Niagara Gazette

Features

February 7, 2014

Who does she think she is? Local genealogists shed light on history of Canadian actress

Niagara Gazette — The mysterious death of an ice delivery man in the 1920s, was part of the family history of a Canadian actress uncovered for a TV show by two local genealogists.

While researching the family history of Canadian actress Marina Orsini, Niagara Fallsfamily history researcher, Pete Ames, came across an interesting story about Harold Edwin Young, her great-grandfather. Young died suddenly after attending an underground drinking establishment in Lackawanna.

“The death certificate had one thing listed down for the cause of death, but they had to cross it off because an autopsy revealed that he was poisoned,” Ames said. “Somehow he had ingested potassium cyanide. Someone slipped him a mickey.”

After spending time researching in Buffalo and Lackawanna Ames, along with cousin and colleague Historian Bill Seiner, the pair presented their information to Orsini at the Grosvenor Room at the Buffalo and Erie County Library as part of a French- Canadian television series entitled “Qui etes vous,” which is comparable to the American show, “Who Do You Think You Are?”

“She was very visibly moved by it all,” said Lewiston Public Library Assistant Michelle Kratts of Orsini. “It was interesting, you always wonder if reactions on shows like that are really live, and they are.”

The show, like its American TV counterpart, focuses on uncovering the mysteries that surround the heritage of celebrities. While Ames and Seiner made no mention of the murder ever being solved, the knowledge was something Orsini may have never come across without their help.

A family legend maintains that Young may have had an extramarital affair, and his death may have been the result of actions taken by a jealous husband. However, that has never been proven. But, the geneologists’ research certain provides credibility to the family’s belief about his death. Their research also adds to the shows’ efforts to demonstrate the benefits of tracing family geneology.

“This was partly to showcase an example of tracking down genealogy in different places,” said Seiner. “It’s also a bit of a showcase of local history because there were a great number of Canadians that came to Niagara Falls and Buffalo.”

Prohibition was an especially tense time in this area due to Canada being just across the river. It was especially easy to smuggle alcohol into the country when it was legal just a few minutes away.

During this time there were a seemingly endless supply of “soft drink” establishments that served as fronts for illegal drinking. According to Seiner, one man was ambushed by coast guard officers just for looking suspicious. This resulted in Western New York becoming a leading player in the opposition to prohibition, and is all part of the rich history of the region.

The show aired this fall on Radio-Canada. It was produced in French, with subtitles used for segments filmed in Buffalo, Scotland and Italy. The show was available for Canadian viewers only and is no longer available online, but a DVD may be obtained for viewing through Michelle Kratts at the Lewiston Library by calling 754-4720.  The two Niagara genealogists simply hope that by sharing their story they can show what people can learn about themselves and their families with just a little digging.

“People should be asking their elders about stories like this before they go away,” said Ames. “Once they pass away, that information goes away with them which makes it more difficult. Don’t wait until tomorrow.”

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • NIA Biz logo 072814 IN BUSINESS: ReNU director named to '30 Under 30' list Tom Lowe, director of ReNU Niagara, has been named to the 2014 class of Buffalo Business First's 30 Under 30 honorees. The award recognizes 30 Western New Yorkers in the early stages of their careers who are achieving at high levels at work and in the community.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUNLIFELexisPlace1072014jpg (1).jpg Lexi's Place: A safe haven for teens battling suicide, sexual abuse and depression

    In a perfect world, a 14-year-old wouldn’t know exactly how it feels to try suicide.
    An 11-year-old who reaches out to the unwanted kids at school would not be thrown against a locker and bullied by other teens trying to make her feel small.
    And surely no teen would have a father who, when she was small, would give her to his friends for sex.
    All those things happened to the teens at Lexi’s Place.

    July 22, 2014 8 Photos

  • SUN LIFE wine fest 3 072014.jpg [Duplicate] Sip the Niagara Wine Trail's best in one location The Niagara Wine Trail reveals it's sweetness slowly, and only to those dedicated enough to spend the time. There are 27 wineries and to sample a taste of each requires much driving through the backroads of the Niagara region, and far too much sipping to make driving a logical possibility. That's what makes the trail's 6th annual Wine and Culinary event such a good idea. Wine lovers who've always wanted to explore the new and unusual offerings of the 14-year-old wine trail, can do so next weekend, all in one place.

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • SUN LIFE Open gardens 4 072014.jpg [Duplicate] Niagara gardeners take part in fest's Open Gardens program

    As they looked out over the near-half-acre that is the Blyth garden in the Town of Tonawanda, a visitor asked Linda Blyth if they ever get weeds.

    July 21, 2014 10 Photos

  • mug - Tybor, Chris RGB FIT FOR LIFE: The components, signs of an effective diet

    According to the latest research, “keto diets” or very low-carb diets are not more effective long-term than other diet methods. A wide range of diets work and I won’t debate the value of each and every diet or method out there, but the keys to a successful diet need to take the following into consideration:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE terrariums 2 072014.jpg [Duplicate] Terrariums — for the love of nature

    Terrarium workshops by Sara Johnson of Sylvatica 

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • NIA Fire Trucks art 2 071914 Local fire departments display their antique fire trucks at Canal Fest

    Canal Fest premiered a new event on Thursday afternoon with the first Vintage Fire Truck Muster, featuring antique firefighting vehicles from as early as 1872.

    July 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Debutante 2 Falls debutante program aims to teach girls the art of success

    Many of the young girls in the newest debutante class in Niagara Falls have bigger challenges in their lives than practicing curtsies and writing thank-you notes.

    July 14, 2014 3 Photos

  • SUN LIFE milk 1 071314.jpg [Duplicate] LOCKPORT: Farm couple shares organic dairy farming methods. When Tina Kowalski is out grocery shopping and she sees someone pick up a carton of organic milk, she sometimes walks over to thank them. If that carton is produced by the Upstate Farms dairy cooperative, there's a good chance it contains milk from one of the 60 dairy cows on her Lockport Farm. And she just loves those cows.

    July 13, 2014 4 Photos

  • mug - stack, catherine RGB [Duplicate] [Duplicate] NATURAL HEALTH: Do you really know what you are eating?

    Many individuals fall for words like “all natural,” “heart healthy” and pretty pictures of fruits and vegetables when shopping for groceries. These very misleading marketing ploys are partially responsible for the rising numbers of those diagnosed with heart disease and diabetes and people suffering from obesity even though they are eating foods that claim to benefit their health.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page