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Purple Grove Women's Institute members proudly display their tartan at annual meeting

By: Christine Roberts
April 9, 2017

Responding to the Bruce County 150 Tartan Challenge, 11 members of the Purple Grove Women’s Institute gathered at the home of Wilma Sutton, April 5, for the group’s annual general meeting.

The tartan display tied in beautifully with the theme of the evening’s program, genealogy, which was presented by guest Joyce Osborne (right, presenting her family portrait display).

Osborne's local roots run deep as she is a fifth- and sixth-generation citizen of Bruce County. She described growing up in a multi-generational household and explained that she became interested in genealogy when her grandmother died and the family discovered some old historical records in a box in her room.

Opening that same wooden box, Osborne removed a series of family artifacts that included original wedding certificates dating from 1885, 1889 and 1920; a family tree reaching back to 1799; an 1886 deed to a farm; a contract to buy a cemetery plot in Ripley; and a copy of an 1894 obituary from the "Ripley Enquirer."

When Osborne first began researching her family’s heritage in 1975, she accessed the records of the Toronto Archives. She also interviewed people, sometimes using a tape recorder. In more recent times, with the assistance of Internet search engines such as, she has amassed approximately 1,200 names on the Osborne side and 1,800 on the Pollock side. She showed the ladies wedding and family portraits of her great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents.

Osborne is the membership director of the Bruce County Historical Society and has been a member of the Bruce and Grey Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society for about 40 years. She also uses her research skills to help other people delve into their lineage.

Finally, Osborne highlighted the family history and genealogy workshops presented at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre. These are in conjunction with Archives Awareness Week which is celebrated in Ontario the first week of April every year.

Everyone greatly enjoyed her presentation, particularly given the close-knit nature of the community and the many ties between members.

The remainder of the meeting involved payment of membership fees, district and financial reports, volunteer hours tabulation, review of bylaws and other business. Mary Anne Kukoly was tasked with installing the new executive: president Deanna Scott, first vice-president Donna Swan and past-president Janet Rhody who was thanked for her leadership and presented with a gift from the group.

It should be noted that quite apart from the content of the agenda, this particular meeting is a group favourite for the lunch which includes sampling of many different pies expertly prepared by Sutton. Her usual partner, Diane Clifford, was missed by all and was sent warm wishes for a speedy recovery from surgery.

The next Purple Grove Women's Institute meeting is the Mystery Night Out, May 3. Stay tuned for details!

Proudly displaying their tartan, are Purple Grove Women's Institute members, in back, Fran Farrell (left), Janet Rhody, Janet Nixon, Mary Ann Kukoly, Donna Swan, Marilyn Reid, Maureen Collins, Wilma Sutton; and in front, Shirley MacDonald (left), “Bob Bear,” and Deanna Scott, and guest speaker Joyce Osborne; photos by Christine Roberts


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