Archive for 2011|Yearly archive page


In 1850s, General Genealogy, Uncategorized on August 24, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Sometimes it all just comes together and goes BING! in your head.

I was reading an article in the July ’11 issue of Who Do You Think You Are magazine (which I, for some reason begrudgingly, find extremely informative every time I buy it).  It was an article on the year 1857 from the British point of view.  In it was an 1857 painting by Henry Nelson O’Neil called “Eastward Ho!” depicting British soldiers boarding a ship en route to fight is known as the Indian Mutiny.  Looking at it I saw it bore a strong resemblence to a painting I studied (back in 1988) by a woman artist, Emily Mary Osborne, called “Nameless and Friendless” (1857).  So I brought these two works up on my computer screen, and I realized I had a family ambrotype photograph that looked like it fit in nicely with these two works.  I lined them up on my computer screen and here is the result:

Hannah, the centre photo, fits in nicely with the paintings, don’t you think?  We have her ambrotype dated to 1859.  Talk about consistencies in fashion and hair-dos.  I think this is the late 1850s in a nutshell.  A very satisfying connection all-in-all.


Saskatchewan Painter family

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Well, “soon” (per my previous post) is a very relative word.  In any case, here are scans of a couple of newspaper printouts I took while in Prince Albert public library.  The first is a wedding announcement of Nettie Painter’s wedding to Guy Ellis in 1916.  I was actually surprised to find this as the Painters seem to prefer flying under the radar, as it were, living quietly and not announcing things to the world.  Back to Nettie–she was born in the Missouri in 1898, so she was 18 when she was married.  She died at the rather young age of 46.  I have yet to order her death certificate to see what was the cause of death (they are $50 each in Saskatchwan!).

The second scan is the listing in the local newspaper of P.H. Painter’s death in WWI, under “Canadian Casualties”.  As I scrolled through the microfilm to find this I was amazed at the columns and columns, sometimes even pages, of names listed under “Canadian Casualties”.  And some of the biggest lists came AFTER peace was declared.  Even Perl Hervey’s was published December 1, 1918.  He had been listed Missing assumed killed in the beginning of October according to his military file.  It makes me wonder when the families received news of their sons’ deaths…did they celebrate the end of war, thinking their children were safe, only to receive a dreaded telegram some months later?  It really defies comprehension.

PH Painter

Back to Perl (or Pearl) Hervey.  I don’t know the story behind his first name, as it does not appear to be a family name.  But as many in the family did, he was known to everyone by his second or middle name (this may be a Germanic tradition)–Hervey or Herv.  He was an older brother of Nettie, and was also born in Missouri, in 1896.  Family lore has it he was the prankster of the family and was known for pranks such as putting sneezing power in the church organ and itching power in folks pants.  I believe his loss was particularly hard on his elder brother Corley, who was also fought in WWI.

Unrelated to my genealogy, but an interesting tidbit I came across is the article below (sorry for the illegibility…gotta love old microfilm).  Much has been written about how Canada came into it’s own during WWI.  I think this August 2, 1918 article headline rather indicates that is indeed the case.  It’s also interesting to note that O Canada did not become our national anthem until 1980, some 72 years after this article.

New stuff soon

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2011 at 12:11 PM

I have recently returned from a visit to the family Homestead and area to do some research.  Although I’m too tired right now to process it all, I am sure there will be some new postings here soon as I go through everything I discovered.

Following Robert Thompson

In My Genealogy, Thompson on April 21, 2011 at 6:47 PM

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There is a curious grave near my Thompson ancestors’ grave in Reading, Berkshire, England.  It bears only the name Elizabeth Gill.  Is it coincidence that she bears the same surname of one of the Thompson wives?

That’s what started my little search this evening.  A quick glancing search through various online digitized records and there was a link between an Elizabeth Gill and a Robert Thompson.  Aha!  I have a (well, many actually) Robert Thompson!

So, I followed his life online.  How strange it is to follow a person’s life in 10 year increments (census to census), to boil their entire life down to a few pages of census printouts, and a couple of  entries.

It turns out this is not the Robert Thompson associated with Elizabeth Gill.  He is, however, my second great granduncle and it was about time I got to know him better.

He, like his siblings, was born in Devizes, Wiltshire in the 1830s.  In the 1850s he’s away at school with his brother, and by the 1860s he has moved, with the rest of the family (parents, siblings, etc) to Reading, Berkshire.  Like many of the siblings he followed in his father’s shopkeeping/selling footsteps.  He is listed in the subsequent census as a Pork Buther, Pork Curer, and Shopkeeper.

In his 30s he married a young woman named Rose.  She was from an adjacent county.

Through the years the couple had several nieces and nephews stay with them, including one, a Mabel Skinner (I haven’t fit her into the tree yet), who was with them at age 6, and remained until at least age 16.  It seems they never had any children of their own, and Rose confirms this in the 1911 census when she writes “none” in the column requesting the number of children born alive.  She’s a widow at that time.

Robert died in 1906, in Reading.  Rose lived until 1927 when she too passed away in Reading.  They both serve as yet further examples of the importance of following the dead-end branches of the family tree.  This couple has much more to tell more, and hopefully I’ll find out much more as I continue my research.

Hidden treasures

In Deacon, My Genealogy, Uncategorized, WWII on January 30, 2011 at 5:12 PM

This is the second time I’ve scanned this particular photo album.  The last time was over a decade ago.  And while I may have known at that time that there were negatives, which I was then unequipped to scan, in the back in a pouch, it seems I didn’t investigate the pouch any further.

Just now I pulled the negatives out, as I can now scan them.  But in with the negatives was a card, a Train Berthing Card, from 1946.  And beside it was a well-worn, folded newspaper clipping.  On the back it bears the date Saturday, Jan. 26, 1946, the Halifax Mail.  This was my biological grandfather coming home after WWII!  The title, “The Long Voyage Is Over” may have particularly reflected his own feelings as we know from his letters that he was rather seasick on the way over a few years earlier (not to mention finally being home, of course).

On the back is part of an article “Dockyard Men Ask 40 Hour Week” which is rather interesting as well:

“…Lashing out determinedly against critics of the plan who aver that industry must revert to peacetime levels of wages or close down industries, Mr. MacIntosh pointed out that the struggle to give workers “a little more time for leisure, for recreation, for study, for rest…without the necessity of the night and day toil that has meant so much drudgery in the past.” will not be won without opposition from big business magnates…”

It rather speaks to the adjustments that had to be made when the mean came home after the wars.  Interesting tidbit, I thought.

Learning more

In General Genealogy on January 22, 2011 at 2:39 PM

I am currently taking some courses on genealogy through the University of Toronto’s National Institute of Genealogical Studies.  I’ve taken courses through them before, and have always found them useful.

One of the courses I’m taking right now is Canadian Migration Patterns.  It covers both immigration to Canada, and migration across Canada.  It is one of the most well-written courses I have taken, and I am enjoying it thoroughly.

A re-tweet by Meagan Smolenyak today led me to this news story on an Irish website.  This little newstory taught me a couple of things.  First, the Irish are emigrating in numbers apparently, and a fair percentage of them are coming to Canada.  Second, I learned that Canada currently allows 250,000 immigrants a year, designated between different home-countries.  I am sad to admit that I knew very little of our current immigration policies until these  last few weeks.  Yet such policies impacted our ancestors so greatly.

Taking a peek around the side of a brick wall

In Deacon, My Genealogy on January 15, 2011 at 9:41 AM

I spent a couple of days following down some Deacon-cousin lines in hopes it might shed some light on my brick wall.

I got to know (fellow genealogists, you know what I mean) several Deacons in those two days.  I watched as they were born, grew up, married, had their own families, and finally died.  They became my family.  I admired as one family, starting in Tintagel, Cornwall, went to Beesands, Devonshire and then onto Newton Abbot, St. Austell, Heavitree and Paddington.  The family dispersed and moved from slate quarrying to fishing to being In Service.

This reminded me how easy is can be to do this research at times, in fact many times.  It also contrasted with the research on my great-grandmother/brick wall.  Sometimes it is goood to be reminded of the other world, where folks registered and were registered where and when you’d expect them to be, and just how difficult your own research has become.  And while my research in those two days has not seemed to have shed light on my brick wall, it has rekindled hope nonetheless.