Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ken’s Passing

We are sad to report the news of Ken’s passing and invite you to send your thoughts, wishes, and condolences to the family via this blog or through email (see below).

Kenneth George Aitken passed away April 21, 2007 at the age of 59 in Penticton, British Columbia. He was born and grew up in Penticton, but spent most of his working years in Saskatchewan as the librarian supervisor of the Prairie History Room at the Regina Public Library. Ken was a well-known genealogist and a popular genealogy speaker and educator in western Canada and the United States. Active in genealogical organizations for many years, Ken was the charter president of the Hambrook Family History Society and served for 15 years as editor of the journal of that society. With the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society he served as a branch chairman, a director and as second vice-president of the Society. He also served briefly as the Director of Student Recruitment for Canada for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

He was predeceased by his mother Winifred Margaret Hambrook and father George Neil Aitken. He will be greatly missed by his loving wife Christine Mei-Chiang; his son Neil Aitken; his daughter Emele (Adam) Dykes; his grandson Thomas Dykes; and his siblings: Janet Taggart; M. Neil Aitken (Ruth); Peigi Sakota (Jay); and numerous nephews and nieces.

About Ken’s Life:

Ken held a BA in Linguistics, and a Master of Library Science degree from the University of British Columbia. He had also undertaken course work in local and family history with Brigham Young University and with the University of British Columbia.

Ken was a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild and the Association of Professional Genealogists. Ken had been a professional genealogist for over 25 years, a genealogy librarian for over 20 years and an adult educator for more than 40 years. He was currently focusing on genealogical education and was working on a book on evidence analysis.

Active in genealogical organizations for many years Ken was charter president of the Hambrook Family History Society and served for 15 years as editor of the journal of that society. With the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society he served as a branch chairman, a director and as second vice-president of the Society.

Articles by Kenneth Aitken have appeared in genealogical and family history journals and other scholarly journals in Canada, Australia, the U.S. and England.

As a lecturer, Ken spoke at conferences, seminars and workshops of the National Genealogical Society, BrighamYoung University, Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society, Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, Alberta Family Histories Society, Alberta Genealogical Society, Manitoba Genealogical Society, Ontario Genealogical Society, British Columbia Genealogical society, Kamloops Family History Society, and the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society as well as to local genealogical groups in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia, Washington State and England.

Over the past two decades he had been involved in family and local history. Ken had taught classes for libraries, community colleges, church and community groups. For many years he regularly taught local and family history classes at the Regina Public Library.

A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2946 South Main St., Penticton, B.C., Saturday, April 28th, 2007 at 2:00 pm. To send condolences email us at: or visit his blog at


More News from Room 337

Dear Friends and Readers,

The newest of my demise is greatly exaggerated.  The initial diagnoses of ALS is in doubt, though I remain a neurological enigma, like a beached whale.  I have new hopes of some positive changes over times, meanwhile I struggle with my apprentice/assistance to put together a book of case studies for use with discussion groups.  This keeps me from flirting with every nurse, but there is too much waste in times between work sessions, so I lie in my bed counting my blessings strange as it may seem.  I’ve a lot of blessings.  Your kind comments have been most supportive, thank you.

I still teach Genealogy 101.  I have 2 students, Allan and John.  They read me an article from NGSQ, and we discuss how the ideas and concepts applied to their researches.  If you drop in to room SP 337-2 some morning at Penticton Regional Hospital, we can do the same thing.  Of course, finding Penticton maybe a challenge, it’s a long way from Yellow Bayou, Mississippi, but head north and a little west into snow country in B.C.  I’ll be delighted to see you, and have you join me for an hour or so.  I could still use another helper with this book project.  Keep learning and keep teaching.

The Genealogy Clinic

I spotted a notice in a British genealogical publication that some noted professional genealogist was holding a surgery at a certain time or place. I smiled. My English cousins speak as peculiar a language as my American nieces and nephews, just not the same language. A surgery is an event where you can visit a specialist and discuss a problem or issue. In North American English we often use the term “clinic” the same way.

So what is a Genealogy Clinic and how could it be used? Continue reading

More News from the Third Floor

Word from my mother is that Ken is busy cracking jokes with the nurses and doctors and kidding around with the other patients in his room.  Sounds about right.  The addition of his motorized wheelchair lets him take his show to other rooms.

He says he is thankful for all the good care the doctors and nurcses have provided.  He’s currently in the Penticton Regional Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit right now, but as soon as the doctors think his condition has stabilized, he will be moving into a long term care home which better designed for wheelchair accessibility.

Be prepared to see him online again soon.  The doctors have approved his request and he should be able to be online as soon as next week.  So expect to see more posts from him and more email.   We’re exploring various options to make his efforts easier — voice-to-text software might be one option.  Given he’s always been a 3 finger typist, you might not notice too much difference in speed!  He looks forward to working on his current book project and will provide his own updates in the future.

My father (and the rest of the family) appreciate all the emails and comments you have sent.  Thank you for all your support and prayers.

The Hermit Poet

Where is Ken?

Ken has gone into the hospital for further treatment and testing for ALS, the effects of which he has been dealing with for the last 8 months.  More information about ALS can be found here.
Although he will no longer be posting entries, your comments are always most welcome.

The Hermit Poet

Reasons to Blog about Your Lectures and Workshops:3

Ken profile.jpg
Another good reason to blog about your lectures is that people see what they missed. I recently learned from one expert the importance of making your blog post about the event almost like a review of a concert that came to town. Discuss highlights, funny moments, even screw-ups and interruptions. Make readers say, “Wow, that sounded awesome!” “I should go next time.” Or, “I should book that guy for our meeting!”

Background Music for Your Website


In my surfing adventures I have found some sites with very disappointing soundtracks. If you want to use sound on your website, consider something legal. There may be others sites to find music on you can use under licence , but check out

Pick something thats your kids won’t describe as cheezy, or sounds too much like elevator music.

Have You Read the Top Postings in September?

Resources for the Business-oriented Prof 84
Apprentice Adventures 3 83
Apprentice Adventures 77

Photo Analysis #2:


Unlike photos of fashionably dressed young ladies, photos of workmen are a pain to date for two reasons at least. First, men seldom dress in latest fashions to go to work, and second, men’s fashions are slow to change. The best dressed man here is wearing a tie, and is likely a foreman. But clues to the date of the photo will have to come from knowlege of the subjects, and corroboration from other photos and documents.l How can you teach that?

If You Blog It, Will They Come?


Here I was moaning about blog comments when Jane Atkinson who runs Speaker Launcher  sent along  a list of tips on effective blogging for speakers and lecturers. Check it out. Click here.

Jane has lots of nifty ideas, and offers a great service. Read her list of tips, then you tell me what I can do better.