Pier 21

From the Champlain Society — Witness to Yesterday podcast series, A History of Immigrant Arrivals through Pier 21 in Halifax.

Listen to an interview of Steve Schwinghamer, the co-author along with Jan Raska of Pier 21: A History published by the University of Ottawa Press.

Between 1928 and 1971, Pier 21 was the main gateway for immigrants arriving in Canada.  It’s now the site for the Canadian Museum of Immigration. The author is a historian in the Exhibitions, Research and Collections department of the Museum.

Check out other episodes in the Witness to Yesterday series at https://champlainsociety.utpjournals.press/podcast

More on Courts Martial 1851-1901: J Hopkins

Of the 33 men listed as serving with Canadian units in the WO 90 Courts Martial database at https://www.amymilnesmith.com/court-martial-records four received sentences of 10 years penal servitude. Two, serving with the Canadian Mounted Rifles in South Africa, were convicted of assisting the enemy. The date of the sentence is 13 June 1900. It’s likely only part of the sentence was served, perhaps at Pretoria, perhaps in the UK.

Private J Hopkins was sentenced for “assisting enemy with arming by allowing Boer Burghers in arms to retain rifles.”  According to a brief mention in Painting the Map Red by Carman Miller, Hopkins and a colleague William Pearce caught a group of Boer’s, took their rifles and then sold them back to them!

There are identical short paragraphs in the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Journal on 8 August 1900 giving his background. An article in the Globe on the same date adds that he was “well known in Toronto. He belonged to a local volunteer corps and afterwards joined the Canadian Dragoons. He had been two years in that corps when he enlisted in the Canadian Mounted Rifles for service in South Africa.”

His claim for a service medal and clasps was rejected in 1905.

His service file shows he was John Alexander Hopkins, a steam fitter who enlisted in Toronto on 26 December 1899 giving his age as 24 and next of kin his brother, Thomas S Hopkins.

There’s a 13 January 1876 birth registration for John Alexander Hopkins, son of George Hopkins and Sarah Sophia Scripture in Whitby, Ontario.

His father died on 16 October 1878.

In the 1881 census, for Toronto, there’s a household with W.H. Scripture 24, Elizbth. Hopkins 56, Sarah Hopkins 30 (Widow), Thos. Hopkins 8, Harrie Hopkins 6, John Hopkins 5, George Hopkins 3.

His mother died on 22 January 1898.

An Ancestry contributed family tree links to a US WW1 Draft Card for John A Hopkins in Lincoln County, Nebraska, USA, birth date 13 Jan 1876.

The same tree shows a US Social Security claim for John Alexander Hopkins, birth date: 13 Jan 1876, birthplace: Ontario, Canada, father: George W Hopkins, mother: Sarah Sophia, SSN: 520073560 and a June 1937 note confirming his name. The SSN Area Number 520 indicates issued in Wyoming.

Checking Ancestry’s collection with a US focus shows a death registration index record for John Alexander Hopkins, accidental death at age 74 on 17 July 1950 in  Lusk, Niobrara, Wyoming, USA.  He is in the same place in the 1930 and 1940 census, single, entry into the US shown as 1910, living as a lodger/border with Mary M. McGinnis, occupation painter/odd jobs.


Ancestry Updates Welsh County BMBs

Welsh Anglican Church records of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials have been updated on Ancestry — no indication of whether major or minor.

Anglesey, 1547-1994, 765,848 records
Brecknockshire, 1538-1994, 614,954 records
Denbighshire, 1556-1994, 1,657,612 records
Glamorganshire, 1570-1994, 2,969,215 records

The Ancestor Hunt Updates Ontario Newspaper Links

Kenneth R Marks updated his Ontario newspaper listing, as of 5 July 2021, at https://theancestorhunt.com/blog/ontario-online-historical-newspapers-summary/ .

Most of the new material is from Canadiana.ca. The papers with more than 100 issues added are —

Location Newspaper Issues
Athens The Athens Reporter (1915-1922 or 1923) 279
Athens The Athens reporter & County of Leeds advertiser (1889-1915) 1092
Atwood The Bee (1890-1924?) 100
Belleville The Weekly Ontario and Bay of Quinte chronicle (1913-1921) 367
Brantford Brantford Daily Courier (1913-1918_ 1554
Goderich Huron signal (1848-1890) 1460
Guelph Guelph Evening Mercury (1867-1875 or 1876) 1509
Hamilton Hamilton Times (1892-1912) 592
Kingston Queen’s University journal (1893- 191-) 234
Kingston Queen’s College journal (1873-1893) 177
Listowei Listowel Standard (1878-1882) 233
London London Evening Advertiser (1922-1936) 262
London The London evening free press (1911-1978) 120
London London Advertiser (1880-1922) 114
Mildmay The Mildmay gazette (1895-1957) 620
St. Catherines The Evening journal (1859-1920) 170
Toronto The Weekly Mail (1872-1880) 300
Toronto The Toronto world (1880 or 1881-1921) 2206
Toronto The Knox College monthly and Presbyterian magazine (1887-1896) 103
Toronto The Toronto weekly mail (1880-1895) 103
Waterdown The Waterdown Review (1918-1977?) 298
Watford Watford Guide-Advocate (1906-1925) 845

This Week’s Online Genealogy Events

Choose from free online events in the next five days. All times are ET except as noted. Those in red are Canadian, bolded if local to Ottawa. Assume registration in advance is required; check so you’re not disappointed.

Tuesday 6 July, 2 pm:  Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library. https://ottawa.ogs.on.ca/events/.

Tuesday 6 July, 2:30 pm: Organizing Your Research with OneNote, by Sherri Camp for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. https://acpl.libnet.info/event/5310360

Tuesday 6 July, 10 pm: Death is not the end – litigation remains: Exploring Australian wills and probate, by Cathie Sherwood for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=1603

Wednesday 7 July, 1 pm: Politics and Pills: An 1820 Medical Bill Uncovers a Fascinating Family History, by Caroline Gurney for Lennox and Addison Museum. https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nvDOsMBkSqyDnM-1orE-HQ

Wednesday 7 July, 2 pm: Grandpa’s Eyes and Grandma’s Hair: Tracing the Origin of Physical Traits with Genetic Genealogy, by Paul Woodbury for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=1634

Wednesday 7 July, 7:30 pm: The Forgotten Legend: The Life Story of John Wilson McLaren O.S.A. Canadian Artist, Illustrator & Actor, by  Shawn Henshall for Huron Branch OGS. https://huron.ogs.on.ca/events/july-webinar-huron-co-branch-the-forgotten-legend-the-life-story-of-john-wilson-mclaren-o-s-a-canadian-artist-illustrator-actor-shawn-henshall/

Thursday 8 July, 6:30 pm: Learning to Use The Genealogy Center Catalog, by Allison DePrey Singleton for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. https://acpl.libnet.info/event/5310491

Thursday 8 July, 7 pm: Tracing 20th Century Ontarians, by Janice Nickerson for OGS. https://ogs.on.ca/zoom-meetings/july-webinar-janice-nickerson/

Saturday 10 July: Scottish Indexes Conference XI/ First session starts at 2 am, second at 10am. Optional donation to defray expenses. https://www.scottishindexes.com/


19 – 26 September 2021: BIFHSGO Conference. Irish Lines and Female Finds: Exploring Irish records, female ancestors and genetic genealogy. www.bifhsgo2021.ca/.

Military Monday: British Courts Martial 1851-1901

One of the interesting resources on the website of Wilfrid Laurier University History Prof Amy Milne-Smith is an excel document with transcriptions of all Courts Martial (CM) from the WO 90/3 and WO 90/4 series at the National Archives in London 1851-1901.

The more than six thousand cases indexed include date, rank, name, regiment, location of CM, charge, sentence and any remittances. 

The 656 locations where the proceedings occurred give insight into the scope of colonial military activities. The top ten locations where CM occurred are:

Place Count of Courts Martial
Ladysmith 291
Halifax 251
Malta 218
Gibraltar 211
Montreal 162
Quebec 157
Port Louis 130
King William’s Town 108
Toronto 87
Colombo 73

In total more of these were in South Africa and India than Canada (as now constituted). The Royal Artillery accounted for a larger number than any other regiment.

While the transcriptions are raw there’s lots of potential for research, for individuals as I’ll illustrate in a couple of posts, and for social/military history.

Another source linked from Amy Milne-Smith’s website is a series of nearly 40 military diaries available online, most for the second half of the 19th century. One, Wolseley, Garnet J. The Story of a Soldier’s Life v. 2, 1903,  has the most extensive coverage of service in Canada.

Canadiana.ca Serials Update

156 serials were added to the Canadiana.ca collection in June. The additions consist of annual reports, almanacs and directories from the mid to late 19th century.

It’s an eclectic mix. Along with various 30-page annual reports,  like the Annual report of the Orphans’ Home of the City of Ottawa : Thirty-Third (1896/97) consisting of lists of volunteers and donors, is a 150-page Report of the … annual meeting of the Supreme Grand Lodge, Sons of England Benefit Society,  and 4-page document of the Sackville Cricket Club Literary Society.

See the full list formatted as a web page by clicking here.

Ancestry Games

I received an email from Ancestry.ca offering a 6-month membership at 40% discount. For the complete, World Deluxe 6-month membership the offer was $77.99 Cdn SAVE 40% off $129.99,

I’d provide the link but I’ve been trapped before mentioning an email offer only to find out it was exclusive to the addressee!

Interestingly the offer at Ancestry.ca is $129.99 Cdn, SAVE $50.

You can often get a good price by calling and negotiating. It’s part of the game. You play better if you know what’s been offered to others.

Another part of the game is the terminology.  Are you a member or a subscriber? 

Member: one of the individuals composing a group

Subscriber: a person who pays to receive or access a service.

Do you feel the relationship with Ancestry is best described as a member or a subscriber?

Most people know to never let a membership/subscription renew automatically. Delete the credit card linked and soon after the expiration, you’ll get a renewal offer. Sometimes if you wait a few extra days you’ll get an even better offer. That’s not just a game Ancestry plays. Companies know it costs a lot less to get a previous subscriber back than to get a new one.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Opinion: The Britisher

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra offers its entire lockdown video archive for free streaming – with free registration.

We can’t work it out.

Why retrieving former residential school records has proved so difficult

Manitoba and Canada’s North-West: Founders and Builders
A timely latest Canadian Issues from the Association for Canadian Studies.

Survey of London: Histories of Whitechapel

Fold3 is offering free access to more than 100 million US Civil War records until July 18th.

TheGenealogist has added more than 327,300 individuals to their Irish Catholic Parish Record Collection for the County of Carlow along with a suite of Thom’s Official Directories covering Great Britain and Ireland.

Thanks to this week’s contributors:  Amy Milne-Smith, Anonymous, Gail Benjafield, Helen Billing, Judith H., Ken Hanson, Nick Thorne, Shannen Bulley, Teresa, Unknown.

Findmypast adds Manitoba Vital Records

Over 107,000 Manitoba birth index records from 1882 to 1922.  Included are first name(s), last name, gender, baptism year, place, date of birth, date of registration, registration number, father’s first name(s), father’s last name, father’s birth place, mother’s first name(s), mother’s last name, mother’s birth place, parent’s married, mother’s marital status and administrative information.

Father’s information is often lacking.

Over 56,000 Manitoba marriage index records from 1882 to 1940. Included are first name(s), last name, birth place, marriage place, marriage year, spouse’s first name(s), spouse’s last name, gender, date of marriage, registration number and administrative information.

Strangely, there is no search by marriage year or date.

Over 76,000 Manitoba death index records from 1882 to 1952. Included are first name(s), last name, gender, date of death, age at death, place, registration number, administrative information.


Last minute: Ken McKinlay

At this time of year, the pace of family history presentations slows. Get your genealogy hit today (Saturday 3 July) at 2 pm when Simcoe County Branch of OGS offers Chipping Away at the Brick Wall with Ken McKinlay.

We all have them, those road blocks that prevent us from finding out the answers to our family history research questions. Some of these brick walls are self-imposed due to assumptions we make and hold on to or our by our own preconceptions. Yet there are also those research brick walls not of our own creation. By using real-life examples we will look at various common brick walls and possible ways to work around them.

Register at https://simcoe.ogs.on.ca/branch-meetings/