On Genealogy:  Great Scott! My SCOTTISH Roots, Descendants of Andrew McKenzie

Today’s blog #7 on genealogy features my SCOTTISH roots.  Before my AncestryDNA results, I hadn’t spent too much time on this line – it follows my father’s line – through my 3x grand father George Richards’ wife, Cecelia —>  see tree below.

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I assumed we had some Scottish in us given my GGG Gramma’s last name was McKenzie.  But I hadn’t spent all that much time on this line yet.  Not because I didn’t think it wouldn’t be interesting, just that I have my hands in so many different lines at the moment that sometimes I bounce around and forget to go back to a line I started.

Ok, let’s get started ….


Generation 1 

ANDREW MCKENZIE married ELIZABETH (last name unknown).

At this stage I can’t confirm who the immigrant family was.  Was it Andrew and Elizabeth who brought over Andrew or did Andrew Jr leave his family behind in Scotland for Canada?


Generation 2

ANDREW MCKENZIE II was born about 1809 in Scotland. He died on Oct 16 1881 of “Lung Congestion” – likely Pneumonia which he suffered from for a period of 10 weeks. The Death Certificate says he was a “Bookseller” in Almonte, Ontario.

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Andrew’s Death Record – 1881

He married (1) AGNES LECKIE on 21 Oct 1836 in Ramsay Township, Ontario. She was born about 1813 in Scotland. She died on 27 Feb 1875.

He then married (2) JANET GREVILLE TOSHACK on 08 Jan 1877 in Almonte, Ontario, daughter of William and Margaret. She was born about 1821. She died on 15 Nov 1893 in Ottawa, Ontario.

He emigrated from Scotland before 1836, but actual date is unknown.  I am unable to locate any records of his immigration to Canada, but records were not commonly kept during that time frame.  We also know that he was one of the original settlers in Lancaster County, Ontario, Canada.

In 1861 we find him living as the Head of Household in the County of Renfrew, Ontario. The census information notes that he is Scottish,  is a Labourer and is a member of the Free Church. The Free Church of Scotland was formed by Evangelicals who broke from the Church of Scotland in 1843 in protest against what they regarded as the state’s encroachment on the spiritual independence of the Church.

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Almonte Gazette, Friday, October 28, 1881: 

OBITUARY: Another old settler has gone to his last rest. Mr. Andrew McKenzie died of congestion of the lungs at his residence in Almonte on the 17th Oct., 1881, aged 72 years. Mr. McKenzie was for over twenty years a *colporteur in the service of the Ottawa Valley Branch Bible Society. In the winter time he visited the shanties in the Ottawa Valley, selling bibles to the shantymen, and speaking to them of Him who came to seek and save the lost. Dreary and long were the journeys he often took, and many were the hardships he endured, and the dangers he escaped as he passed from shanty to shanty. But his work is done, and we doubt not but he has received his Master’s approval, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Lord, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” 

* A colporteur is a peddler of devotional literature.

The Renfrew Mercury, Friday, October 21, 1881:  DEAD – The corpse of Mr. A. Mackenzie, the colporteur, a former resident of Renfrew, was taken through the village on Tuesday, from Almonte, for interment in Admaston.

Andrew is mentioned in the blog Up and Down the Shantymen Used to Roam, posted on February 6, 2017 by lindaseccaspina.

Note for Andrew McKenzie:  Admaston Cemetery records show Georgina McKenzie Brown, wife of John Brown, born June 11, 1850, died March 4, 1939. It is probable that Georgina is the daughter of Andrew and Agnes since Andrew’s will mentions Georgina Brown, wife of John Brown. The will of Andrew’s second wife, Janet, refers to “Mrs. John Brown”. Georgina’s relationship to Andrew has to be verified but she is included with his children based on the circumstantial evidence in the estate files.


Generation 3

CECILIA MCKENZIE was born on 09 Dec 1851 in Ontario. She died on 12 Sep 1921 in Mattawa, Ontario. She married GEORGE RICHARDS in 1886 in Mattawa, Ontario, son of Ambrose Abraham Richards and Olive Moore. He was born on 26 Jul 1858 in Eardley Township, Ottawa County, Quebec. He died on 25 Apr 1942. Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 11.15.40 PM

1881 Census:  George Richards, married, 23, born: in Ontario, Scottish, Farmer, Presbyterian. Rosy Richards, married, 19, Irish, born in Ontario, Presbyterian.

The next entry on this census is the family of Donald and Agnes Fraser. We find Cecelia McKenzie living there, with her sister Agnes, at the time. She and George likely knew one another and married after the death of his first wife, Rosy.  Cecelia was employed as a Seamstress.

Their son, Ambrose Richards was born in 1885 (according to his death certificate), however Cecelia and George were married in 1888.  Some 3 years later, was he born out of wedlock?


Generation 4

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Ambrose driving the grinder & Cecelia McKenzie – Richards Farm abt 1914

AMBROSE RICHARDS (B: Dec 12 1887 – Mattawa Ontario, D: 1957 – Mattawa Ontario) m. BRIDGET ANGELINA MULLEN (B: Jan 3 1887 – Vinton, Québec, D: April 10 1976 – Témiscaming, Québec) on 20 Nov 1912 in Sacre Coeur Parish, Sturgeon Falls, Nipissing, Ontario.

Of interest, Ambrose converted to Roman Catholic from Presbyterianism – apparently to marry Lina as he was baptized only 10 days before they were married.Godparents were Denis Leaghy & Mary Brown.

He was baptized Catholic on 10 Nov 1912 • Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, Canada.  


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BENJAMIN GEORGE RICHARDS (B: Feb 10 1916 – Sturgeon Falls Ontario, D: June 17 1977 –Montréal, Québec) m. SARAH ANN LEE (B: Dec 7 1922 – Meltham Mills, Yorkshire England, D: March 1993 – Montréal, Quebec)

Refer to my blogs on the LEE family and Pte. Benjamin Richards for details about my grandparents.


Generation 6

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PATRICK JAMES RICHARDS (B: Jan 15 1954 – Témiscaming Québec, D: Nov 18 2014 – Témiscaming, Québec) m.  MONA ROSE LAMOTHE (B: Jan 20 1956 – Bonfield Ontario, D: —-)


Generation 7

MOI – TINA RICHARDS

~ A thread will tie an honest man better than a chain a rogue – Scottish Proverb

Namaste

T xo

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On Genealogy: My Genetic Ancestry DNA Results Are In!

I know I already posted a blog today.  But, as I was walking out the door, I got an email from Ancestry that my DNA results were in and I had to check them stat!

If you’ve been a regular visitor to my blog, you’ll likely know that I’ve been working hard on my family tree and tracing my roots.  I’ve come across some interesting finds along the way, some of which I have posted, others whose blogs I continue to work on and others which I continue to dig into the past to verify facts.

About DNA Testing:

genealogical DNA test is a DNA-based test which looks at specific locations of a person’s genome in order to determine ancestral ethnicity and genealogical relationships.  AncestryDNA utilizes some of the latest autosomal testing technology to revolutionize the way you discover your family history. This service utilizes advanced DNA science to predict your genetic ethnicity and help you find new family connections. It maps ethnicity going back multiple generations and provides insight

I chose to use AncestryDNA since I already use their services for my family tree.  The AncestryDNA test analyzes your entire genome—all 23 pairs of chromosomes—as opposed to only looking at the Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA (which makes other types of tests gender specific). Your autosomal chromosomes carry genetic information from both your parents that’s passed down through the generations.

Genealogical DNA tests do not give information about medical conditions or diseases.

The Process:

Taking a genealogical DNA test requires the submission of a DNA sample. The process of DNA testing is fairly simple and relatively inexpensive, I paid $129.00.  The DNA kit was sent to me via Ancestry, at which time I did a spit test (accumulated my saliva into a tube, to the fill line).  Once that was completed, I put everything back into the self-addressed stamped box and mailed it to Ireland for processing.

On May 10 2017, they acknowledged receiving my sample, and that they were sent to the processing lab on June 13 2017.

Today, I was finally notified that my results are in … I have been waiting a little over two months for this!   I haven’t looked at the results on my Ancestry.ca account yet.  I have a pretty good idea of what to expect because of all of the work I’ve been doing on my family tree lately, but, I’m going to take a gander here and see how close I am when I read the results.

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My Presumptions:

British and French: I know that we have roots dating back the to the 1500/1600’s coming from France and Britain, so I am expecting to see some of those genes appear in the results.

I also know that we have some Scot, Irish and perhaps Nordic blood.  The Norman DNA may show up as Scandinavian of some sort.  I am assuming this because the line I am tracing at the moment indicates that there was some land purchases made by one of my ancestors from William the Conquerors half brother, and Nord, British mixing was common at the time.

I also know that we are Native American because I have posted on that already.

The percentages and other lines however, that I am unsure – so I am very curious about this.

The Results:

Ok, let’s see how close I was.  And, the results are …. Drum Roll PLEASE …..

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My ethnicity estimate shows where my ancestors came from hundreds to thousands of years ago.  Ancestry.ca calculates it by comparing my DNA to the DNA of a reference panel of people with deep roots to specific places around the world.

 

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Genetic Communities show where my family probably lived in the past few hundred years. Ancestry created these by identifying groups of AncestryDNA members who are genetically connected to each other.

Overall Thoughts: 

On ethnicity estimate:  Very surprised that it did not pick up an First Nations, since I have lineage to prove it and I have my Algonquin status 🤷🏻‍♀️

Also, surprised that I am as much Irish and Scandinavian as I am, but at least that tells me I’m on the right path as I’m doing my research.  I did see reference of a few of my family members immigrating from Ireland including my great grandfather – so maybe there are a few more?

I’ve found no traces of Italian, Greek, Spanish or Portuguese in my tree as of yet.  I’m shocked by the only 9% French, as I have been able to trace my tree to Quebec and then back to France.

On genetic communities:  It was bang on!  The French settlement in Beauce and Montmorency are accurate with the ‘very likely’ as is the English in Yorkshire – that’s where my Gramma Sally was born before moving to Canada as a WWII War Bride in 1946.  My whole on the LEE side is from Yorkshire.

Well this was an interesting little genome experience that I am sure will help on the further discovery of my roots.

Namaste

T xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Genealogy: My Quaker Connection; Descendant of John Milk, British Colonial America, 1662

Today’s blog on genealogy #5 is on the lineage of the Milk family.  This surname has long been associated with the county of Norfolk, England, where it appears about twenty-two times in proportion to each 10,000 of the population of that county.  There, throughout history, it has been associated with small landowners.

This is was interesting line to research and write about as I never imagined having anyone in my lineage trace back to Colonial America, never mind some who resided in Salem, Massachusetts during the Witch Trials.

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The surname MILK first appeared on record in America in 1662 with the mention of John Milk of Salem, Massachusetts in the town vital records where he was appointed as Cowherd for the town of Salem and then was chosen to chimney sweep.  Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 6.19.18 PM.png

In Colonial America in 1662, The Massachusetts Bay Colony’s charter was accepted by England as long as they extended the vote to all landowners and allowed for freedom of worship for Anglicans.

The home of John Milk was listed in “(Rambles in Old Boston, by Rev, Edward G. Porter, 1887, p.288.) It was built some fifty years earlier than the Paul Revere home some 300 feet away across a little Square from the corner of Sun Court and Moon Street, just south of the Old North Church and North of Faneuil Hall “the Cradle of Liberty” near Milk Street.

IMMIGRANT Family 

John Milk I  (B: 1640 Norfolk, England, D: Nov 26 1689 – Salem, Massachusetts) m. Sarah Weston (Wesson) (B: 1656 – Salem, Massachusetts, D: 1685 – Salem, Massachusetts) on m. 3 APR 1665

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From the Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988

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John Milk I died on Nov 26 1689.  The following is his Last Will & Testament:

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FIRST Generation

John Milk II: (B: Jan 8 1668 – Salem, Massachusetts, D: 1720 Boston, Massachusetts), shipwright, married:

(1) Elizabeth Hempfield (1670 – 1707), daughter of Edmund Hempfield of Salem, on 20 Aug. 1689.

Children of first marriage

  • John Milk, b. abt. 1690, died young
  • Job Milk

(2)  Mary Scolly (Scolby) at Boston, 30 Oct. 1707, who subsequently married Francis Hudson abt ******

Children of second marriage:

  • John Milk III, b. 23 June 1708/09, m. Jane Marvin (Marvel)
  • James Milk, b. 31 Jan. 1710/11, m. (1)Sarah Brown ; (2) Mrs. Mollie Peering
  • Mary Jane Milk, b. abt. 1713

My lineage follows the marriage to Elizabeth Hempfield (B:  Jan 8 1668 – Salem, Massachusetts, D: 1707 – Salem, Massachusetts).

The below excerpt talks about their homestead and surrounding buildings.

 

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Close-up of 1700 map showing John Milk lot in yellow (located on current day Washington St somewhere around Federal or Bridge Streets)

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SECOND Generation

Job Milk I (B: 1695 – Salem, Massachusetts, D: 1778 in Little Compton, Newport County, Province of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations) m.  Abigail Devol (B: 1695 – Newport, Rhode Island, D: 12 Jul 1719 – Dartmouth, Massachusetts) on July 12 1719 in Little Compton, RI.  Abigail was the daughter of Johnathan + Hannah (née Audley).

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Note: The association and acceptance by the Quakers of the time, imply that Job Milk and his family were probably Quakers. Although there are no known records of this, it is recorded that Phineas Chase, who lived close to Job Milk, and was father to two of Job’s sons-in-law was a Quaker.

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Footnote:  Some information has been borrowed in part from: History And Genealogy Of The Milk-Milks Family – October 15, 2011 by Grace CroftLee MilkGrace Irene Barnhart.  This information was only borrowed for the sake of completing an accurate family portrait of my lineage to the Milk family as early settlers and not for any wage or profit.


THIRD Generation

Job Milk II (B: April 17 1725 – Dartmouth, Massachusetts, D: 1804 – Dartmouth, Massachusetts) m. Amy Fish (B: Oct 29 1729 – Dartmouth, Massachusetts, D: Belkshire, Massachusetts).  He married Amy Fish 2 Nov 1746 at Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island.  Amy Fish was born at Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts 29 Oct 1729 daughter of Thomas Fish and Mercy Mary Coggeshall .

They were the parents of 9 children:
Benjamin Milk born 1747.
Sarah Milk born 1749. 
Job Milk born 1751.
Mary Milk born 1752.
Jonathan Milk born 1755.
David Milk born 1757.
Cabel Milk born 1759.
Thomas Ambrose Milk born 1761.
Amy Milk born 1763.


FOURTH Generation

Sarah Milk (B: 1749 – D: Eardley,) m. Dudley Moore (B: 1747 – Nine Partners, Duchess, New York,  D: 1815: Eardley, (Hull) Québec). They married at Saratoga, New York .

Dudley Moore’s parents were Jedediah Moore and Dorothy Begnell (I’ll get more into the “Bicknell” story in another blog).

They were the parents of 9 children:
Sarah Moore born Abt 1769.
Jedediah Moore born Abt 1771.
Dudley Moore born 8 Aug 1773.
Roger Moore born Abt 1774. 
Benjamin Moore born Abt 1776.
Martin Moore born Abt 1779.
Job Moore born Abt 1781.
David Moore born Abt 1783.
Rebecca Moore born Abt 1785.


FIFTH Generation

Roger Moore (B: 1775 – Rutland, Vermont, D: 1860 – Napean, Ontario) m.  Sarah Hicks (B: 1775 – New York,  D: Nov 27 1872 – Québec)


SIXTH Generation

Olive Moore (B: Sept 10 1821 – Napean, Ontario, D: 1871 – Eardley, Québec) m.  Ambrose Richards (B: Feb 27 1816 – Quebec,  D: Jan 9 1864 – Eardley, Québec)

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SEVENTH Generation

George Richards (B: July 26 1859 – Eardley Quebec, D: April 16 1942 – Mattawa Ontario) m.  Cecelia McKenzie (B: Dec 9 1851 – Renfrew Ontario, D: Sept 13 1921 – Mattawa Ontario)

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EIGHTH Generation 

Ambrose Richards (B: Dec 12 1887 – Mattawa Ontario, D: 1957 – Mattawa Ontario) m. Bridget Angelina Mullen (B: Jan 3 1887 – Vinton, Québec, D: April 10 1976 – Témiscaming, Québec)

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NINTH Generation

Benjamin Richards (B: Feb 10 1916 – Sturgeon Falls Ontario, D: June 17 1977 – Montréal, Québec) m.  Sarah Ann Lee (B: Dec 7 1922 – Meltham Mills, Yorkshire England, D: March 1993 – Montréal, Quebec)


TENTH Generation

Patrick James Richards (B: Jan 15 1954 – Témiscaming Québec, D: Nov 18 2014 – Témiscaming, Québec) m.  Mona Lamothe (B: Jan 20 1956 – Bonfiled Ontario, D: —-)


ELEVENTH Generation

MOI – Tina Rose Richards


I found this helpful when trying to better understand the difference between the Quakers, the Pilgrims and the Puritans.

Pilgrims: A small group of people arrived in the New World from England on a ship named the Mayflower. They landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Back in England, everyone had to belong to the Church of England. The Pilgrims did not want to belong to the Church of England. They were seeking religious freedom from the Church of England. 

Puritans: About 10 years later, a large group of people called the Puritans arrived in the New World, also from England. They believed everyone should belong to the Church of England or be punished. They left England and came to the New World because they believed the Church of England needed to be purified. In their opinion, the Church was embracing too many Catholic beliefs. They settled in Boston. They practiced religious intolerance. They wanted to be part of the Church of England, but they wanted the church’s beliefs purified. 

Alike: Both groups spoke English. Both groups arrived from England at about the same time. Both groups thought of themselves as Englishmen and were loyal to the King. Both groups came to the New World because of their disagreement with the Church of England.

Quakers: There was another religious group in the colonies called the Quakers. They also disagreed with the Church of England. Many Quakers left England for the New World. They settled in Pennsylvania in the 1600s. There, they practiced religious freedom for everyone. People were free to believe what they wanted and talk to God in their own way. People from all over Europe poured into their communities, seeking religious freedom. The Quakers believed that violence was not the way to solve problems. The Quakers were known as “The Friends”.

 

Namaste

T xo

Featured Image Photo Cred: Map of Salem Village in 1692 physical features, and the dwellings of prominent and important residents in Salem during 1692.

On Genealogy: Story of Pte. Émile Lamothe

Genealogy story #4 features my Great Grand Father, Émile Lamothe, whom I called Grand-Pépère Lamothe.  I figured since my last two blogs featured the other Veterans in my family, that I’d continue on that note.

Cleophas Émile Lamothe was born on June 10, 1897, in Bonfield, Ontario to Marie Louise Charron, age 38, and Joseph Magloire Lamothe, age 42.  For those of you who don’t know where Bonfield is (and I don’t blame you, I’d actually be more surprised if you actually knew where it was), it’s a small township in Northeastern Ontario, located on the north shore of Lake Nosbonsing in Nipissing District.

Émile enlisted on May 13 1918 to the 1st Depot Batallion, 1st Central Ontario Regiment. Regimental #3037591.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 11.53.15 PMThere was some question as to whether he volunteered or whether he was drafted.  So, I did some research – turns out volunteers for the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) were questioned at the place of enlistment to complete the two-sided Attestation papers which included the recruit’s name and address, next-of-kin, date and place of birth, occupation, previous military service, and distinguishing physical characteristics. Recruits were asked to sign their Attestation papers, indicating their willingness to serve overseas. By contrast, men who were drafted into the CEF under the provisions of the Military Service Act (1917) completed a far simpler one-sided form which included their name, date of recruitment, and compliance with requirements for registration.  Having reviewed his Attestation Papers/Particulars of Recruit – I was able to deduct that Grand-Pépère volunteered his services.

Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 8.59.58 PMÉmile was short in stature, only 5’2.5″ and was 20 years and 11 months old when he enlisted.  He was noted as being single and a Farmer.  He was listed a Class One, Category A2.

Assessments were made by medical officers as to the suitability of men to perform military duties. A system of lettering and numbering was devised to enable a mans abilities to be quickly noted. Class One meant he was single and Category A meant that he was able to march, see to shoot, hear well and stand active service conditions.  The 2 meant that he was fit for dispatching overseas as regards to physical and mental health but required training.

The other thing I wanted to investigate further was  the Depot Battalion.  At first I had no idea what a Depot Battalion even was.  It turns out that in 1917-1918, when it was no longer possible to recruit enough men for infantry battalions, depot battalions were organized in Canada to obtain personnel who would then be sent to the Canadian Reserve Battalions in England.

Émile was initially part of the 1st Depot Battalion, 1st Central Ontario Regiment.  What I have been able to find out so far is that it was authorized by General Order 89 of   September 1 1917 (see below) and by General Order 57 of 15 April 1918.  They were to reinforce the 4th, 19th, 123rd and 208th Battalions through the 3rd Canadian Reserve Battalion.  They were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel B. H. Belson.

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His military records are quite scant to be honest and contain only about 15 documents in total.  So I’m not able to get a really good idea of what he did in The Great War or even where he was posted, not even his position is noted in his records!   All I know thus far is that on August 20 1918 he TOS (took on strength) at Bramshott Military Camp.

I don’t have his regiment’s war diaries and mobilization accounts – I will have to request them in person, but I believe I have found the reference to them and can find them at the Canadian National Archives when I go to Ottawa later this month.  However, there’s a snag – I see from his personal file that he’s noted under 3 separate regiments – 1st Depot Battalion, 1st Central Regiment, then the 1st Depot Battalion, 2nd Quebec Regiment and 1st Depot Battalion 10th Canadian Reserve Battalion.  But, I cannot decipher when he was SOS from one and TOS with another.  This is important for tracking his movement in the war diaries.

June 20 2017 Update:  Spent the day at the National Archives of Canada today.  The assistant working at the genealogy desk provided me with some information I had been seeking.  She said that as part of a depot battalion and because we can only find him in England – that he likely did not see action.  He would have been training and keeping in shape over his time in one of the military camps, in the event that he was called up to infantry for one of the battalions they were backing up.  She further added that there are not likely war diaries for depot battalions, but if there was they would not be very interesting, but that I could check the records anyway.  

 

All WWI military records are available online, so I was able to access his WWI Canadian Expeditionary Force Personnel File via Ancestry.ca (the site I am doing my family tree on).  You can also access them through the archives website.

I am just now taking in that these documents are 100 years old, I am going to post as many documents as I possibly can!


Military Records Summary

May 13 1918:  Attested at North Bay, Ontario

July 21 1918: Embarked at Québec

August 8 1918:  Arrived London, England via the S.S. Somali – she was built in 1901 by Caird & Company Greenock and served as a troop carrier in WWI

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📷: 1st August 1914  – Serving as a Hospital ship

August 20 1918: TOS (took on strength) at Bramshott a.k.a. Bramshott Military Camp, which was a temporary army camp set up on Bramshott Common, Hampshire, England during WWI. Bramshott was one of three facilities in the Aldershot Command area established by the Canadian Army. The permanent facility on both occasions was at the British Army’s Bordon Military Camp. Bramshott was one of two temporary camps set-up for additional accommodation in the lead-up to D-Day, along with Witley Camp.

November 11, 1918 – WWI ends – Armistice

Feb 19 1919:  In Ripon he was admonished and condemned to pay 1/9.5 (confirmed as 1 pound, 9 schillings, 5 pence) for losing 1 scrubber (??? What kind of post did he after the war ended that he would have that he lost a scrubber?  Did he work in a mess hall?  Did he work in a medical unit? Was it for scrubbing his boots?)  The only notation I’ve found that can be somewhat related to war is a breathing apparatus that absorbs the carbon dioxide . But I don’t think that would be it because this has specifically to do with diving.  

June 20 2017 Update:  Genealogy Assistant at National Archives advised that he literally lost a “scrubber” for cleaning.  The reason she believes this is that he was there well after the war ended and was likely involved in clean up tasks.  Given the price he was penalized to pay, she thinks it was likely a long handled scrubber.

June 14 1919: SOS (struck off strength) at Ripon – was now a part of the 10th Reserve Battalion.  He was likely transferred to this Battalion as the other battalions he was part of demobilized and returned home.

Belgic4th-bJune 23 1919:  Embarked at Liverpool on the SS Belgic. The White Star Line vessel was to be named Ceric & intended to replace Titanic in 1914. The outbreak of WWI changed all of that.  During construction, White Star decided to go with the name of Belgic IV. She was launched in Jan 1914, but was not yet completed when WWI  began later that year and the work was stopped. Belgic IV  was eventually completed in 1917, but as a troop transport and freighter rather than the passenger liner she was designed to be.

July 1 1919:  Disembarked in Halifax, NS

July 3 1919:  Discharged due to Demobilization

QUESTION:  DOES ANYONE KNOW WHY HE WOULD HAVE STAYED IN ENGLAND AS LONG AS HE DID  AFTER THE WAR HAD ENDED?

June 20 2017 Update:  While at the Canadian Archives the genealogy lady informed me that some of the troops had to stay overseas longer to clean up and pack up.  Not everyone was able to go home right after Armistice, that AND there were only a limited supply of troop ships, so everyone had to take their turns.  The sick, injured, infirmed were sent home first.  The abled bodied men, were left to clean.

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After being discharged from the military he returned to Bonfield.  He married Marcella Houle on September 27, 1927. They had three children (Thelma, Clifford and Edward) during their marriage.

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Record of their marriage in the Église de Sainte-Bernadette Registry in Bonfield, ON

When I was young we’d drive up to visit them from Kitchener, it was about a 5-6 hour drive.   They lived at 217 Yonge Street.  I haven’t been there since 1993 (the day of Grand-Mémère Lamothe’s funeral) and the house has long been sold.   I remember it was a white and light green house, with a large wrap around veranda.  I always thought the house was cool and creepy at the same time, because it was so old. It was Grand-Mémère Lamothe’s parents place – she was born there.  When you’d walk in, you’d immediately walk into the living room (to the left) and the stair case to go upstairs was  to your right, it had a white railing.  I remember Grand-Mémère rocking away in her chrome glider , by the window, watching her shows.

The room immediately to the right when you walked in the front door used to be a parlour and as a child that totally creeped me when out they told me what it had been used for, but, that was in the days well before funeral parlours. Nonetheless, I could always envision dead people in there.  I remember they’d put their Christmas tree up in there and that’s where the whole lot of us would open gifts before/after midnight mass at St. Bernadette’s.

When you walked toward the back of the house from the entrance, I recall there being a long dining table before you stepped through a single door to the kitchen.  Just before you entered the kitchen (on the right hand side) there was a cabinet, that’s where Grand-Mémère would hide all of the goodies – and where I may or may not have snuck a few extra pieces of licorice.   The kitchen must have been to be an addition,  I’m sure of it.  It was big (or seemed big for a 12 year old) and filled with white cabinets.  There was a kitchen table in there with a bench, and on the back wall was a picture of The Last Supper.  They never had a bath tub or shower in the house, we’d have to bathe in the kitchen sink.

Grand-Mémère would get up very early in the mornings – and when we’d come down she’d make us peach or maple soupan (French slang for porridge) and the best Map-O-Spread toasts.

Photos above:

  • Left  – “The cousins” (Mona, Darlene and Doreen) and their children (Mona: Tina & Darryl), (Darlene: Lisa, Francine & Stephanie), (Doreen: Sylvie, Ginette and Stephanie).  Note the green colour of the house and the laundry station.
  • Top Right – “June 1984” – Mom Mona, Me, Darryl, Grand-Pépère and Grand-Mémère and Pépère.  Note the white cabinets!
  • Bottom Right – “Grand-Pépère’s 87th Birthday” at Ma Tante Thelma and Uncle Rene’s in Bonfield.

There were two doors in the kitchen – one exiting to the veranda toward the front and the other going out the the old step up laundry washing area/ line they had (see photo above).  They never owned a dryer. Grand-Mémère did all of the laundry by hand and hung it out back on the line to dry.  Now by hand I mean, she had an old fashioned washing machine where you would wash it and then you had to take the piece of clothes and put it in a wringer and it would fall in a big bucket of clean cool water to rinse, then she would take it out of the rinse water and wring it again – so to me that is still by hand!

Coming from a generation that they did, and the house sourcing from a well, I’m sure they were afraid of the well running dry – at night time we had a large marmite (pot) at the top of the stairs to pee in, if we had to go.  Grand-Mémère would empty it when she got up in the morning.  I also remember that the rooms didn’t have doors, they had curtains – and that there were 3 bedrooms plus theirs which was at the front of the house.   Come to think of it, I don’t think I was ever in their room.

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At Grand-Pépère & Grand-Mémère Lamothe’s in Bonfield, 1981

I remember Grand-Pépère fiddling around in the back tool shed.  I remember going in there as a child and thinking “wow this place is filled with really cool old junk”. 

They had a garden out back and had a rain barrel that they’d collect water in to water their garden.

I remember the house wasn’t too far from the train tracks cause I would hear it whistling at night time.

It’s when you sit here and reminisce on your life that you wish you had the thirst for knowledge then like you do now.  The things I would love to have asked Grand-Pépère;  from 1897 to 1992 he must have seen soooo many crazy things!  He went from a seeing the first Ford Model T to a Lamborghini.  He went from coal and wood fires to electricity, telephones and tv’s all during HIS LIFETIME.  He saw two World Wars and was at one of them.  Oh the stories  Grand-Pépère would have told me as he puffed on his pipe and  sat on the front veranda.

Emile Lamothe died on April 17, 1992, in his hometown at the age of 94.

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Namaste

T xo

On Genealogy: Story of Pte. Benjamin Richards

Hello and welcome to blog #3 on genealogy!   This story features my Grampa – Benjamin George Richards.

I was able to obtain a copy of Grampa’s war records from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (Canadian Armed Forces) a few years ago, when I wrote out for them.  WWII records are still not available online.

Military records are such a wealth of information!  You can see their enlistment details, their pay, when they took on strength (TOS) or were struck off strength (SOS), when they were AWOL/AWL, their discharge information and so much more!  Grampa’s records are in hard copy and some of the handwriting is a wee bit difficult to read and the acronyms are insane, I had to go online just to find a summary of WWII military acronyms to make sense of 1/2 of them!

When Benjamin George Richards was born on February 10, 1916, in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, his father, Ambrose, was 28 and his mother, Bridget (née Mullen), was 29.

His military records indicated that he completed grade VIII, and was bilingual in English in French.  From 1933 to the date of his military enlistment he was employed at Canadian International Paper (CIP) Company as a Machine Tender in Témiscaming, Québec – working his way up from a General Labourer.

His records also noted that his hobbies and past times to be skiing, skating, playing 1st base in baseball/softball and playing the banjo, guitar & mandolin.

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Benny playing the guitar (left).  Date unknown – the photo was just labelled that it was in the 1940’s, assumedly it was after he was discharged from the military in 1945.

He enlisted in the military on September 11 1939 at North Bay, Ontario citing “patriotic reasons”, he wanted to be in the Carrier Platoon.  Capt. R. Robillard noted that he was of “average intellengience – should be ok for Carriers” .  He was appointed as a Private to The Royal Regiment of Canada.  Regimental Number B-66965.

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Now, as I mentioned the record of all appointments, transfers, postings, forfeitures of pay, accidents, hospital admissions etc are difficult to read and are FILLED with acronyms to the point where some entries are barely even understandable  – one website I was using had over 7500 unique abbreviations listed!  Grampa Benny has 5 years worth of military records here to detail, so I am just going to note the most salient points in chronological order.  Most of the records document when he was SOS or when he was TOS.  There are some notations albeit them difficult to make out when he was transferred to different platoons.


Chronological Record of Service

The Royal Regiment of Canada, C.A.S.F. was mobilized on September 1 1939, when the Second World War broke out.

Sept 11 1939:  Enlisted at North Bay, Ontario citing “patriotic reasons”.  Private, Infantry,  The Royal Regiment of Canada.

June 10 1940:  Embarked from Halifax for garrison duty in Iceland with “Z” Force.  Now this is actually an interesting story and part of history.   As I was going through Grampa’s personnel file, I noticed something beside ONE entry as he embarked for the United Kingdom,  all it said was “SOS Z Force”,  it had me wondering “what the heck was this Z Force?”.  So I did a Google search and found that it was a British-Canadian garrison force in Iceland.  I was pointed to a really interesting document which was declassified on March 17 1987 entitled “Z Force in Iceland:  An Account of the despatch of Canadian Troops to Iceland and their subsequent operations there”.  The document deals with the activities of Z force Canadian Army from the time it was dispatched to Iceland June 10 1940 to it’s departure on April 28 1941.

Canada was an occupying military power in one of the smallest and most isolated countries in the world.  How?  Why?  Turns out when war broke out in September 1939, Denmark and Iceland jointly declared their neutrality (Iceland was granted status as an autonomous state from Denmark after WWI).  The Nazis had shown an interest in Iceland throughout the 1930s, sending trade missions and flying instructors to the island. Several teams of German “anthropologists” also roamed Iceland in the late 1930s.   As quickly as possible Canada put together a military expedition mysteriously dubbed “Z Force.”  So Canada was in Iceland to defend it against a possible German attack!

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This snippet from the report indicates that as part of the Royal Regiment of Canada he was part of the initial Z Force commanded by Lt-Col G. Headley Basher.

The force boarded the Empress of Australia on June 9, and departed on June 10 at 1:00 pm.  It was the only infantry battalion, and was armed with 12 Lewis machine guns.

June 16 1940:  Disembarked Reykjavík, Iceland

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The Royals were ferried ashore and marched through silent streets to set up tents (followed 4 months later by Metal Nissen huts) near the local airfield that British engineers had begun expanding. Within days of the Canadians arrival, the British brigades packed up and sailed back to join the war.

I was able to find out that while in Iceland, Benny was a member of C Coy (Company)  – I almost missed it, it was mentioned on only 1 page – under Current Service “R.R.C. Rgmt C Coy”

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The Empress of Australia, meanwhile, sailed back to Hailfax where the rest of Z Force had been assembled.  That secondary force consisted of two more battalions — the Cameron Highlanders and les Fusiliers Mont-Royal who arrived in Iceland on July 9, 1940.

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The report indicates the supply and maintenance problems while they occupied Iceland.

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Another issue was transportation.  Apparently only the R. Regt C brought its own transportation.  The second flight Z Force which arrived on July 7 was not so fortunate, no vehicles were sent with them.  This happened movement of the troops because the only troop to have vehicles was on the other side of the island, so they had to hire civilian trucks.  This was an issue until the arrival of the S.S. Tregarthen on July 27 – which took 16 days to unload.

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Other issues included the fact that the British coats were better, as they Canadian sheepskin coats were almost in a state of constant wetness.  And, they needed to be sent steel tent pegs 3 ft long because the ground was always frozen and the winds were nearly gale force.

We know that he was in C Coy but not which platoon in that company he was in, but we do have an idea of what training looked like.

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So it turns out the biggest threats to the Canadians were the cold – it snowed in August 1940 — and the local moonshine, known as “Black Death.”

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In total, Z Force ended up amounting to 2,659 Canadian soldiers stationed in Iceland.

The order was given that the bulk of Z Force was to leave for Britain.  They settled down and awaited their British relief force. They were relived by the 70 British Infantry Brigade.

Oct 26 1940:  Embarked on the Empress of Australia and on Oct 31 1940 at 10:30 a.m. the ships weighed anchor and put out for the UK, leaving Iceland behind. A small force was left behind (Cameron Highlanders).

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The graves of 41 Canadian soldiers, seamen and airmen who died in Iceland during the war are still tended carefully in a cemetery near the airport they defended.

The Report ends saying that ” …. the morale of the Canadian Forces in Iceland remained satisfactory throughout their tour in that northern outpost”.

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Nov 3 1940:  Disembarked in the United Kingdom/Great Britain- no notation as to where.

Nov 7 1940: The unit was re-designated as the 1st Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Canada, CASF, when a 2nd Battalion was formed to provide reinforcements to the Regiment in Europe.

Dec 9 1940: Admitted to CMC Bordon and was discharged Dec 16 1940.

Jan 17 1941:  Awarded 4 days CB (confined to barracks) for AA (Army Act) Sec. 19 – Drunkeness, 1st offence.

Feb 10 1941: SOS (struck off strength) – admitted to hospital.  Discharged on Feb 18 1941.

April 1 1941:  Forfeits 5 days pay for AWL (absent without leave) 1 hr 36 mins.

Feb 25 1942: Admitted to hospital, discharged March 4 1942.

From Feb 27 1942 to Aug 26 1942 – We know that he was part of the 2nd Canadian Divisional Infantry Reinforcement Unit (2 CDIRU) – On Carrier, the Carrier Instructor C –— Now during this time the 2 CDIRU were involved in The Dieppe Raid During on 19 August 1942 where the Allies launched a major raid on the small French coast port of Dieppe.  In the early morning hours, Major-General J.H. Roberts’ 2nd Canadian Infantry Division assaulted the Dieppe beach at four designated sections. 2nd Canadian Infantry Division assaulted the Dieppe beach at four designated sections. At Blue Beach, at the village of Puys (1.6 km east of Dieppe), troops of The Royal Regiment of Canada and The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada arrived late in their bid to take out enemy artillery and machine guns guarding the Dieppe beaches. From the start the enemy pinned down and shot them up until the raid was over.

I have to keep scouring the records to see if I can find out exactly where Grampa was during this time.  Again, his  Troops War Diaries will be helpful once I obtain them — UPDATE:  I found a notation that he attended a Carrier Course (Class A) with 2 CDIRU from March 18/42 to April 18/42 and a Motorcycle course with 2 CDIRU from Aug 8/42 to Aug 22/42.

Aug 27 1942 to Oct 9 1942: He was with the RRC Regt HQ Company “as a Carrier Driver – H (20 days)”. 

Oct 10 1942 to —- He was back again with the 2 CDIRU in general fatigues

March 17 1943: Granted daily rate of $1.50.

Dec 28 1943: Awarded 8 days CB and 8 days pay under Sec 40 of AA – I had to do some research here.  The Gov’t of Canada, Library and Archives Canada website has S.40 under Miscellaneous Military Offences – “Acting to the Prejudice of Good Order and Military Discipline”.  Unfortunately the records don’t actually mention for what specifically.

Jan 15 1944:  Awarded The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM), The CVSM is 757d98c3-5c61-4304-846a-86aac299c914-1granted to persons of any rank in the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Canada who voluntarily served on Active Service and honourably completed eighteen months total voluntary service from 3 September 1939 to 1 March 1947.  A silver clasp, a maple leaf at its centre, was awarded for 60 days service outside Canada.

May 30 1945:  Granted permission to marry Miss Sally Anne Lee on or after (but not before) June 14 1945.

June 20 1945:  Married with permission to Miss Sarah Ann Lee in Agbrigg, Yorkshire, England.  Changed next of kin to Mrs. Sarah Ann Richards (wife) of 14 Pick Hiss Rd, Meltham Yorkshire, England.

Aug 18 1945:  Granted 30 days disembarkment leave from Aug 18 to Sept 16 1945 and was authorized to draw $0.50 per diem

Sept 2 1945:  WWII ends

Sept 21 1945:  SOS on discharge.  Clothing allowance and Rehab paid.

On December 31 1945, after the Second World War had come to an end, the Royal Regiment of Canada was disbanded and reverted back to Reserve status.

Now , we know with certainty that Grampa was a Driver Mechanic and Instructor in a Carrier Platoon.  There is some discussion online about what these roles actually entail.

It was my impression that Driver/Mechanics typically did field maintenance on the Bren/Universal carriers mostly in Support Company.  But, now I’m confused, because I’ve also read that each Universal Carrier (tank) had a crew of four, an NCO (Non-Commisionaed Officer), driver-mechanic and two riflemen  (see below)

The unique concept of the Universal Carrier Platoon was to provide every Infantry Battalion with the ability to move a small portion of its establishment under armoured protection.

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Typical Carrier Platoon

A Carrier Platoon existed in each battalion as part of Support Company. The platoon provided the battalion commander with a relatively mobile force, armed with automatic weapons, and relatively safe from small arms’ fire. The platoon carried out a variety of missions, such as the re-supply of food, ammunition, water and other necessities; casualty evacuation, reconnaissance and even in rare cases assaults on enemy position.

The hard thing with writing about war is that those who have served don’t generally come home and talk about their experiences.  The fact is that many veterans did indeed take their stories to the grave, for a variety of reasons. Some came home from up to six years of continuous overseas service and simply wished to forget the whole thing, to pick up their lives as best they could. Others saw no point in reliving the horrors safely buried away under iron-hard layers of protective silence. Still others learned very quickly upon their return to Canada that the civilian populace had no understanding of, and little interest in, the hardships they endured. For thousands of their children, this meant growing up with little other than a vague notion that ‘dad was in the war’.

Through the internet, a legion of veterans’ descendants (myself included) have taken it upon themselves to research their ancestors pasts, if for no other reason than to gain a better understanding of ‘what he went through’ and to ensure their legacy lives on for generations – so that their sacrifices don’t ever get forgotten.

To that very point, I asked my uncle Kenny if he knew what Grampa did in the war – “I’m not 100% sure he never spoke much about what he did”.  But keeping things to themselves also detracts from their personal history as well (but I totally get why they don’t talk about it).  Uncle Kenny said he was pretty sure that Grampa  ” … was a driver but not in tanks, more truck/troop carriers.  Seems I remember hearing somewhere that he may of driven ambulances too”.  

So what did Grampa actually do in the war?  At this point, I don’t really know and it’s hard for me to even make a logical deduction because I can hardly make sense of where he was in the UK – again due to the cryptic records and not yet having access to his Troops War Diaries.

Of the 20+ pages of material I have in my possession, I can only pinpoint 3 military camps he was at, all of the other entries all just say  “UK” – He was noted as being in camps at Witley, Aldershot and Bordon.

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Witley Camp Canteen

a) Witley Military Camp was a temporary army camp set up on Witley Common, Surrey, England during both the First and Second World Wars.  Camp Witley was one of three facilities in the Aldershot Command area established by the Canadian Army; the others being Bordon and Bramshott.

b) Camp Bordon has a long association with the Canadian Army, providing a base for them in both world wars.

c) Camp Aldershot –  some 330,000 Canadians passed through Aldershot, doing there training before taking up the defence of the UK while most of the British soldiers were away.

I’ve mapped out the 3 places I was able to place him.  Witley and Aldershot have stars and Bordon has a pin.

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Benjamin Richards was oversees (Iceland and UK)  for a total of 62 months and was discharged from the military on September 21, 1945, in Toronto, Ontario, when he was 29 years old.

According to his Discharge Certificate and his Record of Service, he is “to return to civil life – on demobilization”.  His physical description at the time of discharge from service was “brown eyes and brown hair. Fair complexion. Burn scar on right axillae; scar 1.5″ x 1″ on inside of lip”.

His CONFIDENTIAL Discharge Papers note his future plans “I am returning to my former job as a machine tender”.  

The military’s recommendation on discharge were as follows:

“A recently married man, 29 years of age, medium build, average appearance.  Seems pleasant, steady, reliable labour type”.

” … Richards states that his mother and sister are living in Temiskaming; father has been confined to hospital for about four years.  Richards married in England and expects his wife to join him in a few months.  They can live with his mother until they secure a house through the paper company, who are building homes for returning service personnel.

In view of physical fitness and experience, Richards seems well advised to return to his former employment”.  

If he was unable to return as a Machine Tender, he planned to seek employment as a Truck Driver.

He and Sally had seven children during their marriage.  In connecting with my uncle Kenny and my aunt Gwen (I wish my dad was still alive so I could ask him some if this) –  they moved in to 102 Anvik Avenue in or about 1955.

At that time Témiscaming was a company (CIP) town and the company owned everything including the homes. The Company sold the houses in or about 1972, Sally and Benny bought theirs. The row house was tiny.  4 rooms total (living room, kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 1 washroom). It was only 2 stories, no basement. Aunty Gwen remembers them digging out the basement until they hit a big rock … but, they were able to move the furnace down there.  Only the front bedroom had closet space … Grampa built one in the back room for the 3 girls … that and a double bed.  The bathroom had a toilet and bathtub … no sink.  They were 9 living there – 7 kids,  2 adults.  There was also an enclosed, unheated back porch.  The whole space was about 600 sq ft.  The address was originally 502 Elm Ave, but the Dutch Elm disease killed all the Elm trees ands the town renamed it Anvik Ave and renumbered the houses….. the number became 102 instead of 502.

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102 Anvik Ave is the row house with the brown door on the right side (circa 2014)
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Pte Benjamin Richards is buried in Témiscaming, QC

Benjamin Richards died on June 17, 1977, in Montréal, Quebec, at the age of 61. He suffered a coronary thrombosis while visiting his daughter Gwen and son-in-law Serge and grandson Marc.

I was only 3 years old at the time grampa passed away, so unfortunately I really don’t have any memories of him. I have a few a pictures of us but that’s it – again I wish you were here dad, to share this stuff with me 😭.

Gramma Sally ending up selling the house to Lucien Bernard for $6,000 in 1978 and moved to Verdun, Quebec to live with her daughter Gwen, son-in-law Serge and her grandkids Marc and Caroline.

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One of the most rewarding challenges I have accomplished in my genealogy journey is writing about these family stories and legacies so they don’t get lost.

I plan on making these blogs into a family history book. I am extremely passionate about recording family stories and encourage you to at every opportunity.

As I continue to investigate Benny’s time in WWII, I will update the blog.

Namaste

T xo

 

On Genealogy: Story of Pte. George V. Lee

Welcome to story #2 of my family tree. Today, I’m going to share with you the story of my paternal grandmother’s father’s brother  – my Great Grand Uncle, George Victor Lee who was killed in action (KIA) in The Great War.

For this story you’re going to have to stretch your memory all the way back to History class, WWI and trench warfare.  I was able to access his troop’s War Diaries and his personal military records.  I was able to track his regiment from deployment to the day Pte. Lee was KIA.  I did a lot of research and spent countless hours on trying to understand exactly what was going on during the war as he was progressing through it so I could make the story more 3 demential and personal to me and our family.  Some of the history parts of this story were “borrowed” from other story tellers well versed in history and the Great War. Some, is me being an amateur historian, war buff and genealogist.  I don’t purport this blog to be 100% factually accurate (about the details of the war). I am not a professional, just passionate.

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 10.40.15 PMThe deadline was 11:00 p.m. on August 4 1914. If Germany did not remove their troops from Belgium, Great Britain would declare war. As Big Ben struck the hour across the Thames that night, Chancellor David Lloyd George wrote, “The big clock echoes in our ears like the hammer of destiny.” Germany remained silent and Great Britain was at war!

At the time that Britain declared war, George Victor Lee was living at 3 Shady Row, Meltham Mills, Yorkshire, England with his wife Agnes (nee Dickenson).  He was the son of Tom Lee and Hannah (nee Crabtree).

George enlisted on March 24 1912 when he was 17 years old.   His Territorial Force Attestation Papers indicate that he worked as a Millhand (Cottons) with J. Brook Bros Ltd. A bit of research and I found out that Jonas Brook and Brothers was a silk mill complex in Meltham that employed over 1,000 workers during that time.

He was a member the 1/5th Battalion, The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment).  Regimental Number: 1985.

The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment) (Territorial Force) was mobilized on August 4 1914 at Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, later that month the troop was deployed to coastal defences near Hull and Grimsby.  On November 5 1914 it moved to Doncaster in billets and the regiment was assigned to the 147th (2nd West Riding) Brigade in the 49th (West Riding) Division in April 1915 for service on the Western Front, they served together until the Armistice in November 1918.

They were gearing up to take their place in history in what is now known as The Battle of Aubers Ridge (May 9-10 1915), which was a disastrous attack that cost 11,000 British casualties for no material gain: it was a supporting operation to a much larger French attack.

The British attack was to be launched by General Sir Douglas Haig’s First Army. It was intended to attack on two fronts, to the North and South of Neuve Chapelle, with the hope that the two attacking forces could meet up behind the German front lines. Haig had requested extra artillery to increase the strength of the 40 minute bombardment planned for the morning of 9 May, but all available artillery reserves had been sucked into the fighting at the second battle of Ypres, still raging just to the north.

From the army records I obtained, we know that on April 14 1915 The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment) embarked for France and Flanders, landing at Boulogne. After which they traveled through Estaires in intense cold.

The War Diaries report that on April 16 1915, 2 days after disembarking, breakfast was late as the cook crew had a tough time recovering from the night prior.  They marched off around 10:00 a.m., the road was very bad.  Orders were given that every man must have a new pair of boots before they go out – they were only issued a few days before they left Doncaster.

At Estaires on April 19 1915 there was some reported shelling & artillery action.

On April 21 1915, some German shells were noted to have hit the trenches and an order was received to move to billets.

On April 28 1915 a shell hit 4Q, there were reported casualties.  The next day, a report was received from another trench that the enemy had been heard under his trench mining.

There was rain in the trenches and some shelling according to the War Diaries.  This coincides with the reports of the battle that heavy rain on May 6 and dense mist on May 7 caused a French postponement of the main attack; it would now go in on May 9 and the subsidiary attacks would happen at the same time, not a day later in accordance with the original strategy.

May 9 was a fine, sunny day.  The Battle of Aubers went ahead.  It was fought over the same ground as the battle of Neuve Chapelle, 10-13 March 1915.

 

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From this map you can see that 49th Div, 147th Brigade is not on the 1st line, but, they are near La Boutillerie

Except from the troop diaries:

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May 9 1915:  

South of Fleurbaix:  

4:45 a.m. – artillery bombardment of enemy lines directed at Fromelles Ridge.  Batt’n in dug out move between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. from derelict houses

11:10 a.m. enemy shelled Fleurbaix, no 2945 Pte Prier slightly wounded

At 4:30 p.m. an HE (high explosive) shell burst among men of D Company @ Croix Marechal killing 4 and wounding 4.  The struggles of the 13th London Rgmt & East Lanes came in and stayed night bringing with them  “depressing and highly coloured accounts of action”.  

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May 10 1915:  4:35 p.m.  Nine shells fired at Fleurbaix.  Batt’n still in dugout.

The British attack on 9 May was a total failure. The Germans had greatly strengthened their lines around Neuve Chapelle after they had been overrun during Neuve Chapelle, and the British artillery bombardment was simply not heavy enough to destroy the new German lines.  The British troops went over the top early on the morning of 9 May and were cut down by German machine gun fire. No significant progress was made, and early on 10 May Haig ended the offensive. The British suffered 11,000 casualties in one day of fighting on a narrow front.

George came through that battle.  The British casualties in the Northern pincer on 9 May 1915 were  as follows:

  • 8th Division: 4,682 of which 192 officers
  • 49th (West Riding) Division: 94 of which 2 officers
  • 7th Division: 25 of which 1 officer

We are going to fast forward a few months.  In October 1915 – the troop is stationed at Canal Bank, North of Ypres taking over from the 1/8 West Yorks.  There was considerable activity with the enemy (trench mortars and bombs).  There was some 50 casualties of the 4th battalion after a bombardment by the Germans.

November 1915:

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If you find the diaries difficult to read, I’ve transcribed them for you:

Nov 1:  Much rain, transport mules fell into a trench in chateau grounds late during the evening.  Endeavoured for 2 hours to dig them out, one died meanwhile and the other had to be shot.

Nov 2:  Usual working parties at night

Nov 3:  Relieved at chateau by 8th Rifle Brigade.  This battalion relieved the 6th West Riding Regiment in Brigade Reserve in Farms left sector.  Coys were disposed as follows:  A – West Bank of Canada new bridge 6D, B Coy (company) dug outs at Hulls Farm, C Coy dug out at Modder Farm & Saragossa, D Coy Pelissier Farm Batton Headquarters Malakoff Farm.

Nov 4:  In occupation of farms.  Carried rations and stores for 6th W.R.R. in trenches

Nov 5:  In occupation of farms.  B Coy (company) shelled at Hulls Farm 1 casualty, 1 platoon removed to Malakoff.  

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Nov 30 1915: Summary of casualties for the month of November  ….. “Other ranks – killed by shell – 3”  Total casualties for the month 73

That one casualty as a result of B Company being shelled was my great grand uncle,  Pte George Lee. He is buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery, a British military cemetery located in the Belgian village of Boezinge, a town in Ypres . There are 1,643 dead commemorates, of whom 40 could not be identified. Boezinge made up the largest part of the war in the area occupied by the Allies, just opposite the German lines across the Ieper league between Ypres and the Iron . There are 1622 British, 15 Canadians, 2 South Africans and 4 Germans (1 of which are not identified). 

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Imperial War Graves Commission – Pte Lee’s headstone inscription, “HE SLEEPS WITH THE GLORIOUS DEAD THAT WE MIGHT LIVE”

I haven’t been able to locate any photos of him.  I wish their war records came with their military photo.  I am going to try and connect with some of my extended family who still live in England to see if they may have some.

I have a photo of his brother (my great grand father), Joseph Lee.

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Joseph Edward Lee (left) & friend (right)

Which oddly, I have his photo but cannot locate ANY war documents for him … at all.   This photo was given to me stating that it was a photo of “Joseph Lee & friend”.  I wonder, is that other gentleman in uniform really a friend?  Maybe it’s his brother George? They are both wearing WWI British military uniforms and were enlisted at around the same time I assume.  Does anyone have any other ideas how I can identify the man on the left in this photo or have any other source to locate Joseph Lee’s military records?  I’ve search Ancestry.ca high and low, I’ve searched Google, Forces War Records, The UK National Archives, and nothing.  I figure if he has a British uniform on, he has to at least have enlisted, even if he didn’t go to war, and every one who enlists at the very least must have a military file.  Any other thoughts would be appreciated!

Thank you kindly in advance, and I hope you enjoyed the read as much as I enjoyed working on the story and writing about it!

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. / At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.”

End Note:

George Victor Lee’s death is noted in the article, Shady Row, Meltham Mills

At least three men from Shady Row were killed in action during the First World War:

  • Private Joseph Crabtree of Shady Row was “killed instantly by a shell while stretcher bearing at the Front”

  • Private George Lee of 3 Shady Row, serving in the 5th Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, was killed in action by a shell on 4 November 1915

  • Private W. Stokes (aged 21), son of F.W. and Rosa Stokes, of 11, Shady Row, was killed on 3 September 1916

Namaste

T xo

 

On Genealogy: My Relation to the First Colonist to New France. The First Documented Marriage Between a French Settler& Native American Woman and My relation to Louis Joliet the French Explorer

I can be quite obsessive at times.  My latest past time is genealogy – I’ve been working on my family tree for years – but now I obsessively work on it, almost daily.  My interest is both historical and philosophical:  Where do I come from?  How am I here?  literally and figuratively.

I think people have a basic desire to know where they came from and how they got to where they are today.  The knowledge that my ancestors had great inner strength is a powerful motivator for trying to understand my place in the world.  I mean if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today typing these words.

I look at genealogy as history on a personal scale. It’s truly a journey of many lifetimes and lifelines from the past to the present and onto the future.  It’s about discovering your heritage, creating a story about your family and leaving the most amazing legacies for future generations.  At this stage of their lives, my children really don’t give a hootenanny about our roots, an in all honesty nor did I at their ages, but, as I’ve aged and gone through life experiences I wondered more and more.

Some lines I have been able to trace them back to the 1500/1600’s -> back to England and France, then who came to settle the New World.  As a result, and through different lines I am part Algonquin in different lines, and therefore Métis.  One of my ancestors was a Filles du roi – Kings Daughters.  I have a relative who was an explorer and helped to  chart the mighty Mississippi River.   Family who founded the eastern parts of the US, while others who lived in Salem Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials.  I had a great uncle who was KIA in the Great War.  I have my great grandfather’s and my grandfather’s military records and their units war diaries, I have been able to track them through their battles in both WWI and WWII.  I’ve found my grandmother’s arrival records on the Aquitania from when she arrived in Canada in 1946 as a War Bride.  I’ve found so many interesting things in my family history on both sides, down all 4 lines … It makes it all that more interesting when you know you have a personal connection to these people.

A few weeks ago I submitted my DNA to Ancestry (the genealogy website I am using to work on my family tree).  Genetic genealogy, is a way for people interested in family history to go beyond what they can learn from relatives or from historical documentation. Examination of DNA variations can provide clues about where a person’s ancestors might have come from and about relationships between families. They’ve confirmed it being received – now, all I have to do is wait patiently for another 6-8 weeks (it took them about 4 weeks to acknowledge receiving it) for the results.  Stay tuned!

We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted. Each of us contains within this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise. – Edward Sellner

I have so many cool things to share with you all, but today I am going to share the story of my relation to one of the founders of our great nation – (Canada, for those of you reading this in another country).  Now, I can only be a certain percentage proud of this, since no European actually “discovered” North America – the natives were here long before any European or otherwise made their claims.

Ok, put on your history caps folks – we are going to take a trip back to the 1600’s.  I bet you don’t remember much about grade school history – but you may recall a bit about some of the explorers like Jacques Cartier, Louis Frontenac or Étienne Brûlé, maybe you remember the name of the famous French explorer, Samuel de Champlain who founded Québec City? Now, the super cool thing is that I do.  Being French Canadian – we learned all about this stuff in elementary school, and I’m sure if I dig hard enough through my boxes of childhood memories I have stuff on learning this – we learned about Les Premiers Colons, Marguerite Bourgeoys, les Amerindians, les seigneuries, les Jésuites.  And yes, I most certainly remember learning about Samuel de Champlain and les premiers colons.

thumb_01_Olivier LeTardif    The first of my ancestors to come to la Nouvelle France/New France was a contemporary of Champlain’s. Olivier Le Tardif (sometimes spelled just Tardif), he was my 12th great-grandfather in the Lamothe line — but I can also trace him back in the Duchesne line via his son Guillaume.

w200.4200 A bit about Le Tardif:  (abt 1603-1665), the son of Jean Le Tardif and Clemence Houart, born at Estables, a seaside village on St. Brieuc Bay, in Brittany, France.   He embarked at Honfleur on May 24, 1618, onboard a ship of the Company of the merchants which was bringing back Samuel de Champlain to the colony. Le Tardif became the interpreter for Champlain in the languages of the Huron, Algonquin and les Montagnais. When Québec capitalizes, it is Le Tardif, elected by Samuel de Champlain, who gives the keys of the city to the brothers Louis and Thomas Kirke.

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First Settlers to New France/ Premier Colons de la Nouvelle France

While Olivier Le Tardif is the general clerk of the Compagnie des Cent-Associés/Hundred-Associates in Québec, and while his 1st wife,  Louise Couillard is still alive, he adopts Marie-Olivier Manitouabe8ich who is first documented Native America to marry a French settler – she marries Martin Prévost, in 1644 — now this is where it gets good —- she is also my ancestor from another line! You’ll have to read on for that relation.

Sticking to this story – it’s from Le Tardif’s second marriage on May 21 1648 to Barbe Émard/Aymard (while he was back in France) from which I descend.  Barbe was the widow of Gilles Michel.  Olivier’s first wife , Louise Couillard,  died seven years earlier.  He brought his new bride to Château Richer to live.  They had three children together.

I actually descend from TWO of their children as these lists show BUT on TWO different sides of my family – my maternal grand-mother and my maternal grand-father’s sides (who ended up marrying one another!)

Olivier LE TARDIF (abt 1604-1665) + Barbe ÉMARD (1625-1659)

Gen 1: Barbe Delphine LE TARDIF (1649-1702) + Jacques CAUCHON DIT LAMOTHE (1635-1685)

Gen 2: Jean Cauchon + Anne Bollard

Gen 3: Francois Cauchon dit Lamothe + Marie Francois Houde

Gen 4: Francois Cauchon dit Lamothe +Marie Laroche Rognon

Gen 5: Pierre Lamothe + Marie Anne Senet

Gen 6: Magloire Lamothe + Seraphine Gauthier

Gen 7: Joseph Lamothe + Marie Louise Charron

Gen 8: Emile LAMOTHE + Marcella Houle

Gen 9: Clifford LAMOTHE + Desneiges Duchesne

Gen 10: Mona Lamothe + Patrick RICHARDS

Gen 11: MOI — Tina RICHARDS

 

-AND-

 

Olivier LE TARDIF (abt 1604-1665) + Barbe ÉMARD (1625-1659)

Gen 1: Guillaume LE TARDIF (Jan 30 1656) + Marie Marguerite GAUDIN (Mar 1665-?)

Gen 2: Charles TARDIF + Marie Genevieve Le Roy

Gen 3: Jean Roch TARDIF + Marie Louise Grenier

Gen 4: Jean Baptiste TARDIF + Marie Felicite Rancourt

Gen 5: Brigitte Tardif + Charles BINET

Gen 6: Philomène Genevieve Binet  + Charles BINET

Gen 7: Philomène Adelphine Binet+ Honore TRUDEL

Gen 8: Leda Trudel + Mederic Duchesne

Gen 9: Palma DUCHESNE + Laurette Allard

Gen 10: Desneiges Duchense + Clifford LAMOTHE

Gen 11: Mona Lamothe + Patrick RICHARDS

Gen 12: MOI – Tina RICHARDS

Now to add to this story and where these lines intersect and cross further.

Roch Manitouabeouich was a Native who worked as a scout and interpreter for Olivier Le Tardif, who as we know was an agent for Samuel de Champlain representing la Compagnie des Cent-Associés involved in the fur trade.  There is a heated debate whether he was Huron or Algonquin.  He was also a friend to Le Tardif.  As an Abenaki married to a Huron, it is likely that Manitouabeouich knew several native dialects, making him invaluable to Le Tardif who was himself an interpreter to Champlain and instrumental in expanding the fur trade in New France.  Roch Manitouabewich had been converted to Christianity by the French missionaries. The baptismal ritual included the given Christian name of Roch, in honour of Saint Roch, the patron saint of dogs, falsely accused people, bachelors, and several other things.

Roch and his wife, Oueou Outchibahanouk. had a daughter,  the Jesuits baptized the baby girl with the name Marie and according to the records, Marie was an “Algonquin Manitouabe8ich Abenaquis”. Le Tardif became Godfather to the baby girl, and in accordance with the custom of the times, Le Tardif gave the girl his own name of Olivier. In addition to the name Marie Olivier, the Jesuit missionary performing the baptism gave the girl the name Sylvestre, meaning “one who comes from the forest” or “one who lives in the forest”. (Thwaites, The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, volume 11: 1610-1791)  http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/relations/relations_01.html

When Marie Olivier Sylvestre was ten years old, Olivier Le Tardif adopted the young Indian girl as his very own daughter but she never carried the family name of LeTardif. This enabled her to be educated and reared in the same manner as a well-to-do French girl. First he placed her as a “live-in boarder” and student with the Ursuline Nuns at Quebec, and later he boarded her with a French family (Sieur Guillaume Hubou) where she was privately tutored. Marie Olivier Sylvestre met and married Martin Prévost, friend of the Hubou family and a very personal friend of Olivier LeTardif. This marriage was to be the first marriage of record between a Native girl and a French colonist mentioned in Canadian historical records.  The marriage took place in 1644 in Quebec. Recorded as witnesses to the ceremony were Olivier LeTardif and Quillaume Couillard, Le Tardif’s father in-law.

Olivier Le Tardif died at Château Richer in 1665 after a period of premature senility.  He le-tardiff-plaquehad moments of lucidity to the very end.  He was buried January 28 under the church of Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle in Château Richer.

Marie had 9 children with her husband Martin Prévost. Three of their children died in 1661 – Ursule, Marie Madeleine, 6 and her brother Antoine, 4 died on the same day –  March 16, 1661. Marie died at 37 years old after giving birth to her last child Therese. Her Marriage certificate to Martin Prévost indicates that she was born in Huron territory, Sillery. There are no records of the death of her parents.

Martin Prévost was one of the pioneers of Beauport near Quebec; b. 1611, son of Pierre Prévost and Charlotte Vien, of Montreuil-sur-le-Bois-de-Vincennes (now Montreuil-sous-Bois), near Paris; d. 26 Jan. 1691 at Beauport.   Prévost’s presence at Quebec is referred to in the documents of the notary Piraube as early as the year 1639.

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So, this is how I descend from the 1st documented marriage between a Franc settler to the new colony and a Native is as follows — follow along carefully because the lines cross here too!

  1. Roch Abenaki Manitouabeouich + Outchibahabanouk Oueou
  2. Marie-Olivier-Sylvestre Manitouabeouich. + Martin Prévost
  3. Jean-Baptiste Prévost + Marie Anne Giroux
  4. Catherine Prévost + Charles Petitclerc
  5. Charles Petitclerc + Marguerite Meunier
  6. Joseph Trudel + Magdelaine Langlois
  7. Joseph Trudel + Josephine Proteau
  8. Honore Trudel + Philomène Adelphine Binet
  9. Leda Trudel + Mederic Duchesne
  10. Palma Duchesne + Laurette Allard
  11. Desneiges Duchesne + Clifford Lamothe
  12. Mona Lamothe + Patrick Richards
  13. MOI – Tina Richards

Now, if you’re following along, you’re understanding how really cool these connections to history are and how the early lines of my ancestors are crossing … but let’s take it one step further even …

Until his death, we find Martin Prévost settled at Beauport as an “habitant,” or farmer. Prévost had had at least nine children by his first wife, Marie-Olivier-Sylvestre Manitouabeouich and we know she passed away shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Therese. He was married a second time in 1665, to Marie d’Abancourt, the widow of Jean Jolliet and of Gefroy Guillot.

From her marriage to Jean Jolliet, she had a child Louis.  Is the name Louis Joliet sounding at all familiar?  Well it should, this is the explorer I was telling you about!

In 1673, Joliet embarked on an expedition with Jacques Marquette, a missionary and linguist, to be among the first Europeans to explore what was called by Native Americans the “Mesipi” river and ascertain where it led to, with hopes of finding a passage to Asia. After meeting in the Michilimackinac region, the men started their journey by canoe on May 17, 1673, to what would be known as the Mississippi River.

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While Hernando De Soto was the first European to make official note of the Mississippi River by discovering its entrance in 1541, Jolliet and Marquette were the first to locate its upper reaches, and travel most of its length, about 130 years later.

Jolliet’s acclaim as an explorer was diminished somewhat when his records and maps were destroyed at the end of his trip. Anxious to reach Montreal, Jolliet decided to shoot the rapids of Lachine on the St. Lawrence instead of portaging around them. His canoe was toppled over, killing the Chief’s son and was rescued after clinging to a rock –  all records of the mission were lost. Although he later produced another report and map from memory, much of the detail was missing. Thus, Marquette’s journal became the accepted authority on the trip.

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A statue of the famed explorer and Joliet namesake, Louis Joliet guards the entrance to the Joliet Public Library Main Branch

Joliet’s main legacy is most tangible in the Midwestern United States and Quebec, mostly through geographical names, including the cities of Joliet, IllinoisJoliet, Montana; and JolietteQuebec (founded by one of Jolliet’s descendants, Barthélemy Joliet.

So how is that for a little piece of family history?  Who said history or genealogy is boring?  

Do any of you have any cool family connections or of historical significance?  I’d really be interested in hearing some …

Namaste

T  xo

 

 

 

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‘Black My Story’ taken from the album ‘One Bright Day’ (1989) by Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers.

 

Namaste

T xo