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Everything you want to know and don’t want to know, Library and Archives Canada Military records

As talked about in my previous post, I stumbled across my two great uncles military records online with Libraries and Archives Canada.

Libraries and Archives Canada is digitizing Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) service files from World War  I. Here is the link to the page for more information CEF RECORDS.  This is an ongoing and they say it will be done by 2018, so  you may or may not have luck.

Basically they are digitizing a solder record which can consist of  many different files from their physical copies. If you happen to be like me and can’t get to there, being able to access the information online is very useful.

To access the records, you do a search, the search gives you lots of options but I do recommend putting in all that you know, especially if your ancestor has a common last name.

Once you have found who you are looking for you can then access their file online, but beware I found there is a lot of repeated information and some useless information as well.  The military keep a lot of information that at the time would have made sense but now seems kinda pointless.

Best of luck searching



Orphans with a Strong Bond, The Barnett Brothers and Sister.

I have recently found some more information related to my Barnett family Line. This information is relating to Louis and Barney Barnett. Both Louis and Barney served in World War I. No one in the family really know much about their military experience besides some belief that Barney may have been mustard gassed. I recently found their military files on Library and Archives Canada. They are huge files and still haven’t completely looked though them.

I did found from my quick look that Barney and Louis both served in France. I know that Barney I believe contracted Tb, it may have even been before the war and after six months was sent back to Canada ill with TB.  Now Barney record also gave the causes of death for his parents. This information was previously unknown and dates of death were not listed and but the causes are long way to getting there.

Now for Louis, not much new was found, somethings that I am choosing not to share but generally the main thing was that he served in France as well.

Both of the brothers in case of death had left everything to their sister. I was surprised that they hadn’t left it to each other but I think this shows the strong bond that they had with their sister. They had previously bought her to Canada after their father had died as she was at that time either in an orphanage or workhouse.

As always, thanks for reading


Finding ancestors though death….

It seems strange to start at the end of someone’s life but I have found that starting at the end can give many clues. I have been able to find spouse information or parent information and much more from death records.   One of my goals for 2015 is to try to find as many death records for my family tree as I can.

Death records in some cases tell a lot about a person.  One such ancestor’s father name was no were to be found. I knew the mother name but all I had for the father was a last name. Upon founding the record  I was able to get a place of birth and name for the father it still unfortunately didn’t let me anywhere new but at least gave some more useful information.

I have also found that finding one ancestor in a cemetery can lead to finding others.  I have found one ancestor grave and then after checking for others with that last names I have often found other found other  family members. This was quite a discovery with some of McLachlans ancestors as I was able to find multiple ancestors in the same cemetery as well as multiple ancestors buried in the same grave. I have found it is very common for single sons or daughters to be buried with parents or children who died young.

I have found that records of death also give clues to the living as well. I have found that looking at British probate records and who is receiving the will, It can give clues to living family members. Such as if the will is going to children then most likely the spouse is already passed away. The British probate records also listed the last address of the dead as well as the jobs of the will receivers this information can be very helpful in tracing family members that were still living at the time.

In the United States there is the Social Security Index which gives date of birth, death date, state and year that they social security name was issued. This can be helpful for finding people if the social security number was issued in a different state then the death.  This is not a source to rely on alone as it doesn’t always give enough information to be sure you have the right person.

Canada’s death records are not so easy. Due to the fact the Canada is still a fairly young country and privacy laws, records are not always easy to find.  If you have ancestors not from Ontario, the records tend to much harder to find. On Ancestry and the web, there are indexes for cemeteries.

Manitoba-Death information can be found from Vital Stats Manitoba from death more than 70 years ago.  There is an index, it available from Manitoba Vital Stats directly or can found on Ancestry. You do have to order the records from Manitoba Vital Stats for a fee. I have done this myself and the turnover time was pretty fast. It will though depend on were you are located.  I don’t believe that you can get the records in person.

One is CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project-a website that has indexes and pictures for cemeteries across Canada. All the work of indexes etc is done by volunteers. You can search a cemetery or name.

Another is Canadian Headstones-a website that indexes and pictures for cemeteries across Canada. It does a search by name only not by cemetery.

British Columbia-I don’t know a lot about British Columbia death records. I know that on Ancestry there is a couple of Indexes for Deaths in British Columbia. I don’t have a lot of connection to this province so I my knowledge is limited.

Alberta -I know that I have found some death information via Ancestry from grave indexes. Again not much connection to province so limited knowledge on death information.

Saskatchewan-Similar to Manitoba, death information can be obtained from Vital Stats Saskatchewan. It doesn’t give a lot of information online, so would suggest tried to confirm the death info though our sources before ordering a copy.

Ontario-As Ontario is a much older province and had a larger population, death information is I have found is easier to find here.  On Ancestry, there is a records for deaths in Ontario from 1869-1938. These records usually given the reason or cause of death, vital information and may give other information as well depending.  There are also other indexes on Ancestry for Canadian graves that are often mostly Ontario. As well as the two websites above, cover a lot of Ontario cemeteries.

Other places in Canada not mention are because no connections there.

As always, thanks for reading


Sweeping out the dust and crumbs on the Family Tree, my organization and cleaning methods

Every some often I like to go though my family tree and clean.  Basically this involves going though my tree and checking information for citations or checking that it’s correct. I usually do my cleaning etc when I going though a period of finding no leads.

I find doing this often lead to more information.  I will find censuses I have missed a family member on or information that has no citing attached to it. I like to make sure my information has citing attached to it as I have often found without, you can end up going down the wrong path.

Another thing I like do when cleaning is checking my information against what others have.  I have found this has help me find sources I have missed.  I do find that you have to watch when using information from others as it cannot always be correct. I am often surprised at the number of people who don’t seem to take care with their family trees. I do think that there are those who treat it as a passing hobby and those with a passion for it.  Those with a passion I find tend to be more detailed oriented and information is more reliable.

I tend work along these lines, If the information is sourced and names, dates etc match up then I used it. For unsourced information, I will usually try to find a source myself and if I can’t then I don’t use the information.

I also like to make sure that my information is all is the same format. I am constantly working on this as it is very not keep things consistent when you get caught up in finding information.

For example:

James Jones  Birthdate 18 Feb 2005                 not                 Feb 18 2005

Death  29 Feb 2010

Spouse last name are another area I look at when cleaning the family tree. I often will end up with knowing a spouse first name but not last name. Every once in a while I look at those in my family tree with no surnames and try to find the surnames. My rule of thumb generally with spouses is I take all information from the marriage and date of birth info but I don’t trace spouse’s families or keep that information in my family tree. This is for spouses of those not in the direct descent line. This is of course exceptions but that is only for those double related. I will talk about those in another post.

As always thanks for reading.


Upstairs, Downstairs, the Scots who lived downstairs

I have not watched an episode of  Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs but my curiosity has been pecked as I have researched my family tree. I have found quite a few Scottish relatives that worked as servants in manor house.

One such example is the Playfair family (related to the McDougall family).

I have a Elisabeth Playfair who worked at the Whitchester House in Longformacus, Berwickshire as a table maid in 1901 and was still working for the same family in 1911 but at a different house. In 1911 she is working at Manor Sparkford in Somerset, England as a parlour maid. The family that she worked for was Andrew and Ida Smith.

Some of her siblings also worked for the same family, her brother James and sister Jane are found on the 1901 census. James is a gardener and Jane is a housekeeper. Her sister Janet is also worked as a laundry maid.

They don’t appear to be working for the family in 1911 like Elisabeth.

One of the more interesting one I have found is a Barbara McDougall worked in a castle. Barbara is found on a 1861 census working at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire as a housekeeper. I don’t know the name of the family who she was working for.

Another ancestor was working as a footman but i don`t recall his name and he buried somewhere in my family tree so when I come across him again I shall added him information to this post.

As always, thanks for reading


Mary who stayed in Scotland, Information on Mary Yuill and Family

Most of my genealogy research luck seem to run to my Yuill family, there is were I seem to be able to find the most information. I have made some more inroads in particular to one of James Yuill’s daughter Mary. James Yuill is Mary’s father(see my Yuill Introduction). Mary was one of 2 children who stayed behind in Scotland.

Mary married James Burns(some have it as Burris) Brown in Glasglow on 21 Oct 1821.  They had  7 children

Barbara born in 1822 in Renfrew and Barbara is the child that I know the most about. She married a Daniel McCallum and had 9 children. I will post more about this family in another post.

Robert born 1824 in Renfrew and I believed died between birth and 1835 when the 2nd Robert was born.

Martha born 1826 in Renfrew and have her up to 1851 were she is still living with her mother but unmarried.

Walter born 1828 in Renfrew and only have birth information for him.

Elizabeth born 1830 in Glasgow and have her up to 1851 were she is still living with her mother but unmarried.

James born 1832 in Barony and have him up to 1851 were he is till living with his mother but umarried

Another Robert born 1835 in Barony and have him up 10 1871 and still living with mother and unmarried.

I have not as of yet be able to locate the family on the 1841 census, I have recently found a possible match for Mary and 5 of her children but I am not sure if this is right. I am trying to get an death date for her husband James and her two children Robert and Walter to confirmed that they died before this census.

As Always, Thanks for reading




Research update on James Yuill Family

I have been doing some more research into James Yuill’s parents and siblings.  The information I have so far is:


John Yuill(will be found spelt various ways) and Agnes Eadie(also spelt different ways) who were married in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland on July 23 1769.

They had 6 children

John Yuill born in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland on June 5 1770. I recently came across John as a child of John and Agnes as  I was trying to find so more about Agnes’s birth and parents name. I came across him while searching on family search for more information on Agnes’s background.

Margaret Yuill bon in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, Scotland on 11 June 1772.

James Yuill born in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, Scotland on Dec 4 1774. More information is available on James and his family under the Yuill Family category.

William Yuill born in Rutherglen,Lanarkshire, Scotland on 18 March 1777.

Gavin Yuill born in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, Scotland on Feb 28 1779.   I have been able to find some more information on him. He served in the  British military in Canada. I also was able to locate him on a 1841 Census in Rutherglen living with a wife named Mary and 3 children(not sure if related or not, the children have different last names and no information on the census lists if related or not.) I also have located Mary on the 1851 census but not Gavin, so I’ve estimated that Gavin died sometime between 18141 and 1851.

Thomas Yuill born in Rutherglen , Lanarkshire , Scotland on Feb 13 1781.  I have found some more information on Thomas. I have located him on a register of UK, Register of Duties paid for apprentices indentures 1710-1811 as being a weaver apprentice in Rutherglen in 1795. I also believed I located him on a 1861 census living in Glasgow with a wife named Janet.

Now for the  parents, I have not been able  to find any more information on Agnes. I have found a possible birth for John Yuill. The date of birth in April 1747 and the father’s name is John Yuill, the location is Cambuslang, Lanark, Scotland. Upon doing some further checking,  this would have made him 22 at time of marriage which makes sense.  The name of the father makes sense as he was most likely therefore named after his father and he therefore named his son after him. The location I am not quite sure about but  I did check and Cambuslang is very close to Rutherglen so it is very possible.


I have also found some more information about one of James’s  Yuill children, his daughter Jessie. It was known that Jessie married a Witherspoon and ended up in New York City.  The first name of the Witherspoon wasn’t known but the name of her children were. I was able to trace the life of her daughter Clementine Witherspoon and upon finding Clementine’s death record I was able to find the first name of her father which was William. I am hoping this will help find out some more on Jessie and her family.

As always, thanks for reading,



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