Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tribute to my Grandma !!

This is a tribute to my Grandma who was from Burma. She was born on June 5th 1889. She died shortly after giving birth to my Dad. She was a brave woman. This is the first time I am sharing our story in public and my thoughts about my Grandma

I can't even imagine a Lady in those day (let alone today !), who could travel from Burma to Toronto and complete a PhD. Yep, those days is circa 1908 !! Think of Traveling from Rangoon to Toronto by ship and then down the St.Lawrence river by boat ? (remember that the Titanic sunk in 1912 , therefore her trip was 4 year's before that event !) But just think of it , How long would that journey take - Rangoon to Toronto ?

After landing in Toronto entering McMaster's, she completed a double PhD in Divinity and English Language. (not sure if it was double Phd -- but even a single doctorate is pretty tough !! )

I wonder what type of hardships she would have faced in her days. She must have been a pretty smart and brave Woman to have done all all that and endured it here in Canada. Remember in 1908, according to my calculations, my grandma would have only been 19 years old.Over and above all that she was Burmese, of a colored ethnic background, away from home, change of tropical weather to northern (Canadian) weather, food and cultures changes etc. It must have been pretty tough and she must have had heck'a strong focus and willpower.

With all this changes and hardship she managed to complete her studies and go back and teach in the University of Rangoon !!

At times, I feel that I am truly an unworthy grandson. Need to better myself. Anyway, my Granma B'day was coming up and I thought I'll share this story and thoughts with my readers. Oh BTW, I am wearing a Burmese Lungi and writing this post :)-

Below is an email thread from a long ago when I did some Genealogical research of my Grand'ma !!

-----Original Message-----
From: Canadian Baptist Archives [mailto xxxxxx]
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2002 5:14 PM
To: Dawson, Peter D
Subject: RE: search for Alumni Photos/Info

Glad to have a happy customer.

-----Original Message-----
From: Dawson, Peter D [mailto:xxxxxx ]
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2002 4:47 PM
To: 'Canadian Baptist Archives'
Subject: RE: search for Alumni Photos/Info

Dear Dr. Steinacher,

I was utterly astonished when your reply popped into my inbox !! Words fail me, when I try to express my sincere thanks for the heartwarming information that you have given me. Your kind assistance, in my genealogical endeavors is really appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to research and cull all these details for me.

Yes, I understand that I will need to contact Mr. Phil Pearson for further research on this subject. With the details, you have so kindly given me, makes it possible for me to continue research on this subject.

Once again, thank you !!!
Sincerely and best regards,

->-----Original Message-----
->From: Canadian Baptist Archives [mailto:xxxxxx ]
->Sent: Monday, April 29, 2002 1:10 PM
->To: Dawson, Peter D
->Subject: RE: search for Alumni Photos/Info
->Dear Peter,
-> Thank you for you for genealogical inquiry. The Canadian Baptist
->Archives is a ministry maintained by the Baptist Convention of Ontario
->and Quebec, the Baptist Union of Western Canada and McMaster Divinity
->College. The Archives' primary mandate is to serve these
-> Our resources are limited, so we are not able to pursue genealogical
->inquiries, even on a fee-for-service basis. Normally we do not even
->begin to search, but the information you provided made possible a very
->quick search. There is an "Enrollment Book" for McMaster University,
->which contains information about all incoming students while the
->University was still in Toronto (i.e. until the fall of 1929). Number
->996 is a "Sarah Margaret Isaac"[sic], who entered on 28 September
->1908. She had been born in Rangoon on 5 June 1889. Her father, A.C.
->Isaac of 43 Phayre St., Rangoon, Burma, is listed as "pensioned"; both
->she and her parents' religion is listed as "Episcopalian". Upon
->entrance, she held a first class matriculation certificate from the
->College of Preceptors, London (presumably England), having studied at
->"Convent, Rangoon" and "Morris College", also of Rangoon.
-> If you would like to hire a researcher to conduct further inquiries
->for you (there is not a strong likelihood of finding out a great deal
->more), I am happy to provide you with the name of someone approved by
->the Archives, Mr.
->Phil Pearson. He is a former student at the Divinity College and is
->thoroughly familiar with our collection. He is allowed access to our
->stacks, something not normally extended to anyone except our direct
->employees. He is an independent contractor and you will have to
->negotiate rates directly with him. Should you wish to avail yourself
->of his services, he may be contacted at:
-> Phil Pearson

[...snipped Phil's email ]

->Yours sincerely,
->Dr. C. Mark Steinacher
->Acting Director
->Canadian Baptist Archives
->-----Original Message-----
->From: Dawson, Peter D [mailto:xxxxxx]
->Sent: Monday, January 28, 2002 1:30 PM
->To: 'xxxxxx
->Subject: search for Alumni Photos/Info
->Importance: High
->This email address and was given to me for a prospective contact point
->at the McMasters, College of Divinity, Archives Dept.
->Could you please let me know if it is possible to find more
->information regarding my Grandmother. All we know is that during the
->period (circa
->or somewhere there about's, our Grandmom,travelled from a country
->called as Burma (now Myanmar) and studied at McMasters'. We believe
->that she Graduated in Literature and Philopsy. (AS the family 'dinner
->stories go). She
->was the first Lady (fr a Foreign County) who graduated from McMasters
->and she was the only lady in her class.
->Anyway, most of the family documents were lost during the
->WW11 so whatever
->I am saying is just from gray matter. Grandma's name was Sarah
->Margaret Dawson (nee Isaacs) I dunna if she was registered as Sarah
->Margaret or Margaret Sarah or with Isaacs/Dawson.. its pretty fuzzy
->information that I am working on.
->Kindly let me know what you find and if I am not addressing this to
->the correct contact point, please do let me know whom I can contact.
->Looking forward to hearing from you.
->Thanking you in advance,
->Peter Dawson


Suki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suki said...

I am humbled and honored that you are sharing your grandmothers story. She sounds like she was one heck on a woman! I can only hope and aspire to be that strong.

Melody said...

Thanks for sharing that Peter :) I wrote a tribute to my Grandma too (call her 'Nana') - if you'd like to read it, it's here

I think it's a great thing to have respect for the older people in our family, understand what all they did to get us where we are right now & to learn from them.

Incidentally, my Nan's also a June born, 29th will be her 85th. Unfortunately as you will read, she's here but no longer here.