Sunday, 31 January 2016

Serendipity Sunday - Private Schools



This week I came across this book when I was looking for information on the school my grandmother went to -

A Handbook Of The Best Private Schools Of The United States And Canada 1915



You can see by this second page of Contents that besides girls and boys schools, they also list summer camps, and compare the different kinds of schools.  There is a directory at the back of different companies or industries to do with schools, finishing up with an alphabetical list of all private schools and camps.


Relevant Links





Saturday, 30 January 2016

Glass Works



Glass objects come in all shapes and sizes, from delicate hand blown decorations to everyday bottles to huge expanses of plate glass for homes and buildings. Glass is used to make many everyday items, and also to make laboratory and medical equipment.

A glazier works with glass for windows, mirrors, etc.

A glass blower makes decorative and useful objects like vases, glasses etc. There is free blowing for one-of-a-kind pieces, and mold blowing to make one or more of a specific item.

There is a retired glass bower that has a shop in my town and I am plannng to sign up for his classes in the spring. Perhaps again in the fall when he teaches how to make Christmas ornaments!


There are also those workers that make stained glass, cut glass, etched glass, crystal, etc. I used to collect wine glasses that were hand blown and hand painted. I had over 300 in all shapes, sizes and colours. Many were Austrian or Bohemian crystal that were hand painted with gold and enamel, or just enamel. I often wondered who made them and who drank from them.






Also look for names of glaziers and glass workers in directories, architechtural periodicals, building magazines, etc. The Patent Office is the place to check for inventors of methods and designs in the glass industry.


Relevant Links


Glass: interesting facts connected with its discovery and manufacture c1868


Journal of the Society of Glass Technology, Vol 307

List of Members - Society of Glass Technology, 1919

List of Members - Society of Glass Technology, 1921

List of Members - Society of Glass Technology, 1925



Prices of Glass Ware - PA 1868

Catalogue for Gas & Electric Lighting (globes), USA c1910

Price List and Glass Calculator, Thompson & Harvey Glass Works, Adelaide c1910

Tarif des verres blancs ordinaires et fins facon, cristal des manufactures reunites 1870

Adams and Strickland, importers, wholesale and retail dealers in crockery, china, glassware, etc, Maine 1891

















British Society of Scientific Glassblowers





Thursday, 28 January 2016

Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Land Records



I have cited the Records of the field offices - Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands in a few of my posts.  There are over 450 files of them uploaded at Internet Archive, for several states.



The Freedmen Bureau was established to help people transition from slavery to citizenship in the Civil War era.

These records are being indexed at Family Search and, not quite half way through, they can use more people to help out. If you have a little time each day or week you can volunteer, it doesn't take any special skills - just read over the record and fill in the blanks on the forms given to you.

You can read more about the records and volunteer your time at:








Finding WWII Service Members



One resource often overlooked when doing genealogy research are University Archives.

Some that I have cited in different posts are The Lost Schools of English Montreal and the Digital Atlas Collections by McGill University and the Mental Healthcare digitization by Glasgow University for the Welcome Trust.

Now a digital project of McGill Universtiy is their War Records, in recognition of the men and women of McGill in wartime service.  These records hold not only the index cards on the former students but some files contain newspaper clippings, letters and photos.



I found my great uncle's cousin's index card - sadly no bulging file full of photos and clippings.  He was in the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve, and the card tells me when he got promoted and what ships he served on.

Maybe you will be lucky with your ancestor?

The other day I mentioned finding my Dad and uncles' names in the Canada Gazette. There were a couple of mentions but the main one is when the WWII soldiers are "struck off strength" at the end of the war 1946.  Type your ancestor's name in the search box on the Canada Gazette Archive page.

I have found a few other sites where you may find mention of your WWII ancestor.


Relevant Links


McGill Remembers - War Records

Canada Gazette Archives

Crew Lists from Ships hit by U-Boats

Aboriginal Veterans of WWI, WWII & Korea

WWII at LAC- Service Members who died, Faces of War (photos), etc

Australian War Records Search (by name - and choose category) - click display after

WWII USA Cadet Nurses

The Maple Leaf Scrapbook - WWII

The Navy List (UK)



Related Post:  WWII - Before and After D-Day


Friday, 22 January 2016

Making it in Alberta



Free land in the west - easy right? Just sign me up!

Not so.  A person could be issued a section of land, but he had to perform certain duties before he could keep it.  He had to build road access to their land, clear it, build a house, plant crops or raise cattle, and all within a certain time frame.  Some came not thinking of the hardships they would face and gave up, abandoning their land. There were many reasons for abandoning the grant - the land was not good for growing, the weather was not cooperative, the person got sick, their family refused to follow, etc. But more made it - either alone or with relatives to help, they did their duty and perhaps later bought more land to add to their holdings.  Or sold out to buy elsewhere.

I have a few ancestors that headed west in search of land and adventure. I learned the story of John Mavor (he went by Jack) and his wife and brother-in-law Ed Carbee from 2 books about Daysland that were uploaded to Our Roots. There you will find many books about towns in Alberta and about the early settlers.


Here is how I found the land records for my ancestors.  We will use John Mavor as an example.

In the Prairies the legal land descriptions are section, township and range numbers. The Section is divided in quarters of SW, SE, NW and NE. A quarter section is approx 1/4 of a square mile or 160 acres.

First I went to Library and Archives Canada, Western Land Grants and searched his name. This gave me the section numbers and 2 pages of maps. John's land has this legal description: the Northeast Quarter of Section 18, Township 44, Range 16 west of the Fourth Meridian", or abbreviated "NE-18-44-16-W4."

Next I went to the website for Alberta Homestead Records 1870-1930 and clicked Search the Index. I got 1 result for John Mavor.


This tells me where the records are to be found in the Alberta Provincial Archives...
Film #2737, in Accession 1970.313, File #952819.

Well, I don't live in Alberta but I am in luck because someone was kind enough to upload all the reels to Internet Archive... all 685 of them!! There are over 2000 pages on each reel.  Sounds daunting, doesn't it?  But it isn't because the information on the homestead record makes it easy. I know I am looking for Film 2737 and all the titles start the same. So I go to google search and type the following, substituting  2737 for the ****. You can copy and paste this into the google search box and put in your Film number.

Alberta Homestead Records 1870-1930 [Reel 70.313/****]

This will give me the link I need in Internet Archive.  Much faster than scrolling down through over 600 titles. The start of a file is sideways and looks like this...


I browse a bit and notice the the files are uploaded for the most part in numerical order. I look for File #952819, using the page finder slide at the bottom to jump ahead, and I found it near the end. Some files have more about the land or the person, and may include abandonment papers from other settlers, naturalization papers, seed orders, etc. The documents will all have the same land numbers and/or file number, if not necessarily the same name. Keep going until you get to start of the next file. (Some pages were uploaded upside down, you can rotate them when downloaded). John's file has 4 pages.



Next I go to the Prairie Locator page, that changes the legal land description to lat/long and shows the location on google map.




After John proved his homestead, he sold it to his brother-in-law Ed Carbee and bought land from CPR, the north half of 19-44-16-W4... so 320 acres at $2.745 /acre. You can find indexes of CPR Land Sales at the Glenbow Museum website.

I found John Mavor's land on a homestead map for the Montrose School District in the book As The Wheel Turns at Our Roots. Now I can see who and where his neighbours are.





John named his ranch "Hatley" after the town in Quebec where he and Marcia Carbee were married in 1906.  When John was in his late 70's he sold his land to Ed Blatz and he and Marcia moved in to town.

I put these links and more that I found useful into an Alberta Genealogy Resource pdf to help you find out more about your adventurous ancestor in Alberta. Many ethnic groups came to get land in Alberta, including Ukrainians, Germans, Russians, and Americans.  Try a google search with Keywords Alberta ** Genealogy, substituting the ** for the group you want to find more about.


Relevant Links

Alberta Genealogy Resources






Sunday, 17 January 2016

Serendipity Sunday - If I Were Carpenter...






After high school and a quick stint at a fast food joint which she hated, my daughter sort of fell into the carpentry business. That was over 18 years ago. After that first job of hammering out trusses she has done everything from building to fine carpentry.  She learned how to work a computerized saw, put up siding on houses, and she did her own renovations of her house. At one time she was a project manager for insurance restorations; assessing the damage, estimating the cost to rebuild, hiring sub-trades and overseeing the project. She found she was happier with tools in her hands.

So a few years ago, as a single mother of 2, she decided to enter the apprenticeship program and this past December she became a Carpenter Journeyperson.



When she started down this career path we didn't know that she comes from a long line of carpenters.  It was only while researching our family history that we see where she gets her passion for carpentry.

Is there a trade that has gone down through the generations in your family?



Relevant Links

The carpenter's pocket directory 1781

Ancient Carpenters' Tools: illustrated and explained 1929

The Carpenter: united Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

Worshipful Company of Carpenters of the city of London 1848

Amalgamated Society of Carpenters & Joiners: 1860-1910

Hand Book of the Builders' Exchange of San Francisco 1895-1896

Bristol's compilation: mechanics lien law, Torrens land title, builders' directory 1896










Saturday, 16 January 2016

The Pipes... The Pipes are Calling



Bagpipes were once used to call men to war, to encourage them to keep fighting and perhaps to help drown out the sounds of battle.


"Bagpiper Battle of Bazentin Ridge 14-07-1916 IWM Q 4012" by John Warwick Brooke 


My Grampa was of Scottish descent, living in Montreal. When WWI started he heard the pipes calling his name, and he joined the Black Watch.  He loved the sound of bagpipes and had some military marching records that he liked to listen to on the hi-fi (although Granny would have rather listened to the likes of Bing Crosby).




Relevant Links

Canadian Pipers of WWI

Piobaireachd Society (Highland bagpipe) List of Members, Scotland 1905

Piobaireachd: its origin and construction 1915

The story of the bagpipe. With illustrations, a bibliography and list of famous pipers 1911

The Pipes of War: a record of the achivements of pipers of Scottish and overseas regiments during the war, 1914-1918

The Piper's Memorial at Longueval

List of Bagpipe Makers (Wikipedia)

List of Bagpipes

List of Notable Pipers

Monday, 11 January 2016

Gleanings from the Gazette



Many countries have an Official Gazette to publish notices. I have touched on the Gazette in other posts, but haven't really explained what is to be found in these publications.





The London Gazette came about in 1665 after the Great Plague and was the first reliable source of news and official public record.

In New France it was the Militia Captain of the Parish that stood on the doorsteps of the church and read out official proclamations to the parishioners. He also heard complaints and settled minor disputes.

The Canada Gazette was first published in 1841. It was to give official notice of all acts, regulations and proclamations from the government to the public. They started with an online version in 1998 and since 2014 it is only online.

Some of the notices that would have been posted in the Gazette that are of interest to genealogists were for bankruptcy, dissolved partnerships, divorce and wills & probate.




Other notices were postings for jobs with the government or for pubic works, military mentions, naturalization lists and name changes.

Looking in the war years you may find your WWI or WWII ancestor mentioned. In the 1918 Gazette I find the uncle of my grandfather among those mentioned as receiving the military cross. In the 1946 Gazette I found my father's and uncle's names as being struck off strength (discharged).



You may also find old copies of the Gazette in city or university libraries.


Relevant Links:

Canada Gazette

The Gazette of British Columbia

Gazette Officielle du Québec


The Ontario Gazette


The Gazette (London, Edinburgh, Belfast)


Victoria Government Gazette, AU


Dublin Gazette (2000-2015)


Dublin Gazette 1750-1800: $$ Newspaper Archives


The Kenya Gazette - Google Books


The Kenya Gazette - Internet Archives


The Kenya Gazette - recent


Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines


The Bahama Gazette (scroll down for list)


The Gazette of France, 1765, 1772, 1774





Sunday, 10 January 2016

Serendipity Sunday - Canada Engineers



This week I came across this publication...



The first part of the book is the listing of Engineers and their works, the next part of the book is the pubic works and the engineers that worked on them.



Was your ancestor an engineer in early Canada?


Relevant Links

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Canada Patents



In trying to find more about the Coatwell Paint & Varnish Co, the company my grandmother co-owned, I have been asking family members and researchers of the previous owner (to no avail, so far) and searching the Internet in off-the-beaten-path places.

One thing I found was that their land was expropriated and building razed to make way for the Bonaventure Expressway which was to open in time for Montreal's Expo '67. The other thing I discovered using different and varied keywords was an invention patent.
Say what?


Silkscreen colour applying apparatus



The Coatwell Paint & Varnish Co is the owner of record of a patent granted in 1935 for a silkscreen colour applying apparatus invented by Cyril Montague Rice . According to their incorporation papers, Coatwell also did printing and lithographs, and silkscreening was a method for making coloured posters.


1937 Silkscreen Poster 

Cyril M Rice was a Montrealer who lived around the corner from my grandmothers house in Verdun. He had already invented transparent signs in 1927 and later invented a method for colouring aluminium in 1953. 

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office is responsible for trademarks, patents, copyrights and protection of industrial designs. Their patent database holds 147 years of patent descriptions and more than 2M documents.

How to download the documents: 



After doing a search for a patent or inventor and finding the one you want, click on "Documents" on the right side of the menu, check off all the boxes and choose Download Selected in PDF format (Zip Archive) to download all documents and images pertaining to the patent.

Do you have an ancestor who had a creative mind and invented things?

Check out previous posts for patents and inventions around the world here.



Related Links










Monday, 4 January 2016

Chemists: Paint and Varnish




In 1932 the Coatwelll Paint & Varnish company opened in their new building on Nazareth Street in Montreal. It was owned by Frederick A Shackell and the secretary-treasurer was Sarah Mavor, my maternal grandmother. This is a description of their business...



My paternal grandfather was a commercial traveler for several paint and varnish companies, his first territory in 1902 being Montreal and Western Ontario for Brandram-Henderson. He was also salesman for the Egyptian Lacquer company in Detroit for a year or two.  Later he sold for Berry Brothers Varnish.  Among his papers were a few recipes for furniture polish..




Do you have an ancestor that worked in the Paint and Varnish or Chemical Industry?


Relevant Links













Sunday, 3 January 2016

Serendipity Sunday - The Railway Club



While doing some research for my grandmother's company, I came across publications of Official Proceedings of the Canadian Railway Club in Montreal, of which the previous owner of the company was a member. As well as being a supplier for the railroad companies he had a relative that worked for the railroad.




The Canadian Railway Club is a non-profit organization started in 1902, and incorporated in 1913, with its headquarters in Montreal. Members of the club are employees of a railway, such as CN, CP, VIA or AMT, or railroad supply companies. The annual membership fee was $2.00

The purpose of the club is to promote industry knowledge and network through meetings and social gatherings.

The Official Proceedings list names of members. Here are others I found.


Relevant Links

Canadian Railway Club, Montreal - Internet Archive

Canadian Railway Club, Montreal - HathiTrust

Western Railway Club, Chicago IL

The Pacific Railway Club, San Francisco

North West Railway Club

The Railway Club of Pittsburgh

Central Railway Club of Buffalo

New England Railroad Club, Boston

The New York Railraod Club

The Saint Louis Railway Club

South and Southwestern Railway Club, Atlanta

Journal of the Railway Signal Association

Richmond Rail Club, Virginia




Related Posts:

Workin on the Railroad

All Aboard!