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Lauren Oostveen

Discover Your Nova Scotia Roots

by Lauren Oostveen, on Mon, 08 Nov 2010 | 1 comment

The Discover Your Nova Scotia Roots Contest has reached its mid-way point, and I'm finding myself constantly checking back to see what the folks entering are saying.

We asked entrants to answer one question: why do you think you have roots in Nova Scotia? Some of the answers have been quite intriguing! Here are a few of my favourites:

Port Royal Habitation

Susan: "I know that I have Nova Scotia roots because I've done some researching and learned that I am a thirteenth generation descendant of Jehan Teriot who settled at Port Royal in 1630. Our surname has changed spelling over the centuries most likely due to the relocation of the family."

"My great grandfather Caleb Rand Bill (not the Nova Scotia Senator, but his nephew the music professor who settled in Salem, Massachusetts) came from "Billtown" in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia.  I visited there in 2007 and established a lineage back to John Howland of the Mayflower.  I need to return to find copies of vital records and primary source documents to submit to the Mayflower Society for proof.  The lineage I have includes Bills, Lyons, Skinners and Osborns from the Cornwallis/Wolfville area.  I can't wait to someday return to Nova Scotia to visit the places where my family lived and to search out these documents for final approval by the Mayflower Society!"


Dre: I have a copy of an affidavit of an ancestor, George Farnell, who fought in the Carolina Campaign of the American Revolution in His Majesty's 33rd Reg. Of foot. After the surrender at Yorktown he was shipped to Halifax. He later served in the Royal Nova Scotia Regiment for which he received a tract of land in Upper Musquodoboit. Family tradition also has it that he was involved in the rescue of the British Frigate 'La Tribune'. He married Margaret Fisher,whose family had migrated from Londonderry,N.H.to Truro in 1760's to occupy former French property. They were elders in the first Presbyterian church established in Canada. Their descendants later married into the Flemming family of Upper Musquodoboit. I desire to document all this especially George Farnell's involvement in the rescue of 'La Tribune'.

Think you might have roots in the province? Enter the contest and tell us why! You might win a trip to Nova Scotia and a consultation with noted genealogist Terry Punch.


  • user-pic
    by Susan Gilson on, November 9, 2010 2:11 PM

    Hi Lauren,

    I work for the Council of Nova Scotia Archives and I enjoy reading the entries too. I found Dre’s entry interesting because he refers to the rescue of HMS Tribune.

    A few years ago I moved from the UK to Joe Cracker Road, in Herring Cove. I was intrigued by this unusual name and I soon discovered the story of this heroic rescue.

    In November 23, 1797 the HMS Tribune was approaching Halifax harbour and she ran aground. The Tribune’s commander turned away all early rescue attempts as he hoped the high tide would refloat the ship. In an attempt to lighten the ship, guns & heavy items were thrown overboard. A violent gale then carried the ship onto the rocks in Herring Cove where she sank. Of the 250 people on board only a handful survived the stormy night.

    Heavy weather discouraged all rescue attempts until a 13 year old-orphan boy, Joe Cracker, went out his small skiff and rescued 2 men. As the weather improved, others went out to rescue more. Accounts vary as to how many were rescued but no more than 14 survived.

    The ship gave her name to the area known as Tribune Head and a memorial plague marks the site and heroism of Joe Cracker.

    If you are interested in this story, the Author John Dickie will be speaking about his book “Age of Heroes,” the Tribune shipwreck and the legend of Joe Cracker on the 213th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Tribune. At the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, November 23, 2010, at 7:30 pm.

    Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

    Memorial Plaque at Tribune Head