Suffolk family trail for Canadian Jeanne

"I REALLY feel as if I have been specially guided here today."That was the reaction of the daughter of an Ipswich woman who emigrated to Canada 80 years ago, on her amazingly fortuitous return to the Suffolk town of her ancestry.

"I REALLY feel as if I have been specially guided here today."

That was the reaction of the daughter of an Ipswich woman who emigrated to Canada 80 years ago, on her amazingly fortuitous return to the Suffolk town of her ancestry.

On her first trip to the town Jeanne Antaya and her husband Wayne found themselves embarking on a paper trail into history thanks to a number of coincidences.

Jeanne and Wayne live in Manitoba, Canada. Jeanne's mum, Mabel Parkinson, was born in Ipswich in 1911, but when she was 13, the family emigrated to Canada.


You may also want to watch:


Jeanne had always wanted to see where her mother had spent her childhood and find out more about the town.

On a visit to England last month Wayne and Jeanne had been staying in London and although due to fly to Paris, suddenly decided to make a day trip to Ipswich and couldn't believe their luck when they visited Ipswich Library on Sunday, September 26.

Most Read

They arrived at Ipswich Railway Station where a helpful couple suggested that Ipswich Library might be able to help them in their quest and drove them there.

They were greeted in the library foyer by Storyteller John Row who explained that Suffolk Record Office were holding a "Moment in Time" roadshow there that very day as part of the county council's archive awareness campaign.

Record Office staff were on hand with old photos of Ipswich and were able to show Jeanne a photo of Turret Green Baptist Church where her mum had attended Sunday School, and find some maps.

Jeanne said: "It was quite an emotional experience. I really feel as if I've been specially guided here today."

Jeanne had brought with her two old documents including her mother's school report from St Mary Stoke and St Peter's girls' school.

Suffolk Record Office are always keen to collect any historical documents or photos relating to Suffolk so Jeanne let them scan the documents onto a database.

"It's a good job my mum had a good report" she said.

These will be added to the council's East of England Sense of Place website (www.senseofplacesuffolk.co.uk) so when Wayne and Jeanne return to Canada they'll be able to look at them on the Internet and know that they have contributed to a bit of Suffolk history.

People can ask at their local library for an events booklet listing other Archive Awareness events in Suffolk or an entry form for the photographic competition.

For more details on archive awareness check out our website www.suffolkcc.gov.uk which has a link on the front page.

Do you have a story of an amazingly lucky trip? Were you the kind-hearted couple who Wayne and Jeanne met at the railway station? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter