03 July 2011

If Only I Had Known! 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History

Week 27:  Where did your family go on vacation?  Did you have a favorite place?  Is it still there? If not, has the area changed?

It seems that most of the vacations my family took when I was a child had to do with visiting relatives.  We would go to the Fredrick's family reunion in July or to Detroit to visit my dad's brother, Uncle Hank and Aunt Mabel.  The Detroit visit usually included a trip to the Detroit Zoo, which is always a favorite, except for the time I lost my contact lens in the reptile house.  I wasn't hanging around to find it as I never liked going into that part of the zoo.

One summer, my parents decided to take a vacation to Canada.  We lived on the Michigan side of Lake Huron.  We were going to the Canadian side of it.  My dad, mom, sister Linda, and I headed to Port Huron, Michigan and crossed the Blue Water Bridge to Sarnia.  I remember being in awe of the bridge and thinking that I was going to another country.  I have crossed it many times since, including once for my honeymoon.  It is still pretty cool, to me.

Our first stop was Collingwood, Ontario.  My parents had rented a cottage across the street from the lake.  I remember the first time I went swimming.  It was so different from what I was use to.  I was use to a few rocks and then a sandy, sometimes mucky, bottom.  This was pure flat stone bottom.  I remember walking out and falling off the cliff of it.  Good thing I could swim.

My mom was less than thrilled with the cottage so we only stayed there a couple of days, but boy do I wish I knew back then what I know now about my family history.  My dad's grandmother, Katherine McGee Watt was born in Collingwood!  What a small world!  I am not sure my seven year old self would have appreciated it at the time, but I think back and say "if only".

I asked my dad, after I discovered her birthplace, if he knew that her family was from the Collingwood area.  He said, no.  He said he chose the place because of it's location and he had wanted to go somewhere on the lake in Canada.

After we left Collingwood, we headed to Owen Sound, Ontario and stayed a few days there.  There was an inland lake there .  It had a cool slide in the water.  We went to a movie, went putt putt golfing and did a few other vacation type things.

Recently, I thought it would be a nice genealogy research vacation to return to Collingwood.  I don't know if I would remember how it changed as I don't have a lot of memories other than the cottage and lake.  I guess, I will have to put it on my 'bucket list'


  1. Brenda, I thought I had responded, but since not, here I go. It is eerie that your dad wanted to go to Collingwood, but I think he heard the name back in his childhood, and it stuck with him for years. Either way, it was nice that you got there and if you go back, I'd say a cottage, a lake and the old memories are worth the trip.

  2. Barbara, when I discovered where she was from, I thought the same thing. I do hope I can get back there some day.