want to hike that trail to the top of the plateau and look for Anderson's Tree, which can no longer exist.....
But I hope to reserve the trip for next summer, and will discuss with them how best to do that.
The best time of year would be the first week in June, when we can also visit the grove of California Rhododendrons and see them in bloom.....
But I think that's early in the season for Hope Mountain.

So, as you see, lots of exciting things are happening.
Book launches are being planned -- the Heritage House book fall book launch (for all their authors) is held at British Columbia Museum and is quite a social event.
Everyone dresses up! I attended in jeans last year and felt quite out of place.
So if you want to attend that one, dress up.
We have a separate book launch planned by the publisher's Marketing Dept and I will find out when it is prepared.
We are finalizing book reviewers, and choosing people who will read the book and submit cover quotes.
I am approaching book stores that know me (there are a few in Victoria) and will encourage them to carry the book when its published.
And I still have to manufacture the index for the book -- that, too, will take time I don't really have.
As you can see, there is plenty happening, and some of these events will prevent me from making my regular entries in this blog.
Please be patient with me when I seem to "disappear" for short times over the coming summer.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

More researching your fur trade ancestors

This post will be a little dry, but some of you can use this to find information that might be stored in an archives or library on the other side of the country.
In Canada, archives are hooked together through Library and Archives Canada, and by searching in their search engine you can find papers in any archives or library in Canada.
The library and archives website is (and take note that there is a large genealogical section of that archives you may want to access).
The search engine that accesses all the Canadian archives and libraries is called Amicus, or the Canadian National Catalogue.
Its free, and they say "easy to use." (I always have trouble with these big databases, however).
There are 30 million records from 1,300 Canadian libraries including LAC (Library and Archives Canada).
You will have to sign up -- I used Amicus a few years ago and have both a username and a Password.

The same, too, exists in the United States.
You can search most, if not all, archives through the Library of Congress, by using the National Union Catalogue of Manuscript Collections.
It's amazing what you can find in there -- for example I located Anderson's "Historical Notes on the commerce of the Columbia River, 1824 to 1848."
By the time I located it, I already had a copy of the manuscript -- I had found it listed in the back of a book about American ships trading on the northwest coast.
But I found other manuscripts of interest in here, and ordered them.
It is unlikely that I would have found these documents if I had just visited various archives -- I would never have thought of looking where I found these documents.
So I am very happy I did my search through the NUCMC/RLG catalogue (which was what it was called in the days I was looking).
I don't think those phrases work anymore -- try National Union Catalogue of Manuscript Collections or go directly to Library of Congress.

I suggest that you search these two massive catalogues by using your ancestors' name, but also try things like "North West Company" or "voyageurs contracts."
You will learn all the other phrases to use -- I used to know a lot of them but now don't remember.

Sometimes you find document by chance, by googling.
I was doing a search for an Aussie connection who had found that one of his family members had joined the fur trade in late 1700's and was at Mackinac.
I found his ancestor, but while I was looking I fell upon another internet list of voyageurs, called "Michigan Voyageurs, From the Notary Book of Samuel Abbott, Mackinac Island, 1807-1817."
This 11 page list of voyageurs at Mackinac Island is found at
Notary books are a valuable resource, as all Voyageur contracts were signed by a notary.
(So maybe "Notary Books" is a good thing to search for in the above named collections, or try googling "Notary books" and see what turns up.)

There are some Beaulieus on this list of voyageurs, by the way:
This list starts off with the date, the name of the voyageur, who he worked for, and where he wintered.
Here's an example of the first few:
June [1807]
7; Baptiste Dudoiu; Etienne Lamarandiere; P. Callinasea
10; Benjamin Cadotte; Francois Fenier; Mississippi

So, lets look for the Beaulieu brothers here, now that I have this document in hand:
In June 1807, Pierre Bolieu worked for Lacroise & Lemoine, and wintered in Illinois; by that time "our Beaulieu" was making his way across the Rocky Mountains with David Thompson.
July 4, Louis Rondeau worked for Robert Dickson & Co. and wintered at Fond du Lac. This might be Joseph Rondeaus father and a member of our extended family.
Pierre Rondeau worked for the Mackinac Company and expected to winter in the North.
In June 1809 Pierre Rondeau signed on with Cadotte & Co. to winter in Lac Courte Oreille.
Paul Beaulieu signed up with Mackinac Co. and wintered at Lac Courte Oreille. I suspect this was one of the Hudon dit Beaulieus.
In 1810, Bazile Beaulieu signed up with Mackinac Co. and worked at Lac Flambeaux -- this is definitely a Hudon dit Beaulieu.
Paul Beaulieu signed up in 1810 with Mackinac Co. and wintered at le Folie Avoine.
In 1816, Jean B. Belliuh? worked for w.H. Putuff at Michilimackinac. He will be a Beaulieu -- not ours, of course.

At last I found the name of the man I was searching for, for my long distance relative.
In June 1807, Dr. David Mitchell signed up voyageur Michel Francocier for the Mississippi.
Dr. David Mitchell, fur trader, is in our very extended family.
He is a descendent of the Andersons but not the Anderson-Setons, and his uncle was Dr. James Anderson of Madras, who is in our family tree and a close relative of Dr. James Anderson, LLD -- my great grandfather's grandfather.
There are also Ermatingers on this list; Charles Ermatinger who hired voyageurs for the trade on Lake Superior in 1808; in 1810 David Mitchell hires Thomas Gutherie for Michilimackinac; in 1817 Ramsey Crooks is the only person hiring any voyageurs at all.
In case you don't know, if you have read any of Governor George Simpson's correspondence, Ramsay Crooks becomes a very familiar name, and I learned from Eric Jay Dolin's Fur, fortune and Empire: the epic History of the Fur Trade in America, that Ramsay Crook was a very big name in the early fur trade.

You can always find something new to look up, though I am not sure I learned anything from this list. I hope it helps you in your search, and I hope you discover something of interest in the archives search engines. Good luck.

Good morning, everyone

I am back, and am bearing good news of my excitement about the book: The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson's Journeys in the West!
Yes, the title has changed -- I knew it would.
I'll tell you why.

It took me a little while to get used to the title, but friends and relatives tell me they like it.
My working title supported my thesis -- the theme of my book.
But working titles are just working titles, and the publisher always knows the market better than the writer (We each have our own area of expertise, I guess.)
"The Pathfinder" speaks of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's accomplishments, which were many; my title spoke of his struggles.
"A.C.Anderson" instead of "Alexander Caulfield Anderson" did concern me -- to historians that is who he is -- Alexander Caulfield Anderson.
But it's a mouthful of a name, and A.C. Anderson may be easier for the reader to remember.
If he was alive today, Alexander Caulfield Anderson would be a little offended -- in his mind he was "Alex. C. Anderson" and that was as shortened as a gentleman like him would allow his name to be.

"In the West" sounded too vague, but if we say "in British Columbia," it limits to book to sales in British Columbia.
This book will sell in Washington state -- at least three or four chapters take place in what was Oregon Territory or the early years of Washington Territory.
Anderson spent a year or so at Fort Nisqually: he was in charge of Fort Colvile for two years or so.
Then he went to Fort Vancouver and worked under John Ballenden during the critical years when the fur trade suffered great losses -- at least in Fort Vancouver.
Anderson retired to Cathlamet, on the north bank of the Columbia River, until 1858 when he was tempted north to Fort Victoria.
So there is lots to say about the Oregon Territory here, and lots to relate about the early history of Washington.
The book will sell in Alberta, too, because one chapter touches on an interesting piece of fur trade history in Alberta.
And it will sell in Australia and New Zealand, to the many descendants of Anderson who live there.

The book will sell for about $20.00 in Canada.
For a while I thought that was cheap -- then I realized that was about the same price as Jack Nisbet's first book Sources of the River: Tracking David Thompson across Western North America.
So, I feel like I am in good company.
Like Nisbet's first book, mine is an introduction to the man and I have more books to write about Anderson.

If you have Jack Nisbet's book on your bookshelves, mine will be about the same size.
Mine will have more illustrations, though -- there are some fantastic archival photos that show the ruggedness of the country before anyone farmed or settled it.
These illustrations will show the original landscape before governments built railways and highways through it.
It's been a lot of fun going through the photo collections held by the B.C Archives (something I did years ago).
I found some great photos, but I don't know whether all will be used.

E-books will cost about $12.00, and from that price you can guess how much it costs the publisher to print and ship each book.
I don't however know if the ebook will come out at the same time as the real book. I don't know where you buy your ebooks, but you will know.
From the price above, I can understand why so many people are reading ebooks.

I have spent the last few weeks in doing a final read of my manuscript, and correcting the few errors the publishers' editor made.
She caught one or two of mine -- I think I said at one point that James Douglas was dead when he was still alive, but retired from his governorship.
She caught that error and corrected it.
And I caught one or two of hers -- but how could she know that the London ship would never sail to Japan????
It's fascinating what a collaborative effort editing a book is!

An aside: I hope you are now wondering how Japan figures into this book!
It most definitely does -- and I am not revealing the secret.
You'll have to buy the book to find the answer.

The next thing I have to do is write the captions for the photos we are actually using in the book.
I have searched the manuscript to see if the editor has removed anything important -- an important statement that I can put back in as a caption for a photo!
Because I have some details that did not make it into the finished book, I have captions that will delight and surprise.

The cover design of the book is wonderful -- I love it!
You can view it on the Heritage House website, and maybe the new Heritage Group catalogue is out too.
I am now working with the Heritage Group marketer, setting up a webpage for myself and planning a book launch in the fall.
I am planning book reviews and asking for cover quotes -- well, actually, the publisher much of that.
I am trying to learn how to promote the book at Fur Trade Colloquiums -- I am looking for people who might announce the publication of this book in their newsletters (far too late for The Okanagan Historical Society who has already planned their 2011 issue -- wait till next year.)
The publisher feels this book will be suitable for an academic audience -- that's a surprise to me but I guess it shouldn't be.
After all, its the academics and historians who know who Alexander Caulfield Anderson is.
They know why he is so important in British Columbia and fur trade history.

I am researching book prizes, too -- the Holberg Prize, for example, is given by the Norwegian parliament and its an enormous prize!
The Commonwealth Writers' Prize is $16,000!
No, I won't win either of those, but I am confident I will win some of the local or British Columbia book prizes.

Well, its exciting times, and scary times, too.
My work load is lighter these next few weeks -- it will get heavier again when I receive the finished book in PDF format and have to figure out how to do the index!
Then learn powerpoint......
Learn how to speak in public without falling to pieces....
It's an exciting and scary world.

I would like to thank you long-time followers of this blog for your support and for the information you have shared with me.
I know from your questions and your shared information that I speak with real people!
Some of you I will meet when I get to your part of the world.
Thank you.