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Beyond the Ancestor and into the past…diving into the time they lived

I recently took out a book from the library about the Scottish settlers of Upper Canada(Ontario).  My reason for wanting to look at this book was that it is about Scottish settlers in Ontario. All of my Scottish ancestors started off in Ontario and then eventually moved to elsewhere in Canada or the United States.  This book has been my starting point for trying to find more about what drove my ancestors to come to Canada and once here what was the life like for them. The book is called The Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada, 1784-1855, Glengarry and Beyond by Lucille H Campey. I am not to far into the book yet just a couple of chapters in but I have also jus browsed the book. I always browse books before deciding if I want to read or use them for ancestry research so I have an idea if they will be useful or not. So far this one has a wealth of information. This book has appendices on information about the ships and the passengers that travel from Scotland to Quebec.( the entry port into Canada).  The book was published in 2005 so it is not a new book and  although I did get from an academic library is definitely not a hard read or overly academic based. I do recommend it to anyone doing research on their Scottish ancestry that has connections to Ontario. I will mostly likely post more once I have read more of the book.

The Line stops here…Some Family Tree Brick Walls

This post is about the some of the people whose line have come to a stop.

One that I find really frustrating is my Great Great Grandpa James Alexander Smith. I have only been able to find bit and pieces about his family. I know that he was born in Port Elgin Ontario and came to Manitoba when in 1876(presumably by himself)I know from the 1921 Canadian census that his father was born in Scotland and his mother in England. I am not sure if his mother was English or Scottish then. I do know according to his obit from that he had 2 younger siblings still alive at the time of his death a Mary and John living in South Hampton Ontario.(I assumed they were younger as he was in his 90s when he died).  I also suspect  that he have a connection to the Bell last name as one of his daughter has Bell as her middle name.(There is no connection to Bell on his wife’s side)

Another one is my Great Great Grandma Ellen Barnett(Nee Coleman). I know that she was born in Birmingham England and at some point moved to London in the Whitechapel Area. She did marry and have 3 children but died sometime before her youngest was 5.(I assumed she died, she could have left the family.)I cannot find a marriage or birth record for her, I only found out her maiden name by ordering my Great Great Grandma’s birth certificate. All her children’s name appear to come from her husband’s side so I don’t have any names to go by for parents or anything.

One last one that is driving me crazy is  My Great Great Great Grandma Mary McKechern. She is another one who life before marriage is a big blank. I know she was born and married in Ontario.


Twins and Lessons from Great Great Grandpa

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Today’s post is about some new discoveries on my Welsh side. I decided to try a free trial of as I
am majority of United Kingdom descent.

In my first time on the side, I found some interesting discoveries about my Welsh ancestors.

The first being that one of my great great grandpa’s was a TWIN! I had some possible suspicion from dates of births on census but thought nah there is no evidence of twins elsewhere in the family. Found the birth record on findmypast and it listed twins.   Abel and Susannah Evans born in September 1846 are twins. (This is My Grandma’s Mother Susannah Evans father and aunt). I suspect that she also named after her aunt. I think that is very special.

My other discovery was of my great great Grandpa in the Welsh newspapers, he was fined 1 shilling for riding without reins and he also sued a man for letting his pheasants eat all his crop. This is Elias Wynne Sr(not his son or grandson).

Finding stories like these, bring an ancestor more to life becoming more than just a name .

As Always Thanks for reading

Ancestry chick

There was a baby born in Scotland, Using the Scottish Records to find birth or baptismal dates

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I have recently found many birth or baptismal dates for my extensive Scottish Ancestors using Scottish Records.   Finding these dates has help to conform information.  Navigating these records is not for those starting out unless you have very good start point.

One set of records that are available is the Select Scottish Birth and Baptismal Records. The years covered are 1564-1950. Both Ancestry and Family search have the index information for viewing.  What the index will give you is the following:

Baby name

Parent names-usually has mother maiden name

Birth or baptismal date and place

There is also a film number to be use to locate the full record should one wish.

You do need to know the name of the person whose birth you are seeking as well as parents name, location of birth and year at least. I have found that by searching by the child name usually works if the record is there but have found many records also by searching the parent names. I advise to try alternate spelling of names as well. I plan to cover England and Wales birth records in another post.

As Always Thanks for reading







Too Many Mclachlans to count…Highlanders to Canada : An Introduction to the McLachlans

I recently discovered some more information regarding my Mclachlan ancestors(McLachlan was spelt many different ways I am chosing to use this way)and going to talk about and introduce them in this post.

My Great Great Grandmother was a Mclachlan. Her name was Mary but also went by Ellen(I suspect this was a 2nd name and also may to avoid confusion as her mother was named Mary as well). She was the son of Duncan McLachlan and Mary Mckechern. Mary Mckechern’s parents and family are currently unknown as the marriage information I have doesn’t provide parents name.

Duncan was born in about 1823 in Kilmeny, Argyll Scotland to William and Christina (Nee Bell)McLachlan. The McLachlans immigrated to Canada sometime in the 1830s with 5 children and later 2 more were born in Canada. (I am assuming all the children came with them to Canada as they were all young to care for themselves)

The children of William and Christina are:

Born in Kilmeny Scotland

Margaret 1825

Duncan 1823 married a Mary Mckechern

Flora 1828

Donald 1830

John 1832 married a Mary McIntyre (1st)and Isabella ? (2nd)

Born in Ontario Canada

James 1837

Mary 1840 married to William Currie

As Always, Thanks for reading


Emily Wynne and Hazel McDougall, born on different sides of the world but who really was their parents

I have 2 young children in my family tree whose parents are unknown or not certain who is the parents.

The first is a Hazel McDougall, she is listed on the 1906 census as living in Manitoba with my Great Great Grandpa William McDougall and his family. It is stated that she is an adopted daughter of William but she doesn’t appearing on any following censuses with the family.  She was born in 1898 in Manitoba. William also has a sister staying or living with his family at the time as well,her name is Isabella Tindall nee McDougall but listed as McDougall on the census(she was married and is widowed at the time). I suspected the whole household was put under the McDougall name. I am curious if she was a relative or prehaps a neighbour child or an orphaned child. It unlikely that she was a child as the sons of the house were young. I am sure she is not a grandchild of William’s sister, who is from Ontario and that’s were her children were living so I am at lost as to if she is an McDougall or not. Family members don’t recalled the name or any connection.

The 2nd is a Emily Wynne, she is listed on both the 1901 and 1911 census as a grandchild of my great great Wynne grandparents.  She has to be one of their children’s child but which one is still a mystery. I am thinking she maybe one of the daughter’s children a Mary Wynne who I think married a Williams as she listed as married on the 1901 census and with the last name Williams. The question with that is why then is Emily’s last name not Williams, that then leads me to believe she was one of the son’s daughters but as to which one I am not sure.

If you have a connection or think that you know something about these 2 girls, please comment.

Searching and Struggling, some tips to help to get results

I got a subscription to Family Tree Magazine for Christmas and just got the first issue this month.

The issue I got was all about the different sites, databases etc that are out their for researching family history. I found some good tips in their that I had either forgotten about or didn’t know about.

Here are some tips for you:

1.  Using wildcard characters such as * or ?. This can take some playing around as you have to figure out what the resource you are using prefers as wildcards. Usually looking in the help section, can give you an answer to what wildcard characters that resource will use. I have used this method myself and has provided me with some very different spelling of a last name that would have never thought of. I did with my family name Bonazew in Ancestry and ended up finding family members having the last name spelt Bonazeau. They went from Ukrainian to French or mostly likely a spelling error or guess from the person who originally took the record. I think maybe they just wanted to pretend to French.

2. If your relatives were of different ethic background, sometimes their names were anglicized at some point. Finding a resource that given the equivalent names is a good place to look or asking a family member. Sometimes even just googling work. One good website is Behind the Name. This site covers names in many different languages and give various versions of the name when looking up a name.  It also have a surname version and a name translator(only work for english into another language).

3. Knowing what name an ancestor went by can be hard especially if you are unsure of the full name. I know that for example in many cultures sons were often named after their father, so often in order to avoid confusion sons would go by a nickname or their middle name. One of my  Grandpa’s actually had an uncle who was named after his father but went by a nickname of his middle name.

4. The not so reliable method is to use guessing. This is a time-consuming method and require you to have some information to start with. This does pay off, so it’s not one to discount. What I do when guessing, using information I already have and make an educated guess. For example, using my great grandpa James Alexander Smith in trying to find his parents. I’ve searched for his father using the last name, birthplace Scotland(I know from a census that James said his father was born in Scotland ), lived in Port Elgin Ontario(This is where James was born), Years I try around the 1850s as this when James was born.

5. The last tip I have is just simply asking those in your family what they know, you can be surprised by what information family members have or are willing to share. This tip working very well as a starting point if you have nothing or very little to go on.  I suggest starting with basic questions such as names, dates, places. I would write done the information that you collect in order not to forget or lose it. Family gatherings are good places to ask questions I find as families like to talk about the past.

As always thanks for reading




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