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THE GENEALOGIST

Though renowned for her skill as a historian, author and genealogist, at the age of 60 Rica Erickson had no idea of the contribution she was yet to make:

I decided then that I had on the average span of life another ten years. What else did I want to accomplish; because I'd done just about everything I wanted to do by then…BUT things don't happen like that always. I found myself involved in the biggest project of them all with the approach of the sesquicentennial, the 150th. And 1979 was coming up and I could see in the early 1970s that there would be a resurgence of interest in family trees, like there had been for the 100th.

 

…knowing that people would be going back and wanting to know what ship their ancestors had come on. I decided because I had made a lot of listings of families around the Toodyay Avon Valley area for my own sake when I was writing the histories of Toodyay and of the Victoria Plains; I knew Sister Albertus [Bain] had a lot of information about the people up Geraldton way; I knew it would be possible to get a lot of information from old family histories and stories that had been written in - not very many of them, but enough; so I thought if we put together this information it would be a good thing. Then the idea came that I'd appeal to the public to send in their own little notes, on practically a page length (nothing much more) giving details of parents and arrival and birth and children and what occupation and what religion and so on.

…No commission at all. I took it on myself [laughs] being a bit brash. I suppose I've been a bit like that all my life. I've stepped where angels had feared to tread, and if I had foreseen what I had taken on, I would have hesitated. I would never have tried it, but it grew like Topsy. (Battye Library, OH 2526, pp. 159-160.)


 

 

 
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