An article in the Calgary Herald, Postcard reunited family 100 years after sinking of Empress of Ireland, is an example of why it is important we scan and share as many of our historical documents and photos as possible.
Calgary resident Laurence Grigg posted a 100-year-old postcard online and found a distant relative. The postcard was originally sent by Laurence Grigg’s great-grandfather, James Grigg, to James’ eldest son, before he sailed with his new bride Priscilla from the Port of Quebec, aboard the Empress of Ireland. The newlyweds were among the 1,012 who perished when the ship sank in the St. Lawrence on May 28, 1914.
A short while before the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, Laurence Grigg scanned the postcard and sent it to empress2014.ca, an anniversary website created by the Pointe-au-Père historical site where the ship lies. (See Laurence Grigg’s post here.) A couple of days later, a long-lost family member in England — a great-grandson of Priscilla who descended from her first marriage — sent an email to Laurence Grigg.
Posting old family photos on public family trees or elsewhere online is a way to connect with distant relatives and it helps ensure our treasures are digitally preserved and available for future generations.
Further to the Empress of Ireland story, Ancestry.ca has launched a project to track the descendants of the ship’s victims. Canada Post, which is promoting its commemorative Empress of Ireland stamps and collectibles series, says: “Over a million Canadians can trace their roots to a passenger who arrived here aboard the RMS Empress of Ireland.” If that’s the case, the folks at Ancestry have an exciting challenge ahead of them.