Author Interview with Janice Nickerson, author of York’s Sacrifice

Author Interview with Janice Nickerson, author of York’s Sacrifice

Posted on June 13 by admin
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Tomorrow is the official launch of the Bicentennial Commemoration of the War of 1812, marking 200 years of peace between Canada and the United States. In 1812 Toronto the city was instead called York, and it was York that the Americans tried to take. The Americans will say that they won the War of 1812, whereas Canadians will say that we did. What can be agreed upon however is that there were numerous casulaties on both sides who should be remembered. It is because of their sacrifice that we are able to celebrate this historic occassion.

Janice Nickerson sat down with us for an interview about her book York’s Sacrifice,  which disccuess the casualties of the war and the sacrifices that were made to keep Canada safe.

CS: Tell us about your book.

JN: York’s Sacrifice began as a research project with the City of Toronto’s museum services. They wanted to create an exhibition to commemorate the War of 1812 and its impact on the City of Toronto (which was then the Town of York). They asked me to help identify the militia men from the York area (roughly defined as the region now called the Greater Toronto Area) who died in the war, and see what I could learn about their lives prior to the war and the family they left behind. I ended up with so much information that we decided a book was in order!

CS: How did you come up with the title?

JN: The book is called York’s Sacrifice because it’s about the men of York who sacrificed their lives to defend their country, the women and children who lost their husbands and fathers, and the community that was forever changed by the war.

CS: How did you research your book?

JN: The research for the book involved a wide range of library and archival sources, some of which were new and exciting discoveries for me. In fact, because this time period is so difficult for genealogists, who want to know details about the lives of particular people, I decided to include a whole section on researching War of 1812-era ancestors.

CS: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

JN: The toughest part of writing this book was stopping the research! There’s always more that can be discovered and I could dig forever. For some of the families I profiled in the book, I’ve learned more since the manuscript was submitted. I wish I could have included the new information. But since there really isn’t any end in sight, I didn’t want to miss the anniversary of the war.

CS: What was your first publication?

JN: I’ve been writing articles for genealogical magazines for many years now, but my first full-length book was Crime and Punishment in Upper Canada: A Researcher’s Guide. It was also published by Dundurn and the Ontario Genealogical Society (in 2009). That book was also about the early history of Ontario (pre-1841), but with a focus on the criminal justice system. I really enjoyed both the research and the writing, so I knew I’d be writing more books. I just wasn’t sure where I would find the time! I’m still not sure how best to juggle my client work and my writing, but I love them both, so I’m sure there will be more books to come.

Janice Nickerson is a professional genealogist who specializes in Upper Canadian history. She provided behind-the-scenes research for the CBC Television program Who Do You Think You Are? and is a regular contributor to Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, and Your Family Tree magazines. Janice is also the author of Crime and Punishment in Upper Canada. She lives in Toronto.