The Man Who Loved to Sue

By Alicia Bertrand, M.A. Most of us have heard stories of frivolous lawsuits: the man who sued Kellogg’s because Froot Loops aren’t made with fruit,[1] the woman who sued a grocery store after tripping over her own child in an aisle,[2] or the man who sued his parents for creating him,[3] among others.[4] In 2020,Continue reading “The Man Who Loved to Sue”

Rebecca Cornell’s Death: How Elder Abuse, Ghosts, Guilt, and Legal Testimonies Mattered in 1673

By Alicia Bertrand, M.A. *Trigger Warning: this article deals with themes such as murder, elder abuse, suicide, and other difficult topics. There are few stories that encompass all of the topics I love: ghosts, family history, murder mysteries, and strange legal precedents. The story of Rebecca Cornell and her son Thomas embodies all of theseContinue reading “Rebecca Cornell’s Death: How Elder Abuse, Ghosts, Guilt, and Legal Testimonies Mattered in 1673”

Long Distance Love in the 1940s: A Tale of Devotion from My Grandparents’ Love Letters

By Alicia Bertrand, M.A. Those of you who are in modern day long-distance relationship may have the technology to see and communicate with your partner from afar. Couples can use Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, etc. to chat at a moments notice and find their partner to be more responsive by these face-to-face remote communication applications.[1] ThoseContinue reading “Long Distance Love in the 1940s: A Tale of Devotion from My Grandparents’ Love Letters”

Toronto’s Christmas Time Train Incident: A Tragedy for the Engineer, a Blessing for Passengers

By Alicia Bertrand, M.A. In December 1906, dozens of Torontonians were out on trains and streetcars getting their last-minute Christmas shopping done, or travelling for the holiday to visit friends and family. On December 22, 1906, passengers of the express Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R) train from Toronto to Hamilton, and passengers on the other trainsContinue reading “Toronto’s Christmas Time Train Incident: A Tragedy for the Engineer, a Blessing for Passengers”

In My Blood: Witches of Massachusetts

By Alicia Bertrand, M.A. September 10, 2021 In my blood, there are two women who were legally murdered by local judges, religious leaders, and townspeople in Massachusetts in the 1600s. They were accused, tried, and hanged for witchcraft. When one uses modern rationale, one of these women, Alice Lake,[1] suffered from grief. The second, SusannahContinue reading “In My Blood: Witches of Massachusetts”

A History of Murder and Mayhem 2021: a Presentation in Partnership with Oshawa Public Libraries

Interested in Oshawa’s history or true crime? I’ll be presenting my research into Oshawa’s dark past in a presentation in partnership with the Oshawa Public Libraries on August 26th, 2021 at 6:00 PM EST via Zoom. Registration is limited so get your spot now! I would love for you to attend if you’re interested! EvenContinue reading “A History of Murder and Mayhem 2021: a Presentation in Partnership with Oshawa Public Libraries”

In my Blood: Vikings and a Mythical Giant

By Alicia Bertrand, M.A. Over the years that I have worked on my genealogy, I have spent hours, sometimes days, to confirm a document, a person, or detail as fact before I add it to my research notes. On the other hand, there are days when I find that facts were thrown out the windowContinue reading “In my Blood: Vikings and a Mythical Giant”

Two Families Under Lockdown (1918 vs. 2020): A Micro-History Case Study

Photos from Findagrave.com, it is of the Allen couple’s headstone. Originally published on LinkedIn: March 11, 2021 If you live in a home that is over 100 years old and you’re going stir-crazy from the COVID-19 lockdown/stay-at-home orders, imagine the person who sat in your house in 1918-1919 to avoid the Spanish Flu pandemic. AfterContinue reading “Two Families Under Lockdown (1918 vs. 2020): A Micro-History Case Study”

History and Tax: Slayer of the Beast

Originally published on LinkedIn: November 4, 2019 In his 1898 “Curiosities of Popular Customs and of Rites, Ceremonies, Observances, and Miscellaneous Antiquities,”[1] William S. Walsh describes a tax that arose from the slaying of a wild boar. Between October 30th and November 7th each year, the parish residents of Chetwode, England owe the lord of theContinue reading “History and Tax: Slayer of the Beast”

History and Oddities: When Humans Attempted Flight

Photos from Undiscovered Scotland, and the Oshawa Museum. Originally published on LinkedIn: September 27, 2019 There are several stories throughout history that explore how humans have tried, and failed, to fly before the Wright brothers successfully soared. Here are two examples, one from Stirling Castle, Scotland in 1504 (or 1507 depending on the source), andContinue reading “History and Oddities: When Humans Attempted Flight”