everything old is new again

You know, everything was fine. I was more or less resigned to the fact that I would never get to live in the UK because I couldn’t get my visa situation sorted out (and that whole “Ed likes to crush my dreams” thing, but we try not to think about that). I was perfectly happy to sit here in my outraged misery, trying to be content with visiting London as often as I could instead of moving there – even temporarily – to bask in the rolling green fields and eggs that don’t go in the fridge. I endured. I acquiesced. I mourned my dreams in – well, not silence, but with heaving sighs and an aching longing that could not be quenched. Basically, I Scarlet O’Hara’d all up in this bitch.

Then, today. I was writing a post on reddit to complain about my ancestral paperwork woes and researched the requirements again to make sure my post was accurate. It was then I discovered that the Ancestry Visa Requirements for the UK had changed slightly:

Ancestry Documents

You’ll also need to provide:

  • your full birth certificate
  • your marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document if your husband, wife or civil partner wants to join you
  • the full birth certificates of the parent and grandparent your ancestry claim is based on
  • marriage certificates for your parents and grandparents if they were married

Those bolded and underlined words? Those were not there before. And they completely remove the blockage I had with my application. I’ve never been able to locate my grandfather’s birth certificate, and cannot prove he and my grandmother were actually married. It always pissed me off, because he wasn’t the relative I was claiming ancestry through – yes, my great-grandfather moved his family from Ireland to Canada, but the Ancesty Visa only goes back two generations so it was a moot point. I HAVE my grandmother’s and father’s birth certificate, and a valid reason why I don’t have a marriage certificate for my grandparents. With those 6 words, my path to an Ancestry Visa is suddenly clear. I could apply for this. I have, or can get, everything I need to make it go, up to and including the painful £516 application fee.

But .. getting that visa is not going to change the fact that I have a life here. We’re not even a year into our new place. Our cats are here. Ed does not want to move, even temporarily. I desperately want this – like, bucket list item that ranks even higher than that multi-dick scenario I keep talking about – but getting that coveted, I-assume-stamped bit of paper would do nothing towards making my dream actually happen.

The temptation to do it just because I CAN is strong, but I think it would just make me even sadder to think about. I’ve done ridiculous things out of bureaucratic spite before, but $1000 is a lot of money to pay for something that would make me cry and mope endlessly.

But damn if I’m not super tempted.

btw, going to spain. this’ll be me in 4 days.

the results are in

I purchased an Ancestry DNA kit for myself and a friend late last year, and after some procrastination and queuing, I got my results back today.

I am somewhat disappointed to learn there are no Maury Povich-style reveals in my past – my results did not show that I am secretly African, or mysteriously uncategorizable, or any anything at all that I didn’t expect, with one exception:

I am 1% more Great British than I am East Asian.

They HAVE to let me in now, right?!


damn ethnics

This means I’m definitely not adopted and living a huge lie like I always hoped feared – it’s pretty much spot on with what I’d been told all my life. Some of the smaller percentages were interesting, too – at some point, several of my ancestors dipped their dingle in places far from home. The complete breakdown is as follows:

  • Asia East: 41% Primarily located in: Russia, China, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Palau (and Malaysia, which isn’t on this list but is included in the big blue blob)
  • Asia Central: 9% Primarily located in: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan (all those letters! #blessed)
  • Great Britain: 42% Primarily located in: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Italy (YEEEEEEEAH and also I’ve often claimed I’m half Malaysian/half European mutt, so hooray for proof)
  • Polynesia: 4% Primarily located in: Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand (Maori), Micronesia, Philippines, Melanesia, Hawaii
  • Trace Regions: 4% These are listed as tiny amounts appearing in your DNA and possibly by accident, and include Ireland, Iberian Peninsula, and Europe West

This was a pretty neat exercise. The Ancestry DNA test isn’t as detailed as the 23 and Me test (which covers health conditions you may be at risk for, genetic traits, potential drug responses, etc), but it’s also half the price. I might give the other test a try down the road, as I don’t know much about my medical history .. but for now, this is just one more piece in the “lemme in the UK” dossier I’m building just in case. Also, is cool. And I got to spit in a tube! Totally worth it.

in the pudding

I took Friday off work anad went to Victoria, because I felt guilty for reasons. I didn’t want to go, and until I was on the ferry I was in danger of changing my mind – but I did my daughterly duties (and then some), so I’m off the hook for a little while. I do plan on scooting to Victoria this summer (because it is one of the greatest times ever), but I think we’re going to call it a vacation and stay at a hotel: I hate my mother’s place, and I hate the week of back pain I get for every night I sleep on plywood.

I gave my mom all the presents this weekend, which covers me for Mother’s Day and her birthday in early June. Ed and I gave her a new TV to replace the dinosaur 27″ CRT she had (and still has, because the two of us were unable to lift the damn thing to move it out of the living room), and I had a couple pictures of her cat done up in fancy frames by Hatchcraft. I also used the Power of the Internet to order her a CD she mentioned, and took her out to lunch. I am a Good Daughter <tm>.

Before leaving yesterday, I got a chance to go through my dad’s papers. While I couldn’t find anything belonging to my grandparents, I did find my dad’s birth certificate and my parent’s marriage certificate. While I was away, I also received the birth certificate of the correct Edith Jane Cornes in the mail. All this means that I can:

  • Prove my grandmother was born in England
  • Prove my father was born of the woman who was born in England
  • Prove I was born

.. is that enough?

My grandmother had many siblings, some of whom helpfully attended the official birthing ceremony (or whatever they did in the early 1900s) of my dad – two of her brothers are listed as witnesses. Thanks to the work Ken did, I’m certain the line he found is the correct one, and people from that family can be traced from birth in England, through immigration to Canada, and in some cases, death. I still don’t know how my grandparents met, when they got married, and what happened to Edith after her husband died. I may never know, but that isn’t the pressing point here: is this enough to get me to the UK?

If I can prove the blood lines, it seems weird and archaic that I would have to prove the legality of it all. After all, I missed being illegitimate by two weeks – even if my parents hadn’t married, I’d still belong to them.

Interesting stuff. Still all hypotheticals, but at least I’m getting somewhere.

all new 100% organic grandmother

all new 100% organic grandmother

je me souviens (frustration)

I am now convinced that getting a UK Visa – hell, LIFE ITSELF – would be a thousand times easier if only I wasn’t from Quebec.

Don’t get me wrong – I am proud to be from Montreal and of my heritage; I am just ENDLESSLY FRUSTRATED at how complicated it is to get any official information out of the Province of Quebec. What evil deeds could I possibly do with a marriage certificate from 1910? What havoc could I wreak with a century-old death certificate? How will my figuring out where I came from lead to the ruination of all of Quebec? Obviously, it won’t – but judging by the number of hoops you have to jump through to get anything at all out of the government, one might start to think they’re some sort of sleeper agent with as-of-yet undiscovered powers that could end the world.

Or maybe it’s just me.

I can’t find a marriage certificate for my grandparents. Hell, I don’t know if they ever made it official. I can trace Edith’s family (the right Edith, or at least closer to being right than Fake Edith) from the UK to their immigration to Canada in 1893 via the 1901 census, then nothing until she shows up listed as “Mrs. Edith J Wangzilla” on my granddad’s war records. I literally have no idea what happened to her between 1901 and 1914 (when my dad was born), and after 1917 when my grandfather died.

“But Kimli”, you say. “Surely you can just request the information from the government! Each province has a department that deals with this exact thing!”

This would be where the whole “being from Quebec” thing gets really fucking complicated.

Like most provinces, Quebec allows you to request copies of official documents for a fee. It’s all very simple, really: set up a verified user account, and away you go!

To set up an account, all you need is:

  • Your Social Insurance Number
  • Your Revenu Quebec Access Code
  • Your Notice of Assessment Number

.. yeah, you need to be living and working in the province of Quebec in order to request copies of documents. Because no one would ever leave Quebec, right? Not at ALL. For ANY REASON.

My only option appears to be to fill out a form and mail it off with copies of my personal information and a wad of money and hope that something happens. Unfortunately, this is where my overall lack of knowledge comes back to bite me in the ass: the form wants me to provide the date and location this marriage took place. I don’t KNOW that information. I was hoping they did, which is why I’m requesting it. They can deny me for any reason – spelling a name wrong, missing a date, cheering for the wrong hockey team, Tuesday, a bad mood (they’re allowed to veto genealogy research as a valid excuse for wanting this information) – and it’ll cost me $45 for each stab in the dark I attempt. If I was in Quebec, I could go to an office and get some help, but I’m far away so I can’t. And no one can go for me; they won’t allowed a lawyer or notary to request info on someone’s behalf. Has to be me, and since I’m not the direct child of someone I’m requesting info on, I can be veto’d. But they’ll keep my money!

This is so frustrating. I keep finding awesome things that are no help to me whatsoever – for example, I found the burial announcement for my aunt, who died when she was 3. I had her name wrong the whole time (thanks again, dad’s foggy memory – I don’t care that you were barely two when she died, you’re supposed to know this) – Muriel Hazel Wangzilla was born in December 1913 and died in February 1917 (which was a terrible year for poor Edith Jane – lost her daughter and husband in the same year, then seemingly vanished herself). I found my dad’s marriage record to his first wife, which lists both his parents as deceased. Cool find, but doesn’t help me at all: I specifically need the marriage record of John James Wangzilla to Edith Jane Corn(e)s, and I CAN’T FIND IT. I can’t find my dad’s birth record either, but I’m less concerned about that – mom has the original. I’m working on Edith’s birth certificate, but I also need one for John James .. and getting records out of Nova Scotia is a whole other ranting blog post that I just don’t want to get into.

I now understand why it was so hard to get a copy of my birth certificate out of Montreal. I was correct in my assumption that no one got one – when checking in with other wayward Quebec babies, we all received an official non-official baptismal certificate (or nothing at all if you were a heathen) which is good for exactly squat. I don’t know if I’d even be able to get another copy of my birth certificate if I needed it, so I should probably relocate mine from it’s current hiding spot and into a vault or something.

Quebec, why you gotta be so complicated.

I do not feel so hot. I hope my cold isn’t morphing into something deadly and terrifying, because it would be fucking impossible to get a death certificate issued in my name.


With three of my close friends currently wandering around Europe (along with millions of others), I find myself in a desperate state of “I wanna go to the UK”. I don’t have any trips planned, but I’m getting kind of pathetic in my antsiness – it’s almost as bad as my need to be in Vancouver, when I was stuck in Calgary. I wonder if I’m destined to roam the earth like some sort of shiftless vagabond, unable to stay in one place for longer than a decade. I lived in Calgary for 7 years, and have been in Vancouver for 8.5 .. is it time for another change?

That’s scary talk, right there. At the moment, I’d settle for a three-month work trial in London (and even then I’m getting way ahead of myself: this is all just wishful thinking, remember).

It doesn’t help that I’m ALSO feeling a strong need to do Paris again, but properly this time. Why hasn’t instant travel been invented yet? And why am I not free to follow my ever whim and fancy, no matter how ridiculous? Stupid responsibilities and limited resources, you’re harshing my buzz.

I have a team of wonderful elves doing extensive family research for me, and some new details have come to light:

  • My mother doesn’t remember being British (but to be fair, my mother doesn’t remember a lot of things), but this is still a conversation I really ought to have with some sort of consulate. No matter what my mom remembers or not, the fact remains that she was born in Malaysia under British rule .. that’s gotta count for like, two points.
  • Edith Jane Cornes born of Franklin Cornes the Coal Miner and Jane Scott the wife of a Coal Miner is definitely the wrong woman, so now I have the birth certificate of a total stranger which is kind of weird
  • It’s looking more and more likely that the right woman was Edith Jane Corns born of Samuel Corns and Harriet Gough in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England which is so British I could just drink tea
  • The Corns line can be traced immigrating to Canada as a family in 1893 and landing in Montreal, Quebec
  • The only reason I was looking up “Cornes” in the first place was because of my dad – he had typed out part of his life story, and that’s how he spelled it. THANKS DAD
  • The Corns had a huge family who all went on to create their own huge families – I probably have cousins and second cousins I don’t know about
  • Now I can’t have sex with anyone in Malaysia OR Quebec for fear of accidental incest
  • .. damnit
  • Finding my grandparent’s marriage certificate is proving to be enormously troublesome, and unfortunately it’s the one piece of vital information I neeeeeed if I want to – wishful thinking – apply for a UK visa
  • It’s not London, but yesterday I wandered to Point Roberts with some gnomes:


We also made a new friend:

this is trapper

this is trapper

As soon as he was on the beach, he came running up to us with a stick in his mouth. He dropped the stick, laid down, and waited: he was the politest damn dog I’ve ever seen, and super cute. We took turns throwing the stick for him before he got tired of us and went to play with some kids further down on the beach. There were many (okay, three) large friendly dogs there, and I got to pet them all.

So, now I want to go to London AND have dogs.

Sometimes it feels as though it would be easier to be happy if I didn’t have such dreams.



who are you


Unless this woman got married in the UK to some guy named Herbert Hawthorne and stayed in England long enough to be counted in the 1911 census, then somehow got to Canada and met my grandfather and got married and had babies in 1913 and 1914 .. I’ve been tracing the wrong line in the UK.

There’s another woman with the same name from the UK who, in 1901, was counted in the Canadian census and listed as having immigrated to the correct part of Canada in 1893. This could be the right line, but every time I try to search for her, the records are crossed between these two women. For all I know, the information I have is partially correct (the birth certificate I received for the woman in the image above has a birth year of 1883, not 1884). Most of the information I DO have was researched for me by the amazing Ken in Calgary, and I am forever grateful because he was able to provide a ton of stuff – now I just need to put the pieces together.

What I DO know:

  • All the information I’ve found about my grandfather is correct
  • Every piece of war correspondence I’ve been able to find lists him as “Husband of Edith J. Welsh of 2883 St. Andre St. Montreal”
  • I confirmed my grandmother’s maiden name when I stole my dad’s birth certificate after he died (which I then had to return) and also in a story my dad had written about his early life
  • I really should be working and not looking into all of this right now

I absolutely hate it when I have a mystery on my hands that I cannot solve. It’s rare that my Google-Fu fails me (or I only search for really simple things), and it’s infuriating when it does. At this point, it’s not even about wanting to immigrate to the UK – it’s about getting to the bottom of this once and for all, because it’s pissing me off and few things motivate me more than being pissed off.



one step closer

Dear England,

When can I move in? Can I just put my stuff anywhere? I’m gonna need a shelf in the bathroom; I have a lot of girl potions.

I received my grandmother’s birth certificate in the mail this week. It’s a little sobering to look at – as someone who often feels adrift and without family ties, it’s probably always going to trip me out to encounter my history. I learned that my great-grandfather was a coal miner! That is neat.

Getting the birth certificate was just one small step in this whole “get to the UK” process: I still need to find a way to tie my grandmother to my family. Unfortunately, it’s proving to be ridiculously difficult to get any information out of Quebec and Nova Scotia – my grandfather’s birth certificate would be nice to have, but I NEED my grandparent’s marriage certificate. Seeing as I have no idea when or where they got married (I’m assuming they didn’t have grandparent sex until they were married, so I can safely guess it happened sometime between 1910 and 1912), this is proving difficult. Complicating matters are the other women who share my grandmother’s name – it seems that a lot of babies were named Edith Jane in England in the late 1800s, and several of them had some variation of the name “Cornes” (if not the name itself). Most of the information I can easily access online refers to an Edith Jane Cornes born in the right location, but the year is off by one. If that’s not the right woman, then everything I have is wrong and I don’t actually know where my grandmother was born. It’s all very confusing.

If I want to get to the UK legally and not just as a tourist, I need to prove that:

  • you are a Commonwealth citizen – check!
  • you are aged 17 or over – check!
  • you are able to work and you plan to work in the UK – checkity check check!
  • you can adequately support and accommodate yourself and your dependants without help from public funds – I don’t want your public funds! Let me work!

I have those, so what next? Well, I must show that at least 1 of my grandparents was born:

  • in the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) – yes, as far as I can tell
  • before 31 March 1922 in what is now the Republic of Ireland – my great grandfather appears to have been born in Ireland, but I think that’s a generation too far removed to qualify
  • on a British-registered ship or aircraft – that would be super cool, but doesn’t apply here

Apparently, I can claim ancestry if my relationship to the relevant grandparent is legitimate OR illegitimate. That makes things easier!

Unfortunately, this is where things get difficult. When I apply for UK entry, I need to include:

  • your full birth certificate – I have this!
  • your parents’ and grandparents’ marriage certificates – um. I don’t know how to get this. My mother MIGHT have her marriage certificate, but I won’t know until I can get my hands on her papers and go through them myself.
  • the full birth certificates of the parent and grandparent through whose ancestry you are applying – I have A birth certificate for a woman I THINK might be my grandmother, but I’m not sure and I don’t know how to verify :(
  • your marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document, if your husband, wife or civil partner intends to join you in the UK – I have this! The real question isn’t “do you have paperwork”, it’s more “will Ed join you” .. that, I don’t know. So far, all of this has been idle wishing. But what if I could do it? What if everything fell into place and I got the papers I need and had a way to get there and a plan and could work and and and? What then? Would Ed come with me? Would I go my own way? Should I stay or should I go? Why DO fools fall in love? Did you let the dogs out?

So many questions.

I wish my dad was around to provide some answers.

And a cream egg. I wish I had a cream egg.