CB Files at the Saint John Library   

Perusing the CB Files is like looking through old boxes in an attic

Cliff and I were spending the afternoon at Gram's house. We were bored! Nothing seemed to hold our attention. It was too hot to play outside and Gram wouldn't let us go wading in the brook. She was afraid we would drown.

Aunt Sadie suggested we go up to the room over the outside kitchen to see if any of Gord's old toys were still up there. This was a real adventure, as this area had always been out of bounds to us.

Sunlight beamed through the tiny window and shone on boxes, barrels and trunks. Cliff spotted a metal bank. You put a penny in and the monkey turned a somersault, but we didn't have a penny! Next he saw a wooden ski sticking out of a barrel that wasn't much good for this time of the year. Way over in a dark corner, among the cobwebs were three trucks. He sat down and put those trucks to work, hauling old shoes and bottles.

Now, What was I going to play with? I opened a wooden blanket box and to my delight I found many brown paper bags with little picture story books tucked inside. I pulled a stool over to the window and carefully removed the books and read and read. I just skipped over the big words. The pictures were so beautiful, I could make up my own stories if need be.

Memories of this afternoon come in a flash, each time I open a drawer of the CB File at the Saint John Free Public Library and see all those envelopes with hidden genealogical treasures.

You are probably wondering, "What are the CB Files?" They are two blue metal filing cabinets. The bigger filing cabinet holds hundreds of brown envelopes on family histories. Each one is labeled with a surname. The contents may vary from a single sheet of paper to 20 pages.

It is like looking through boxes in an attic, you never know what the information may be about until you open the envelope. The files may hold documents, hand written notes, newspaper clippings, lineage charts or pages that were typed several years ago. The contributors gave this material to the institution for safe keeping.

The smaller blue cabinet holds historical information. Some of the titles: accidents, airplane flights, Ashburn club house, balloon voyage, bottle collectors club, cabinet makers, clockmakers, Coleman Frog, Amelia Earhart, forts, Glassvile, home for aged females, Jewett House, Match Industry, McLaughlin Carriage Co., Napoleon, normal school in Saint John, phantom ships, regiments, Alfy Riggs, Utopia monster, Victoria skating rink, White's Pottery and Wood Carvers.

Take a look in the index to the CB Files for other topics as well as family names.

Information for the branches of a genealogy tree can be found in unexpected places, so open up a drawer in the blue cabinet and peruse the brown envelopes.

Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at rmcusack@nbnet.nb.ca. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.

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