Soon after returning home from Kui
Nunanga (the U.K.), I was interviewed by William Tagoona of CBC
North radio about my findings in Aberdeen. This was a follow-up to an
interview I had given to his colleague Alec Gordon while I was still in
Scotland. The listening public was keenly interested in the story. But I
needed to dispel any impression that I had made contact with my
I was careful to say that I had only found
definitive documents, which would then be the basis for a systematic
search for relatives in Scotland. I expressed confidence in eventually
finding surviving members of the Peter family. But I deliberately said
this only in Inuktitut. I didn’t want to trigger a National Enquirer-style
frenzy among the English language media, resulting in screaming
headlines like, “ESKIMO FINDS LONG-LOST RELATIVES IN SCOTLAND!”
The search then hit a flat stretch, a
doldrums. While nothing was actually stopped, neither was anything
moving forward. John MacDonald of Igloolik, Nunavut, whose unassuming
manner belied a Scot’s instinct for sifting valuable stuff from fluff,
continued to offer practical encouragement.
Then, seemingly out of the blue, another
Sikaatsiuqatik (fellow Scot) presented himself, eager to help the
search! Donald Cameron, now of Salluit, Nunavik, is originally from the
West coast Highland town of Fort William. Once engaged, he infused a
renewed vigor into everything with his “can-do!” attitude.
I briefed Don on what I had learned in
Scotland, and gave him carte blanche to do what he could to
further the hunt. As it turned out, he sought out some paths I myself
would have never thought to take in my search. This included engaging an
ancestor-search firm in Scotland to look into other records, to confirm,
and reinforce, my own finds. Don also solicited information in one of
the Scottish newspapers, and did some detective work of his own.
The ancestor search firm got off to a
wobbly start by expressing pointed skepticism about the surname Peter.
It just doesn’t look like a Scottish surname, they said. Maybe the
client (me) has got it wrong! I quickly set that straight by quoting
names, dates, and places from my Aberdeen Papers. As in any business,
the customer is always right. In my case, especially, I held impeccable
records from a Scottish Town Registry, which even professional ancestor
hunters could not refute!
Then, the pace of the search swung into
overdrive with a note sent to Don Cameron by a lady from Dundee,