This story was sent to us by Paul Cockrill, who has traced his ancestors back seventeen generations. With his research have come many interesting stories. He shares a few of them here.
I started getting interested in my family history over 13 years ago when I received some old files that a relative (Jack Anderson) had started back in the 1930's. He created a Newsletter called 'The Clansman' which he would sell for 25 cents. It was like a family newspaper: he would gather information from relatives on births, deaths and who was doing what and then published it in a newsletter for the whole family to read.
Later on, a grand aunt started to compile the family tree of my mother's family, the family we refer to as the Paynter clan. I became so interested in their history that I asked my Uncle Peer Paynter if there were photos of my ancestors.
He sent many, even some of which date back to the 1860's and that really started my research of family history.
I had initially started compiling the family tree with PAF software and then progressed to Family Tree Maker and now Family Tree Builder. I have used many web sites researching my ancestors over the years,
but have added the most people since I started using My Heritage.
I currently have more than 4600 people in my tree and since June 2008, when I joined MyHeritage I have added 1900.
Tracing the Family
I had no trouble tracing my Paynter heritage as many documents and histories were available due to the families residing in only two or three areas for long periods of time.
The Paynters came to Canada from England in the early 1840's and settled in Owen Sound Ontario, Canada. They later homesteaded in Manitoba and later in Saskatewan. They were coopers and farmers in the early days. The Paynters I have traced them back 17 Generations to Thomas Holdbrook (1440).
On my wife's side, the Acker family, it goes back 16 Generations to Peter Westofer (1470).
On my father's side,(the Cockrills) however, I had been searching for many years without much luck to find any family members beyond my Great-Great grandparents.
I have found many relatives who's whereabouts were not known but were later found through Smart Matches on MyHeritage. Living here in Nova Scotia Canada, I had known that many ancestors were born and buried here and have found several MyHeritage Members who are related to me in some way. The surnames 'Parker' and "Woodworth' are two in particular.
I have had people contact me indicating a connection to either me or my wife's family name Acker. One in particular was very welcoming, as she is a Cockrill first cousin. She had just started to get interested in genealogy last spring, and was elated when I found her on MyHeritage. She too had been looking for Cockrill relatives.
But what many people probably find the most interesting of my research are the family anecdotes that I discovered.
One in particular comes to mind on my mother's side. My Grandmother Mima Sanderson's family has been involved in the Underground Railway in Ontario in the mid 1800's helping slaves from the US find a new life in Canada...
contrary to what you may expect, the Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad. It was a network of escape routes for Slaves wanting to leave the US set up by Abolitionist and other Anti-Slavery proponents. I am truly proud of that. Not much is known of what transpired but the fact is well known.
But there are others too: My grandfather Joseph Edward Paynter and his brother William Charles Paynter were instrumental in establishing the first co-operative venture in farming in Saskatewan in 1895. A plaque commemorating this venture was placed on Paynter Island in Northern Saskatewan in 1955. They were the true pioneers of the Canadian Prairies.