Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Lighthouse Keepers

Living on the west coast and having visited the east coast we have seen many beautiful old lighthouses. One of our neighbours was once a Lighthouse Keeper, and he and his wife enjoyed the life until he retired.  It took them a while to get their land legs.  Imagine being paid to live by the ocean?  Despite the beautiful surroundings the life of a lighthouse keeper can be a lonely and isolating one.

There are not as many manned lighthouses as there once were, with modern technology both on boats and in lighthouses. Just as one would have a GPS for road vehicles, there are marine GPS's and chart plotters that show shallow waters and trouble spots and keep ships on track and out of harms way. In theory. In a fierce storm it is a comfort to see the lighthouse beacon keeping you company and showing the way.

In 2010 the Canadian Senate Committee was looking into shutting down or automating the remaining lighthouses on both coasts. The Globe and Mail wrote an article about it with an interview with a couple of lighthouse keepers and the story of Canada's first lighthouse keeper. In 2011 the Globe and Mail wrote another article about the Committee's findings.

If you think being a lighthouse keeper is the job for you, you can find out how on John Coldwell's website Lighthouse Memories.  He is also in the ongoing process of making a lighthouse keepers database.

The Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada hold names, locations and wages of lighthouse keepers under the Auditor General's reports, under the Department of Marine and Fisheries. The 1903 volume has some old photos of lighthouses.

There is an Association of Lighthouse Keepers open to everyone.  You can get a Lighthouse Passport to collect stamps from lighthouses you visit.

To find names and salaries of lighthouse keepers for years other then those mentioned below, look in No.1 (Auditor General) and its Index (after Contents), sometimes No 1 is in 2-3 Volumes)

Relevant Links

Names, Stations and Salaries of Lighthouse Keepers in the Dominion - 1903

Names, Stations and Salaries of Lighthouse Keepers in the Dominion 1916

Names, Stations and Salaries of Lighthouse Keepers in the Dominion 1922

Marine Expenditures for Maintenance of Lights for 1873 (keep turning pages for location of lighthouses and other provinces)

Lighthouse Keepers of New Zealand list

Where to find Lighthouse Keeper records in New Zealand

Where to find Lighthouse Keeper records in Australia

Where to find Lighthouse Keeper records in the USA

Lighthouse Personnel in England, Wales and the Channel Islands c1790-1911

British Lighthouse Keepers Database

Lighthouse Memories

Related Posts:  Sessional Papers

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