Eight years ago a grandson asked Ken Howard what his father was like. Until then he had given little if any thought to informing his grandchildren about their family’s genealogy, history and heritage, and his daughters had only limited information. To meet this enquiry he wrote memoirs of his father, Louis George Howard for his family.
Research on his father included exploration of the Manitoba Legislative Library’s microfiches, the Manitoba Legislative Library, Archives of Manitoba and other sources, stirring memories of many friends, neighbours and acquaintances of all ages, from the 1920s onward. He undertook to interview pioneer family members to document the life stories of as many members of Selkirk’s pioneers as he could manage.
Gunnur Isfeld, former editor of Lögberg-Heimskringla drew his attention to a chapter about Selkirk in Saga Íslendinga í Vesturheimi vol 5, edited by Tryggvi J. Oleson, published by Bókaútgáfa Menningarsjóðs, Reykjavík, Iceland,1953, and readily translated it for him.
He wrote an article in Lögberg-Heimskringla asking readers if they could provide information on people mentioned in the chapter about whom he had little information. A number of readers responded.
The book contains stories of over 20 Icelandic pioneer families, including his, the Guðmundur Ásmundsson/ Ragnheiður Jónsdóttir family, who settled in Selkirk in 1895.
The book is about 500 pages with stories of some 100 members of Selkirk’s pioneers and 200 photos never previously published. He’s greatly indebted toNelson Gerrard for his encouragement and advice and for permission to quote from his landmark publications Icelandic River Saga and The Icelandic Heritage; to Donald E. Gislason for his thorough research and interpretation of the Kinmount tragedy; and to Sigrid Johnson, Head, Icelandic Collection, University of Manitoba, without whose assistance the Icelandic component of the book would not have been possible.
Ken Howard holds an M. A. from the University of Manitoba with a major in French and a minor in History, and an M.A. in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario. Now retired, he’s an Honourary Life Member of the Canadian Psychological Association.