Friday, September 5, 2014

Der Soon Yet

My Grandmother's maiden name was Der Soon Yet who was married to Lee Duck . I flew to Kelowna this summer to meet with Tom Soon who was 95 years old and was a baby when my Grandmother was their servant girl at the age of 15.  My grandmother at the age of two months was sold to a wealthy Chinese family in Guangdong Province to pay off a debt and became an indentured servant girl to a new born girl of the same age who belonged to the wealthy family. My grandmother grew up with the new born girl for 15 years.  At age 15, the girl from the wealthy family was betrothed in an arranged marriage to a 30 year old Chinese businessman living in Vancouver who paid for the passage of his 15 year old bride and my grandmother the 15 year old servant girl to come to Canada who was Tom Soon's father.  The young bride at age 16 gave birth to  Tom's eldest brother
and it was my Grandmother's responsibility to look after the new born baby.  I remember my Grandmother telling me , that a Soon family member came to her while she was looking after the new born and said there was a gentlemen in the next room who was looking for a wife and if she wanted to she had the choice of marrying this man or she could remain their servant girl.  My grandmother took a peek and saw her future husband Lee Duck and thought he looked so handsome in his wide brimmed hat, his nice white suit and the spats on his shoes. She thought I might as well have my own babies rather than look after someone else's babies.  My grandmother's brother who was a Der tried to buy her back from the Soon's because he did not want her to marry Lee Duck but Soon had struck a business deal with my Grandfather Lee Duck to purchase my grandmother so Soon could recoup the passage fees and probably the Head tax fees for bringing over my Grandmother. So in summary my grandmother was bought and sold three times.  My grandmother gave birth to six children in Canada---three boys and three girls.  From these children came a host of cousins and I have fond memories of our family get togethers with all the cousins.  We just had a family reunion in Lethbridge to commemorate 100 years of Lee's living in Lethbridge from 1914 to 2014.  Four generations of Lee descendants came from ages  8 weeks,  1 to 2 years,  4 to 10,  12 to 18,  25 to 65 and the elders 85 to 95.  Relatives came from Beijing, Melbourne, New York, Toronto. Utah, Colorado, Vancouver, Edmonton, Red Deer, Victoria, Lethbridge, Taber, Kelowna, Kingston, Whitehorse for a three day reunion.  Below is a picture of Der Soon Yet at about age 18. She is just a gorgeous beautiful girl , no wonder my Grandfather wanted her as his bride. My grandmother was one tough resilient lady. I remember my Grandmother when I was six years old and was present at her funeral when she died and I was in my late teens.  She knew the names of all her grandchildren and great grandchildren and loved them all.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lazy Lee's Self-Watering Tomato System Video

I created a short video with power point notes that explains how to build the six different types of tomato watering systems. I found the single pot watering system and the water bucket system as the best systems for growing tomatoes.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Self Watering Systems For Tomatoes

I have been experimenting with growing tomatoes by using different watering systems and have come up with six different watering systems. The six watering systems are as follows:
1. Chicken Feeder Watering system
2.  Toilette float watering system
3. Bucket watering system
4. Individual container pot
5. Bucket in bucket watering system
6.  Buried Soaker hose from a bucket

I began by starting my own tomato seedlings in  April and May and placed these plants into different containers outside by June 15. It is now July 30 and I have some green tomatoes the size of my fist. I have planted different varieties of tomatoes:  Tom Thumb, Cherry Roma, Manitoba, Early Girl, Giant Dotto and Beefsteak.  I even started some tomatoes from cuttings from a tomato, I wintered over from last year.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lee Reunion July 7: Celebrating 100 years in Lethbridge 1914 -2014

On July 7, & 8, over 100 Lee relatives gathered in Lethbridge to celebrate 100 years of the Lee family in Lethbridge.   Four generations of Lee family members attended.  Lee members came from Beijing, Australia, York, Whitehorse, Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, Edmonton,Tor onto, Utah  and Kelowna.  There are 14 different ethnic groups that have married into the Lee family.  The reunion actually began with some relatives meeting to play golf on July 6th at the Lee Creek golf course in Cardston. On Monday, the general public was invited to a reception at the Galt Museum from 12:00 to 4:00 pm to meet the Lee relatives.  Judy Chan created an unbelievable genealogy display that depicted all of our Lee descendants from 1905 to 2014.  The luncheon was catered by the University of Lethbridge catering service who also provided the evening the banquet.  After the reception some relatives visited the cemetery to pay respects to our Grandparents, Uncle Jim, Auntie Betty and Uncle Phil .  Before the banquet we gathered outside the Gault Museum for a Lee family photograph.   Each relative also released a helium balloon with their named attached.  During the banquet , their was a slide presentation commemorating Ruth Lee's 90th birthday.  On Tuesday, the Lee's met at Pavan Park for an all day picnic and in the eveining , there was a final formal banquet at one of the Mormon stake centers.  There were slide presentations on cousins and an uncle who recently passed away and some of Uncle Jim's old family videos from the 1950's. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fishing at Eagle Lake June 12

I have not posted for awhile, as I have been gardening, tutoring and experimenting with watering systems for growing tomatoes. On July 12, it was free fishing in Alberta without a license. Camilla, the wife of my cousin Chris Lee wanted to go fishing. I asked my good friend Doug Grey if he would take us fishing in his boat.  So we went to Eagle Lake which is a one hour drive east of Calgary. Eagle Lake has a nice campground, swimming area, boat launch , picnic area and a general store and even mini-golf.  We put the boat in the water around 10:00 am and fished until 4:00 pm . Using a fish finder to locate the fish we trolled using "Rattling rapella" fish lures.  We managed to catch 10 pike but released most back into the lake and just kept a couple to eat for supper. Doug filleted out the two fish.   I wore my Chinese straw rice paddie hat that I brought back from China much to Doug's chagrin.   The coolie hat is the ideal hat to wear on a hot summer's day because it acts like an umbrella and provides a complete shadow that covers your shoulders and so there is no sunburn or heat stroke.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spawning Jewel Cichlids

April 18, Good Friday, and there is a snow blizzard outside when it should be a nice spring day. I go into my greenhouse and I am tending to my bedding plants, house plants and tropical fish. I notice that my two jewel cichlids are removing debris from a rock slab in the community tank. About an hour later, I look into the community tank and witness the female jewel cichlid  laying her eggs on the slab and the male cichlid would circle behind the female to fertilize the eggs. In the space of an hour their were a couple of hundred eggs laid in a concentric circle. I went and videotaped the spawning of the two cichlids.  This latch batch of eggs will be the 6th batch of fry to be hatched since January. I have to find another tank to place the female cichlid to give her a rest and prevent her from reproducing eggs. As long as the female is with the male, she will continue to be a prolific breeder but the problem is I have no room to raise the offspring.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chinese Genealogy: Finding Your Roots

Chinese Genealogy

The New Penguin English Dictionary defines genealogy  as 1 (a) the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or from older forms. (b) an account of this. 2 The study of family pedigrees.

One of the best websites to consult in one’s introduction to Chinese genealogy is written by Al Chinn in his House of Chinn website.  (

Al Chinn states the two fold purpose of his Genealogy site is as follows:

A word of explanation about this website, it contains two sections. The first section is about Chinese genealogy and should be useful to those who are looking for their Chinese roots. It contains background information explaining about Chinese genealogy, the use of special terms and terminologies, and some historical information about Chinese names, a brief description about migration overseas by your ancestors and how to initiate the search for your family history in China.

The second section pertains to the Chinn (Chen) () clan and should be of interest to those who share my surname. It touches on some historical information about the origin of the clan name, the State of Chen (陳國), Yingchuan Hall (穎川堂), the Chen Dynasty (陳朝), the southward exodus from the homeland in Henan Province (河南省) and later settlements in southern Guangdong Province (廣東省). It should be remembered that the majority of the present-day descendants of the Chinese immigrants who went overseas originated from Guangdong Province (廣東省) mainly from the Pearl River Delta Region (珠江三角洲) not far from Hong Kong (香港), and also from southern Fujian Province (福建省), mainly from the Xiamen (Amoy) (夏門) area. I hope your visit will be an enjoyable one.

(Al Chinn   October 10, 2007)

Al Chinn’s website has an introductory genealogy book for sale You Are Royalty: A Guide to Your Chinese Ancestor.   In the preface, he states “It is my sincere hope that this book will be of value to budding family historians who are primarily involved in the investigation of their Chinese ancestors. It should be helpful to non-ethnic Chinese who originally had Chinese ancestry, and also to English educated ethnic Chinese who have little or no Chinese cultural heritage.

Mr. Chinn offers for sale introductory root search booklets for the following surnames: Li, Wang, Zhang, Liu, Chen, Yang, Zhao, Huang, Zhou, Wu, Zhu, He, Peng, Tan, Lu, Lan, Cen.

According to Chinn, family names can be derived from the following sources:

·         Decreed by a sovereign

·         Dynasty name

·         Title name

·         Honorary name

·         Family name

·         Generation name

·         Official post name

·         Skill or occupations

·         Social name

·         Clan name

·         Feoff name

·         Political name

·         Place name

·         Direction name

The Calgary Lees’ Association in Calgary who have been in existence in Calgary for over 100 years has a generational chart that traces their direct lineage to Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism.  Lao Tzu’s family name was Li and he was known as Li Er .

Li Er was the 17th generational descendent of Li Lizhen a court official during the Spring and Autumn Period (722-481 BC).  Li Lizhen adopted the name of a plum a tree fruit called Muzi which became the Chinese Character for the surname Li.

Below is the generational chart of the Calgary Lees’ Association from Lao Tzu (500 BC)  to the various Lee clans in Guangdong province that include the counties of Toi-san, Hoi-ping, Yin-ping, Hok-san and Sun-wui. (20th Century A.D.) There is also a photograph of current Calgary Lees' Association members who are descendants of Li Er.