I had to deliver pictures to the local daycare to help my little girl with her family tree and it got me thinking. What of my family tree? I had done a lot of research on my paternal side and I wondered how to find out the tree on the maternal side and I went quickly to work and went web searching. To my amazement, 1 ended up on the Nunatisiak News homepage and discovered that there was a mountain named after my late grandfather Ernie’s father or brother on Baffin Island somewhere. I also noticed that there was a Lake Herodier in Northern Quebec near Kuujjuak.
I thought, what if I asked people in the north about the name Herodier and simply explain that I was looking for my grandfather’s brother who lived somewhere up north. I emailed the paper and went to bed afterwards. About a week later, I decided to check my email and to my further astonishment and glee, there were dozens of letters, including pictures of my grand uncle in the north. I sent mail back to them and told them that I would get back to them and confirm whether or not that Herodier Kalluk was the man I was looking for.
I discovered that there were more relatives living in Resolute Bay and originally, they came from Pond Inlet and then moved to Resolute Bay in the 50’s. From there, the family grew by leaps and bounds and now number over a hundred. I am happy to say that to all my family (Herodiers and all) from Fort George that we probably number close to that amount. So the family tree grew another tree, instead of a just a branch.
Now it is looking more and more like an orchard instead of a lone tree. My grandfather had other brothers and sisters and they have grown exponentially and the orchard is looking more like a forest of genetically entwined people.
After emailing back to my new found extension to my family tree, 1 felt that somehow my world had got much larger instead of smaller, as the saying goes. It could be that the internet had made it so, and in just moments instead of years, I had managed to answer that question that I never really got around to asking myself, from whom do I come from? From a large piece of history and nearly a century of family growth, the travels of our ancestor, Gaston Herodier and the life that he lived, before electricity and motorized travel, when inhabitants of the north never heard of the south and non-natives were few and far apart, is part of the history of our family.
It still amazes me today and at this moment; to think back to the days when the Titantic still floated (on her maiden voyage) and sank to the depths of the cold Atlantic waters and Inuit and Cree were the best fur harvesters for 200 years and more and that the life we still cherish and struggle to maintain as a traditional lifestyle, stems from those past years of interaction between four separate cultures, the Cree, the Inuit, the French and the English. Such is the history and past of our family, as it grows into the next generation and beyond the forest of humanity.
Perhaps that it is just fate that made me wonder about who I am and where I come from, perhaps it is more than that, a bloodline that crossed the ocean and spilled into the north, to intermingle and entrench itself into the very fabric of the history of Northern Quebec and Baffin Island. If there are those who read this and come from Resolute Bay or Pond Inlet, I say hello on behalf of the Herodiers of Fort George and hope to meet you one day.