The Société Historique Et Généalogique de Smoky River (SHGSR) will hold its AGM at the end of May, reviewing its accomplishments and planning its ongoing mission to preserve the local and extended genealogy, history and community records.
The society, located in Donnelly, is a research centre for genealogy and local history whose primary mandate is to preserve and conserve the French culture in the region. While the French culture is still a priority the society has expanded its directive to include Métis, aboriginal and other cultures of in local communities.
Society members can avail of birth, marriage and death registers for northern Alberta, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, United States and more.
The society also has First Nations and Métis History with indexed photographs and negatives as well as photos of many communities in Northern Alberta.
The SHGSR is also building an historical collection and has historical data on parishes, organizations and other institutions.
Run entirely by volunteers with the exception of one part-time library and administrative employee, the SHGSR has many expenses and constantly requires equipment and resources essential to fulfilling is objectives.
Because the society is not a recognized archive, museum or library it falls outside any rigid definition that would qualify it for many provincial and federal grants. It does receive occasional 50/50 grant money but this is on a grant-by-grant basis, which provides no consistency.
As a result, the Society is constantly exploring creative ways to raise money and presently has a couple of innovative strategies that benefit the Society while those who participate incur no expense.
One of these fundraising initiatives is the year-round sale of gift cards that local construction companies, independent contractors or people doing their own home renovations can buy and then use to purchase lumber and other construction materials.
There is no additional expense to using the gift cards and no difference than paying by cheque, cash or credit card, yet it would benefit the Société enormously if local contractors purchased even $1000 to $5,000 of materials a year with the cards.
Another method of fundraising that imposes no cost to those who participate is for people who shop online to do so through flipgive.com.
For example, if a person shops online with maybe Chateau, Indigo or Amazon and a long list of other businesses, rather than going directly to that company’s website they do so through flipgive.com SHGSR receives a percentage of the online shopper’s purchases.
While the mandate of the SHGSR is to preserve French culture in the region its reach often extends beyond the immediate area.
An excellent example of the scope the SHGSR services was a visit by a Penticton woman, Diane Gartner and her two sisters one from Merrit, BC and the other from Colarado. They were looking for information on their grandfather, Joseph Longtin and his extended family. Longtin was a pioneer to the region and at one time lived in Donnelly.
The women were so please with the reception they received that Diane Gartner sent a note of gratitude when on returned to Penticton: Bonjour from Penticton, B.C. The sunny Okanagan. My two sisters and I, granddaughters of Joseph Longtin stopped there on April 25. It was certainly the high light of our trip. We were so welcomed and felt like V.I.P. And merci beaucoup to Norm for taking us on the tour. Someone has asked for info on my uncle James Longtin. His death date is May 10, 1995. He was very special, never had children of his own so treated his nieces and nephews like his own. We stopped in St. Albert and had a great visit with cousin Kay. So merci beaucoup to all of you. n Kay. So merci beaucoup to all of you.