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Wakefielder honoured for historical accomplishments
By Rosemary Quipp
Norma Geggie was honoured with an award from the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network on June 4 for her work involving the history of the La-Péche area.
Throughout her career as an historian she has focused her research on Anglophone history in wakefield and its surrounding area. This research has earned her the Marion Phelps Award for the protection and preservation of Anglophone heritage in Quebec.
Geggie came to the area as a landed immigrant from Australia over 50 years ago. She intended to stay for only six months, yet she still lives in Wakefield today:
"I fell in love in three different directions," she said. "I fell in love with the village [of Wakefield] because it was so beautiful, and then the people of the Gatineau who just opened the hearts and their homes to me, and then with the man that I eventually married."
That man was the late Stuart Geggie, who became her partner in historical research. His forefathers were some of which piqued the Geggies' interest in the rich Anglophone history of La-Péche.
"We did a lot of historical research from the early days. We didn't have a clue what we were doing, but there was no one else doing it," she laughed.
The couple became hooked on historical research and took up membership in the Historical Society of the Gatineau, which eventually gave them support in the publication of their books.
The couple published their first book, La-Péche, in 1970, focusing on the history of Wakefield and its surrounding areas. They then wrote a history of local churches, titled Unto The Hills. in 1975. An expanded edition of La-Péche was published in 1980.
Her husband was the son of Doctor Harold Geggie, whose journals were the basis for their 1986 book, The Extra Mile, an account of medicine in rural Quebec from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
On her own, Geggie published Wakefield and Its People in 1990, and then rewrote it in 2003, titling it Wakefield Revisited and publishing both a French and an English version.
In 1998, she published A Place Apart. It was about the pioneer cemeteries of the Gatineau Valley, which she cites as the most compelling research that she has undertaken.
She has also written articles for the Historical Society of the Gatineau's periodical, Up the Gatfineau!
Geggie is a member of the Heritage Committee of LaPéche, and her research has helped award over 100 plaques to historic landmarks in Wakefield.
As an executive member of the Historical Society of the Gatineau, she is keen to promote history in schools. "I think that kids are interested in it, and I think that it is a good time to make them aware of what has gone before them," she says.