Sunday, December 18, 2011

Some Christmas Posts From The Great War

Library and Archives Canada. A Christmas Card from the 4th. Division. The battles listed would put it in 1918 although Library and Archives Canada put it at 1917-1918.
Library and Archives Canada. This dates to 1926 but who can resist this recipe. This should do wonders for your cholesterol count. I wonder what the Temperance people thought of it? .
Library and Archives Canada. A Red Cross holiday card. Since Library and Archives Canada put it at 1914 to 1918 I assume that it was used every year (no proof of course). Of course, it could also mean that the good people at the Archives haven't a clue.
There are many more examples at both the Ontario Archives, and Library and Archives Canada. More than I could possibly put into a blog post.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Library and Archives Canada - New Records Online

Library and Archives Canada have put two new sets of records online for the First World War. These are “Commonwealth War Graves Registers, First World War”, and “Circumstances Of Death Registers, First World War”.

These are not databases so it is not possible to do a key word search. You need to use these links as you would use an actual microform reader. Supposedly this is to give us the experience of actually being in a reading room. Really !


If you are looking for a specific name there is a help page. Still it’s a hard slog. Reminds me of graduate school.

Friday, November 25, 2011

7th. Fusiliers

The 7th. Fusiliers went through several name changes such as the 7th. Fusiliers, 7th. Fusiliers, Light Infantry, 7th. Fusiliers, City of London Regiment. Regardless, that regiment was London's militia infantry regiment. "The London Advertiser"  in 1914 published what for me was an interesting series of photos of the regiment leaving for wars..
Members of the regiment just prior to their leaving for the Northwest in 1885. "The London Advertiser", August 22, 1914.
Volunteers from the regiment, and the Elgins, boarding trains on their way to South Africa in 1900. "The London Advertiser". August 22, 1914.
The send off for volunteers from the regiment, and the Elgins, who are off to Valcartier to train for the First Division. No more than six of these men would return in 1919 on their own feet. "The London Advertiser", August 22. 1914.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

There had to be a couple thousand people in Victoria Park this morning to watch the Veteran's Day parade and ceremonies on a very cold morning. I got what pictures I could through the crowd. More photos are on my blog The Forest City.
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Friday, November 4, 2011

Royal Canadian Ledger Sheets (1910-1941

Library and Archives Canada has released some records for 16,788 individuals who enlisted in the Canadian Navy between 1910 to 1941. The information is a best brief. Not all of the records are included. If you are lucky you will find the following:
Library and Archives Canada
Further information about the files can be found at the following link.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I received an email a couple of weeks ago asking for information on the following photo.
"I am writing to you to see if you can point me in the right direction of how to identify the men in the attached photo. I believe one of them is my great-grandfather and wish to confirm this information. The surname would be either Fee, Gray, Burley or Dunk. I do not have any information on the other two gentlemen. The back of the photo indicates it is a post card, made in Canada and has no writing on it".

This a problem that I run into all the time. These postcard photos are quite common. I expect just as in the case of my own collection nothing is written of the reverse because it is assumed that the people who received the postcard knew who was in the photos. Luckilly for me I still have some 90 year olds around who can put names to the individuals in my collection.

Other than that I can not help very much.

200th. Anniversary of the War Of 1812

The Prime Minister hob nobbing with re-enactors in Niagara Falls.
2012 is not here yet; but the old clichés are. The two hundred anniversary of the War of 1812 is getting off with a literary, and political battle. Christopher Moore has some interesting views on this topic. I wonder how much relevant research will be done ?


The Federal Government has pigeon holed somewhere between 10 and 13 million dollars which will be spent on various activities celebrating the war. James Munroe, the federal heritage minister has been quoted as saying that he expects:

“ all Canadians to understand the war’s importance. Canadian identity was largely shaped by the War of 1812,” says Moore. “It was a fight for Canada and the beginning of our independence.”
“This war leads directly to Confederation in 1867,” Moore explains, ascribing the most basic characteristics of Canada—a constitutional monarchy, the preservation of a French-speaking Quebec, an accommodating native policy and our healthy economic and political relationship with the Americans—to the successful defence of Canada’s borders. “We were invaded and we repulsed that invasion. Because of the War of 1812 we grew up to be uniquely Canadian.”

Well that is stretching it a bit in my estimation. There needs to be a lot of convincing before I accept the notion that the War of 1812 had anything to do with the development of Canada. The exception in my mind was that the end of the war saw everything - with the exception of the Indian lands- remaining as it was before the war.

I expect that we will be seeing a lot of military re-enactors marching around in red coats carrying reproduction Brown Bess’s.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Local Men In Canadian Mounted Rifles January 1900

“The London Advertiser” January 4, 1900 reported on the departure of A Squadron of the Mounted Rifles that left as part of the Second Contingent on it’s way to South Africa. In the service files you will notice that they are listed as being in the Royal Canadian Dragoons. I have tried to check out as many of the names that were listed as part of A Squadron as I could. I have added the full Christian names(rather than initials that the Advertiser used)  in the list. As far as I can tell they all survived. For many of the soldiers I have landed you on the services files. Some have more than one page so scroll onward !


Major Arthur H. King of the 1st. Hussars appointed Lieutenant of A Squadron.
His medal register is online at Library and Archives Canada only.

Alfred Ernest Ardiel, London

John Charles Sydney Marsh, London

Richard Henry Reynolds, London

Martin Janes, London

Hugh Horner, London

James Elliot Fraser, London

Michael O’Connell, London

George Richardson, London

J.A. Murnoe, London
It might be Munroe; however, no Murnoe in the archives matches a Londoner.

J. Richardson, London
Another puzzler. There is a J. Richardson; however, he is listed as being with the Royal Canadian Regiment although he seems to be from Ilderton.

Walter Wright, London

Frederick Miles, London

Charles Edward Shaw, London

Sperry Cline, Orwell

David Lockhead, Wingham
Another name which does not come up in the archives.

William Melvon Glover, Chatham

H.B. Allan, Windsor
The Advertiser listed H. B.; but his name was Edward Blake Allan. Be careful with the papers as these kind of mistakes are commonplace.

Frank Cornelius Peck, Chatham

J.C. Hemstreet, Windsor
The only man with this name was with the Royal Canadian Regiment. Is it the same man ? The rest of the files are useless.

Daniel Joseph Crone, Sarnia

Sergt. Campbell. Sault Ste. Marie
I am sticking my neck out here and saying that this could be George Campbell.Nothing about Sault Ste. Marie in these papers but there is a reference to the 22nd. Battalion which were also called the Oxford Rifles. The neat thing with these papers is that they are hand written.

William Tilley, Kingsville

Mortimer Symon Wigle, Kingsville

Lambert Rudolph Wigle, Kingsville

Angus Alanson Mcdonald, Kingsville

William Richard Maycock, Leamington

G. H. Tripp, Kingsville
There is an Edward Herbert Tripp that fit’s the dates, and was a member of the 1st. Hussars.

George Arundel Forbes, Kingsville

Ambrose Stover, St. Thomas
Nothing in the archives.

Walter H. Berry, St. Thomas
The archives have him in the Royal Canadian Regiment; however his files have him with the second contingent.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A 1940 Interview With George William Poldon

“The London Free Press”, March 2, 1940 interview of George William Poldon (1) who the interviewer claimed was the last surviving veteran of the Oxford Rifles during the Fenian Raids. As far as I know he may well have been the last surviving veteran of the Fenian Raids left in Ontario by 1940.


“I joined the 22nd. Battalion as a lad of 18,” he recalled with a reminiscent smile. Capt. J.W. Nesbitt’s Rifle Company No.6, of which I was a member, was really formed in the fall of 1865, but the men did not obtain their uniforms and equipment until May 24, the following year.

The call came on June 1 and we were rushed to Woodstock in whatever vehicles were available and then loaded on a train of box cars. We were just tumbled in like sheep,” Mr. Poldon laughed. We were taken as far as Paris and spent the night there.”

The next lap of the journey was in Port Colbourne, where the men remained overnight. Accommodations were poor, many of the soldiers lacking overcoats and blankets, and the food being far from appetising, he related.

“By the time we reached the battlefield, the Fenians had fled and taken shelter on a scow anchored out on the river, off Fort Erie. The boys would have liked to indulge in a little rifle practice in their direction but that was forbidden, continued the veteran with amusement.”

“Within a few days, the battalion went to London and after two weeks there we came back to Norwich and received a royal welcome, he said.”





_____________________________________


(1) George William Poldon born 11 February, 1848 in the village of Norwich, Oxford County, Upper Canada, and died sometime after January, 1940. He married Isabella Haight ( 1854 - 6 January, 1891) on the 12 October, 1881.(2)

(2) Ancestry.com Ontario Marriages, 1801-1828.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lt. Colonel William George Barker VC


From the "Toronto Star" 20 September, 2011
William George Barker (3 Nov. 1894- 12 March 1930) was not from Southwestern Ontario; however, there will be an unveiling of a memorial to Canada’s most decorated World War One veteran at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto on Thursday. For 81 years Colonel Barker has been largely forgotten as most of the attention has been given to Billy Bishop. 


Library and Archives Canada

Lt. Colonel Barker was decorated 12 times, and was credited for over 50 airplanes shot down (probably this is low).


Victoria Cross
Distinguished Service Order (twice)
Military Cross (three times)
Mentioned in Despatches (three times)
Medaglia d’argento al valor militare (Italy — twice)
Croix de guerre (France)

During the week of 8 January 1999, the Canadian Federal Government designated William George Barker as a person of national historic significance.















Friday, August 19, 2011

Honouring Our Canadian Military

An article written by Allen English in the “Globe and Mail” who teaches military history at Queen’s University. Unfortunately, looking at other articles in the “Globe and Mail“: and other newspapers, politicians and some of the chattering class (who have an abysmal knowledge of Canada’s military history) will put their own slant on the government initiative.

Friday, July 15, 2011

British Military and Naval Records

Library and Archives Canada has
released  new digitized reels: “British Military and Naval Records (RG 8, C Series): 1757-1906“.
These digitized microforms are available on the browse by title page Please note that this is not a database, therefore the images are not searchable by keyword.


A topic-specific "Help" page is also available for every series of microform records that has been digitized, providing the background and content of the series, as well as its arrangement and organization. To make sense of all of these files I can see where one needs to carefully go through the PDF file which link is above to at least narrow one’s research a little. Then it’s a matter of scrolling through the pages in the same way as going through microfilm at the library.

It seems that Library and Archives is going the way of digitalizing microform pages. I wonder - Is this the cheaper way to go?

Monday, July 11, 2011

This And That


November 10-12 the University of Western Ontario is hosting a conference entitled “ The Great War: From Memory To History”. I could not as of yet find out anything about the cost. The tentative program is here.
 
A look at the place of Canadian history in the classroom. Mind you I prefer reading a good rant - like Jack Granatstein in his 1999 book “Who Killed Canadian History ?”. One comment is that it is boring studying decision largely made by upper class Englishmen. Maybe so but it seems to me that pre-1850 decisions seem to be largely made by even more boring middle class Scotsmen.

Audrey Collins in her blog “The Family Recorder” has posted the information that a run of the British Army Officer’s list from 1754 to 1879 is now made available for a free download on the Digital Microfilm section of Documents online.
There will be some officers listed who served at the barracks in London, Ontario, and sometimes stayed in London after their service.

For the geeks out there. A history image app for the iphone !
 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

You’re A Canadian If ?

1. You look at beer not as alcohol or a drug - it’s a food group.


2. You put vinegar on your French fries or anything else that resembles potato. Which includes pretty much everything.

3. Ketchup goes with anything - and in a dozen sparkling colours and tastes. It’s especially tasty with vinegar.

4. You have a Prime Minister who is a secretive control freak, and you call him a dictator. Move over North Korea !

5. Your country hosts a G-20 summit meeting where no one is killed or injured in the ruckus that we call a riot. A year later you are hauling the police on the carpet for a terrible misuse of power.

6. You complain about the heat during our two months of summer, and feel very hard done by when the first snow flurries hit.

7. You view hockey as a religious experience, and damn those Americans for stealing your game.

8. Prayer in public is viewed as a no no, and prayer in private is none of your business - thank you very much.

9. You walk away from the hospital not having to pay a damn thing - Yeah !

10. You are very polite always saying - Yes Sir - to that idiot border guard, and then swear a blue streak usually behind his back - Eh !.

Happy Canada Day !

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Great War Veteran Identified

This story from “The Hamilton Spectator” is about the identification of a veteran of the Great War - Pte. Alexander Johnston. In this case investigators were able to find a D.N.A. match with a great nephew.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Tempest In A Teapot

In November 1915 there was a riot in London, Ontario. Or so it has been portrayed in some historical reference books. When one looks at it closer one wonders if it was in fact a riot - or a drunken brawl.


At this time there were two battalions training in London - the 33rd. at Carling Heights, and the 70th. at Queen’s Park. There was some discontent. It was centered largely around the inability of the Canadian Ministry of Militia to decide when to send these battalions overseas. The boys were ready - or so they thought.

On November 19th in anticipation of orders to proceed overseas leave was given to the soldiers of the 33rd. On Saturday evening the 20th. a Pte. John McCann was taken off of a trolley, and arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct. As he said to the judge, “I was drunk, sir. I spent my time drinking as hard as I could from 5 to 7 on Saturday evening”. (1)

His arrest was witnessed by other soldiers who tried to intervene to protect one of their own. Five were arrested, and charged - Charles Beckerson, George Reid, Sidney Jones, John Ferguson, and McCann. Each were bound over for the sum of $100 dollars with an admonishment from the judge that “You are British, not German”. Also the judge stated that he did not want to prevent any man from going to the front, if he desired to do so. (2) However, there was more.

On the evening of the 21st.. Some soldiers apparently decided that they would rescue those who were in jail. Naturally they were in a bar at the time. The soldiers marched on the police station in downtown London. There was a punch up with police both civil and military, and there was some damage to downtown businesses. Pickets from the two battalions moved in from their respective camps to maintain order. There were some civilians milling around with the soldiers, and apparently not above handing out bricks for the soldiers to throw. (3) Five more soldiers, and two civilians, were arrested - Walter Cowley, Charles Tatham, Patrick Crowley, Henry Hawes, William Brennan, Charles Bell, and Ross Grover. There was a great deal of finger pointing which laid most of the blame on the 33rd. battalion. Also there was conflicting evidence about who did what from the soldiers, police, and the Home Guard military police.

“The London Advertiser” (whose editor had little use for conservatives in general, and Sam Hughes in particular) did not see the soldiers as the problem.
“Hughes caused all the trouble. Let him set it right again. The Sir Sam Hughes system of having the men in training policed by home guard military police is all wrong - we say this at the risk of offending the divine censorship of Sir Sam Hughes.” (4)(5)

Sir Sam Hughes replied with what can only be called a Samism. (There were dozens of these Samisms throughout 1914 to 1916).
“It is up to the men to trim the officers who have disgraced the regiment rather than vent their feelings on the police, and it is the business of the honest and self-respecting officers to purge themselves of those who have proved dishonest. There is going to be a grand shake-up in the regiment.”(6)

Was there a “grand shake-up”? No.

“Any person who expected Sir Sam Hughes, minister of militia, to eat raw beef and break a lion’s jaw with his hairy fist when he came to London, would have seen this morning a gentleman as wild as the famous sucking dove.” (7)

Little or no comment from “The London Free Press”. Did I mention that it was a Conservative supporter?

Note: I have included a link to the attestation papers of those soldiers that I could find in a very quick search. Two of the soldiers I have linked to - Beckerson and Ferguson - were in the 70th. battalion.





(1) “The London Free Press”, November 22, 1915.

(2) “The London Free Press”, November 26, 1915. All of the soldiers were released  to their battalions, and served in the trenches. Both the battalions were broken up and used as reinforcements. As far as I can assertain none were killed.
(3) This is not surprising. Londoners have always enjoyed street theatre. If that means windows being broken, or a building on fire, even better. Today a party thrown by college students involve more people with much more damage being done. The value of it as street theatre is pretty much the same though.
(4) “The London Advertiser”, November 24, 1915.
(5) Troops looked at the Home Guard as at the worst cowards or at the least - as we would say today - draft dodgers in uniform. At least while in uniform they avoided the white feather. Mind you after casualty lists began to be published in the papers there were very few white feathers handed out.
(6) “The London Advertiser”, November 23, 1915.
(7) “The London Advertiser”, November 25, 1915.

A Further Note On Pte. Lawless

The identification of Pte. Thomas Lawless is a fascinating look how different disciplines came together to identify a missing World One soldier. The last stage was to create a facial reconstruction. The story is here from “The St. John’s Telegram”.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Labatt Brewery Donation

Labatt Brewery donated 164 years of historical documents to the University of Western Ontario (UWO) on June 1st.

Labatt’s President, Bary Benun, officially turned over The Labatt Brewing Company Archival Collection to Western’s President Amit Chakma, on June 1. Labatt also donated $200,000 to assist in digitizing portions of The Labatt Brewing Company Archival Collection. This will help preserve some of the key content of the collection and make it more accessible. “ Labatt’s President, Bary Benun, officially turned over The Labatt Brewing Company Archival Collection to Western’s President Amit Chakma, on June 1. Labatt also donated $200,000 to assist in digitizing portions of The Labatt Brewing Company Archival Collection. This will help preserve some of the key content of the collection and make it more accessible. “




Advertising poster c. 1894. The Labatt Archives Media Center.

Considering the volume of material available I expect that business historians are drooling. I am not sure what is there that might interest genealogists; however, if the collection contains staff records it could be a gold mine.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Library And Archives Canada Reply

It appears that LAC has felt a need to reply to critics of their operations. LAC‘s reply can be seen here. It appears that the battle has been joined. It remains to be seen what the fall out will be..

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Writer's Take On Library And Archives Canada

Writer and historian Susan Crean writes a point of view that highlights some of the differences between historians, and genealogists, about the operation of Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Genealogists should pay attention. Both genealogists, and historians, share a stake in the operation of the LAC. I’ve noticed that sometimes we work at cross purposes to each other. We agree that the LAC should be more responsive (which it is not); however, we disagree on what it's priorities should be.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Tunnels of Vimy Ridge

A team of Londoner’s are studying the inscriptions and carvings left by Canadian soldiers in the tunnels at Vimy Ridge. For a more complete look go to this link


Their results should be fascinating .

Monday, May 23, 2011

Some Of The Memorials In Southwest Ontario

Memorials to the war dead come in all shapes and sizes. Some are old - some new. Cities, towns, and villages who do not have them are few and far between. Here are just a few (out of hundreds - remarkable for a country that prides itself on being unmilitaristic.) with what little information that I have on them.

Aylmer

Erected and dedicated 25 November 1928

Essex County

Essex County War Memorial constructed in 1924.

Ingersoll

Ingersoll Honour Roll erected in 1999.


London
London's monuments I have mentioned in previous posts.

Parkhill

War Memorial in Coronation Park erected in 1928.

Point Pelee

Unveiled in 1985 in Memory of Canada's fallen warriors.

Sarnia

Dedecated to Boer War Veterans. Thought to be the oldest in the country.

Thamesville

Erected in 1936.
Wingham

Constructed in 1924.

Friday, May 13, 2011

William George Kerr and William Stewart McKeough

Both William George Kerr and William Stewart McKeough were at the time Lieutenants in the 18th. Battalion.


William George Kerr was born 13 December 1894 in Chatham, Ontario. (1) He survived the war.

Library and Archives Canada.
In a letter published in the “London Free Press”, November 1, 1915, he discusses the state of the Battalion in France.

“Speaking of the Ross rifle. “It’s all right. The men like it since we have had the chamber bored out a bit, and one of our snipers picked off two Germans at 650 yards, so you could not kick much at that.

We were bombarded on our first day by high explosive shells, coal boxes and 8-inch shells. I can’t say that I felt very brave when the first one lit about 25 feet from me on our wire.

The form of trench here is narrow and irregular. As regards traverses they are almost wholly built above ground of sandbags, the parapets and parados being about the same height.

They were quite dry, too, in wet weather. We used no loopholes. Periscopes are utilized by day and by night a man puts his head up between two loose sandbags. The dugouts were fine, and I guess the men had a pretty good time. I could stand up easily in my dugout, and it was about eight feet square. This is a terrible country for mud, and when it rains it is almost impossible.”

William Stewart McKeough (1) was born 2 September 1893 in Chatham, Ontario, and died 15 September 1916.

Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans' Affairs, Ottawa.
Library and Archives Canada
In a letter also published in the “London Free Press” , November 1, 1915 he wrote:

“We have been in the game over here almost a month and having lost little time after our arrival in France in gaining experience or instruction. We have been kept busy. You may have heard by this time of our narrow escape in crossing this channel, when our transport was rammed amidships by a torpedo boat steaming 22 knots per hour and for several long and dreary hours we were truly a shipwrecked crew in distress, on a cold black night and a choppy sea.

The next few wet days were occupied in heavy marches over cobblestone roads across France. By the end of the week we had taken over our trenches and had received our baptism of fire in good order. We have since then been in and out or just behind the line in, support or reserve.

The Canadians to date have not been utilized as a driving force, but, of course, have had our part to play in other ways, connecting with the move on the 25th of last month.(3) On that day we surely realized that we were in the midst of a terrific bombardment by our artillery, which, however, was carried on more particularly and incessantly some distance south of us. Last week, after enjoying a few days and a bath, etc, two miles behind, we turned over our line, which was composed of exceptionally good trenches, and moved a few miles north, taking over a new frontage. Our former trenches were splendid, but these I believe are in a class by themselves - a hot corner where the wind and water of Flanders, large quantities of which we have already encountered, are at their best.

For the past two days we have been occupying dugouts just a year old, which, having been hurriedly and very poorly constructed, are now rotting and falling to pieces. Damp, musty and filthy, with the grass and weeds and moss sprouting in patches over the sand bagged walls, we have been kept busy cleaning up and making them habitable, as well as building new quarters.

Altogether this is quite a life out here, everyone making the best of matters and all getting along in good style. I am enclosing you clipping from one of the London papers, which gives a rather elaborate account of the billeting system in France and Belgium. Well, we have put up in every kind of quarters, in fields, in barns, in sheds and stables, in tents, in live beds, on marble floors and in dugouts, etc.

I was fortunate one night in locating a grand Louis quatorge canopied feather bed, while the following night caught a good four hours’ sleep on a bundle of straw in a manger with a noisy young calf, having to pull out at 2:30 a.m. in the pouring rain to go into the trenches. Such is this life.”




(1) He was born to John Garner Kerr and Louisa McLean in Chatham, Ontario. Archives of Ontario, Registrations of Births and Stillbirths - 1869-1911. John Garner Kerr was a lawyer, businessman, and a judge.

(2) His father was William Edward McKeough ( 12 February 1860-3 December 1929). He was mayor of Chatham, Ontario in 1904. Family papers are held by the Ontario Archives as the William Edward McKeough Family fonds ( F 2131). William Stewart’s nephew William Darcy McKeough became a member of the Provincial Legislature for West Kent in 1963, and later the Minister of Municipal Affairs (1967, 1972), Minister of Energy (1973-1975), and Treasurer and Minister of Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs (1975-1978).

(3) Although not stated I think that the letters were written sometime in October so that the reference may well be to the Battle of Loos, September 1915.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Review - Time Traveller’s Handbook


Althea Douglas, “Time Traveller’s Handbook: A Guide to the Past”, Dundurn Press, 2011, ISBN 978-1-55488-784-2 (soft cover) $19.99


Althea Douglas’s new book is an excellent addition to the reference library of both genealogists, and historians. Althea maintains that family historians are essentially time travellers; but then again so are historians. Many of the references, and terminology, used a hundred years ago that we often turn up in documents are not relevant for us today. A handy book that can remind us (those of us past forty that is) what a quart, mile, or acre were is a useful reference.

The book deals with deciphering documents, family traditions, money and its value, trades, how people lived, and seafaring and military traditions. An appendix of important dates, notes that are chock full of references, deciphering Latin references, and a strong bibliography are for me very useful. As a boy I had British measures such as quarts, peck, mile, and inches pounded into me to the point I can not seem to shake them even now. Younger people should find these tables useful.

Unfortunately, I am now old enough to remember many of the life style references. When I was 6 and 7 my family lived on a small street in the village of Byron (now part of London), and I still remember the horse drawn Silverwood’s milk wagon. I do not remember the milkman ever sitting in the driver’s seat. The old horse probably knew the milk route better than the milkman. Right up until the end of the 1950’s my maternal grandmother kept her coal furnace. My paternal grandmother finally got electricity to the farm house when her sons returned from the war. With electricity, and a septic tank, my father bought her her first refrigerator. Much of the lifestyle we wonder about today was not that far in the past. Either that or I am getting old.

I highly recommend “Time Traveller’s Handbook” for any genealogist or historian’s reference library.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Posters Of The Great War

Distracted from my primary research again !

Prior to 1916 production of posters was up to the local authorities. Someone would create, and finance, the poster as advertising vehicles for recruitment, victory bonds, or just plain propaganda. What I love about them is that you just can not judge our grandfathers, or great grandfathers, by our 21st. Century morality.
Recruitment poster for the 142nd. Battalion (London's Own) recruited in 1915, and broken up for reinforcements in 1916. Library and Archives Canada.
Here's one that would not fly today. All she needs now is some white feathers to hand out. Library and Archives Canada.
 In this instance the Germans handed the allies a propaganda goldmine. Library and Archives Canada.
A reference to the sinking of the hospital ship 'The Landovery Castle' where nursing sisters lost their lives. Library and Archives Canada.

If the little tyke held on to her Victory Bond it might actually be worth something in forty to fifty years. Library and Archives Canada.













Friday, May 6, 2011

A Ross Rifle Question

Ed Hardy from Vernon, British Columbia sent me an e-mail recently asking me to identify a Ross rifle that he had acquired.

“I am a collector of Canadian arms from the 1700’s to 1945. I have a Ross M1910 Mk III which has a Home Guard serial number, and is stamped on the wood ECHG. I am wondering if this might be Elgin County. The Ross M10 Mk III rifles were the ones which went overseas with the CEF in 1914/15, but they failed in the trenches d/t issues with ammunition and dirt fouling. They were replaced with the Lee Enfields, but many were contracted by the Canadian government for Home Guard use. Most are stamped B of M for Bank of Montreal, but some were issued to other units. I have appended a couple of photos. I know (from your website among others) that Elgin County has a history of Home Guard dating back to Fenian times, and wonder if this might be what the EC stands for? It would have to be somewhere in Ontario, or possibly Quebec.....…”

I am not an expert on the arms carried by the First World War infantryman ( my expertise only goes as far as looking at the rifle, and saying: “Yep that’s a Ross“). So I could not positively answer Ed’s question. Does anyone out there in blogland have an answer for Ed ?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The 1st. Battalion And The Battle Of Givenchy 1915

Here I am back at it with my research of the 1st. Battalion.

The Battle of Givenchy was a smaller engagement sandwiched between Festubert in May, and Loos the following September. Originally the attack on June 15th. was to be made by the British 7th. and 51st. Divisions with the Canadian 1st. Division in support. As the plan was developed the Canadians were delegated to take two German strongpoints known as the Duck’s Bill and H3. Supposedly, lessons had been learned at Festubert, and plans were made to address the issues of barbed wire and machine gun nests. Three artillery pieces were secretly moved, and camouflaged, closer to the front line to eliminate machine gun nests. A tunnel dug under the German trenches was packed with explosives in the hope that it would eliminate a large section of the German front line trenches. Lastly an artillery bombardment using high explosive shells was intended to destroy barbed wire.

The Duck's Bill crater in 1919, Library and Archives Canada.
The four companies of the 1st. Battalion were to lead the attack. Two weeks prior their Ross rifles were replaced by Lee-Enfields. By mid afternoon of  July 15th. the Battalion was in place.

Pte. Maurice Henry Brown wrote to his friend Art Wheatley of London on June 19th. (1)

“London may be well proud of her sons; they did everything that could be done in this struggle.

Our beloved Col. Becher (2) lost his life leading them. No one was loved so well as he, but this war seems to be taking our best men.
……..
We knew an attack was to be made, and the 1st. Battalion was honoured with the job. We marched into the trenches at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and waited till 6. Four four days a terrible bombardment of the enemy’s trenches had taken place. At 5:30 a fierce concentration fire from our guns was turned on them. At one minute to 6 we blew a mine up. This was a signal for the attack. The mine was too near to our trench, and its violence shook our trench all to pieces, killing a number of our men, and the earth which it threw up, coming down, smashed some of our men’s heads beyond recognition. Being a signaller I was kept in the trench.(3)

Well, the boys from Chatham, I believe, started the attack, followed quickly by the London boys. The din was terrific, the struggle terrible. We dared not put our heads over the parapet to see our boys advancing, but it was a brilliant sight. Nearly everybody over at the same time. They soon had the first line cleared of Germans, and then off to the second line, and they had just about reached them when I got mine.

A big shell struck the trench above us. Four were killed and four of us completely buried by six to eight feet of earth. I continued shouting to let them know where I was, but soon went off for lack of fresh air. The next thing I know they had dug me out. I didn’t know what had happened, but my memory returned after a while. I had given myself to my Maker. I did not expect to see any more of this world, but God in His providence had heard your prayers.

I am now in hospital again, just two weeks after my return to the regiment. It was the worst experience I ever had.”

The problem was that two important positions were not taken by the British so that German machine guns were able to play havoc with the attacking Canadians while a counter attack was organized. It was during the German counter attack that Lieutenant Frederick William Campbell earned his posthumous Victoria Cross.

Casulties during the Great War are never exact. According to Sir Max Aitkens Givenchy cost the 1st. Battalion somewhere around 366 killed, wounded, and missing. (4) Included in this total were twenty out of twenty three officers. I suspect that that figure is low. I did a count from the Ministry of Militia's "Official List Of Casulties" from June 13th. to June 30. (5) The organization of these lists is confusing as to dates - so the hell with it - I counted the last two weeks of June to see how it squares with other figures that I have seen.

The breakdown is a follows:
Killed in action and Died of Wounds  107
Wounded 461
Suffering from Shock 32
Ill 8
Gas 1
Missing 5

If the Battalion was at full strength before June 15th. (which is unlikely) that is a casulty rate of well over 50%. Since the Battalion went into a rest area after the 17th. the majority of the casulties would have occured on June 15th. and 16th.




(1) “The London Free Press”, July 6, 1915.
(2)

Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Major Henry Campbell Becher (Jan. 20, 1874-June 15, 1915) was a member of a prominent London family. His father Henry Becher had been mayor of London for one term. At the start of the war he was Lt. Colonel of the 7th. Fusiliers which was London's militia infantry regiment. He was second in command of the 1st. Battalion.

Library and Archives Canada
(3) The British engineers found that water encountered under no man’s land prevented them from tunnelling under their objective. So they got the brilliant idea that increasing the charge would do the job. It resulted in killing some of the Battalion, and exploding the bomb reserves in the Canadian front line. Resulting in a shortage of grenades.

(4) Sir Max Aitkens, "Canada In Flanders: The Story Of The Canadian Expeditionary Force", vol. 1, 1916.
 
(5) Ministry of Militia, " Official List of Casulties to Members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force: compiled to June 30, 1915". Ottawa, 1915.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Civil War Veterans Buried In London, Ontario

There was a beginning made in 2006 in listing civil war veterans buried in London for a Civil War Rededication Service in 2006. I have included some names that were partially researched at that time. I have done some checking into these veterans; but by no means an exhaustive research. I will leave that up to those who are interested in carrying it further.


Woodland Cemetery

Frederick Mathias Alberstadt. He was a private in Company B, Missouri Cavalry. He can be found in the 1901 Canada Census where he gives his immigration year as 1879.

George W. Duncan. He was a sergeant in the 107th. USCT.

Frederick John Fitzgerald. He was a Corporal in the 19th. US Infantry. His enlistment papers gives his date of birth as c.1846 in Kingston, Ontario.

George McLean. He was a Private in the 4th. Missouri Infantry.

Henry Peters. He was a Private in the 1st. New York Marine Artillery. The 1901 Canada Census puts his birth as 6 October, 1838 in England. He died in London Jan. 28, 1914.

George Washinton Pitt. There is quite a bit available on this man as he was a prominent jeweller in the city. He was born on 19 April, 1836 in Granger, New York, or 20 April, 1835 depending on the source. He died on 28 April, 1921 in London. The 1911 Canada Census gives his immigration year as 1875. His obituary in “The London Advertiser” mentions that he fell to his death from a third story window at Victoria Hospital. The paper speculates a bit on the possibility of suicide. Medical authorities deny it. But Hey this is small town Ontario !

Manser John Thorpe. He was Quartermaster Sergeant in the 16th. New York Calvary.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Charles J. Ashton. He was a Private in the 78th. Indiana Infantry. He was born December, 1827 in England and died 7 March, 1915 in London.

James Bailey. He was a Sergeant in the 21st. New York Infantry. He died in London 9 October, 1911.

James M. Charles. He was a Private in the 8th. Pennsylvania USCT. He died in London 5 November, 1908.

Charles Cox. He was a Private in the 1st. New York Engineers. He died in London 7 May, 1929.

Oliver Fountain. He was a Sergeant in the 12th. USCT. He died in London 11 April, 1897.

William James Laskey. He was in the 45th. Wisconsin Infantry. He died in London 17 August, 1934. He was the last Civil War Veteran to be buried in London.

Thomas Mills. He was a Private in the 5th. Michigan Infantry. He died in London 27 June, 1903.

William Peel. He was a Private in the 97th. Pennsylvania Infantry. He died in London 13 February, 1927.

Martin V. B. Stearns. He was a Private in the 13th. Illinois Infantry. He died in London 2 December, 1908.

St. Peters Cemetery

James H. Flood. He was a Private in the 185th. New York Volunteer Infantry. He died in London in 1890.

William Reeves. He was a Private in the 24th. Michigan Infantry. He was born 14 August, 1845 in Greensville, Ontario and died in London 17 August, 1929.

St. Anne’s Anglican Cemetery

William Caldwell. He was a Private in the 4th. US Infantry. He died in London in 1931. Apparently he also went under the alias Ira Kelbourne.

Sources
1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 Canada Census
Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1936 and Deaths Overseas,1839-1917, Ontario Archives, MS 935_125
New York's Town Clerk's Registers of Men who Served in the Civil War, ca. 1861-65. Ancestry.com
"The London Free Press"
"The London Advertiser"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

London And The Civil War

The American Civil War had a huge impact on the city of London, and Southwestern Ontario. It added a huge boost to the economy of the area. The increase in the size of the British garrison funnelled yet more money into the local economy, and forced politicians and civil leaders to look at the state of their local militias.


What often goes missing is the number of local men who fought on both the Confederate(1), and Northern sides in the conflict. Surprising, as I would have thought that genealogists, and historians, would have been hot on their trail. As this is the 150th. Anniversary of the Civil War I will try to outline some of the sources, and a few of the individuals who were veterans.

London had a branch of the Ontario chapter of the Grand Army Of The Republic which lasted from October of 1891 to December 15th., 1911. What documents survived are in the J. J. Tallman Collection at the University of Western Ontario.

Another source is the local newspapers - “The London Advertiser”, and “The London Free Press”. Lastly, and not the least are the local cemeteries. Except for the newest cemeteries, it would be fair to say that every cemetery had at least one burial of a Civil War veteran. When you take into account the region, Civil War veteran burials might well number in the hundreds.

In the City of St. Thomas one veteran Octavius Wallace (1837-5 May, 1862), killed at the battle of Williamsburg, was transported back to St. Thomas. His grave was registered with the Sons of Union Veterans, and is decorated every year with a small American flag.



(1) Very difficult to find those who fought in the Confederate army. Apparently there was a Confederate recruiting office in the city of London . Whether or not this was fact or rumour needs to be ascertained. There were deserters from the Confederate army living in London at this time; but as to whether they remained or went back to their homes after the war is not easy to find out.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Canadian Women March

By September 1918 it appears that Canadian women had begun to suspect that young soldiers were not going on leave to England to improve their minds. More than likely they would be found on English beaches.
"The London Advertiser", September 4, 1918.

Well - the floozy !

“The London Advertiser” on September 21, 1918 reported on a march in Toronto.


                    “CANADIAN WOMEN ENTER PROTEST

                      AGAINST ‘FLOODING THE DOMINION

                        WITH BLUSHING ENGLISH BRIDES

 Prominent Toronto women feel keenly on the question of Canadian soldiers marrying overseas. In their opinion it is a vital problem and one which should be dealt with by our Government at once.

‘It is the most unfair to our Canadian girls,’ said Mrs. E. A. Stevens, president of the Provincial Women’s Christian Union, and the matter is one which the women should bring to the attention of our good government league, and thus draw it forcibly to the attention of the Canadian Government, whose duty it is to look after the young womanhood of this Dominion.’

‘As a result of the fact that the British Government is playing the role of a match-making mamma and has clubs and organizations for the purpose of encouraging matrimony among the colonials, the success of their scheme is apparent in the statement attributed to Sir Edward Kemp (1) that ‘Canadian soldiers overseas are marrying English girls at the rate of one thousand a month.’

                              Thousands of English Brides

‘This means after the war that Canada is to be flooded with thousands of blushing English brides, while the Canadian women will be forced to work in the offices, shops and factories for the remainder of their lives.

The women of Canada have made their sacrifices without a murmur in letting their young men go overseas. Many of them will never come back, and it is my opinion that those who are left should be encouraged to marry the girls at home.

Now that the tide has turned in favour of the Allies and the Americans are pouring into the field of battle, I feel that the question of giving our young men who have seen service since the beginning of the war an opportunity to return to Canada on a short furlough.’ ”

Well now isn’t that interesting. If Canadian soldiers were marrying at the rate of one thousand a month it should not take more than ( roughly 300,000 active at any one time, and I think that this is a generous figure, divided by 12,000) 25 months to marry off the whole Canadian Corps ( many are already married, and two wives are a no no in Victorian Edwardian Canada). So probably the whole job could be done sooner than 25 months.

In fact War Brides were much more a World War Two phenomena than with the First. The Great War Canadian soldier spend most of the war years in Belgium or France. Leave was not easy to get for the ranks. Certainly it happened. “It appears ’wounded, Blighty, marriage’ is becoming a popular pastime with our fellows,” wrote Private Donald Fraser in his diary.(2)


(1) Sir Edward Kemp (August 11, 1858-August 12, 1929) succeeded Sir Sam Hughes as Minister of Militia and Defence in 1916. In 1917 he went to London as Minister of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
(2) Tim Cook, “Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting The Great War, 1917-1918”, vol. 2, Viking Canada, 2008, p. 174.



Wednesday, April 6, 2011

March Keywords

It’s time to look at key words again. As I have mentioned before, I follow very closely the key words that land people onto my blog. As much as possible, I try to tie blog entries to what people are looking for. Even so sometimes I truly wonder what it is that triggers Google to send them to this blog.


How many veterans in Ontario
Interesting question. Are they asking how many there were or how many are left? I see various numbers out there. Across Canada the accepted figures seem to be over 600,000 men and women for World War One, and around 1.1 million men and women for World War Two. I am not sure what the numbers are for the Boer War, Korean War, or various peace keeping missions. For Southwestern Ontario somewhere around 75,000 for the First World War, and probably triple that for the Second World War.

Ojibwa boots they were
What ? I assume that Google zeroed in on the name of the submarine.
 
мемель фото 1944-1945

No idea.

Arthur sippi London Ontario
The Sippi’s were a fairly prominent family in London, Ontario, in the late 19th. century. The only Arthur Sippi that I am aware of was a professional baseball player. Attestation papers list Lt. William Griffin Sippi.
Library and Archives Canada.
Southwestern Ontario trench mortars

Actually we save them for elections. They help keep politicians away.

Photos of men of London who served in ww1
There are a few in the blog, and I will be adding more as I get them. So far I have around 200 saved on disk which I have scrounged from various sources. Not all are Londoners, many are from the region. It’s a thing with me to try and put a face to these men and women where possible.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Westminster Veterans Hospital

In response to an e-mail request I had a look at what was available on the Westminster Veterans Hospital in London, Ontario. Online there is very little. Most of what is online is on the services that veterans receive today. My father is there today, and he and mother met at the old Westminster Hospital when he was undergoing physiotherapy in 1946.  There were good reasons for me that made the e-mail request very intriguing to follow up.

As the hospital looked in 1977.
Information available in archives in London is another story. A great deal is available to hunt through. The London Room at the London Public Library has copies of two reports done for the London Health Sciences Center in September, 2000.


“Historical Documentation of the Veterans Psychiatric Institute, London Health Sciences Center, London, Ontario, September., 2000. Prepared by Historica Research Ltd.”
“Historical Documentation of Western Counties Wing Buildings, London Health Sciences Center, September, 2000. Prepared by Historica Research Ltd.”

Both reports are in binder form, and available in the archives section of the London Room. As well, the London room has a complete collection of the “London Free Press”. “The Free Press” seems to have taken an interest in the hospital, and devoted considerable space through the years to coverage.

In book form there is several available. It looked at two.

Jennifer L. Granger (ed.), “Delaware and Westminster Townships: Honouring Our Roots”, (2 vol.’s) The Aylmer Express Ltd. 2006.
John R. Sullivan, Norman R. Ball, “Growing To Serve: A History of Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario”, The Victoria Hospital Corporation, 1985.

Library and Archives Canada has the blueprints of the original buildings that comprised Westminster Hospital. If you are looking for names of residents, and staff, I suspect that that information is now held by the University of Western Ontario. When Parkwood Hospital took over the running of the veterans’ programs, files, documents etc., were handed over to the university’s archives. How far the university has gone in cataloguing this information is the big question.

I will follow up with more information as I have it. What struck me in the little research that I did was some unique stories that emerged. I will double check the sources, and then post a few of them in the future.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Many Historians Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

I couldn’t resist this piece from Prof. David Leeson of Laurentian University. The links are for those who didn’t realize that there is a Laurentian University!

“There is a great deal of debate on this issue. Up until the mid-20th century, the accepted answer was ‘one’: and this Whiggish narrative underpinned a number of works that celebrated electrification and the march of progress in light-bulb changing. Beginning in the 1960s, however, social historians increasingly rejected the ‘Great Man’ school and produced revisionist narratives that stressed the contributions of research assistants and custodial staff. This new consensus was challenged, in turn, by women’s historians, who criticized the social interpretation for marginalizing women, and who argued that light bulbs are actually changed by department secretaries. Since the 1980s, however, postmodernist scholars have deconstructed what they characterize as a repressive hegemonic discourse of light-bulb changing, with its implicit binary opposition between ‘light’ and ‘darkness,’ and its phallogocentric privileging of the bulb over the socket, which they see as colonialist, sexist, and racist. Finally, a new generation of neo-conservative historians have concluded that the light never needed changing in the first place, and have praised political leaders like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher for bringing back the old bulb. Clearly, much additional research remains to be done.”

Monday, March 21, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

2011 must be blog award year. Ian Hadden from Ian Haddon’s Family History nominated this blog for the One Lovely Blog Award. It makes me think that there is actually someone out there who is reading this blog. Well what do you know !


The rules of this award are much like the previous blog award.

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.

2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you have discovered.

3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Well, as I have indicated in previous posts on my family blog “Hillman’s Of Elgin County” I am not a huge blog reader. I’m too demanding I think. I do keep track of the following:

This Intrepid Band

For All My Relations

Adventures In Genealogical Education

I see that many that I do read already have this award. What I will do is put together a list and post it in a week or so. Thanks Ian.

Get Out Of Jail Free Card

It’s fascinating sometimes at how war creates an atmosphere where some of the craziest ideas immerge, and sometimes works. Who would ever thought that you could use the Monopoly board game as a tool for prisoner of war escape attempts.


A very useful item to have if you want to escape is a reliable map. A paper map has drawbacks. They get soggy when wet, and if you look at my father’s P.O.W. map there is a tendency to burn when too close to a flame. Someone in MI-5 (British intelligence) got the brainstorm of using silk rather than paper for the maps. Silk doesn’t get soggy, and is quiet when opened.

As it just so happens the British maker of the Monopoly board game John Waddington Ltd. had perfected the technology of printing on silk. So maps geared to where the P.O.W. camp was located (the camps were regional) were produced, and put into the monopoly playing pieces. The story was classified until 2007 when the John Waddington company, and its employees were honoured.

Who would have thought it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Word For Today

Sue Light’s blog, “This Intrepid Band”,  introduced a new word to me - a $20 word at that - prosopography.

“Prosopography is an investigation of the common characteristics of a historical group, whose individual biographies may be largely untraceable, by means of a collective study of their lives, in multiple career-line analysis. Prosopographical research has the aim of learning about patterns of relationships and activities through the study of collective biography, and proceeds by collecting and analysing statistically relevant quantities of biographical data about a well-defined group of individuals. This makes it a valuable technique for studying many pre-modern societies. “ (1)


This definition makes my editor’s bone twitch. Secondly, what’s their definition of pre-modern?

Apparently prosopographical research is highly dependant on the collection of data in the form of an electronic data base (read computer). I assume that the data is reliable. Prosopographists (I think this would be their description) seem to cover bases in history, biography, and genealogy. The study is multi biographical in that they accumulate data on people that have connections in common. For genealogists that would be looking at all of the members of a family tree in a specific time period (ie. The Smith clan in Smithville, Somewhere in the World., from 1700 to 1750). The data on the Smith’s would tell you about their connections, and how they operated within and upon institutions - social, political, economic, legal, and religious.


Two examples are Barbara Harvey, “Living and Dying in England 1100–1540: The Monastic Experience (1993)”, and Michael Erben, “"A Preliminary Prosopography of the Victorian Street", (1996)”. I can accept these studies as pre-modern. Athough where pre ends and modern begins is a good subject for a well lubricated debate.

I think I will look up these books, and try to get a feel for prosopography.


(1) Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopaedia.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

History and Genealogy

For some time now I have been mulling over an article written by James Tanner in his blog “Genealogy’s Star”. In his article, “Is History Genealogy ?” (October 6, 1910) James writes:


“In a real sense, all history is genealogy and genealogy is nothing more, or less, than detailed localized history. Traditional history was focused on the grand scheme of politics and society. It deals with wars and only mentions individuals as they become prominent.”

The more I think about it the more I disagree. A bit too generalized I think. For me history is an interpretive story or narration if you will. Unfortunately, I have yet to see a well researched historical narration in which the author leaves interpretations up to the reader. Everyone, it seems, has an agenda somewhere.

I have always tried to figure out what “traditional” history is or was. I suspect that the reference is to the “textbook” history of the kind that was inflicted on all of us in high school (not that I can remember that far back !).

When I was in graduate school from 1971 to 1974 the up and coming flavours of the decade were women’s studies, economic history (vast economic forces folks), and computer studies. Yes folks the computer was beating at the wall of the ivory tower, and the fight was on. A merry battle it was since it generally took place during well lubricated meetings of the graduate students’ society.

Genealogy at that time was known to me as local history. Believe it or not there was a chair of local history. Two professors that I studied under, James J. Talman and Frederick Armstrong, were hand in glove with the library’s archivist in amassing a collection of papers, and memorabilia, that is now housed in the excellent J.J Talman Collection at the University of Western Ontario.

It seemed to me at the time that research was generally done by the graduate students for the benefit of the professors. I am inclined to think that that has not changed. Interpretation of that research is the issue that spawns new articles, and books. As archives become available after copyright limits expire new facts come to light, and new interpretations emerge. In my own field a good example is the way in which historians today are revising their views of Sir Douglas Haig (I‘m not convinced). Secondly, more books are being written which have been influenced by letters and diaries that were written by veterans. More and more I am seeing historians use what we would view as being within the definition of genealogy.

For me that is a good thing as it adds colour, and interest, to the lives of our ancestors. It puts them into perspective. Frankly 90% of what I have seen, that is to say, this individual was born in 1900, died in 1950 was son of, or daughter of, makes me yawn. My response is - AND? I guess my training. such as it was. required me to use the word why quite a bit. When I look at my own family tree I ask why quite often. My great great great grandfather immigrated from Wiltshire either in 1830 or 1831 - why? He came to Canada - why? Why not the United States or Australia? He settled in Southwestern Ontario - what was the attraction that brought his family here? Why did the family largely stay, and not go west young man (sorry couldn’t resist) ?

I guess for me history is all about finding the answers to questions. Here I am guilty of generalizing just a tad. One prays that the answers are in a well written form.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Pt. Thomas Lawless (April 11, 1888-June 9, 1917)

This is a fascinating story about the identification of the remains of Pt. Lawless found near Vimy Ridge in 2003. The story can be read here and here.

Photo - CTV.ca Edmonton, February 25, 2001
 




Library & Archives Canada

Monday, February 21, 2011

February Keywords

As I have mentioned in previous posts I keep a close eye on keyword search terms to see what people are looking for when they reach this blog. Overall the google search terms seem to make sense - with an occasional exception. I suspect that a good deal of this is for school research papers considering the generality of the questions. Today I will look at a few.


1. Air raid shelters Ontario Canada
Pretty rare in Ontario. Most, I believe, date to the Cold War The most famous would be the “Diefenbunkers”. Called “Emergency Government Headquarters” over 50 of these shelters were authorized by the then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in 1961. The one outside of Ottawa is now a historic site, and Cold War Museum. I know that some individuals built their own. My Dad couldn’t be bothered.
 
2. Canadian Boer War nominal roll

They are online. All you need is a name.
 
3. Danny Hugh Plunkett

No idea how this led to my blog ? From what I can see he is a preacher. I suspect that google zeroed in on “Hugh”.

4. Sir Sam Hughes attestation paper
He joined the South African War as a civilian, and badgered his way into a command. For the First World War there is an attestation paper; but not online. RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4598 - 1, Library and Archives Canada.

5. Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Hospital
Apparently the Astor family invited the Canadian Red Cross to build a hospital on their estate next to Taplow Lodge , Taplow, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England. It was named “The Duchess of Connaught Red Cross Hospital” after Louise Margarete wife of the Duke of Connaught (Governor General of Canada 1911-1916). Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert (May 1, 1850 - January 15, 1942) Duke of Connaught and Strathearn was the third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Colburg.

During the Second World War the hospital was expanded and renamed “The Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital”. The building was apparently demolished in 2006.
 
6. London Newspapers

I assume it means London, Ontario, papers. Here they are:

The London Advertiser 1863-1868: The London Weekly Advertiser & The London Evening Advertiser 1868: The London Evening Advertiser 1869-1869; The London Advertiser 1869-1936 (on microfilm)
The Canadian Free Press 1849-1851; The London Free Press 1851- present (on microfilm)
The Farmer’s Advocate 1866-1936 (on microfilm).
After the 1950’s the numbers increase. For my research papers that published up to the Second World War are the important ones.