100 YEARS – Munsil’s tracking down 1912 family descendants

Alberni resident Maxine Munsilan has embarked on an ambitious project to track the descendants of Port Alberni’s pioneer families.

Maxine Munsil of the Alberni District Historical Society tracks down descendants of pioneer families settled in Port Alberni in 1912.

Maxine Munsil can trace her family tree in Port Alberni back to her great-grandparents, Kenneth and Alexandrina McKenzie, who arrived in 1884 aboard the schooner Grace.

Her grandmother, Ivy Richmond, came with her mother and sisters by rail in 1912 to join her father Albert, who operated a mill cutting ties for the railway.

Fascinated with this family history, when Munsil retired in 1999 she visited the archives at the Alberni Valley Museum to look for more information on her family. She has since translated that visit into an ambitious project to track the descendants of Port Alberni’s pioneer families as a personal centennial project.

“It was in researching this family that I realized how important all pioneers and the natives were to life in this remote area in the early days,” she said. “I was overwhelmed at the amount of information the archives volunteers had carefully preserved and stored.”

So far, Munsil has tracked 300 descendants from 39 families who are still living in Port Alberni. The largest familial group so far includes the Mahers and Plaunts, with 45 descendants. The Nicholases, Swansons and Stricts have 38 and the Howitts 29. Viven Thomson, a volunteer at the archives, is one of 15 descendants of the Thomson family still living in the Valley, Munsil said.

“It’s interesting to see that they have remained a presence in the Alberni Valley,” Munsil said.

If you are a descendant of a pioneer family in Port Alberni prior to 1913 and you have not yet spoken with Maxine Munsil, please call her at 250-724-2604 or e-mail her at cmunsil@shaw.ca.

•••

Councillor Cindy Solda brought up the fact that much of the centennial media coverage to date is of men. She wants to know where the women are. Well, I can tell you that they weren’t in many newspaper clippings from 1912, and if they were, they were referred to as “Mrs.” and rarely by their first names.

I put the question to Maxine Munsil and to Gareth Flostrand from the centennial committee, and they were helpful with some names. So pioneer women will be represented in future columns in the Alberni Valley News.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Cougars spotted in Sproat Lake neighbourhoods

ACRD director warns residents to keep children, pets close

Who are the Frozen Franklins? Find out at the Alberni Valley Museum

The museum and Echoes in the Ice exhibit are open April 20 during Easter weekend

Former teacher returns to Port Alberni to lead Alzheimer’s Walk

Jory Mitchell celebrates his journey with late wife and her Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve issues cougar warning at Kennedy Lake

Cougar encounter reported between Tofino and Ucluelet.

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

Most Read