Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Where were you when the lights went out?

That's an age-old question. Where were you when you heard Kennedy was shot, or what were you doing when you heard the towers were bombed?

It is also a question we should ask of our ancestors when writing a narrative, or even a timeline. 

If you had ancestors in New France or New England in 1663 they would have experienced the big Charlevoix earthquake. Or perhaps the 1732 one of Montreal?

Those who lived during one of the many Street Railway strikes, like that in Montreal in 1904 or London in 1918 may have cheered or booed in the streets depending which side they were on. Perhaps it was Your ancestor that threw the brick that made my great-grand uncle crazy?

Where were your female ancestors when they were given the right to vote, and when is the first time you found one on a voters list? Were your ancestors involved in one of the voting scandals?

Where were your Australian ancestors when men were finally permitted to vote, the first railway came into being, or the Norwegian guy introduced skiing to the country during the gold rush?

Not many disasters had such a global affect as did the sinking of the Titanic. It is most well known because of all the hype building up to the maiden voyage and because the passengers were from many countries and in many walks of life. Maybe your ancestor was not on the Titanic, but what about their friends and neighbours? What about those involved in the rescue, any connection there? How did they hear the news? Sitting at the table, having coffee and reading the local morning newspaper? 

If not the Titanic what about another ship disaster? My grandparents were Salvationists and friends or acquaintances with many who lost their lives when the Empress of Ireland sank in 1914.

Look for historical timelines not just for the country but for the city or area where your ancestor lived (check local newspaper headlines too) and imagine how your ancestor felt or reacted and weave it into their stories. 

Check the almanac and newspapers for environmental facts for the stories. What time of day or year was the occurrence? Was it sunny and warm? Windy and rainy? Or perhaps cold and snowy? What time were sunrise and sunset? Does that area have a long or short twilight? Was there a full or quarter moon? 

Where was your ancestor when the lights went out?

Friday, 22 February 2019

Railway Mail Service

I have ancestors that were postmasters and mail clerks and ancestors that worked on the railroad. But not an ancestor that was a mail clerk ON the railroad! 

In Canada the railway postal workers were paid by the Auditor General and in some sessional papers the clerks were named with their salary amount.   

In the United States Railway Mail Service employees were listed in the Official Register of the United States beginning in 1867.

The postmaster and employees are named in the Proceedings of the Parliament for Australia, but I have not yet come across where rail mail clerks are listed, if in fact they are listed separately.

Relevant links

Canadian Railway Mail Service

Official Register of the United States 1867

Railway Mail Clerks in Canada and their salaries and bonuses

American Railway Mail Service

Mail by rail : the story of the Postal Transportation Service 1951

Annual Report of the Postmaster General – US – no names, but salaries and pensions

1901 Report to the Postmaster General, Washington DC

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Canadian Militia Gazette

There is so much more to explore now that Canadiana is free for all. 

One collection I found interesting is the Canadian Militia Gazette

I haven't yet found any of my militia family (I just started searching) but I have found some of my side branch (I call them My Others) 

You can search within the whole series by using the search box top left, or search within a document by clicking on the link and using the search box at the top. 

You can also search everything using the search box on the online Collection page.

Relevant Links

Canadian Militia Gazette 1885-1892

Canadian Military Gazette (1 issue 1878)

Canada Military Gazette, Sporting and Literary Chronicle 1857

For other ideas of what you can find at Canadiana or Heritage keep an eye on Lorine's blog at Olive Tree Genealogy

Monday, 11 February 2019

The Salvation Army - Missing Persons

"The Salvation Army [started in London in 1865] is a Protestant Christian church and an international charitable organization. The organization reports a worldwide membership of over 1.7 million, consisting of soldiers, officers and adherents collectively known as Salvationists."

My great grandparents, Alexander Mavor and Rebecca Campbell were Salvationists in Montreal. Although my grandfather didn't stay in after he returned home from the war, he still loved the marching music and I grew up with him singing Onward Christian Soldier, the hymn adopted by the Salvation Army as their processional. 

The War Cry, the official gazette of the Salvation Army began in Nov 1884.
"The Family Tracing Service (sometimes known as the Missing Persons Service) was established in 1885, and the service is now available in most of the countries where The Salvation Army operates. The Tracing Service's objective is to restore (or to sustain) family relationships where contact has been lost, whether recently or in the distant past. Thousands of people are traced every year on behalf of their relatives."
They later added a column in the War Cry titled We are looking for you.

Over 150 Salvationists were onboard the Empress of Ireland when it sank 29 May 1914. Many of them were listed, some with photos, in the War Cry. 

Notes of Memorial Services across Canada start on the previous page. 

The War Cry linked below is a Canadian publication although it has International news as well. Check your local library for The War Cry editions in your Country.

In the United States the Salvation Army had it's first meetings in October of 1878 in Philadelphia. The US version of The War Cry was published in Chicago. 

In Australia the first Salvation Army service was held in 1880 in Adelaide. The Salvationists were nicknamed Salvos. They were often mentioned in the papers and journals at Trove.  The War Cry of Australia and Tasmania was published in Melbourne.

In New Zealand the first officers arrived in Dunedin in 1883, and until 1912 they were administered from Australia.  Featherston Camp was a training camp during WWI and the Salvation Army set up Featherston Hostel for soldiers and relatives. 

The Salvation Army Soldiers' and Relatives Hostel, Featherston

Salvationists are mentioned often in the Featherston Camp Weekly

The War Cry for New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa was published in Wellington, and copies can be found at their archives. 

In 1908 the The Royal Commission on The Care and Control of The Feeble Minded published a list of women (identified by initials only) received into the Salvation Army Rescue Homes in the UK during a period of three years.

Check your local library or archives, or a Salvation Army Archives for more information on your Salvation Army ancestors.

Relevant Links

History of the Salvation Army

Related Posts:
Genealogy Challenge - Salvation Army Band

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