Books about West Kootenay/Boundary families have taken two of the three top prizes at the BC Genealogical Society’s annual awards.
The Deanshaven Story: How to Float a Grand Piano and Other Necessities of Invention, by Pauline Butling, placed second, while My Hometown, My Furusato: Family History of Greenwood-Midway by Chuck Tasaka placed third.
The Deanshaven Story chronicles the adventures of entrepreneur R.T. Deane, who settled on Kootenay Lake near Riondel with his first wife Dorothy in 1912 and second wife Ilonka in 1946. Between serving as a naval officer in two world wars, Deane started a land development company, a floating hotel, a mine and a sawmill.
Woven into the narrative of his sometimes hare-brained schemes are old photos, family anecdotes, archival documents, and the author’s personal reflections.
Pauline Butling, Deane’s granddaughter, was born in Kaslo and began her life at Deanshaven. Her family also lived at nearby Walkers Landing, the present site of Yasodhara Ashram before moving to Nelson in 1942.
She and husband Fred Wah maintain a home at Deanshaven, which they share with their extended family.
My Hometown, My Furusato is a collection of over 40 family stories from Greenwood and Midway, including those of Japanese Canadians interned in the Boundary during World War II.
“[It] is about the early pioneers who settled in the Boundary country to find a better life,” Tasaka told the Boundary Creek Times as the book was launched last year. “Some came to work in the smelter and others to establishes their own homestead and ranch. Through all the peaks and valleys of a small town relying on primary industries, people formed a special bond and love for their community.”
Tasaka, who was born in Midway and grew up in Greenwood, is now a retired teacher in Nanaimo but has been involved in several historical projects in Greenwood in recent years, including museum exhibits and the publication of a memoir, Hanatare Bozu: Runny Nosed Brats of Greenwood.
The first-place winner of the competition was A Dempster History from England to Canada Through India 1796-2014, by Eleanor Dempster. She also wrote The Laughing Bridge: A Personal History of the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which discusses Castlegar founder Edward Mahon, who once owned the bridge.
Several other books with Kootenay/Boundary connections were submitted for consideration, including A Rock Fell on the Moon by Alicia Priest, From the West Coast to the Western Front, by Mark Forsythe and Greg Dickson, and Echoes of British Columbia: Voices from the Frontier, by Robert Budd.
The awards were presented this month in Burnaby. Books chosen must be written by a BC author or relate to BC family history. The BC Genealogical Society and its volunteer members have been researching and preserving BC’s genealogical heritage since 1971.
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