Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Niagara Catholic Regional Fair

The Merriton War Bride

My project is about the journey of my Great Grandmother Kate Florence Youmans and her children to Canada, and the struggles of being a war bride at that time. I was able to discover some interesting family history and learn about the difficulties of finding information about people who wanted to make Canada their home.



What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

Probably the most interesting thing I learned during this project was about the trip these women and children made. Through emails with a woman who came to Canada on the same ship as my Great Grandmother, I learned about the conditions and their fears during the voyage. I didn't realize that war brides came over during the war, meaning warships had to ride alongside for fear of German submarine attacks. I cannot imagine how afraid these women must have been.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

During my research I learned about the difficulties that genealogists face in their everyday work. I discovered how hard it is to find documentation and the patience it takes to work in this field. I also now have a real appreciation for these women who left behind everything that they knew to start a new life in Canada. Their bravery and courage inspires me, and hopefully, will inspire others.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Today immigration is a much harder and longer process. These women were living in a time of war and the world was a much larger place. Today we know much more about other countries and the their cultures. Back then, these women would have been embarking on a new life, with little knowledge on what to expect. They were losing almost all contact with everyone and everything back home to start a new life. Today, we’re almost always in contact with others, never being cut off from the ones we love.