An APPS-olutely Amazing Discovery

An APPS-olutely Amazing Discovery

I am amazed.

I just found something so crazy on the internet. This is something I never expected to find because it is something that I wasn’t even looking for!!

It’s a collection of 8 audio recordings of my Poppa (paternal grandfather), Walter Edmund Apps being interviewed in Burnaby, BC on February 22nd, 1990.

I found it quite by accident, I mean I had no idea that they even existed.

Let me explain.

I was doing some research on my Grandma, Margaret Hope Newitt Apps. I knew that she worked for some time as an Art Teacher in the Burnaby area. I had heard that she may have made a few art pieces that were displayed at one point in the Burnaby Library and/or a retirement home in the area. So I started a google search for the Burnaby Library in the 1970s – 1980s. That brought me to the Heritage Burnaby website.

In the search bar I simply typed in “APPS” and clicked enter.

At first I didn’t know what I had just discovered.

The title was “Interview with Edward Apps by Rod Fowler.”

Then I read the biography…

wait a second…

Hold up, did I just read he purchased a lot in Burnaby for $ 150.00 ?!

Where is Marty McFly when you need him?!

(Interesting sidenote – Michael J. Fox also went to school in Burnaby)

Anyhow, that definately WAS my grandfather they were interviewing !! Mostly people called him Ed or Eddie as far as I remember. (His middle name is actually Edmund, not Edward). Of course I started listening to the audio clips and to me they are pretty darn cool. As his grandaughter, I may be a little biased.

He was interviewed as part of the SFU/Burnaby Centennial Committee’s oral history series titled “Voices of Burnaby.”

I sure enjoyed hearing his voice.

Here’s a brief overview of each track.

Track 1 – is about his involvement in community organizations.

Track 2 – is about the changes in Burnaby since he arrived. Also about his service in the war and why he and Margaret moved to Canada.

Track 3 – is about his work as a Foreman Painter for the Burnaby School Board.

Track 4 – is his views about the political development in the north and south of Burnaby.

Track 5 – is about his views on Ratepayer Associations (something for me to google later on.)

Track 6 – is about the history of his home on Triumph Street and changes in the neighbourhood.

Track 7 – is about his children and Margaret’s role in lobbying to declare Burnaby a Nuclear Free Zone.

Track 8 – is about his involvement in seniors organizations.

Anyhow, if you’re at all interested in hearing about Burnaby as he remembers it or if you’re related to Eddie (and me), here is the link to the website with all of the audio clips.


I did actually find something on the same website about my Grandma… a black and white photograph of a mural that she painted in 1966 on Hastings Street. Just keep scrolling down the same page past all the audio interviews, you should see a section called “Completed Mural.”

It just goes to show you that good things can come from unexpected places! I love how even after more than a quarter of century has gone by since he passed away, I am still learning about who my Poppa was.


52 Ancestors : Week 1 – Fresh Start

52 Ancestors : Week 1 – Fresh Start

Happy New Year!

It’s time for fresh starts. The first day of the new year. This year I aim to do my best at participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for 2020. It’s essentially a new writing prompt every week for 52 weeks. I’m not going to make any promises because sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes I may have a story, sometimes just a picture. I’m not sure at this point. I just know that I want to give it a shot – so here we go!

photo from

This week’s prompt is “Fresh Start” which is appropriate for the first day of a new year and a new decade. Right?! The whole point of starting this blog a year ago was to share with my family and anyone who may be interested what I have learned and discovered in my ancestry journey. It has been so very beneficial for me to have a place to write things down (cathartic even), to tell a story and to remember fondly. So many memories. I feel like it’s a wonderful way to pay my respects to those who came before me and helped pave the way for the life I have today and the lives of my children. They are my world, they are my future and in a sense I owe that all to my parents, grandparents and so on and so on.

This week at home we have been working on renovations, also appropriate for a “fresh start.” Renovations mean moving things around and doing that forces you to realize how much stuff we actually have! I have a tall filing cabinet that needs to be moved to our home office, but it is so HEAVY so we need to empty it out! It is stuffed full of papers from years gone by, a lot of family history information! I’ve been sorting them into piles of photos, receipts, random notes, insurance papers, taxes, etc.

How do you organize your family history research? Binders? Online? A filing cabinet? I’m looking for tips!

So much paper passes through our hands, especially when you have kids at home. Or when you are researching family history. We can’t possibly keep everything. I’m learning that sometimes the best possibility for me is to scan or photograph some of the artwork or notes so that you aren’t keeping every single piece of paper. Another lesson is to label everything. You think you will never forget, but we do. Researching ancestry has helped me learn this lesson also.

Anyhow, my fresh start is to finish organizing this filing cabinet – who knows what treasures I will find! I have my work cut out for me shredding some unnecessary papers and then I plan on spending more time this year recording more of what I have learned on this blog.

Stay Tuned for Week 2 : Favourite Photo

Tantallon Castle, North Berwick, Scotland

Tantallon Castle, North Berwick, Scotland

In July of 2017 we went on a family adventure to the United Kingdom. We landed in London, rented a car and headed for Scotland. We wanted to make our way up to Scotland as quick as we could and then just take our time exploring. We knew that my husband’s grandfather was born in Kirkcaldy and my grandmother was born in Helensburgh. We had a few sites picked out that we wanted to find and research as far as family history goes.. but mostly we were just happy to drive around, spend quality time together, explore and visit as many castles and historic sites as we could!

We were headed north on the A1 and decided to stay as close to the coast line as possible. It was just so breathtaking. So we detoured up highway A198 and stumbled upon our first castle in Scotland. We met a nice couple of gents that worked in the Visitor Centre… I was beyond excited to learn that one of them worked as an extra on my favourite TV show… Outlander. Eek! He showed me a picture on his cell phone of Sam Heughan and himself. OMG.

Anyhow… we learned that Tantallon Castle was built in the mid 14th century by William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas. That’s about 670 years ago.

Tantallon Castle looks out over the Firth or Fourth (say that five times fast) and directly out at Bass Rock.

Unfortunately, we didn’t know any of the history beforehand of this castle when we visited it. As I said, this stop wasn’t planned, however we were just amazed by the construction and age. I’d never seen anything like it at all back home in Canada. We bought an explorer pass right there and then with the intention of visiting as many castles as we could along the way. Let the adventure begin!

It wasn’t until several months after we were back home in Canada that we were able to make the connection between my husband’s family and the Douglas Clan that held this fortress so long ago. As it turns out the very same William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas is my husband’s 20th Great-Grandfather!! Seriously.

We made a breakthrough in his family tree and were able to connect the Ramsay side of his family with the Douglas family lineage. Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie (my hubby’s 16th Great Grandfather) married Isobel Douglas and well, as they say, the rest is history. And what a history it is…in there I found a Sheriff of Edinburgh, Sir James the Good – friend and deputy of Robert the Bruce, various Lords and Ladies, Knights and Countesses. I have so much learn and so much more to share. Stay tuned. I think another trip to Scotland is in our future.

Just a man in his family castle…no big deal.
Finding Hidden Records on Ancestry

Finding Hidden Records on Ancestry

Here’s something I’m almost embarrassed to admit. BUT, there is a lesson in everything we do, am I right?!

I have seen this document many, many times before on Ancestry and I was thrilled the first time that I saw it. I mean, come on it’s pretty cool.

It’s a pension record of Henry Edmund Samuel Apps, who is my paternal Great-Grandfather. He retired from the Metropolitan Police in November of 1923. At the time I first came across it, I remember being so thrilled that I found a record with his name on it, describing him as a Police Constable in Camberwell, London, England.

Sometimes, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one here, when I find a record about an ancestor I am so eager to save it, print it and add it to my tree. Then, I move on to look for more! Ancestry is addictive. Often times just looking for more and more records to add to my ever-expanding tree.

It wasn’t until just the other morning when I was thinking about posting something about Henry Edmund Samuel Apps that I discovered my oversight. Do you see it?

Look down at the small printed words near the bottom of the page…. do you see it? It’s easy to miss…

For Description of the Pensioner, see other side.

**flips page virtually**

Would you look at ALL of this information that I neglected to see…

  • He Joined the Metropolitan Police Force on the 4th of March 1907
  • He served 16 years on the Force
  • He was only 40 years old when he retired
  • He was paid 4 Pounds, 10 Shillings per week
  • He was 6 ft tall with brown hair and blue eyes (I’ve never seen a coloured picture of him – only in black and white)
  • He was married in Greenwich on the 13th of May 1907
  • He had a scar on his left knee
  • As an added bonus, there are full signatures of both of my Great-Grandparents!

So I’m taking this as a lesson learned. Turn the Page. Go back and actually read. every. word. Look at the documents before and after the one that you are looking at! All of this information (and there is a lot of it) had been sitting there the entire time. I mean for years I have known and seen the first page of this document. I have never thought to flip the page on the record in Ancestry. Another place that this is important is on a census record, you can often find other family members living nearby.

At Work with Dr.Thomas Lockwood Perry

At Work with Dr.Thomas Lockwood Perry

I was able to find all of these pictures of my Grandfather thanks to a recent post by Gail Dever over at Genealogy a la Carte. She recently posted about UBC’s digitized collection. It had never even occurred to me to look on UBC’s website for family history before, but I clicked on the link and started with a simple search of his name.

My Grandfather, Dr. Thomas L. Perry was a member of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia.

Below are some of the photos that I found!!

Photo Credit – University of British Columbia Archives [UBC 5.1/2433]
photo from 1966
Photo Credit – University of British Columbia Archives [UBC 1.1/12859-1]

What even is this machine that he’s using?

Photo Credit – University of British Columbia Archives [UBC 1.1/12859-2]
University of British Columbia Archives, Photo by Martin Dee [UBC 44.1/620] with another photo of him from 1990

There are many other photos of him available to look at, but you’ll have to click on over there yourself as there were a few of the photos that are more thoroughly copywrited. Note – I did email for permission to use these ones here on my personal family history blog.

Here is what the UBC site looks like…

I absolutely love that there is always something new to learn and find when researching genealogy. You just never know what you will find. Try all avenues, read blogs, ask questions…

Even though my Grandfather has been gone now for a number of years I love that I am still learning about him and seeing him in a way I never had the chance to before. For me that bridges the gap between the years that have passed. I love that I feel closer to him and had a chance to see him hard at work.