Genealogy society focusing on search requests

Pictou County group receives approximately 25 genealogical requests per month

Published on April 20, 2014

PICTOU  –  It’s a new name and focus for a local historical research and exhibit centre.

Once know as the Hector Heritage Exhibit, the Pictou County Genealogy and Heritage Society on Haliburton Road has turned its attention to the many genealogy search requests it gets on a regular basis.

“We get about 25 requests a month for genealogical searches so we decided to focus more than these than the display aspect of it,” said volunteer researcher Carol MacKay.

She said many of the requests come through email from many people around the world looking for information on a certain individual, places or even things that is associated with Pictou County.  

As a volunteer, she takes information they provide and uses to begin the search, but she also relies on the thousands of historical documents inside the centre’s vault as well as conversations with local residents.

“People will come in looking for information and speak to people in the community as well,” she said.   

MacKay and other volunteers are available to help people with their searches on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-5 p.m. She said people can use the centre’s computer to look up information on within this time during one hour appointments. 

Here are a few requests that recently came into the society. Anyone with any information on them is welcome to call the centre at 485-4563 or email


Request 1

• Hello, I wonder if you can help me find some information dating back to the early 1950s. My first real job after leaving high school was on a hydrographic survey vessel out of Pictou. I was hired as a waiter looking after the surveyors. I worked on the ship out of St. Johns, NFLD for the summer of 1955. There were three survey boats out of Pictou. One of them was known as the Acadia, which was the smaller of the three. Unfortunately, I have lost my pictures and information over the years and can’t remember the names of the other two boats, one of which I shipped out on. I would like the name of the other two boats. The one that I was on, was a coal burner and had three pistons. We worked the entire east coast of NFLD as far north as Baie de Verte. After getting back to Pictou later that fall, I joined the RCAF. 

• MacKay was able to identify four photos of ships that may be of help to this man, but more information would be welcomed.


Request 2

• I am looking for information related to Blawearie Cottage, located in Pictou. It appears to have been the home of either Mayor Allan A. Ferguson or Rev. Thomas D. Stewart. I am interested in the naming of the place and its possible connection with the Blawearie cairns in southeast Scotland.

• MacKay said she has little information on this request.


Request 3

• I am history teacher from the Netherlands. I am researching a World War Two bomber crash. One of the crew members was from Pictou, Nova Scotia. I am looking for information on William Alfred Penney. He was the son of Tracey F. and Ida Mary Penney of Pictou. He was born 3 July 1916 and killed during the night of 26/27 July 1942 when his Wellington Z1319 was shot down over Germany. He had joined the squadron on 8 July 1941. He was buried in Hamburg Cemetery.

• MacKay was able to find some statistics on Penney from the Canadian Viritual War Memorial, but she said more information is welcome.