Meet the inaugural board of UELAC’s 1st Virtual Branch – UE Loyalists Bridge Annex. We’re a group of passionate ‘legacy keepers,’ who believe in using technology to connect with others in the pursuit of learning, sharing and supporting each other as we explore the stories and history that have shaped us as people and the places we call home. We are looking forward to connecting with you!

2019-2020 Board of Directors

Jennifer DeBruin UE, President


Jennifer DeBruin UE – 
President

My passion is researching and sharing the stories of ordinary people who experienced extraordinary history. With a focus on North America from the 16th-20th centuries, I seek to expand the understanding of our complex history from a variety of perspectives and how it affects our present and future.

A descendant of the United Empire Loyalists once of the Mohawk Valley, New York, who resettled along the shores of the St. Lawrence River in Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (SD&G) Counties, I am proud  to share their stories, and am always seeking to learn more through research, and in particular, by  connecting with others.

In addition to acting as President of UE Loyalists Bridge Annex, I am also UELAC Public Relations Chair; Genealogical Processes Chair; Loyalist Gazette Design/Production (Volunteer); Central East Region Councillor (Ontario); member of the St. Lawrence Branch UELAC; and Facebook Curator for the Lost Villages Historical Society (LVHS).

I’m excited to marry technology and history as a way to connect with others who are interested in sharing in our ongoing North American story.

Amanda Fasken UE – Vice-President

From a young age I have been fascinated and interested with history. Visiting forts and exploring old buildings was what I loved to do with my family. It wasn’t until later on when I understood my own family’s complicated past of being Loyalists that my interests narrowed in on the 18th and 19th Century.

I was curious to know how the events of the American Revolution and my ancestors role in it helped to shape where and who I am today.

I dove into the world of living history to deepen my understanding what my ancestors experienced. Quickly I grew to love the hobby of historical reenacting and currently participate in three different time periods in the role of a Private (American Revolution, War of 1812 and Civil War).

I am a Graphic Designer by trade but I spend as much time as I can volunteering in the area of heritage. I currently sit on the board with the Fairfield-Gutzeit Society (Bath ON), The Friends of Crysler’s Farm Battlefield (Morrisburg ON) and UEL Bridge Annex. I am also on the Public Relations Committee for the UELAC.

I look forward to having the opportunity to help shine a light on or history and heritage to a new generation.


Patricia Groom UE – Branch Genealogist

A champion of Loyalist history, Patricia is often encouraging others to become involved. Her management skills and enthusiastic support of creating new ways for connecting people to Loyalist history have ensured this new and innovative branch is poised for success.

Patricia currently serves as UELAC Senior Vice-President, President of the UELAC – Toronto Branch, Promotions Chair, and Public Relations committee member.

 

 

 

 

Susan Ellsworth UE – Treasurer

Susan is a descendant of Francis Elsworth of Butler’s Rangers, who was granted the land closest to Niagara Falls.  Susan’s generation is the first in her family to grow up outside Niagara and she still has many relatives in that region.  Her university background (History degrees) and her occupation (Research Director) made genealogy a natural for her! She had no idea the Ellsworths were Loyalist when she began her genealogical pursuits in the mid-1990s but was very pleased to find out this was so.  

Susan has been a member of UELAC since 1997 and has been active on the Toronto Branch Board for twenty years, serving in multiple capacities.  She looks forward to helping the new Bridge Annex branch grow and flourish.

 

 

James Beattie UE – Board Member at Large 

Hi folks! My name is Jim Beattie UE and I joined the Bridge Annex board this year. I have been studying family history for 43 years and have proven UEL ancestors Conrad Sills this year and William Thompson in 2002. My wife Cheryl has proven her UE ancestor David Shorey Sr. this past year. I am close to retirement from my teaching job of 29 years and have just started a new business that will hopefully allow me the freedom to travel!

UE Loyalists Bridge Annex: Founding Board of Directors

Jennifer DeBruin UE – President (Current Board Member)

Patricia Groom UE – Treasurer (Current Board Member)

Amanda Fasken UE – Marketing & Public Relations (Current Board Member)

David Kanowakeron Hill-Morrison UE – Vice-President & Webmaster

Shé:kon!  Tekwanonhwerá:tons!  (‘Hello!  I welcome all of you!’) As a tri-‘citizen’ of the Mohawk David Kanowakeron Hill-Morrison UENation, Canada and the U.S., I see Bridge Annex is a natural fit for someone whose life transcends imaginary lines on the ground.  With a focus on acknowledging, respecting and celebrating the key Aboriginal support for the Original United Empire Loyalists, my identity as a Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) compels me to proudly claim my UE Status as a descendant of Joseph Thayendanegea Brant.

Residing in the Rochester area of Upstate New York, my heart and allegiance are solidly in the territory of the Six Nations of the Grand River in Southern Ontario.   A member of Grand River Branch since 1993, I’ve been privileged to serve as UELAC Central West Regional Councillor since 2011 with a sense of duty and obligation to continue the spirit of my Loyalist ancestors.

In my past career, corporate database administration defined how I earned a living but it didn’t define my priorities in life.   Nevertheless, my IT roots date to 1979 and have allowed me to be Grand River Branch webmaster since 2004 in addition to administrator of Branch Facebook pages for Grand River and now, Bridge Annex.

I look forward to this exciting new opportunity to share the Loyalist experience across social and cultural lines!

2018 Recipient – UELAC Dorchester Award

Charlene Widrick UECharlene Widrick UE – Branch Genealogist

Full disclosure, in grade six, Sister Mary Stephen called me “The Little Question Box.” It’s true.

My Irish Grandfather died suddenly in 1969 leaving me questioning where his family was. We never really talked about anything, he would become quiet and just say that he’d stowed away on a boat and came to Canada. In 1994 after my Mother died, I became ever more curious and began my Irish roots search to find haltingly that I was not Irish. My Grandfather had been a British Home Child from the north of England. An innocuous journey down a lazy river tossed me into the rapids of time that I have furiously paddled since then!

I am passionate to say the least about Family. That passion has birthed an unbridled curiosity about history and the migratory patterns of not only my own family, but of generations that merge into our “today.” I am proud to be a BHC descendant, a UEL descendant, deeply French and mostly just Canadian.

Having lived in the US since before my sons were born, I feel very fortunate to have cross-border access. My sons, and now my grandsons, also enjoy a cross-border lifestyle that has such an impact on our family culture. Interesting how we became part of those same migratory patterns of our ancestors! I’m enjoying the “ride.”

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At the UEL plaque re-dedication in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, on August 12, 2018, we managed to get our UE Loyalists Bridge Annex Board together in person for the first time! We are proud of the team we’re building and we invite you to join our growing community of UEL descendants, history enthusiasts and those who are curious about this part of our North American story.

L-R: David Kanowakeron Hill Morrison UE (VP), Patricia Groom UE (Treasurer), Jennifer DeBruin UE (President), Amanda Fasken UE (Marketing & PR), Charlene Widrick UE (Genealogist)