Land of Hope and Dreams – Frank and Bernice Sklapsky

Well, my ship came in. As mentioned in my previous post Good News I received permission to reprint sections from the book “Land of Hope and Dreams – A History of Grimshaw and Districts”.  The permission came from one of the directors of the now defunct Society and with it comes the ability to post articles from other families as well.

I have started with the Sklapskys, Frank and Bernice, with an article Bernice (Grandma) wrote mentioning their early life in Grimshaw and area. The article is called Land of Hope and Dreams – Frank and Bernice Sklapsky, and has been reproduced and is posted under the “Family Info” menu item. I don’t know the time it was written but she wrote it after she had moved to live with her sister in White Rock. I’m estimating just prior to 1980, when the book was published.

Interestingly as I look at the inside jacket of the book I see a list of Historical Society members, many of the names that I recognize, names such as Diebert, Aspin, Smart, and Mowry.

Another photo in my ‘pile’ that I’ve noticed is of Frank and Bernice taken at what I think is their anniversary. Can anyone confirm and tell me which anniversary?

Frank and Bernice Sklapsky, at their anniversary
Frank and Bernice Sklapsky, at their anniversary

Coming Soon, to a Blog Near You

Hello again, I hope you are all keeping well.

I just got back a couple days ago from another trip to Kelowna, spending a few days there, bonding with the ‘fam’. You can read about some of it on my last post Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder. I’m constantly amazed how that little guy can affect me.

My focus over the last number of days, since I returned, has been in getting another memoir converted to a digital format for posting on this site. Prior to getting back onto the road I was in touch with Linda Holben-Ducharme (daughter of Pearl Sklapsky-Holben). Linda has graciously allowed me to extract her Mom’s memoir from her book “The Sklapsky Saga – The History of a Family”. The book covers much of the early Sklapsky family history, spanning the early 1800’s to the 1900’s. There are a number of family trees in the book and stories of many of the family members.

One such entry was a memoir that Linda’s Mom wrote. Linda’s Mother is Pearl Sklapsky, the youngest of Frank Joseph Sklapsky Sr.’s 11 children. She relates about their life and covers their move from Michigan to Saskatchewan.

If you would like a copy of the book please contact Linda, she has copies available. You can reach her at lindadyucharme1946(at), and replace the (at) in the address with @ and put “Sklapsky Saga” in the subject line. You can also contact me and I can send you additional contact information.

Dad and Madden
Dad and Madden

I’m not sure why my current interest with family history but all I can hope is that some day this info will be of use to someone. I guess in many ways it already has, just gotta keep up the momentum.

Dad's new duds
Dad’s new duds

Totally unrelated (in a sense) was one of my visits with Dad. I took him to get some new jeans. He also picked out a stylin’ hoodie. I just thought he looked cute and thought I’d share.

Changes coming ……..

Since I developed this site I have been pondering some possibilities, mulling over the various options to maintaining the privacy of individuals while still providing as much info and family history as possible. It seems to me the only real way is to provide a log-in and password to those who are interested. Access to the secure portion of the site would give those individuals the ability to see more in-depth family history and at the same time keep that same information private and away from the general public. The original, public, site would remain virtually untouched, it’s only if you wished to view the more sensitive data that you would have to log in.

As an example:

  • birthdates and other personal information could then be posted (if acceptable),
  • family member birthplaces or past residences could be shown. This refers primarily to those of the older generations who are deceased,
  • individual’s photos may be shown on the secure site, if that was acceptable,
  • other, more personal, information such as war history or service records,
  • noted life events.

Most of these points would only apply to those of the family we are researching, not generally the living.

So for any that are reading please let me know what you think. I may still contact any of you whose email address is known to me. Hopefully as summer winds down I’ll have more time to put into this project. I appreciate your input.

New “Old” Photos Added

Some progress has been made on the genealogy front with the addition of  new ‘old’ photos to the Photo Gallery. For those of you that are not aware of this feature you can click on the words “Photo Gallery” in the menu at the top of any of the website pages, in this case the Blog page. That will take you to the website location where all the photos are stored. There are Madden photos as well as Genealogy photos. As with the blog and website in general it is a dynamic site, that is the photos may change a bit over time, if I do some cataloging or adjustments to the pictures.

As I’ve mentioned before I got many photos from family that I’ve scanned and begun organizing. In some cases I’m not really sure who the family is in the picture, with that I’d like some help and feedback. Also some of the photos seen in this post may not (or may) be seen in the Photo Gallery yet.

In this case I know who this is in the photo below. I always have a warm feeling looking at old pics. Where the picture was taken I’m not sure.

Bernice (Grandma) Sklapsky and her sister Aunt Eleanor
Bernice (Grandma) Sklapsky and her sister, my Great-Aunt Eleanor (Renshaw)

Another photo I like is:

Sklapsky Family
Sklapsky Family – left to right: Audrey, Verla, George, Bernice, Lou, Dallas, and Gene kneeling

These folks I know. Unfortunately Aunt Muriel (Gale) is absent.

(Grandpa) Frank Sklapsky and ??
(Grandpa) Frank Sklapsky and ??

This one above is of course my Grandfather Frank, my Dad’s dad. I’m not sure who the young girl is.

I’ll put a few more in a collage below. Just click on the photos to enlarge.

This was only a fraction of the photos I’ve scanned. I will continue to add and update. I should also add I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on updating the family tree which includes Sklapsky, Reeves, Olsen and a number of others. I’m not sure how wide I’ll go at this time. This research is done and recorded online on a site called I’m not sure at this time how visible the site is to those who aren’t members of I’ll look into making it more widely visible.

As always any comments are appreciated.

Life Goes On …..

It’s been a quite some time since my last confession, that being the confession of my activities and reporting of such on this site. You are likely aware of that fact, that’s it’s been some time, if you’ve been following.

I’ve been away, camping to be precise, then home and frittering about the yard, and a quick trip to Kelowna to see Madden and family (or maybe should be Ayron and family??). At any rate I’ve been occupied. It is my plan to get some photos posted of those events, very soon I hope.

All that being said I’ve also spent a great deal of time (read that ‘hours’) on collecting and updating family history. Needless to say there is a ‘bunch’ of info on there and my challenge is controlling myself and researching only portions of the family history that seem to be most timely. What is most timely though, that IS the question.

On the family front I received a nice email and photo from Lawrence Renshaw a couple weeks ago. I apologize Lawrence for not getting to this sooner. I’ve also heard from Sandra and most recently from Walter and Polley, also family members from the Renshaw side. So to date I’ve got the attention of the Gale’s and the Renshaw’s, I’m seeing a definite shortage of Sklapsky’s speaking up, so please don’t be shy if you’re out there.

In the meantime here’s a couple photos to wet your whistle.

Visit with Noreen

I just got back with another visit from my cousin Noreen, she’s my first cousin 1x removed, on my paternal grandmother’s side. The only way I know the specifics is by using a genealogy program to tell me. I’m not that smart.

Noreen and Stewart
Noreen and Stewart

She and her husband Stewart are very accommodating and gracious hosts. Each time we visit we talk family and the history of such, and each time I have come away with more photos to scan. On my last visit, prior to this one, I went home with a bag and box of photos and ended up getting about 125 old shots of many family members. This time I collected a few more.

To be honest some of the folks in the pictures I don’t know, and that’s where I will need to rely on other family to assist. Over time I’ll get them all cataloged and organized and will have most, if not all of the photos, in the gallery.

This project, the family history collection and family tree, has become an entity unto itself. While I thoroughly enjoy it, and get some fulfillment from it, the consumption of time is beyond what I expected. I’m not complaining though, it’s also brought me much enjoyment and I’m gratified to see that people are checking it out.

Noreen gave me some suggestions as to other possible photo collections so don’t be surprised if some day I come-a knockin’. Failing that I may be asking some of you to do some scanning for me. That’s once I get my plate cleaned off a bit first.

Have a great day.

A Stroll Through the Past

My stroll through the past continues. Yesterday I took a mental-health day and I used my time to look through some old photos of Noreen’s and scan those appropriate for my trip through history. I can’t describe how nostalgic it made me feel.

One photo in particular struck me, of the hundreds I viewed and scanned, and it was of Aunt Eleanor with a young girl. That little lady is probably well-grown now and likely has kids of her own. If you know who it is please let me know. I will ask Noreen as well, could be her daughter, or grand-daughter.

The photo caught me by surprise in a couple of ways, in the likeness of Aunt Eleanor and how I remember her best, and in my reaction to it. To say I was touched was a wild understatement. I was happy, and sad, at the same time.

Aunt Eleanor with friend

So many of the photos I looked at brought out some emotions in me, whether curiosity or sadness, happiness or delight. Almost all took me on a trip through time. I traveled to places I know not, to a time before my own, in some cases to visit family I never had the pleasure to meet.

Perhaps that is part of my yearning, to re-meet those I haven’t seen for so long, and to become acquainted with those I’ve never met. Perhaps it’s that clock within me that’s ticking away, telling me that so much time has passed and I should, no, NEED, to see those we call kin. Too much of the importance of family has been lost.

I suspect if we ask most people under 30, maybe even those under 40 or 50, if they see importance in history they likely reply with a no. I’m not talking Roman history or the history of civilization. I’m referring to family history. Something that was once taught and passed down through generations. It was part of our oral traditions.

Now that dialogue and the associated history is becoming less than a memory except for some. In our passage there’s becoming fewer and fewer to walk with, fewer to stroll through the past with. Where has that history, that story, gone? I’m feeling lost.