Thunder Bay

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Thunder Bay is a city on the northwestern shore of Lake Superior, in Canada. It is was created in 1970 from the amalgamation of Port Arthur and Fort William, which had existed for about 100 and 200 years, respectively. Since amalgamation its population has remained mostly constant, at about 110,000 people. This makes it a particularly interesting place for hyperlocal historical study, since it remains as a frozen "time capsule" of the past, and its entire history is not very long and is thus tractable. The individual genealogies of every person in town can be conceivably traced.

Another feature of Thunder Bay making it an especially good candidate for historical analysis is its isolation. Extending the concept of "topographical prominence" to cities, it's likely that Thunder Bay would feature highly on a list of most "isolated" cities larger than 100,000 people, since it is hundreds of kilometres from any other city of comparable size. This means people had to decisively living within its boundaries or else far away in another city. This isolation makes analysis more tractable and also contributes to the unique character of its culture.

Thunder Bay has a particularly high number of community-minded people who have contributed to many volunteer activities such as sports, theatre, dance, academics, and many other activities giving it a rich and vibrant sense of community. Unlike in other cities where people generally do not know their neighbours, in Thunder Bay it is normal to be friendly and know the names of many people in your neighbourhood and while going about one's errands it would be normal to meet several people you recognize.

Parsons and Currie relatives

The Currie family's roots in Thunder Bay (formerly Port Arthur and Fort William) are surprisingly shallow, but if one goes back to the Parsons family - the family of the mother of Great Grandma Anna Currie - one finds many migrants, since it was they who engaged in the Great Parsons Migration to Port Arthur at the turn of the 19th century into the 20th.

Jack Currie's mother Anna Snook's parents were from Port Arthur, but it's not clear how far back their history in the town goes, although they were present at the time of Anna Snook's birth in 1892. Alex did marry Anna in Port Arthur in June 1914, however, and stayed long enough for Jack to be born there in June 1915. Soon after, he left, because his life as a station agent doesn't appear to involve any long stays in the town.

Jack Currie moved back to Port Arthur, bringing his young family, in 1954. However, his two older sons had moved away by the time they were at university in the 1970s. Only Jack's youngest son Ron stayed for the rest of his life. Jack and his wife Lucy did stay in Thunder Bay until their deaths in 2009 and 2003, respectively.

Ron's children Michael and Carolyn left town in 2001 and 2015, at 19 and 30, respectively.

Leaving aside our third cousins from the Parsons branch, this leaves only the ageing Ronald and his wife Mary Ann carrying the torch in the town Michael was raised in.

The only people born in Thunder Bay are Anna, Jack, and Carolyn.

The only one born AND raised in Thunder Bay is Carolyn.

Stays in Thunder Bay:

  • George Snook 1892-1930 (from Salisbury, England)
  • Anne Parsons 1892-1924 (from Newfoundland)
  • Anna Snook 1893-1916 (born, but raised around Schreiber)
  • Jack Currie 1915-1916, 1954 - 2009 (born, lived from age 39 onwards)
  • Lucy Currie 1954 - 2003 (from age 36 onwards)
  • Ronald Currie 1954 - present (from age 7 onwards)
  • Mary Ann Currie ~1978 - present (from age 28 onwards)
  • Bill Currie 1954 - 1965 (from ages 11 to 18)
  • Doug Currie 1954 - 1968 (from ages 8 to 18)
  • Michael Currie 1982 - 2001 (not born there, but from ages 0 to 19)
  • Carolyn Currie 1985 - 2015 (born and raised, until 30)

The person from our family with the most years in Thunder Bay is Ronald Currie, with 64 years as of 2018.

True enterprising individuals who made the active choice to move to Thunder Bay, and didn't just descend from those who were already here: