Learning about family history

It is amazing what you can learn when you begin clearing and rooting through the files at your parents’ home.
My mother is downsizing and the family is doing the downsizing. You never can know what you might discover. For instance, we have the receipts for my grandfather’s funeral in 1962, my grandmother’s funeral in 1970, and my father’s funeral in 1995.
There is quite the range of prices. My grandfather was buried for $575. My grandmother was buried for $789.75 and my father was buried for $7,137.50.
It is a clear indication of the inflation rate between 1970 and 1995.
My mother never, ever discarded a single bill or invoice, and tracked every expense that she incurred from the time she graduated from high school in 1945 through to 2011. The file-keeping was not totally accurate all the time.
Going through the thick file folders, we have discovered other interesting tidbits of information.
One discovery is the genealogy record compiled by my mother’s uncle that traced her family background all the way back to 1659 to a son of Trond Greset named Peder Trondsen Greset.
The Kleven family immigrated to Canada and settled in the hamlet of Sprague. The family story goes that his wife, Elaine, told John Kleven that having reached Sprague, they were not going any further and finally were putting down roots.
The John Kleven homestead was begun.
In another stack of books and albums, we discovered photographs dating back prior to 1900. There are pictures from my grandparents’ home in Yorkton, Sask. and photographs of my great-grandfather with my father.
I had never seen pictures of Alic Cumming, nor of his wife, before. They must have come to Fort Frances at some time as Alic Cumming is pictured on the steps of their home.
One of the more interesting photos was addressed to my grandmother, Annie Cumming, asking her to help identify children from a picture in Pinfold Lane, Lancashire, England.
I presume she was one of the children in the photo. Her family immigrated to Canada in 1907 from Lancashire.
Another was a family photo of my grandparents and their three children on the front steps of their home at 318 Armit Ave.
There are lots of photos of the family’s early life in both Yorkton and Fort Frances. I am not sure who the family photographer was but as we sort through the files, a name may surface.
There is a picture taken in the late 1940s of Ernie Cumming, a brother of my grandfather who I believe wrote for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. It appears that as a reporter, there were several bottles of liquid refreshment on his desk as he is typing on his manual typewriter.
In the album entitled RCAF, not a single photo was posted. Instead, an envelope at the back included many pictures of my father’s flight squadron and postcards from visits to relatives in Scotland where he was stationed.
There is a single small photo of my father in his dress uniform on the steps of his parents’ home with my grandfather.
Almost all of the photos I saw for the first time as I flipped through the pages of the albums. One particular highlight is that of my beautiful mother and handsome father standing at their wedding reception flanked on one side by my aunt, Elvera, and on the other by my uncle, Ronnie Anderson.
Today I have so many questions that I would like to ask my mother about the photos. Alas, with her loss of eyesight, she will be hard-pressed to answer.

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