Category Archives for Genealogy

Our book “Beads in a Necklace” launches today!

I’m so excited. Our book comes home from the printer today and we’re planning a fun celebration of its existence tonight.

Here’s how we’ve described our creation on the backcover:

Book back cover photo

A Fun Collaboration

This work came to shape slowly over time. Lucy Anglin, Barb Angus, Marian Bulford, Janice Hamilton, Claire Lindell, Sandra McHugh, Dorothy Nixon, Mary Sutherland and I have been gathering monthly for five years. Together, we’ve learned how to craft our research into our ancestors into compelling literary non-fiction  that anyone might enjoy reading.

Late last year, we began speaking about the possibility of putting our favourite stories together into a book.

Today, our dream takes shape. In this work, you’ll meet several of our ancestors, including:

  • Fille du roi Anne Thomas, who married master carpenter Claude Jodoin in Montreal way back in 1666;
  • Felicité Poulin, 18th-century career woman, Ursuline nun and matchmaker;
  • Stanley Bagg, Massachusetts-born merchant who helped build the Lachine Canal in the 1820s;
  • Gospel singer Edward McHugh, whose 1910-period debut at the Montreal Hunt Club launched an international career; and
  • William Anglin, respected Victorian-era Kingston, Ontario surgeon and wannabe thought-reader.

For more information, refer to our book webpage.

Official Book Launch Tonight

Tonight from 7 until 9 p.m., we’ll be celebrating our creation in the hall of the St. John the Baptist Church, 233 St. Claire Street in Pointe-Claire. If you’re in Montreal, feel free to join us for wine, cheese, sandwiches, home-made treats and a couple of readings from the book.

We’ve also put together some photographs and heritage items for a display to highlight some of the stories.

A self-published limited edition paperback will be on sale for $20.

Tomorrow, we’ll take whatever books are left to Livres Presque 9/Nearly New Books, 5885 Sherbrooke O; Montreal, Quebec H4A1X6, 514 482-7323. You can pick up a copy there while supplies last.

If you prefer a digital copy, an Amazon Kindle edition is available for $3.89.

Hope you enjoy reading our work as much as we enjoyed writing it. I’d love to hear your comments below.

Etiennette Alton’s Verdun Years

Imagine my surprise to discover that my ancestors lived in my neighbourhood more than three hundred years ago.

At that time, Verdun’s Crawford Park was a very different place than it is today. Today, the neighbourhood encompasses about 1000 people in about 20 city blocks between the St. Lawrence River to the aquaduct in the north and between the Douglas Research Institute and the borough of LaSalle to the west. In 2006, more than 20,000 people lived here.

When my ancestor Étiennette Alton lived here, however, the neighbourhood was known as the fief de Verdun and it extended further north through Angrignon Park and the St. Jacques Escarpment.

She moved here after marrying her second husband, Barthélémy Vinet dit La Reinte on Monday, June 13, 1672. She already had three sons and a daughter from her first marriage. Her fifth child, their first son, Martin was born a little later the same year.

The family were among 83 families in the neighbourhood, according to the 1681 census.

The census reads :

« Barthelemy Vinet 48; Etiennet Alton, sa femme 42; enfants : Pierre 20, Jean 16, Louis 14, Marie 11, Martin 9, Gunégonde 7, Madeleine 6, Guillaume 3; 3 fusils; 18 bêtes à cornes; 20 arpents en valeur. »

The couple had five more children in the following fifteen years. They could afford them. Her husband worked for Sieur Jean-Baptiste Migeon de Branssat, an attorney and later judge with the manor of Montréal.

At that time most men—including Vinet, Migeon, and Montreal Governor Francois-Marie Perrot—earned significant portions of their income from hunting and selling furs. The market for furs, however, was diminishing.

In 1676, a new law forced fur traders to obtain licences, although few bothered to do so.

A year later, Migeon was appointed judge and asked to create a public inquiry into the fur trade industry. During that inquiry, he discovered that most elite, including the Governor himself, were illegally involved in the fur trade. The Governor responded by accusing Migeon of breaking the same laws and putting him under house arrest to halt the inquiry before its results could be known.

Did you know Library and Archives Canada has a podcast?

The latest Library and Archives Canada podcast just came out April 7. It features the rise of the British Flying Service and how that new technology affected the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

In the early days of flight, you had to expect to crash,” says Bill Rawling, historian and author of the book Surviving Trench Warfare and one of the experts interviewed in the podcast. “And the idea was to see how far, how high you could go before the aircraft would fall out of the sky and they’d have to drag you out of the wreckage. Now, you’re talking about something that when it crashes, you’re going 30 kilometres an hour and you’ve come down from 30 feet and it’s all wood and canvas and it just falls apart around you. And in fact, it’s like a big crunch zone in a car. So, but yeah. You have to expect—Billy Bishop, you know, probably Canada’s most famous pilot ever, when they adopt new aircraft—the Nieuport 17—there were hard landings, as they were called, as he’s learning how to operate this aircraft. And a hard landing may well mean damage. So how many of these hard landings were actually crashes?”

If you have an ancestor who served in the British or Canadian military, this episode will give you lots of ideas of their roles during the war. It also features descriptions of some of the other experts who participated in this, the world’s first industrial war.

This is the first of two podcasts featuring Vimy. The Episode is called Beyond Vimy: The Rise of Air Power, Part 1.

Library and Archives Canada Podcasts Appealing to Genealogists

The Library and Archives Canada  has been podcasting since 2012. Other episodes that might appeal to genealogists include:

 Sifting through LAC’s Cookbook Collection

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Métis Nation

And perhaps the most useful one for any genealogist,

Digging Into the Past: Family History in Canada

To see the entire collection, refer to the main podcast page.

Four Generations Grow up in Weston

Granny, nanny and my mom on the porch in Weston

Granny, nanny and my mom on the porch in Weston

One of my earliest memories has me travelling by bus to the Weston library with my mother, grandmother and great grandmother. For some reason, the Carnegie Foundation in New York provided a grant to build the stunning structure in 1914 despite its Ontario location along the Humber River.[1]

I’ll always be grateful.

Recent visits to the location feel peaceful somehow, as if several generations of residence in that spot left traces in my DNA.

Our family moved to Weston sometime between the 1871[2]  and 1881[3] censuses and stayed there until the late nineteen sixties.

An Irish ancestor at last!

The 1871 census shows great granny’s mom Kezia Charlotte McMaster, who was then 12 years-old, living with her family in 130 Mono Cardwell. Her mother was a 54-year-old Irish immigrant named Ann McMaster. Other family members included 24-year-old Andrew, 20-year-old Alexander, 16-year-old James and 14-year-old Ann Eliza.

Summer wedding

Seven years later, at the age of 22, Kezia married 38-year-old John Paul Charboneau on a summer day in August. The marriage licence describes him as a Francophone Church of England man working as a cooper building barrels and utensils out of wood.

Their son Paul, my great great great uncle, came along on March 13, 1888.[4]

His sister Charlotte, my direct ancestor, was born in Orangeville seven years later.

Charlotte and Arthur

I don’t know how they met, but great grandma Charlotte married British Immigrant Arthur Johnson in Weston on February 9, 1917.[5] Before the wedding took place, they had to sign a “degrees of affinity” document to confirm that they were not blood relatives.

Like her mother, she was 22 years old at the time.

The wedding took place close to her home on Cross Street. His parents, William Johnson and Mary Young attended, as did hers. Their witnesses were Albert and Aimie Johnson who lived nearby on Fife Avenue.

Given their last names, it’s likely these witnesses were also ancestors.

Charlotte and Arthur remained in Weston from then on. Their daughter, her daughter and I all grew up in the village.

The couple only left Weston in their nineties to move in with their daughter in Midland during the last decade of their lives.

 

Sources:

[1] http://welcometoweston.ca/about-weston/history-of-weston, accessed February 22, 2017.

[2] Canada Census, 1871,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M47F-Q6P : 13 November 2014), Kezia Mc Master in household of Ann Mc Master, Mono, Cardwell, Ontario, Canada; citing p. 40, line 10; Library and Archives Canada film number C-9959, Public Archives, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 4,396,686.

[3] Canada Census, 1881,” database, Library and Archives Canada film number C-13249, Public Archives, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm Reference: RG31 – Statistics Canada, Item Number: 3601574.

[4] Canada Births and Baptisms, 1661-1959,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F2F8-X6G : 27 November 2014), Keziah Macmaster in entry for Paul Charbonneau, 13 Mar 1888; citing Toronto, York, Ontario, 13 Mar 1888, reference cn 901245; FHL microfilm 1,872,230.

[5] Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927,” database with ages, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:278P-XTC : 10 April 2015), Keziah Mcmaster in entry for Arthur Johnson and Charlotte Charboneau, 09 Feb 1917; citing registration , Weston, York, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 2,130,929.

Why Profile Your Ancestors

I’ve just published a video outlining why I profile my ancestors. In brief, it says that genealogists who take time to write stories about their ancestors ask better questions, are able to frame their research in time and place, and communicate well.

This is the first video in a series. To get them in your inbox, sign up for my Notable Nonfiction list and select the Profile Your Ancestor group.

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