A Canadian Connection

I am a Canadian Botting, my grandfather having emigrated from England in the early 1900s to the forests on the West coast of British Columbia. Unfortunately, my grandfather died when he was 36, leaving his 26 year old widow with four children and no means of support. She kept my father, her six month old baby, and gave her other two sons up for adoption to two Botting relatives, one in Canada, the other in South Africa.  My father never saw or heard from his brothers again.  His sister was also given away.  I grew up feeling that we had no Botting relatives.

My isolation changed in the 1990s. I met my father's cousin who is interested in the Botting family tree. Frances is a dear lady, now 90 this year.  She had been to the 1997 Australian Botting Reunion and had such a wonderful time meeting friendly relatives. She informed me about the New Zealand Botting Reunion of 1999, which my husband and I attended. We were delighted with the warmth and friendliness of our "Kiwi rellies"!  We met Bottings of all ages and from all walks of life. I recognised family traits and resemblances, and for the first time felt a sense of belonging to a real family grouping of people.

In 2000, I also met my two (and only) first cousins, when I travelled to South Africa. The family resemblance was very strong, and I learned that my father and his elder brother had been remarkably similar in personality, skills, and interests, even though they had never known each other. My cousins and I have kept in close contact since. In fact, cousin Rob Botting's daughter, Catherine, was coaxed by the Alberta government to practice medicine there, so Rob, wife Viv, and Catherine live now only a fourteen hours drive away, and we have visited back and forth a number of times.

Recently, I was contacted by another Botting who lives in British Columbia, wondering if perhaps we were related. I was able to connect his small tree into our larger one and tell him that, indeed, we were closely related. Sixteen generations ago, my ancestor was the older brother by one year to his ancestor. Wellll, not sooo close!

I was excited to learn of a proposed Botting reunion in England next year!  I have wandered through graveyards in Horsham, East Grinstead, Nuthurst, and the Isle of Wight to see Botting graves, but have not had the pleasure of meeting live English Bottings.  Even for people not the least interested in geneology, a family reunion can be a rewarding experience. It is reaffirming to know that one is a member of an extended group of relatives, Bottings who in my experience have all been "the salt of the earth".

Bev (Botting) Wilks
North Vancouver, B.C., Canada


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