Monday, 30 November 2015

WWI Navy Files from LAC

During World War I my great uncle was a wireless operator on submarine chasers with the Royal Navy. The navy records are not with the CEF files that are being uploaded online.

But.... good news!!

I received confirmation this morning that while Library and Archives Canada (LAC) are digitizing the files of Soldiers of the first world war, they have also started digitizing the "Service Files of the Royal Canadian Navy 1910-1941 - Ledger Sheets".  These will be made available online mid 2016.

Keep an eye out for an announcement from LAC.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Wedding Gifts for the Lady of the Castle

What would you buy as a wedding gift for someone who lives in a castle?

On 18 Aug 1880 Miss Sophia Dingwall-Fordyce of Brucklay Castle near New Deer, Aberdeenshire, Scotland married Alexander Taylor-Innes. I came across a write-up of her wedding as I was researching my New Deer ancestors in the Aberdeen Journal.

Here is an excerpt of this write-up, listing her "valuable" and "principal gifts"...

There were quite a few "antiques" among her gifts... I wonder from what years? 

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Family Pew

In New France Louis Guimont, the 6x great grandfather of my children, was a Marguillier (Churchwarden) and as such he was awarded a special pew for him and his family. Militia Captains, who were usually well respected and settled small disputes within their community, were also given a choice pew in their church.

It was common for churches to rent pews to individuals and families as a means of income for the church.  My ancestors John and Elizabeth Seale paid $15.25 a year for pew #21 and #32, each sitting six, at St Mark's Church in Barriefield.

In the Church of England one pew sitting six was free for the minister's family, and possibly a free pew (for a term or for life) went to those who subscribed to the building of the church. One may have purchased a deed for his pew and it could be passed down or sold. It was a common occurrence to see people have a brass plate on their pew with their family name on it.

Perhaps you will find your ancestor on a list of pew rents. Church Archives, Historical Societies and University Libraries may have pew registers in their holdings. You can do a search online using keywords: pew holders, pew lists, pew registers, pew deeds, etc. Also search for an annual report, a year book or a history of the church your ancestors attended.
I have seen some pew lists for Massachusetts and Victoria, AU on Ancestry.

Do a google search online, if you want to purchase your very own antique church pew for your home.

Relevant links

Year Book of St George's Cathedral, Kingston (w/ pew rents) 1923

The Ecclesiastical Law:  Vol 1. London 1842 pg 367a - protocol on Pews

St Francois-Xavier de Madawaska, NB

St Patrick's Church, Cambridge, NY - Pew Book 1864-1870

Names of resident members of Winslow Church (Taunton, Mass) and pew holders in congregation, Jan 1, 1874

Pew Deeds (3 different ones, US)

Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia Vol 5, St Mary's Pew Register 1787-1791

An historical sketch of the old church, Quincy, Mass (w/ pew holders) 

James St Methodist Church, Exeter Ontario (w/pew rents) 1918

Parish of St Mary Colechurch, London - Pew Lists 1613-1672

Llanbeblig Church, Carnarvon, Wales - Pew list 1832

The Parish register of Kingston Upper Canada 1785-1811

Yearbook of Emmanuel Church, Montreal w/ pew holders, 1877-1891

Locataires des bancs l’église St Norbert, Qc 

Related Posts:  Keep the Faith

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Serendipity Sunday - Other Practitioners in Illinois

This is an interesting directory I came across this past week ....

"Official register of legally qualified other practitioners; a list of persons licensed by the State Board of Health to treat human ailments without the use of medicines internally or externally, and without the use of operative surgery, prior to July 1, 1917" - Illinois

This is not surgeons and physicians, rather it is a directory of osteopaths, chiropractors, naturopaths, physcultopaths, vitopaths, naprapaths, etc...

Relevant Links

Register of Other Practitioners - Illinois

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Helpful Forum on British Genealogy

I recently came across this website - British Genealogy . Com

It is a forum based site, and you can register free and ask questions about your British genealogy brick walls or offer help and suggestions to others.

I posted a question under Forum / Occupations / Licensed Vituallers, Innkeepers, etc and immediately received some helpful replies.

If you have British ancestors I suggest you go on over and take a tour through the site and see what's what.  You only have to register if you want to post.

British Genealogy and Family History Forums

Thursday, 19 November 2015

WWI Casualty Lists in Newspapers

I had noticed that many newspapers printed casualty lists throughout WWI. My grandfather's brother was killed in April 1916 so I did a search of the Montreal Gazette, but looking at the papers for that time parts of the images are whited out, so if they did indeed print a list it's not showing. Nothing in any Montreal papers. So I forgot about it for a while.

The other day I was doing a broad search of the Mavor name at, and guess what!?! I found mention of my great uncle on the Canadian Casualties list in the Winnipeg Tribune, 26 April 1916, page 2... 

... AND I also found mention of my grandfather on the Canadian Casualties list in the Vancouver Daily World of 31 July 1916, page 3.   

One of the features I like at is they have a "Save to Ancestry" button on their menu bar, saves right to the person's profile, under other sources...

When searching for mention of your WWI ancestor in newspapers, broaden your search to other cities. 

Monday, 16 November 2015

Nolin Brothers and the Northwest Rebellion

Charles, Joseph and Duncan Nolin, 3 of the 11 children of Augustin Nolin and Hélène-Anne Cameron of Manitoba, were farmers and fur traders in Pointe-de-Chêne (Ste-Anne-des-Chênes) in the 1850s. Speaking French, Michif, Cree and English, some of the Nolin brothers, including Augustin Jr, were often called upon by the authorities as translators. By the late 1860s the prosperous Nolin brothers were siding with the more conservative or “loyalist” Métis who supported the Council of Assiniboia and the proposed transfer of Rupert’s Land to Canada. Charles became involved in the provisional government that Louis Riel had set up to replace the Council of Assiniboia. Representing Ste-Anne-des-Chênes, Charles was one of 20 French-speaking delegates elected to a convention called by Louis Riel which first met on 26 Jan. 1870, and he was appointed to its executive committee. Charles and Louis Riel (first cousins by marriage) didn’t see eye to eye and Riel even attempted to have him arrested. Charles reluctantly agreed to support the provisional government and its leader. He was elected later in February to the 24-member assembly that had been established by the convention, but he was soon removed from it and jailed for a short time. After the adoption of the Manitoba Act in May 1870, Riel visited Ste-Anne-des-Chênes in hope of reconciliation. The animosity between the two factions was so great, however, that the Nolin family threatened him.  In March 1871 Charles wrote a letter of apology to Riel and there was renewed solidarity among the Métis.

Louis Riel’s actions in the following years angered English Canada, which, not willing to understand the validity of the Métis' and First Nations' claims, called on the Macdonald government to act. It sent the Canadian militia to Batoche, Calgary and Battleford, Saskatchewan. The Indian and Métis resistance could not survive against the strength of the Canadian militia.  After the battle of Duck Lake on 26 March Charles Nolin was promptly arrested and jailed by the NWMP. His wife and young children sought refuge with the priests at Batoche. In exchange for his freedom at the end of the hostilities Charles Nolin agreed to become one of the crown’s chief witnesses against Riel.

On 2 April 1885, Big Bear’s band of Cree went to Frog Lake and massacred some of the inhabitants and took some captive.  Two ladies, Theresa Gowanlock and Theresa Delaney, whose husbands were slain, were rescued by Adolphus Nolin (son of Charles) and another interpreter, John Pritchard.  Adolphus bought Mrs. Delaney for 2 ponies, and Pritchard bought Mrs. Gowanlock for 1 pony.  

 On May 12, 1885, the rebellion ended. Riel gave himself up to the North West Mounted Police. Louis Riel was tried in Regina where he was found guilty and sentenced to death. Louis Riel was hanged on November 16, 1885, in the North West Mounted Police quarters in Regina.  Many of the Métis were tried for treason, including some of the Nolin men.  Most were acquitted.

Charles Nolin was a Métis leader who, along with Riel, Lépine, and Dumont, was genuinely interested in the promotion of his people’s rights and interests.

Note:  One of my Seale ancestors fought with the NWMP during the Rebellion against my husband's Métis ancestors.

Related Posts:  Métis

Ledgers & Account Books

Many businesses these days use computers and maybe a program like QuickBooks to record their daily transactions and keep track of inventory.

When my parents started their antique business in the 60's they had my Mom's Aunt, an accountant, do the books. I could not believe the size of those ledgers! When open it took up almost the whole width of the table. Each item bought and sold was painstakingly recorded by hand into the ledger. Ledgers come in all shapes and sizes.

Your ancestors dealt with their local businesses from day to day and possibly had their names written in ledgers.  Merchants, funeral homes, apothecaries, doctors, etc all may have kept ledgers that survived. Perhaps your ancestor did work for a company or the town?

Libraries or university and museum archives sometimes have local business account ledgers.  My husband's great grandfather owned a General Store in Central, Minnesota, near the Rainy River.  He probably kept a ledger like one of those listed at World Cat Library. Some accounting books may also be found on websites like eBay. 

Relevant Links

Friday, 13 November 2015

William Walker, Stone Cutter

Sometimes I come across something that intrigues me.

I was at the Hathitrust Library website, going through a Stone Cutter's Journal for 1919 when I saw this photo.

The caption reads:

Wm Walker. Brother Walker was last a member of Bedford, Indiana Local. He enlisted in the Canadian Army and after several months of service died in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netly, England September 6, 1918.

It made me curious as to why a young man from Indiana would enlist in Canada?  I wanted to find out who he was.

Since he enlisted in Canada I first I went to Library Archives Canada to search the database of Soldiers of the First World War.  There were way too many William Walkers. So I went to the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and searched by date of death.  There he was. Private William W Walker, Service Number 2502965, born to William and Helen Walker in Ayr, Scotland, husband of Margaret Hunter Walker of Bedford, Indiana. He enlisted in the Army, the 32nd Canadian Forestry Corps and died Sept 6, 1918 at the age of 45. So he was not that young when he enlisted.

Now that I have the Service Number I could look again in the database at LAC.  I see his birth date is 19 October 1873 in Ayr.

Doing a little research with the information I now had, this is what I found about his life.

William Walter Walker was born 19 Oct 1872 to William Walter Walker and Helen Craig in Ayr Scotland. According to the 1881 census William was living in Ayr with his parents, a brother John, a sister Catherine and a half brother James Craig. In about 1892 William married Margaret Williams Wylie, daughter of James Wylie and Jane Williams.

On the 1901 census of Scotland William, a stone mason, and his wife Margaret live in Glasgow.

On May 13, 1905 William set sail aboard the Furnessia from Glasgow with $40 in his pocket, to arrive in New York on the 23rd of May, where he was to stay with John Craig. Margaret followed in September that year.

According to the 1910 US census William and Margaret are living in Chicago, where William works as a Stone Cutter. They don't seem to have had any children. I then found William a stone worker, and his wife Margaret in the Bedford, Indiana city directory for 1915, living at 623 15th Ave.

I didn't find any border crossing records into Canada for him, but William enlisted at Winnipeg, Manitoba on 17th Sept 1917.

William is buried in Grave A 7954 at the Glasgow (Riddrie Park) Cemetery, Glasgow Scotland. There are documents available for download at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site. One of the documents is a request from Margaret Hunter to have written on his grave "He did his duty."

In October 1920 Margaret Walker applied for an Indiana marriage license to wed Daniel Hunter, a stone cutter in Bedford.

I still don't know why William came to Canada to enlist, but I hope he has family somewhere to remember him.

Database of Ukrainian Immigrants in Canada

Library Archives Canada has launched a new database of Ukrainian Immigrants 1891-1930.

Ukrainian Church in Insinger, Saskatchewan
(We passed this church on our trip across Canada)

They report that the first two Ukrainians arrived in Canada in 1891, followed by tens of thousands. They mostly settled in western Canada... Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The next groups arrived after WWI.

You can check for your Ukrainian ancestors in their database here.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Serendipity Sunday - Emigrant's Guide

The other day I came across this Emigrant's Guide published in 1832, sold in London for one shilling. The title is:

"The emigrant's guide to New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land, Lower Canada, Upper Canada, and New Brunswick: containing an enumeration of the advantages which each colony offers ; with the regulations adopted by His Majesty's Government to facilitate male and female emigration ; the price of passage, certainty of permanent employment, and rates of wages ; list of tradesmen and mechanics most wanted, and the pecuniary assistance offered to married men and single females, towards defraying the expense of their passage, with copies of the official forms to be transmitted to the Colonial Department by each emigrant ; also, instructions for the guidance of military out-pensioners of Chelsea Hospital, who may be desirous of commuting their pensions, with a view to their becoming settlers in the British colonies."

You would think that, with such a long title it would be a thick book, but it is only a pamphlet of 34 pages. Talks about possible employment and wages to expect, how much to expect to pay for goods, cost of passage, etc. with a bit about each place.

Relevant Links

Emigrant's Guide 1832

Thursday, 5 November 2015

CEF Pay Scale

Just going through the "Call To Arms: Montreal's Honour Roll" for WWI.
This is a record of those Montrealers, military and civil, who "served their Country and their Empire during the last five months of 1914".

Near the back of this publication there is a spread with the daily rates of pay for everyone from the Private all the way up the ladder to the Commander.

Turning the page you get the Pension & Disability rates for the wounded. There is more on separation allowance and assigned pay here.

I also find my great grandmother's name on the Montreal Relief Committee.

Relevant Links

Call of Arms:  Montreal's Honour Roll 1914

Encyclopedic Directory of Clay County, Indiana

Don't you wish every county had a directory like this one from 1896??

The Encyclopedic Directory of Clay County, Indiana : "giving a list of householders of the county, their post office address, occupation, location, school district, section number, township, politics, religion, assessed value of real estate, nationality, where born, when born, when came to Clay County, etc. : including a map of Clay County" - 1896

There are some photos and biographies toward the back of the book. 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Manitoba Temperance & Licenses

Going through the Sessional Papers for the Province of Manitoba 1919, I came across a List of Prosecutions for Infractions of the "Manitoba Temperance Act".

These infractions included selling liquor without a license, permitting drunkenness on the premises, intoxicated in a public place, etc. with person's name, date and infraction.

During the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 there was a huge demand for liquor, and the government left it to the medical practitioner to decide what and how much liquor to prescribe.  No obstruction on the part of the government was made to keep liquor from ailing patients. 

A few pages on there is a list of Retail Licenses granted in 1918, under the Manitoba Temperance Act. Also wholesale licenses, licenses surrendered and those not issued. 

Relevant Links

List of Prosecutions for Infractions 1918

List of Licenses issued 1918 

British Ancestors in the Colonies

British persons could have been sent to work in any colony under British rule. This book is an account of the services of the offices in the Colonial Service. There are names of secretaries, clerks, postmasters, architects, engineers, head masters of schools and colleges, station masters, etc... any person sent to work in a colony. At back are other lists, honours bestowed, foreign consulates in British Colonies, and on page 268 is a list of the countries and what year they became a colony.
There are also maps.

These are the British colonies covered in this book:

Did you have a British ancestor working in the colonies?

 Colonial Office List 1881

Monday, 2 November 2015

Poor Law Union

My ancestor John Singleton was returned as a Guardian for the Preesall with Hackensall parish of the Garstang Poor Law Union in Lancashire. The Guardians are elected by owners and occupiers of land that are expected to pay the poor rate, which was a tax on their property used for poor relief. The Guardians were responsible for the poor in their parish.

According to "The Workhouse" website..

"A local Board of Guardians administered each Poor Law Union's activities. There were two classes of Guardian, namely elected and ex officio (before 1894). Elected Guardians had to be rate-payers occupying property worth at least £25 a year. They were elected annually, usually at the start of April, by the rate-payers of each parish that made up the Union. (Suitably qualified women had been eligible from the outset to stand for election, although it not until 1875 in Kensington that the first female Guardian was elected.) Ex officio Guardians were entitled to Board membership by virtue of their office as local magistrates. The powers and duties of the two classes were the same."

The names of the Guardians were usually published in the paper after elections. You can also check for poor law minutes at the local archives.

There are some Poor Law Records at FindMyPast and Ancestry. Keep checking back with a google search, more are being uploaded from time to time.

Related Links

Related Post: Poor as a Church Mouse

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