Monday, 21 July 2014

Wide World of Sports

Grandson fencing - Father #5 on Champion WHHS Rugby Team - Uncle on home ice

Where my daughter lives they hold an All Sport One Day event, where the kids get to choose a couple of sports they would like to try. They have archery, kayaking, fencing, diving, just to name a few on a long list. What a great idea!
Today in Canada families can claim on their tax returns up to $500 per child for registration or membership in an eligible program of fitness. And it sure helps to have the activities offered where you live. Where I grew up there was not much to choose from.

Like many kids growing up in Quebec, for my father and his brothers Hockey was KING!  My Pop scrounged up some wood for boards and made a standard size rink on the vacant lot beside their house every winter, hosing it down at night so the ice would be perfect. There were enough neighbourhood boys to always get up a game, and they would use my grandparent's basement for the changing room.
The old Montreal Forum was built in 1924 for the Montreal Maroons Hockey Team and the whole family were avid fans.  My Dad was 11 when he got the autographs of all the 1932 Maroon team players.

Dad was on the West Hill High School football team 1933 and the senior rugby team 1938, the year they won the City Championship (from WHHS Yearbook 1938). The whole family belonged to the Grand Trunk Boating Club (mentioned on page 247 of the below-mentioned "Outing" Magazine). When they were older my Dad and his brothers also liked to fish and hunt.

My friend's ancestor was Peter Johnson the Diving Champion of England in the late 1800's. While managing baths in Leeds in 1866 he gave swimming lessons for a guinea. He was the first person to hold his breath under water for longer than 4 minutes, entered many swimming competitions, and helped train his brother JB Johnson to be the first to attempt to cross the English Channel. He showed his diving and water talents in variety shows all over Europe as did his daughters, the then famous Johnson Sisters. He and his daughters were frequently mentioned in "The New York Clipper Annual - theatrical, musical and sporting chronologies". 

Johnson Family Swimmers, 1890 ©
(with permission from owner with thanx!)

These stories were compiled through family notes, school yearbooks, hometown newspapers and sport annuals, almanacs or magazines.

Do you have a sporting champion or budding athlete among your ancestors?

Relevant links

The New York Clipper Annuals

The New York Clipper Newspaper

History of women's football (soccer)

Rugby School Register - London 1891

Origin of Hockey ? and Kingston, Ontario Team

Schools and masters of Fence from the Middle Ages to the 18th Century

Australia Athletes (from 1800's +)

List of Wimbledon Champions since 1877

United States Lawn Tennis Association and the World War

Scottish History of Golf - Rules 1744

Davy Crockett's almanac of Wild Sports of the West 1836-1841

The new Sporting Almanack: a manual of instruction and amusement 1844

Prairie and Forest; a guide to the field sports of North America 1881 (hunting)

Pony Racing Association Calendar 1890 USA

National Steeplechase Association Members 1895 New York

Sport and Pleasure in the valley of Ottawa 1898

Constitution and Rules of Lacrosse of the Canadian Lacrosse Assoc 1897

The Official National Collegiate Athletic Association Lacrosse Guide - USA

Constitution by-laws and rules of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Assoc 1881

Montreal Amateur Athletic Association fonds 

Montreal Snow Shoe Club : its history and record 1840-1882

Règlements et Consitution de Club de Raquettes "Le Huron", Quebec 1885

The Aurora Show-shoe Club, Quebec 1885

Oritani Snow-Shoe Club Souvenir, N 1888

The Sporting Almanac 1839 -  London

Spaldings Official Foot Ball Guide 1909

Spaldings Official Rugby Foot Ball Guide 1914

Spaldings Official Soccer Foot Ball Guide 1907

Spaldings Base Ball Guide 1891

Outing: an Illustrated monthly magazine of Sport, Travel and Recreation Vol 18 - 1891

Outing - other volumes

Canadian Canoe Association - 1909

Fourth Annual Scottish Games, River Park, Winnipeg, 1909

Souvenir to Commemorate the Athletic victory of William J Sherring, Hamilton Ontario, honorary Citizen of Marathon, in the great International Marathon Road Race, Athens Greee, 1906

Baily's Magazine of Sports and Pastimes

Spalding's Official Athletic Almanac

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