The Full Life Story of a

99 Year Old Woman


The facts as presented:

A woman had  passed her 99th birthday, and she wanted to have a book written on her life story. She wanted the stories from her life to survive her. She had been born in Kingston, but was then living outside Toronto. An individual had been contracted to write the stories, and produce a book.

The challenge:

An email from the woman's son-in-law arrived in late October, 2021, with a simple question - would I be willing to work with the author, and find answers to some early family history questions that were proving difficult to discover?

The results: 

This project was fast-tracked because we wanted to get everything in order quickly in case death got the upper hand. Documents pertinent to the woman's birth in Kingston, and her early life here, were gathered. Documents concerning the woman's parents and siblings, grandparents, and other extended family members were gathered as well, all of which provided useful facts for inclusion in the developing story. The woman spent time with her sisters in an orphanage in Kingston, and copies of all extant records were obtained. The stories uncovered through documentary research concerned many aspects of the woman's natural and step families. Of significant interest were social and racial undertones associated with one of the few Black families in Ontario from around 1860; a Kingston Penitentiary guard who probably absconded to Boston, Massachussetts, in 1890 (whose mother may have operated at brothel just east of prison property); and so much more. I strove to contextualize all of the documents and records found with respect to the time and place they were created. 

The book was finally published (privately) in August, 2022. I'm flattered that my contextual notes and descriptions formed the basis for the sections where the earliest of the woman's 99 years were described, and that they were reproduced very faithfully.

The author in this instance was Bernadette Hardaker. She operates through LifeStories. She's very good at what she does. Do get in touch with her if you want something similar done for you or someone you know. Mention that I've recommended her services. Ideally, you could also suggest that I would again be well positioned to do any documentary investigating that needed doing!

---- Project 211022    (completed 27 November 2021)

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.