Thursday, 26 December 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 49 - Fall Fairs


Week 49's prompt for the 52 Ancestors challenge is "Craft". A big part of Canadian culture, especially in rural areas, is the fall fairs or exhibitions. Along with livestock and agricultural displays, there were often craft competitions. People of all ages submitted their crafts for judging. There were competitions for woodworking, art, sewing, and knitting to name a few. So where to find resources?



Canadiana
When I used the search term "agricultural fair", I received thousands of hits. Here's a sampling of what I found



Peel's Prairie Provinces
As usual, this site comes through for resources on Canada's West. Here's a sampling of what I found:


Newspapers
These are the best way to find out how award winning your ancestor craft skills were. Rural newspapers, especially, posted the winners of competitions. You may even be lucky enough to find  a photo. Here are some places to find newspapers:
  • Local libraries
  • University libraries
  • Provincial and City Archives
  • The Ancestor Hunt

Miscellaneous
Here are some "thinking outside the box" sources:




Sunday, 15 December 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 48 - Deportation Records at the LAC

The prompt for Week 48 of 52 ancestors if "thief". Not all of our ancestors were upstanding citizens. Genealogists and Family Historians tend to be thrilled finding these ancestors, because they make for interesting stories for others. Let's face it, our relatives who haven't been bit by the genealogy bug tend to get all glassy eyed when we talk about our passion. If we have an interesting ancestor though, they have more interest in what we're saying. This post I decided to look at records relating to the deportation records. Do you have an ancestor who came to Canada, but mysteriously vanished from records? Or maybe they somehow ended back in their country of birth and you can't figure out why. You might want to look at the deportation records through Library and Archives Canada then.

Library and Archives Canada has a great overview on what you can find on their web page Thematic Guide - Deportation from Canada, 1893-1977. What I'm going to focus on is the files belonging to the record group Records of the Immigration Branch (RG76). This group of records is by no means complete, as not all records have survived. They have three groupings of records:

  • Files that relate to an individual deportee
  • Files that include lists of names or correspondence about particular deportees
  • Files that do not contain names of deportees

Before you get started, you'll want to open a new window on your computer and have Heritage open and ready to go. The microfilms have been digitized, but you can't view them on LAC's website. You can only view them on Heritage. What you're going to do is note the microfilm details and then put that microfilm number into Heritage's search box. 


Files on Individual Deportees
Click on the heading. This will reveal a list of names that do not appear to be in any particular order. Once you find a name that interests you, take note of the file information. I scrolled through and found this rather interesting entry







As you can see, this is for an entire family. So, we want to look at microfilm C-10430, file 774753. Next we'll go to Heritage and enter C-10430 in the search box.
http://heritage.canadiana.ca/?usrlang=en



In the results, the top result is the microfilm we want. Now we're going to click on that and find the file we need. Because there is not search capability, we're going to jump back and forth through the images until we find the file. This can be done by jumping head on images by using the image tab on the left




And then looking at the bottom of the digitized document for the file number. 


So I found the first page of the file. It is quite a few pages. Apparently it started with a letter from a local citizen complaining about the recent immigrants from England. 


Long story short, the Department of Immigration investigated, and decided to deport the family in 1908. John, his wife Eliza and five children were sent by train to Montreal, then to Maine. Once there they were boarded on a ship to Liverpool. They were deemed undesirable because "...Mortimer is a drunkard, abusive to his wife and family and the neighbours speak against him...". The file also includes
  • Names and ages of each family member
  • John's occupation and some work history
  • Ship name and dates of immigration
  • How they arrived in Chatham
  • Ship name and date of departure back to England
  • Residence of John Mortimer's mother in England
  • Their trip to Canada was paid for by the Central (Unemployed) Body in England
  • A letter from Eliza Mortimer's father inquiring as to why the family was deported, and the response from the Department of Immigration
A sad end to this file is a letter written by John's wife Eliza in 1923. Apparently John deserted the family and boarded ship under an assumed name back to Canada. She is writing in hopes the Immigration Department can find him. One of their children has died, and another has been hospitalized. The letter gives her address in London. The Department wrote back asking for information, but that's where the file ends.



Lists and Correspondence of Individual Deportees
You open the entries the same as for the group above. In this group I found this entry




When I switched over to Heritage, I looked at microfilm C-10634, and looked for file 805792. This huge file involves the following Scottish men"

  • Ross Fraser
  • Horatio Dunlop
  • Donald Tough
  • David Moffat
  • William McBride
  • David Anderson
  • Robert Hill
  • James Quinn
  • Peter Tierney
  • Charles Miller
  • Donald/W McLean
  • John Ferguson
  • James Hughes
  • James Hutchison
As the below states, these men were brought over from Glasgow as strike breakers, and then let go once the strike was over



This was the rail company's response



As with the previous section, you can find a ton of little details about the men. Within the first 25 or so pages I found:
  • Immigration details
  • Work history and pay
  • Family and friends names back in Scotland, some with addresses
  • Current address
There was also deportation details on some additional men in the same file:
  • Alfred Black
  • John Skinner
  • Malcolm McLean
  • Joseph Healey
  • William Robertson
  • John Phillips
  • Patrick Rawdon


Files Not Containing Individual Names of Deportees
This section deals with documents generated within the Government and their agencies themselves. The only names mentioned are those employed within the Government, rail companies, and steam ship companies. It also includes some governmental policies and procedures. When I looked through the entries, I found this





Now when I looked at this file, part 7 has letters from various agencies asking for the Alien registration of 1917/18. Its the section two after that that is interesting



In this section is correspondence with various immigration agencies, providing samples of the Enemy Alien Registration Exeat form. These were used when the person wished to leave Canada. However, in this section are also completed forms. Here's one that even includes a picture






Now, for any of these sections, you can save the documents to your computer by right clicking on the image, and choosing save image. This will be better than just a screen shot, because as you can see above, it also includes the source information at the bottom.






Sunday, 8 December 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 47- Revolutionary Soldier Records at the PANB

Week 47 of 52 Ancestors has the theme "Soldier". This post I decided to look at a database on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick's website. If your Loyalist ancestor went to New Brunswick, you'll want to check out the database Records of Old Revolutionary Soldiers and Their Widows. After the Revolutionary War that gave the United States gained their independence, many of those who fought for the British were granted land in New Brunswick. However, by the 1830s, many of these soldiers and their widows were destitute. In 1839 the Hose of Assembly established a relief fund for them. To receive 10 pounds per year, they had to meet certain requirements. The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (PANB) have provided links to images of the Act:


The database consists of applications, correspondence, and payment schedules. The applicants had to apply to their county council. Not all records have survived. This database contains application records from:
  • RS146   Albert County Council Records
  • RS148   Charlotte County Council Records
  • RS153   Northumberland County Council Records
  • RS154   Queens County Council Records
  • RS157   Sunbury County Council Records
The PANB have also drawn records from the record sets RS566 Provincial Secretary: Old Soldiers and Widows Pension Administration Records, RS9 Executive Council Meeting Files, and RS24 Sessional Records of the Legislative Assembly. These record sets contained applications, correspondence and payments schedules. The Archives have a disclaimer that says

      "...For this project, we have identified all records relating to the old Revolutionary Soldiers, however there are a few documents which refer to the individual simply as an "old soldier". This is ambiguous since it could mean the soldier was a veteran of the War of 1812-14. We have included these erring on the side of providing more rather than less information..."

In other words, just because your ancestor is in here, it does not mean he was a Revolutionary War soldier. More research may be required.

Thanks to a collaboration between PANB and the Department of Canadian Heritage, this database is indexed. Just type in the name of your ancestor and you can get 1 to 20 links to digitized documents.

So, go to the Search Screen:
https://archives.gnb.ca/Search/OldSoldiers/Default.aspx?culture=en-CA
Now, you have a few ways to search. You can search by Name or by County. A third option is to click on one of the record sets and browse. My 5x great grandfather Charles McLaughlin is a suspected Revolutionary War soldier. So, I'm going to use him for the different search methods.

By Name
This section is an index of all surnames. What you do is click on the first letter of you ancestor's surname. My 5x great grandfather Charles McLaughlin is a suspected Revolutionary War soldier. So, I'm going to use him for this section. When I went to the M's, I got a list of all M surnames alphabetized. I scrolled down and found a Charles McLaughlin who lived in Gloucester County. This corresponds to my Charles.
https://archives.gnb.ca/Search/OldSoldiers/Results.aspx?culture=en-CA&PageLoad=FN&Letter=M
I clicked on the + beside his name and got this result:
https://archives.gnb.ca/Search/OldSoldiers/ViewImages.aspx?culture=en-CA&Key=179


The images with check marks are the ones that contain Charles' name. Clicking each one opens a digital image in a new window. You can then download the image to your computer. The first image is an application detailing that Charles' service. He served in the 76th Regiment in New York, commanded by Captain James Fraser. He was discharged in 1783. He is claiming for relief from Oct 4 1840 to Dec 4 1841, in the amount of 10 pounds.

The second document is correspondence informing Of Charles' death in 1842. 

The third document is a schedule of payments. The PANB has helpfully included pages of the whole document for context. The page that he appears on is the check marked one. 



By County
This section allows you to look at the surviving records for each county. Click on the County name, and it will list all soldiers traced to that County. When I clicked on Gloucester County, the only other surviving records besides Charles is for someone not in my line. So I decided to look at Restigouche County to find a collateral ancestor. I have another possible Loyalist ancestor in New Brunswick, my 4x great grandfather William Ferguson. William and his brother Thomas both settled in New Brunswick after the War. William did extremely well, and became a prominent figure in the Tracadie area of Gloucester County. He had no need to apply for relief. His brother Thomas, however, did not do nearly as well. The story is that Thomas had to leave Tracadie to escape creditors in the early 1800s, and eventually settled in Restigouche County. When I clicked on Restigouche County, I found a Thomas Ferguson. He appeared on several payment schedules until his death in his 90's.
https://archives.gnb.ca/Search/OldSoldiers/ViewImages.aspx?culture=en-CA&Key=260


By Record Set
This section allows you to browse some of the record sets. Click on the available record set and you can narrow your browsing from there:
  • RS566 Provincial Secretary: Old Soldiers and Widows Pension Administration Records- lets you browse by County and then year
  • RS148 Charlotte County Council Records- browse by years 1841-1846
  • RS153 Northumberland County Council Records- browse by years 1839-1871
  • RS154 Queens County Council Records- browse by years 1839-1857
  • RS9 Executive Council (Cabinet) Meeting Files- browse by meeting date from 11 November 1843 to 25 October 1871
  • RS24 Sessional Records of the Legislative Assembly- browse reports from 1838 to 1855, and petitions from 1838 to 1856

Sunday, 1 December 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 46 - Poorhouses

http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/canadian-illustrated-news-1869-1883/Pages/image.aspx?Image=58537&URLjpg=http%3a%2f%2fwww.collectionscanada.gc.ca%2fobj%2f026019%2ff4%2f58537-v6.gif&Ecopy=58537





Week 46 of 52 Ancestors is "poor". One can't think of the poor in history without the dreaded "poorhouse" or "workhouse" coming to mind. Most people associate these with Britain, but Canada had them too. These institutions had the official names of "Houses of Industry". They also went by names such as "Poor Asylum". Their goal was to have inmates work to support their admittance into them. These institutions first started to appear in Canada in the late 1700's to early 1800's in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. In Western Canada, the notion did not appear to take hold, though British Columbia had a similar system. If you would like a good read on the history of social welfare in Canada, you can preview Social Policy and Practice in Canada: A History By Alvin Finkel on Google Books. The free preview lets you look at several sections, and it's a very good read. I took some looking around at the provincial archives, and found some various records by province for Eastern and Central Canada. This is by no means a complete list. These will help you get started though.

Newfoundland
Newfoundland did not join Canada until 1949. From what I have read, there were porr houses in the province much earlier than the rest of Canada, and they adopted the Poor Law of Elizabeth I. The Rooms has in their holdings a few things relating to poorhouses and asylums:



Prince Edward Island
PARO has some records in their collection, including Fonds RG34 - Independent Boards and Commissions fonds. This collection deals with the government side of the Poor Asylums and Insane Asylums.



New Brunswick

PANB has a few record sets in their holdings:



Nova Scotia
The NSA has in their holdings the Halifax (N.S.). Poor Asylum. This rather notorious institution originally burnt to the ground in 1882. it was rebuilt in 1886.



Quebec
BAnQ has the St. Bridget's Asylum Fund.- 1856-1865 in their holdings. One thing that should be noted about the province is that poor relief was mainly taken on by the church, as opposed to the government. Keep this in mind when looking for records



Ontario
In 1890, Ontario passed the House of Refuge Act. This gave grants to each County to set aside 45 acres for Houses of Industry. In 1903 it became mandatory for each County to have at least one House of Refuge. Because of this, there were much more of these than in any other province. The Archives of Ontario has some fonds of some of them:
UPDATE Dec 15 2019: I didn't realize when I wrote the blog post that the AO's links are time sensitive. However, if you go to the Archives of Ontario's website you can still find them. Go into Access Our Collections, then Archives Descriptive Database. Use for your search term "House of Industry" (use the quotation marks), then into Groups of Archival Records.

More Places to Search

Don't forget to look at these other sources for Poorhouse records:

  • City/County Archives. In fact, your much more likely to find specific records here than in the Provincial Archives. For instance, The City of Toronto Archives hold the books of the Toronto House of Refuge. The Toronto Branch of Ontario Ancestors has a project going on right now to get these indexed.
  • Internet Archive - remember to use a variety of search terms such as "poor house", "almshouse", "house of industry". And remember to include your location as well in the search. They have uploads from all over the world.
  • University and College Libraries
  • Google. If you know the name of the institution, try using Google. Some of these buildings have been turned into museums, especially in Ontario. Others, like the Waterloo County House of Industry and Refuge, are virtual museums giving an amazing amount of information on not only the residents, but the staff as well.
  • As always,Canadiana is a go-to source. "House Of Industry" resulted in 1756 hits. "Poor Asylum" gave 792 hits, and "poor house" gave 3408 hits.




Monday, 18 November 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 45- Society Blue Books Online

The Week 45 prompt for 52 Ancestors is "Rich Man". One of the odd quirks of high society in Canada are the "Blue Books". These publications listed a "who's who" of the wealthy. Not only that, it listed their seasonal residences, their affiliations, and what days they would "receive visitors". Now, I don't come from wealthy ancestors. In spite of that, or maybe because of that, I find these publications fascinating.




It does not only list the heads of households, but the whole family. As an added bonus you also get maiden names of the wives.


Here's a sample entry:


Now if you noticed beside "Clubs" it's a series of numbers. At the bottom of the page it tells you to look at pages 179 to 206 for the club codes. You'll also notice that each member of the family has their affiliations listed. So to look at our example above, Mrs. Addison and Dorothy Addison belong to club 23. Mr. Frederick Addison belong to two clubs: 12 and 64. By looking at the club pages, I found that those numbers coincide with:

  • 12 is the Canadian Club of Toronto
  • 23 is the Imperial order of Daughters of the Empire
  • 64 is the Toronto Board of Trade
Now the club section itself is a good read all on its own. Some entries just show the club name. But some list the Board or Executives as well. And some also provide membership lists. That can be handy, especially if you're trying to connect families together. 


They also contained ads. If your ancestor owned a business that catered to the wealthy, you'll also want to check these out. Here's ads for the King Edward Hotel and the Hooten Chocolate Company Ltd.


Canadiana, as always, is a good place to start looking for these books. I trolled their collection and compiled some links for you of what they have:


Internet Archive is another great online source:

Memorial University of Newfoundland's Digital Archives have several editions of Who's Who and Why. While these are not strictly blue books, they do have some great biographical and genealogical information in them.


Some other sources to look at are:
  • Public libraries
  • Municipal Archives
  • Provincial Archives
  • Campus libraries. You never know what you're going to find in a University or College Library. What's available at Memorial University above is a prime example.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 44 - Cooking with The Nova Scotia Archives

The Week 44 prompt for 52 Ancestors is "Trick or Treat". If you're like me, the word treat makes me think of the special desserts you only get to eat during special family get-togethers. So, for this post I decided to highlight a recent edition to the Nova Scotia Archives digital holdings.

The new online database What's Cooking? Food, Drink and the Pleasures of Eating in Old-Time Nova Scotia is sure to be a hit with foodies and non foodies alike.

https://novascotia.ca/archives/cooking/default.asp

The Archives have put together an impressive collection of recipes and food history in the province. They've not only looked through their own holdings, but those of other institutions. They've even included a handy guide to help you interpret what some of the old ingredients and measurements mean in today's terms. You can zoom in and out on each image if you having trouble reading them. There is no way to download the recipes to your computer, unfortunately. However, you can try taking a screen shot and saving the image that way. A Google search can gives you several different programs that can do this. They've broken the collection down into several sections:


Short History
This section gives some background on the diet and cooking methods of Nova Scotians. They start with the very first French settlers that came with Samuel de Champlain, and discuss Acadians, Planters, and up to the twentieth century. As the section title suggests, it is not in depth, but it's a good read none the less.


Collected Recipes
The Archives has found and digitized 1096 recipes. The ones I looked at were all handwritten. They cover all kinds of cooking. I saw recipes for meat, for preserving, and for desserts. Some are instantly recognizable, such as Cornish Pasties. Other have exotic sounding names such as Mangaroo Pudding, which turns out to be a kind of sponge cake dessert. All the recipes are over 100 years old. You can see many of the cultural influences in them. It is a reflection of the early French, UK, and Prussian immigrants that settled the province. Here's a sampling of a few I found:




Uniacke Family Recipes
This collection is further sub divided:

  • Handwritten Recipe Book with the Initials R.J. - The initials are believed to belong to Rosina Jane Uniacke (1808-1858). Rosina was the wife of the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Attorney General of Nova Scotia, James Boyle Uniacke.
  • A Collection of Recipes - Various recipes found among the Uniacke material in the Nova Scotia Museum
  • A Collection of Recipes - Handwritten recipes from Dr. Carlin's  Last Receipte Book and Household Physician
  • Numbered Recipes from the Uniacke Family - among the traditional recipes are also household remedies. I found ones for toothache and making soap
  • A Collection of Recipes - This subset are attached to Geraldine Uniacke


Digitized Cookbooks
The Archives have digitized 17 cookbooks that were published between 1820 and 1950. Just click on a particular cookbook. You can then look at each one page by page. The titles are:

  • The Nova-Scotia Almanack (1820)
  • Cape Breton hand-book and tourist's guide compiled by E. Lockett, North Sydney and Sydney (1890)
  • Church of England Institute receipt book by Mrs. William (Mary) Lawson and Miss Alice Jones (1888)
  • Elementary text-book of cookery by Helen N. Bell (1898)
  • Farmers' Milk Facts for Halifax by Farmers' Limited, Halifax 
  • Kent Vinegars Recipe Book and Household Hints (c.1950)
  • Kitchen army nutrition and receipt book by Sydney Nutrition Committee (c. 1943)
  • The LaHave Cook Book by The Managers' Auxiliary of St. John's Church, Bridgewater, N.S. (1912)
  • One Hundred Recipes from Domestic Science School, Halifax, N.S. (1906)
  • The First Bite: Tasty Recipes from Holsum Bread by Ben's Bakery 
  • The Art of Cooking Made Easy by Hattie & Mylius, Limited, Wholesale Druggist, Halifax
  • The Bedford Recipe Book by The Ladies of All Saints Church Guild (1910)
  • The modern cook book for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
  • Tried and true: A handbook of choice cooking recipes by S.J. Sims and B.E. Hills (1902)
  • Grand-Pre Cook Book by Ladies' Aid of the Grand Pre United Church (1939)
  • Grand Pre cook book by Ladies Aid of the Grand Pre United Church (1940)
  • Favorite Recipes (1940)
Along with meal recipes, you can also find household tips.


Newspaper Supplements
This section has 4 booklets that were added as supplements to newspapers:

  • Wartime Economy Book of Recipes for 1945 (Supplement to the 10 April 1945 Halifax Herald and Halifax Mail) - This contains the winners from a contest of over 8000 submissions
  • In "Letters to the Editor", Dorothy Sparling, Sydney, gave a number of African American recipes (February 1973 edition of Grasp) - The first page is a letter to the editor from Dorothy Sparling, highlighting recipes of African Nova Scotians
  • Cooking in Nova Scotia No. 1 (Supplement to the 20 February 1975 of the 4th Estate) - Reader submissions of recipes
  • An Indian Cookbook by The Native Communications Society of Nova Scotia (supplement to the February 1977 Micmac News) - Recipes and remedies from the Native Community
Like the cookbook section, just click on a particular supplement and you can browse page by page


Virtual Exhibit
This section has an eclectic collection of visual images from around the province. There are 113 items in total. There are posters, diagrams, and photos. Some of the more interesting items I found among the collection are:

Moirs Limited
This landmark company started out as a bakery in 1830, and through the generations expanded into making chocolate and candy. Those iconic Pot of Gold chocolate boxes were just one of their creations. This collection has 122 recipes from the candy and chocolate side of the business. The Achives does warn that these recipes are for mass production. Some of them even include the Piece work rates for the workers in the factory. Among the recipes:
  • Fresh made Creams
  • XXX Gingerale
  • Molasses Taffy
  • Fresh made Vanilla Caramels

Lobster Labels
You can't think of Nova Scotia without thinking of lobsters. Perhaps it's because the province has been shipping lobsters around the world since the 1800's. According to the Archives, the first commercial cannery opened in Yarmouth in 1830. This section has a selection of the various labels that have been used by the commercial canneries through the years. Most even have recipes included. You can find recipes for salads, stews, appetizers, and even a lobster curry.


Modern Method
In this section the Archives team have converted 6 recipes using modern methods and conversions. They were kitchen and taste tasted. Just click on the digital image of the recipe you want to try. You'll get a modern translation of the recipe. The recipes are:





Sunday, 10 November 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 43 - Looking at Railway History with Old Time Trains

Week 43 of 52 Ancestors has the prompt "Transportation". The biggest influence in Canada's history is the railway. I decided this post to look at a great site I stumbled upon called Old Time Trains. If you have a railway ancestor, you'll want to check this site out. Even if you don't, you may still want to look at it. The promise of a railway helped persuade British Columbia to become part of Confederation. The railways brought new homesteaders to the Prairies. The rail connected isolated areas of the provinces to city centers. You can be sure that in some way the railroads of Canada touched on part of your ancestors' lives.

Old Time Trains has been around for 20 years. It seeks to be a one stop shop about Canada's rail history. It's last update was just this month, so the site is very current. It covers the history of the railroad across the country.
http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/index.html
What's New
This section gives updates on new submissions and corrections. It looks like it is updated on the first of every month.


Articles
This section has articles, advertisements, photographs, and documents relating to all aspects of rail transportation. Most date back to the early to mid 1900's. A few interesting examples I found were:

  • A time table for the Lindsay, Ontario train station from Oct 19 1923. The conductors and engineers are listed. This train station no longer exists.
  • A "family tree" of all the small railroad companies that eventually all came together to become the CNR
  • An article from 1915 detailing the CPR extension to Lake Louise, Alberta

Stories
This section contains personal memories of trains and train travel. Many of these are the memories of railway workers. These could give you an insight into your own ancestor's working life. Take a look at:

Archives
An amazing collection of digital images of all kinds of memorbilia. I found posters, ticket stubs, and time tables to name a few. It's worth taking a look at. Some of the more unusual things I found:
  • The printing plate for a 100 pound sterling railway bond
  • Toronto fireman Ray Bossi's trip ticket book
  • A copy of the Rules and Regulations for CPR employees from 1890

Photographs
A nice little section of photos of trains, buildings and images of advertisements. There's a really neat collection of old bank notes. I had no idea that there used to be a $25 dollar bill!


Preservation
A small collection of photos and articles about some of the projects to preserve old railway cars.


Library
If you want to find out more about certain aspects of Canadian rail history, you can purchase these books from various vendors:
  • Cape Breton Railways: An Illustrated History by Herb MacDonald
  • Narrow Gauge Through the Bush by Rod Clarke
  • Sudbury Electrics and Diesels by Dale Wilson
  • The Canadian Steam Power Catalog from the York Central Railway
  • JBC Visuals Colour Postcards
  • On Track: The Railway Mail Service in Canada by Susan McLeod O'Reilly
  • Canadian Pacific in Southern Ontario (Volume One) by W.H.N. Rossiter

Links
Links to other sites that deal with Canadian Railway History. I found links to sites right across Canada. If you can't find what you're looking for on Old Time Trains, there's sure to be something on these other sites to pique your interest.


Old Time Trains
This section details the preservation efforts of the group in restoring rail cars.


Contact Us
Gives the contact email for communicating with the website. They welcome comments and submissions for the site. If you can't find what you're looking for on the site, they suggest you email them with your questions.



Sunday, 3 November 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 42 - Finding Early Immigration Records at the LAC

Week 42's prompt is "adventure". I can think of no bigger adventure for someone than starting a new life in another country. So for this post I decided to look at one of the immigration databases on Library and Archives Canada's website, Immigrants Before 1865. There was no regulated system of recording immigration to Canada before 1865, and today there is only a hodge podge of surviving records. The LAC has put what they have together into one database on their website.
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/immigrants-before-1865/Pages/introduction.aspx

By clicking on List of Records it will expand out showing a chart. The records making up the database are:

  1. List of the persons transported from Rotterdam to Nova Scotia on the ANN 1750
  2. Lists of emigrants transported from Rotterdam to Nova Scotia on the SPEEDWELL, GALE, MURDOCK and PEARL 1751
  3. List of Swiss embarked in Rotterdam for Nova Scotia aboard the GALE 1751
  4. Lists of persons leaving various ports in the United Kingdom bound for various ports in North America 1774-1775
  5. List of Loyalists bound for Halifax on board the CLINTON 1784
  6. German settlers from New York in Markham Township, Upper Canada 1793-1808
  7. Declarations of aliens in Lower Canada (mostly from the United States) 1794-1811
  8. Emigrants leaving Fort William, Scotland, for Pictou, Nova Scotia, on board the ships SARAH and DOVE 1801
  9. List of passengers forwarded from Lachine to Selkirk’s Baldoon Settlement in Kent County, Ontario 1804
  10. List of the crew and passengers on board the ship CLARENDON of Hull, England, bound for Charlottetown 1808
  11. Documents concerning mostly the Red River Settlement and the conflict with the Hudson’s Bay Company, with some records relating to the Baldoon and Grand River Settlements and Prince Edward Island 1811-1823
  12. List of settlers in the Island of Cape Breton 1813
  13. List of settlers enrolled for Canada, sailing aboard the ATLAS, DOROTHY, BALTIC MERCHANT and ELIZA 1815
  14. Settlers arrived at Quebec from England aboard the ATLAS, DOROTHY and BALTIC MERCHANT 1815
  15. List of inhabitants of the Island of Guernsey who wish to emigrate to British North America 1816
  16. Lists of persons who emigrated from the British Isles to Canada 1817-1831, 1849
  17. Immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland proceeding to Canada via New York, whose passes were signed by the British Consul 1817-1819
  18. Petition of John Banfield requesting land in Simcoe County, Ontario, for intended immigrants from the Scilly Islands 1819
  19. Lists of persons leaving Scotland bound for Upper Canada on board the GEORGE CANNING, DAVID, EARL OF BUCKINGHAMSHIRE and COMMERCE 1821
  20. State of Swiss settlers in the Red River 1822
  21. ecords relating to Peter Robinson settlers in Eastern Ontario. Lists of Irish passengers on board the ALBION, AMITY, BRUNSWICK, ELIZABETH, FORTITUDE, JOHN BARRY, REGULUS, RESOLUTION, STAR and STAKESBY 1823-1844
  22. Archibald McNab Papers: Correspondence and lists of settlers in McNab Township, Renfrew County, Ontario 1825-1842
  23. Lists of passengers aboard ships BRITANNIA, WARRIOR, LIVELY, HARMONY and DANIEL O’CONNELL bound for Quebec after clearing customs 1832, 1840, 1842
  24. Lists of immigrants from Londonderry County, Ireland, that were contained in the original Ordnance Survey records. From various parishes to ports in Canada and the United States. 1833-1836
  25. Lists of emigrants on board the KINGSTON from Liverpool to settle in Hull Township, Lower Canada 1834
  26. Returns of destitute at Prescott, Ontario 1835
  27. Lists of emigrants from Kettlestone and Heacham parishes, Norfolk County, England 1836
  28. List of immigrants with capital who arrived at Kingston, Ontario 1840
  29. Lists of settlers in the records of James Allison, emigrant agent at Montreal 1842, 1847
  30. Naturalization certificates 1846-1849
  31. Lists of emigrant orphans in Montreal and Quebec City 1847
  32. Agricultural questionnaires answered in 1853 by some immigrants in Canada West (Ontario) who had arrived between 1791 and 1848. Only 41 questionnaires survived. 1853
  33. Most of the documents are accounts submitted by teamsters and boat captains who provided inland transportation by wagon or boat to indigent immigrants. The person providing the transportation would submit the account to the government emigrant agent for reimbursement. There are also a few vouchers and receipts for other services provided, such as the delivery of provisions or the burial of deceased indigent immigrants. 1843-1854


The first thing you are going to do is to search the database to find if your ancestor is listed. Because you'll need to go back and forth from the main information screen, you'll want to open the search screen in a new window. Just right click on Search:Database, and select "open link in a new tab".

In the search screen, you have the option of searching by any or all of

  • Surname
  • Given Name(s)
  • Year of Immigration
  • Keyword

I decided to look for one of my more common surnames, Douglas. I received several results, as I suspected I would. The very first entry is for a "Widow Douglass" 
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/immigrants-before-1865/Pages/list.aspx?Surname=douglas&

I decided to look at her. I clicked on the Item Number on the left of her name and this came up
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/immigrants-before-1865/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=3096&

Since no PDF image is attached, I will have to check the main page's chart. Using the information from here, I then went back to the main page and looked on the chart for the record set that is part of the Department of Finance fonds. It turns out it is the last record set. Luckily this set is digitized.




According to the information for the Widow Douglass, she went from Toronto to Bondhead. Her passage was paid by the Emigration Service Fund. Her record is on page 315. I clicked on pages 291 to 343 on the main page above. A PDF opened in a new window. Document 315 is an account of payment to teamster Arthur Clifton for delivering indigent immigrants between July 3 and 10, 1845

According to the document, she traveled with several other people on July 7 1845 to Bondhead. She has five family members traveling with her.


Some results have images right in the search results file. Here is one for a J. Douglas:
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/immigrants-before-1865/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=17201&

This is a letter of thanks written to James Allison. The owner of the vessel Boiver of Stratham was charging a Poll Tax to the passengers. James Allison seems to have paid the tax for them. As you can see, there are two PDF files attached. The first I could open no problem, but there's no J. Douglas written there. The second link, however, came up not available. So I went back to the main page and found the Neilson Collection, Records of James Allison fonds. I clicked on the microfilm number and it took me to the Heritage site. I scanned through the images to find 146A/147. That page was the same as shown above. So I went to the next page and found where J. Douglas fit into the letter. There's actually 2 men signing the letter named J. Douglas, a Junior and a Senior:
http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c15773/795?r=0&s=4

Though it looks like digital images can be accessed for most of the records, there are a few that no images are available online. You have to the option of visiting onsite, or you can order a copy of the record. Scroll to the bottom of the database's main information page for the link to order copies. The LAC also gives these research tips on their site:
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/immigrants-before-1865/Pages/introduction.aspx


Sunday, 27 October 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 41 - Finding Context with BC Newspapers

The prompt for Week 41 of 52 Ancestors is "context". Sometimes its not enough to know the specific events of your ancestor's life. You also have to look at why they did what they did. My future great great grandchildren will probably wonder how I ended up in my new home province. Now, as a good family historian, I will be leaving them the reasons why. Unfortunately our ancestors weren't so accommodating. It's up to us to make educated guesses, and look into records that us some context about what their world was like.

A great way to find out about the social history of our ancestors is through newspapers. If you have British Columbia ancestors, you'll want to bookmark the University of British Columbia's BC Historical Newspapers website.

https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/bcnewspapers
One of the UBC's Open Collections, the site has had over 10 million image views and over 240,000 downloads. It has 51,093 digitized copies of 168 different newspapers that cover most of the province. I was happy to see some Northern BC historical papers in the collection, as the north of the province is often ignored here. The majority of the newspapers cover the south of the province.

I have a half great uncle, Robert Simpson Douglas. Born 1905 in Scotland as Robert Simpson Herd, he was a son of the first marriage of my great grandmother Mary Black McArthur. He emigrated to Canada as a British Home Child and ended up reuniting with his mother in Canada. He took the last name Douglas from my great grandfather James Henry Douglas, who seems to have unofficially adopted him and his brother, another British Home Child. A mining engineer, Robert ended up migrating from Ontario to British Columbia. He passed away in Vancouver in 1975. I decided to look into the newspapers available to see if I could find mention of him, his wife Matilda "Tilly" Patton, or his son George Robert Douglas. there are several ways you can search.


General Search
I used the general search first. The trick with the general search is to use quotations. Just typing in Robert Douglas will give me results showing all papers with both Robert and/or Douglas. By using "Robert Douglas" I can narrow down the results considerably. Robert moved from Ontario to BC sometime between 1937 and 1953. His son George was born in Kirkland Lake Ontario in 1937, and I first found Robert in BC Voter's Lists in 1953. I then filtered the results further by newest to oldest. You can do this by using the filter just to top right of the results:
https://open.library.ubc.ca/search?q=%2522robert%2520douglas%2522&p=0&sort=0&view=0&circle=n&dBegin=&dEnd=&c=6&collection=bcnewspapers

Now in the results, you don't want to click on the title of the paper. That will take you to the first page of that particular issue. What you want to do is click on the Show Details button. This will give you more information and the page that the result appears on.
https://open.library.ubc.ca/search?q=%2522robert%2520douglas%2522&p=0&sort=6&view=0&circle=n&dBegin=&dEnd=&c=7&collection=bcnewspapers


Then click on the page number. This will then take you to the page the result is on. You can zoom in and out, and you can also download the image to your computer.



Search by Newspaper
https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/bcnewspapers
As you can see from the map above, there is an interactive map on the website to help you narrow down which newspapers they have from your ancestor's area. You can either click on the newspaper name, or click on one of the location pins. A window will pop up with the name of the paper. Then click on the explore button to go to that paper's search page.


I chose The Mining Review out of Sandon BC. I did not expect to find information of my great uncle because of the publication dates. However, it might give me some insight in the history of mining in the province. Once I went to The Mining Review page, you have two options. You can use a search term in the box at the top of the page:
https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/bcnewspapers/xminingrev
Or, you can scroll down and browse by individual issues. Just click on a year, then one of the highlighted boxes for an individual issue:

I used search first. I used the term engineer. The search results page works exactly the same as I described above when using the General Search. What I found in the "Mines and Mining" column on October 27 1900 was a tidbit about mining engineer Alex Sharpe. He was in the area looking over operations on behalf of the Burns-Wilson syndicate. But what I found farther down the page was really interesting:

"...The Noonday mine at Silverton, another property that paid the large wage for the short day during the lockout, and whose manager used to say could do it with profit, is in serious financial difficulties; and it is a question if the ownership is not changed all around before all is over..."

Now for me, the mention of a lockout is interesting. If I had a mining ancestor in that area and time period, I would want to research that lockout. To be honest, I want to anyway.


All in all this is a great site. It is very user friendly. As well, the images are very clear and crisp. I looked through several papers, and I did not find a bad image once. Underneath the images are the metadata information. You should have no problem doing source citations from the information given.



Sunday, 20 October 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 40 - Harvesting on Peel's Prairie Provinces

Week 40 of 52 Ancestors has the prompt "harvest". One of the biggest reasons for migration to Canada and then west across the country was the chance to own land and farm. So this post I decided to take a look at what a search using "harvest" on Peel's Prairie Provinces would turn up.

I've mentioned what a great resource this website is in the past. It's a partnership between several different corporations, institutions, and the Canadian government. The site focuses on Western Canada research, and has a variety of material that would interest genealogists and historians.

When I did a search on their site using the word "harvest", I got some really interesting results. I've broken the results into their four categories of records.


Bibliography

http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/search/?search=raw&pageNumber=1&field=body&rawQuery=harvest&index=peelbib
A search of he bibliography section resulted in 1838 publications. Just click on the link of the publication, and then just to the right of the title you'll see FlipBook view. Click on that, and it will open a new window to look through the publication. I found some real gems in this section:



Newspapers

http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/search/?search=raw&pageNumber=1&field=body&rawQuery=harvest&index=newspapers

The search through newspapers resulted in 41,393 hits. Don't be daunted though. By using the filters at the right of the screen, you can narrow the search. As you can see from the screen shot above, you can narrow by date, year published, language, and/or by publication. Here' a sampling of some of the interesting things I found




Photographs
http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/search/?search=raw&pageNumber=1&field=body&rawQuery=harvest&index=postcards
 The website has 129 photographs tagged with the word "harvest". Here's a few I saw:

http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/postcards/PC004662.html



http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/postcards/PC003233.html


http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/postcards/PC004448.html



Maps
I received no hits for "harvest" in their maps section. However, when I used the search word "farm", I got some results. here's an interesting one of St. Bruno farm in Alberta, about 1926
http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/maps/M000565.html