Lori Oschefski

Canadian wins memorial fight

Ms. Lori Oschefski is a  Genealogical Researcher and Advocate whose work is recognized world wide. Her work had been the subject of coverage with interviews and articles from many news media outlets including the BBC in England, multi-award winning regional newspaper Kent on Sunday & Kent on Saturday,  Medway Messenger,  KMFM Radio Kent, the Meridian Television and in Canada –  the Canadian Post Media News and the Winnipeg Free Press. Several magazine articles have been published based on her work, including Bygone Kent, Gillingham Scout News and the  newly released Canadian article published in the magazine “Canadian Stories”.

Recently her research work has been recognized and praised by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Ms. Oschefski’s assistance was requested by OSDAR State Chairman, Lineage Research to assist the DAR genealogist team is proving blood line in for a pending membership application.  Her successful research in this project won much acclaim from DAR and others.

Accomplishments include the restoration of the graves of the victims of the Gillingham Park Fete Tragedy and the erection of a beautiful new memorial in memory of these lives. Ms. Oschefski launched a campaign for recognition of these victims and this tragedy after discovering her 1st cousin 1x removed, 12 year old Eric Edward Cheesman  perished in this tragedy.  Over the years this tragedy had virtually been erased from the history of the community.  Through the outstanding efforts of Ms. Oschefski this event has taken its rightful place in the history of the community and is now know world wide. The pinnacle of her work with this tragedy was the July 9th 2011 Unveiling of the memorial, which was preceded by a private Family Commemoration Service in the Cemetery. These ceremonies were  attended by hundreds of people including the Mayor of Gillingham, other Dignitaries, several media outlets including television coverage by Meridian TV.    Ms. Oschefski was involved, internationally,  in the detailed organization of both these ceremonies, instrumental in the decision making processes. The official Commemorative Program, a historical keepsake, was designed by Ms. Oschefski, printed in Canada and flown to England for this event. Ms. Oschefski’s genealogical  research on each of the fifteen victims, not only enabled eighty family members to attend the services this day, but brought knowledge of this tragedy and these events to family members world wide. Each one of these victims has now been reconnected to their families and will be remembered forever, not only historically but within their rightful place in their own family histories.

In 2010 Ms. Oschefski also became involved in a memorial research project involving the June 6 1944 twin accidents involving four B26 Marauder’s of the United States Air Force. These incidents took the lives of twenty three American Air Men, four civilians with one pilot surviving. Again, this was an incident in which few details were know and at the request of a family member involved, she put together the details and the story of this tragic accident. Details can be found on Ms. Oschefski’s web site The Gillingham & Battle B26 Crashes of 1944. Current work with this project involves  coordinating the Essex City Council, the British Army and the USAF in the relinquishment  of the dog tag of Sgt. Edward Bailey to his family. Sgt. Bailey’s tag, was discovered to be still in England in September of 2011, largely by the efforts of Ms. Oschefski.

Ms. Oschefski became involved in the British Home Children when four years ago, her mother, a Child Migrant of the Salvation Army revealed, at the age of eighty six, that she had been adopted. In researching her mother’s family history Ms. Oschefski not only discovered that she was the Child of a Child Migrant, but that in fact, her maternal Grandfather was also a British Home Child of the Dr. Barnardo Homes. In fact, research has revealed that there are an incredible number of thirteen BHC in her family. In her advocacy work with the BHC, Ms. Oschefski strives to catalogue Home Child information and Home Children stories, and with her abilities in Family History Research, to reconnect families unjustly torn apart by these migrant programs. Ms. Oschefski’s work is catalogued  in the December 2011 released web site British Home Children in Canada.

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