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Part Qallunaaq
Chapter 26. A “Symphony of Coincidences”


Looking back at the five-year period of my search for William Mackenzie Peter, I’m amazed at what I can now describe as a “symphony of coincidences”. These were a series of “chance” happenings and “accidental” discoveries, which connected seemingly unrelated bits and pieces into a picture complete with all its parts. People, places, and events have pulled together as if attracted by some unseen magnet, to produce a result, which was unthinkable in the beginning.

Now, consider this series of “happenstances”: My first haggis dinner in London, England, in April 1996 lit a flame within me. It stirred me to take up the torch of my late mother’s deep longing to know about her Scottish father. At that time, however, there was no obvious starting point for a search imaginable, visible, or available.

My first visit to the Hudson’s Bay Company archives in Winnipeg, in 2001, was merely to seek a list of names of trading post managers who had served at Povungnetuk Bay. Years earlier, I had asked Kenn Harper of Iqaluit, and John MacDonald of Igloolik to search for any reference to my grandfather in that very archives! Each had reported a discouraging, “Nothing!” I had misguided them both by asking them to look under Port Harrison (Inukjuak). This should have been the end of the search.

When I looked under “Povungnetuk Bay” for the year 1927, there on New Year’s Day was Mr. Peter, having arrived by dog team from Inukjuak; mentioned by name in the daily journals of his employer’s rival, the Hudson’s Bay Company. I thank James Allen, who made these journal entries, 74 years after the fact!

I get invited to an event in London, and carry on to Aberdeen, the “right” city in Scotland to search. An uncommonly competent archivist, Valerie Anne Plante, who was on her last few days on the job, serves me at the Aberdeen Town Registry. Then, Mrs. Mina Menzies of Dundee “happens upon” a notice in a newspaper, and provides a living link, which takes my search “over the top”.

By all natural logic, this investigation should not have been solved without information found in Revillon Frères records in Ottawa, Moosonee, Paris, of New York. Throughout this search, I believe I was guided by a Force and Power which by-passed all these widely spread known sources, and connected me to a string of people and places which added up to: Mission Accomplished. Things don’t just line themselves up this way!

There is a God!


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