The Stalwart Brydons

May 3, 2017

The Stalwart Brydons

The Stalwart Brydons – A genealogical presentation by author Dianne Brydon: using documents and evidence to uncover family history. May 31st at 4:00 pm at the Reading Room in the Brandon Public Library. Co-Hosted by Western Manitoba Regional Library and South West Branch of the Manitoba Genealogical Society. Everyone is welcome to this book presentation event.

New book tells the story of one of Portage’s first homesteading families in the 1870s

May 10, 2017 – James and daughter Dianne Brydon recently published their family history The Stalwart Brydons: From Scotland to Galt to Portage la Prairie, A Family History of 100 Years in Canada. Dianne will speak about the book at the Brandon Public Library on May 31 at 4 p.m., at an event co-hosted by the Southwest Branch of the Manitoba Genealogical Society.

As well as giving a feel for what life was like at the time, the book tells the story of several generations of Brydons in Scotland, their emigration to Canada, their life in Galt from the 1820s to the 1870s, and finally their move to Manitoba and their life in Portage, Neepawa and the Portage Plains. “Seven of eight children migrated west in the early 1870s,” says Dianne Brydon. “We tried to tell the story of their struggles as well as their successes.”

Born in Portage la Prairie, James (Jim) Brydon moved to Ottawa in 1950 and worked as a soil chemist. The family portrait that hung on the wall in the homestead farmhouse inspired him to start the research on his family’s roots more than 30 years ago, before the web or digitization made documents more accessible. “Dad travelled across North America, hunting down documents in archives and libraries, and meeting with relatives from all branches of the family tree to gather photos and information,” says Brydon. “He used his scientific skills to compile all the tidbits into a story.”

When Dianne retired in 2013 from her job overseeing public outreach on Parliament Hill, Jim asked Dianne to put her MA in Historical Geography to use and help him finish the book. As she delved into census info, church records and other historical records, Dianne found some startling documentary evidence that refuted many of the stories in family lore and fleshed out others that were unknown. “Dad and I discussed the new interpretations for hours. He sent me back several times to find additional documentation that would verify the course of events. He wanted to make sure we got it right.”

The book was self-published in late December through McNally Robinson in Winnipeg. “I think many people in Manitoba will find this story interesting,” says Brydon. “It describes the homesteading experience in the 1870s, and lots of people share that history.”

After a brief illness, Jim died unexpectedly on January 3. “The books arrived the day before he passed away. He very much wanted to share this story through a book tour in Manitoba.” After Brandon, Brydon will speak to the Manitoba Genealogical Society branch in Winnipeg, and at the McNally Robinson bookstore, before presenting at events in Ontario.

Dianne will lay out the evidence compiled to piece together some of the stories in the book, and relate some highlights of the Brydons’ life in Manitoba. Books may be ordered online at McNally Robinson. Copies will also be available at the event.

For more information: Dianne Brydon,, 613.793.1138.

The Stalwart Brydons book tour dates:

Portage Regional Library, May 30, 6:30 p.m.

Brandon Public Library, co-hosted by the Beautiful Plains Branch of the MGS, May 31, 4:00 p.m.

Neepawa Public Library, co-hosted by the Beautiful Plains Branch of the MGS, June 1, 5:30 p.m.

Manitoba Genealogical Society (MGS), Winnipeg, June 5, 7:00 p.m.

McNally Robinson bookstore, Winnipeg, June 6, 7:00 p.m.

British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, June 10, 9:30 a.m.

Preston Branch, Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge Ontario, August 23, 1:30 p.m.

Waterloo Historical Society, Kitchener, Ontario, September 19, 7:00 p.m.