New Beginnings….bittersweet

Once again for 2021, there is a Guild of One-Name Studies Blog Challenge. Hashtag – #guildblogchallenge

The prompt for March is “New Beginnings”.

Recently in discussing the hazardous trips many families and individuals took in emigrating to North America, and indeed, across America, and to many other places, I said I thought they, especially the women, were brave – to leave all the familiar places, no matter how desperate for a new start, to realize you likely could never return. I realize some would see it as an adventure, others might be optimistic for future benefits, but to many, including those left behind, it must have often felt overwhelming.

A while ago I read a short understated note in a newspaper about my great aunts that brought this home for me.

From The Essex County Chronicle (Chelmsford Chronicle), 26 April, 1907, page 4.

“Among others from North Essex who have emigrated to Canada are the three daughters of Mr. D. Saggers of Burton-End Farm, Stansted… The scene when the Misses Saggers left Stansted Station was very affecting.” Accessed originally at FindMyPast.

Now this might also be a warning not to take newspapers too literally. Four Saggers sisters left England bound for Vancouver in March, 1907, Constance, Ethel, Elsie and Dora. Ethel had been to Canada before though, and her entry was stamped “Ret’d Canadian”. Had she spent her time back in England convincing them all to leave England for Vancouver, promising them similar weather, great gardening, beautiful beaches and snow capped mountains too? (And on the quiet, mentioned the many eligible bachelors of Vancouver?)

If so, she was successful.

Very soon after, her father and mother followed with her brother, Charles, and the remaining sisters, Florence, and Sarah, my grandmother. (Brother Herbert had gone ahead, alone, some years before. That’s another story.)

But without their journeys, I wouldn’t be here! Or my Saggers study.

Those of you who’ve visited Vancouver will like this glimpse of the busy, growing city the Saggers family came to – in an enhanced version of the first film of Vancouver, taken Tuesday, May 7, 1907 by photographer William Harbeck.

1907 Tram Ride in Vancouver (Granville Street). #Restored​ in #4K​, #60FPS​, #Colorized​, #Stabilized​ with Sound by regnittuB.

Or see it at Vancouver is Awsome: