Monday, 30 January 2017

Canadian Genealogy Twitter Treasures Issue 2

I know, pretty old school, kind of like newspaper cuttings that libraries used to do a long time ago.

But I just can't get over the feeling that I miss really neat things on Twitter.

My version of a Twitter bird
© Penny Allen
31 Jan.2017 | Issue 2

Every week or so I will share particularly Canadian content, but will bend the rules if it has a British spin, or an interesting immigrant story.

My interpretation of the tweet or retweet is added.

Grains West tweeted : 'Against the grain: the history of Alberta's United Farm Women'

Jonathan Koch RT an amazing effort by the Friends of Historical Northern Alberta Society FHNAS  to provide a 'History Check' app - an online historical map to the Northern Alberta. Includes spots of historical interest, things to see and do, eating venues etc. They also have a Facebook page -

Medicine Hat Archives tweeted a picture of the Murray Cattle Co. cattle and sheep crossing the ice on the South SK River - near Winnifred (March 1955).

AG of the World tweeted a picture : Loading wagons at the Sullivan Lake Coal Mine, Halkirk, Alberta, early 30s. Mining, farming, and ranching went hand in hand for many years here.

Andrea Eidinger tweeted 'CIUS Digital Archive Project website is launched' The Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies plans to digitize numerous publications in their collections.

Dalnavert Museum and Visitors' Centre of Winnipeg, Manitoba is a National and Provincial Heritage site as well as originally Sir John Macdonald's family home.

Teri Morin reports on Canadian history trivia : On January 25, 1688 – A plague took a heavy toll of lives at Fort Niagara. In addition - The Canadian who has been dodging death for 100 years.

The York Pioneers, Canada's oldest history society tweeted : Oil painting by Paul Kane depicting an Ojibwa camp on the shores of Georgian Bay on Lake Huron "Encampment Among The Islands Of Lake Huron"

Rural Diaries tweeted an excerpt : On This Day #OTD : 1861 "I work now from 5 o'clock in the morning till 10 in the evening and earn little more than nothing” Arthur E. Schulze

Images of Prairie Towns - Thousands of historical photos of Canadian prairie towns online. Found on Facebook, provided by Gail Dever @geneaalacarte

Did you Know - The Canadian Army Film Unit shot more than 1.5 million feet of footage during the Second World War... Tweeted by the Memory Project

Shocking! Morgue that embalmed many of Titanic's victims has been turned into a restaurant. RTd by National Genealogical Society and posted by Atlas Obscura. 


An important heritage home located in the centre of Calgary, the Lougheed House was once the home of Peter Lougheed's (Premier of Alberta 1971) grandfather, Senator James Lougheed.

Jonathan Koch @4gotten_alberta is an Alberta historian and is very active on Twitter. Follow him to learn all about prairie history with relevant historical photos. He received a Heritage Awareness award for his enthusiasm and determination to share historical information about the province.

Michael John Neill @mjnrootdig - Genealogy Tip of the Day - gives some very common sense genealogy guidance for finding elusive ancestors : Did your ancestor settle somewhere temporarily? As well, Did your Ancestor Go Missing?

More Twitter Treasures No. 1234, 5

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Canadian connections on Titanic

Watching the Titanic movie recently, I wondered whether there were any Canadian connections. I have to confess that I am somewhat infatuated with the stories of the passengers. It began while I was still of school age and saw a newspaper article about Edith Russell and her toy pig and immediately became hooked. Following is my research on a few passengers provided with a Disclaimer: I do not admit to being a Titanic expert, this is purely a personal interest article.

©British Library
There were 130 Canadian passengers on board Titanic bound for Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. In April 1912, 82 of those 130 passengers died and 48 people survived.

DICK  - Mr. Albert Adrian, aged 31 and Mrs.Vera Adrian (Gillespie), aged 17 from Calgary. 1st Class. Albert Dick was born in Winnipeg, however, after moving west he started a sawmill operation near Ponoka, Alberta and was doing well by 1904. His company built the Hotel Alexandra on 9 Avenue S.E. and the Dick Business Block on 8th Street S.E. Mr. and Mrs. Dick were married the same day the Titanic was launched -May 31, 1911. Thomas Andrews befriended the couple on the ship as he became aware of this unusual connection. Their home on 7th Street, S.W. Mount Royal in Calgary, Alberta still stands. They both survived.

FORTUNE -  1st Class. Mark Fortune born in Wentworth, Ontario. As a young man he was struck with the idea of making it rich in the U.S. gold rush and set off for San Francisco. Upon returning to Canada, he came to Manitoba at the time when, as a result of the Riel Rebellion, the Metis lost their land rights to the Canadian government. Fortune snapped up a huge land parcel close to the Assiniboia River. This was to prove to his advantage, as not much later a portion of his land was acquired for the building of Portage Avenue. Mark Fortune made his mark on the City of Winnipeg as a respected City Councillor and trustee of the Knox Presbyterian Church. He married Mary McDougald and their children were Robert, Clara, Ethel, Mabel, Alice and Charles. Upon Charles' graduation from university, Fortune decided to celebrate and took his family on a Grand Tour of Europe. Two children, Robert and Clara stayed behind as they were building their lives in British Columbia. Mary, Ethel, Mabel, Alice survived. Mark and Charles perished.

NORMAN - Robert Douglas, a 27 year old electrical engineer from Glasgow. 2nd Class. From correspondence, it was presumed he was going to visit his younger brother George Stanley in Vancouver. He is noted as playing the piano with Alfred Pain and Mrs. Weisz. His body was recovered with £5 and a pocket watch - he is buried in Fairview Cemetery Halifax. Recently, Norman's 'will' was discovered in the National Archives of Scotland - record no. SC70/4/439/463, which can be found on Scotlands People. In the NAS article, Susan NEWMAN is noted as his great-niece. Norman's watch is preserved at the National Maritime Museum. His brother George Stanley Norman is found on the 1911 Canadian census as employed at the City Office (presumably Vancouver City Office) and married to Anne. Both were born in 1886 and the census notes the year of immigration to Canada in 1909. Did not survive.

PAIN - 2nd Class. According to 'Titantic the Canadian Story', Alfred Pain was the youngest to graduate from University of Toronto medical school and was returning from King's College Hospital London after a year's residency. In the 'ebook' Voyagers of the Titanic he is mentioned as playing the flute in accompaniment to Douglas Norman and Mrs. Weisz. Did not survive.

PEUCHEN - Major Arthur Godfrey - 1st Class. The only Canadian millionaire aboard, was Major Peuchen was from Toronto. Being a well-heeled traveler, he booked a small modest cabin behind the purser's cabin. Survived.

WEISZ  - Mr Leopold - Bromsgrove, Eng. to Montreal PQ, aged 28, ornamental stonemason, 2nd Class, embarked at Southampton. His body was recovered with money secreted in the lining of his suit and coat. His residence is noted as Montreal and he is buried in the Baron de Hirsch cemetery. His wife, Mrs Leopold (Mathilde) aged 32, survived. Mrs. Weisz is mentioned as accompanying Douglas Norman and Alfred Pain in a musical performance on board.

WISEMAN - Mr. Phillipe to Quebec City PQ, aged 54. 3rd Class, Embarked at Southampton. According to Encyclopedia Titanica, it is not certain whether the man listed on the Titanic has been verified as from Quebec - he is noted as a 'jack-of-all trades' who traveled Europe on a spending spree. It was also noted that he was separated from his wife. 

Website: Encyclopedia Titanic 
Titanic the Canadian Story by Alan Hustak
Voyagers of the Titanic Passengers ('ebook'), Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From by Richard Davenport-Hines
Journal: Titanic Commutator

PS: If you didn't catch it in the first part of the article, the Toy Pig was donated to the National Maritime Museum in London. They were able to get the music box working so that now you can hear the song it may have played while on the Titanic!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

CEF WWI Soldier's Stories

Orpington Cemetery
© Penny Allen
Researching stories of men of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), I came across a curious collection on the internet. It appears to contain research about a small number of soldiers who served in the CEF.

This page - CEF WWI Soldier Blog gives a list of links to the men's histories who are listed below. It is my belief that the members of the CEF Study Group (see below) provided this information.

ALEXANDER, David Melville
GILL, Thomas
PETTY, Hubert Cyril
PRICE, George Lawrence
REGAN, Richard
SIMPSON, Edwin William

As an example, I have provided a link to William Laughton's history. Another page for William Laughton was found on this blog -
    This page is not 'signed' by the author, or dated, but from the content it appears to have been researched by Gerry Rempel who is a member of the Canadian Expeditonary Force Study Group. It was written in 2010 and covers information about Laughton's grave in Nelson, B.C.

Another resource I came across is Veterans of Southwestern Ontario published in January 2011 on a blog written by William Bruce Hillman. The last article he wrote was in 2014, but there are many articles of interest to those researching the Great War.

Internet Resources: Canada and the Great War  - This (Free) pdf is an article written by Glenn Wright dated 2014, where he shares a collection of links to online resources for researching Canadian WWI ancestors. Online Resources : Canada & the Great War provided by Mooreshead Magazines Ltd.
Perhaps this information will help someone 
with their First World War research! 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Canadian Genealogy Twitter Treasures

My version of a Twitter bird
© Penny Allen
What I learned on Twitter
15 Jan 2017 | Issue 1

I know, pretty old school, kind of like newspaper cuttings that libraries used to do a long time ago. But I just can't get over the feeling that I miss really neat things on Twitter. 

Every week or so I will share particularly Canadian content, but will bend 
the rules if it has a British spin, or an interesting immigrant story. 
My interpretation of the tweet or retweet is added.

Edmonton Area Land Trust tweeted images of a series of postcards that show historical views of Edmonton - some have been colour enhanced. Three series are displayed: Edmonton in the 19th and 20th Centuries; North Saskatchewan Rivers and Creeks; Pioneers and Homesteads of which there are a few depictions of rural life including a picture of oxen and plough titled: Farming in the Northwest Near Strathcona.  5 Jan.2017

Library and Archives Canada mentions Arrow Lakes Historical Society in a photo about a 162lb. sturgeon caught at Burton! ca.1910 DHCP images on Flickr

Using 'DNA databases' - a successful reunite story  'Search Angels', aka genealogists, find links for people who are searching for missing family. Tweet via Andrea Eidinger in BC. The links lead to Facebook pages where people can get in touch. 

Summerland Review newspaper highlighted a very brief article in December about being over 100 yrs in publication. The Summerland Museum holds an archive of the print newspaper from 1908 to date. No mention of online access.

The Manitoba Co-operator wrote an article on Dec.30th 2016 about the Manitoba Historical Society aim to preserve the histories of grain elevators in the province. On the MHS site, it's very easy to fill in an online form with details about an elevator and this information will then be used to create a database. Also called 'This Old Elevator'. A marvelous way to preserve the memories of elevators in a rural community as they were often the hub of activity in town.

The Canadian Fisherman - A monthly journal devoted to the commercial fisheries of Canada and Newfoundland. Includes science of fish, use of fish culture and value of fish products. F. William Wallace editor. Montreal, Toronto and St. Johns, N.F. Issue shown is Vol. IV Issue 1 1917, so surmise that Vol. I Issue 1 would be 1913.  3 Jan.2017

Lots of recognition of DHCP images on Twitter this week. This one of Renfrew Bottling Works of the Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives  7 Jan.2017

Lynde House tweeted On This Day, in 1833, Peter Perry (photo, founder of Whitby, ON) purchased 200 acres of land. 5 Jan.2017

Amusing picture of Porcupine Gold Rush parking lot circa 1908 via Karen Bachmann at Timmins MNEC Museum in Timmins, Ontario   5 Jan.2017

Remembering the Abolition of the Toll Gates of York County: December 31: Snapshots in History 3 Jan.2017

Small Museums RTweeted Vision Zero's post about a Bicycle map of Montreal from 1897(!) via @copenhagenize

Dr. Paul Hebert  RTweeted a post by Siusaidh Chaimbeul about a fire that killed children at Montreal's Laurier Palace in the 1920s which resulted in children not being allowed in movie houses for decades afterwards.

Dan Panneton, historian highlights pictures of Chinese, which he is sure are the first photographs he's seen. This post comes via McCord Museum and is titled: 'McDonald's nursemaid and children, Montreal, QC, 1867'. Could this be pertaining to John A. McDonald, 1st Canadian Prime Minister?  9 Jan.2017
More Twitter Treasures No. 1, 2, 3, 4

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Rural Schools Vulcan County Alberta

Map of Heritage Schools 1909/1961
Lomond, AB (Vulcan County) © Penny Allen
Did your ancestors attend a rural school in Alberta? Historical societies in this province have worked very hard to preserve their history. This post highlights Vulcan and District Historical Society's work. There's more information about what types of records they hold in this article. A future post will highlight other heritage schools in the province.

On the Vulcan County History blog, a number of pages highlights the Vulcan and District Historical Society Archives Committee and Norma J. Aldred's work to identify rural school houses in Vulcan County. As noted by the author of the blog, Cody Shearer, 'I’d like to sincerely thank the Vulcan and District Historical Society Archives Committee for their hard work and research on the rural schools. They have been an integral part of the Vulcan County History Blog and the articles can now serve as historical resources for the people of Vulcan County forever. Thank you!'

Most, if not all, the schools have a separate entry on the blog which gives a description and a small history which was recounted by a local who had knowledge of the school. Some are noted here: Rolling Prairie School No.2422; Sunny Lake School No. 4123; Washington School No.1431Wilderman School No.1561Willard School No.2176Yale School No.1749Yetwood School No.2072.

Also, Norma published a book on behalf of the society which also highlights the histories of these schools in more depth. Summary:"This collection of facts and anecdotes about the small rural schools that existed from about 1904 to 1944 and their inhabitants from mainly within the area covered by the Vulcan County is only meant to give a brief overview of each one."-p.3.

Aldred, N.J. (2011) School Bells and children's yells : Vulcan County's pioneer schools. Vulcan and District Historical Society, Lethbridge, Alta. To purchase your copy email:

It doesn't stop there. Norma also published these great histories that centre around histories of Vulcan County. There must be ancestors names in them as well!

Aldred, N.J. (2014) Vulcan County Remembers. Vulcan and District Historical Society, Lethbridge, Alta.

___. (2012) Shadows of the Past Vulcan County Cemeteries. Vulcan and District Historical Society, Lethbridge, Alta.

___. (2011) More Than Just the Mail Vulcan County's Pioneer Post Offices. Vulcan and District Historical Society, Lethbridge, Alta.

___. (2011) School Bells and Children's Yells Vulcan County's Pioneer Schools. Vulcan and District Historical Society, Lethbridge, Alta.

If you'd like more information about Vulcan County's History, be sure to get in touch with the Vulcan and District Historical Society.

Update: On page Map and page 1007 of the Wheat Country : A History of Vulcan and District there is a map of all the School Divisions in Vulcan County compiled by Marjorie Weber.

Monday, 9 January 2017

First Tweets by Canadian Genealogists

Social media is such a great tool. Twitter is also great entertainment. While carousing through my feed, I came across Canadian Blog House's interesting tweet: I Got Trumped by Donald's first tweet. Of course, all about 'You Know Who' - but this is a genealogy blog not a political bandstand.

In her article she provides a link to 'First Tweet' which is on the Discover Twitter website.
'There's a first Tweet for everyone'. 

I thought it would be fun to see the first tweets posted by some of the genealogists I follow.

Of course, guess I should include mine . . . 

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Update to Canada at WDYTYA!

WDYTYA Live! at Olympia, London 2014
Stand Name: Canadian Genealogy
Confirmed Information: Stand 21 Hall 2

Thrilled to announce that in honour of Canada's 150th birthday and year long celebrations, the Ontario Genealogical Society and I will be working together to present Canadian genealogy to the crowds at the Who Do You Think You Are Live show in Birmingham on April 6, 7 & 8th.

As reported in the OGS E-weekly Update 7 Jan.2017:
© Penny Allen
     'We are inviting other Canadian genealogical societies and organizations to join us at the Show, where Penny will represent us to the thousands of attendees anticipated.      If you are interested in participating with us, please send an email to with WDYTYA in the subject line.  To find out more about the show, visit their website at 

Read my original article about the proposal -

Fabulous information about Ontario and Canadian genealogy is available from the Ontario Genealogical Society via their e-newsletter. It is free to sign-up

Please tweet to your Twitter followers, message your Facebook pals,
 chat about it at your society meetings. 
We'd appreciate your support!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

ACHESON former RCMP/RNWMP d.1953 Leicester

Serendipity Genealogy : one of my favourite hidden treasures are newspaper clippings, also known as press cuttings or affectionately as ephemera. A caveat is that some of those treasures, aka obituary clippings, were not recorded with the name of the newspaper or even a date.

This obituary notice has a connection in both Canada and England. Mr. ACHESON passed away in Leicester and was noted as a 'former member of RCMP, Ottawa, Ontario, and member of RNWMP, Veterans' Association, Vancouver, B.C.'

It provides a fair bit of information that is helpful in starting the search. Using directories, census records and a little bit of sleuthing on the internet, I discovered some interesting details about this member of the RCMP/RNWMP. Unusual that an RCMP officer passed away while in Leicestershire in the 1950s. Is it possible he was in England on official RCMP business, or merely visiting family?

On Find My Past, I found a death for John A ACHESON, b. 1893 d. 1953 age 60 (quarter 4). The district, Leicester, County, Leicestershire. Vol.3A, Pg.571. Although the clipping only indicates initials A.J., I am confident this is the same person.

Also on FMP, in the Directories Record Set, I found a Miss Amy ACHESON living at 9 Magazine Square in the Leicester Kelly's 1954 directory. Is it possible A.J. (John A.) was visiting his sister at the time of his death? There was also a George A. ACHESON listed as living at 83 South Kingston Road, TN (telephone no.) 75265. There were only two ACHESONs listed in this directory.

Magazine Square - picture of Magazine Square - described in Vanished Leicester as a residence of army personnel.

In the 1901 and 1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census on Find My Past, George ACHESON is listed with his family, Christina (wife), Amy (daughter), George Andrew (son), John Alexander (son), Eleanor (daughter) and Violet Edith (daughter). They were were living at 8 Magazine Square Leicester, Leicestershire, England. George Sr. is noted in the 1901 census as Sergeant Instructor and in the 1911 census as Army Pensioner Orderly Room Clerk 3rd Bn Leicestershire Regiment.

At some point, son John moved to Canada, as I found John A. ACHESON who travelled from New Brunswick on the Duchess of York to Liverpool on Feb.1933 on the immigration records on Find My Past. His intended address in the United Kingdom was shown as 9 Magazine Square, Leicester. In April he returned to Canada on the Duchess of Bedford giving his wife's name as Josephine and address as Manson Avenue in Toronto. His mother passed away in 1939, so it's possible that he travelled to visit her if she was ill at the time.

Although I did not find a result for John Alexander ACHESON on Find a Grave, there is a very brief mention of John A. ACHESON -S/G- Regiment No. 9615 1953, p.56 on the RCMP obituary card index database on I also trawled my way through The quarterly magazine obituaries, 1933-1979, v. 1-44 (this is not indexed by name) but was not able to find the relative page as indicated on the obituary notice.

During the research for this article in the BC Archives Genealogy Indexes, I also found another man, Alex ACHESON, who died in Vancouver 1972 aged 80. I'm fairly certain Alex (wife Edith) found in the 1952 Vancouver BC City Directory on 3098 W 33 St is not the same A.J. ACHESON as noted in the newspaper clipping. Perhaps there might be a family connection across the family pedigree chart?

Although I don't have a connection to the ACHESON family in any way, I was intrigued by this announcement of a former member of the RNWMP passing away in England.
It was a interesting research project - is this your family? 

Monday, 2 January 2017

UKCdnGenealogy Blog Debut 2016

What a marvellous year with huge thanks to many of my readers. I started my family history blog with a goal of providing genealogists in England with information about the many resources that are available in Canada.

Canadian 'Ask the Expert'
at the WSFHS (UK) day Nov.2016
In order to increase the awareness of where to find these resources, I joined the world of Twitter genealogists @pennysresearch and as a result my efforts were increased tenfold - what a fabulous marketing tool! I found very enthusiastic genealogists - learned about hashtags, ie: #genealogy, #ancestry, #familyhistory and many others. Another effective 'crowd-gathering' tool are the regular 'chat rooms' on Twitter #ancestryhour#genchat, These take place weekly or biweekly for about an hour where the conversation can range from posts about Scottish records, Yorkshire resources, emigration, slavery, DNA discussions and much, much more.

Overall my experience of writing has been very therapeutic, at the same time a constant and demanding work in progress. I am amazed by others' ability to post on a daily basis. Some of my Canadian genealogy favourites are Genealogy à la carte, Unwritten Histories, Brenda Dougall MerrimanCanada’s Anglo-Celtic ConnectionsOlive Tree GenealogyWayne Shepheard's blog, British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, Jane's Your Aunt. There are many, many others waiting for you to discover and learn more effective ways of genealogy searching.

On my blog, UKCdnGenealogy the most popular articles in 2016 are listed in order of rank:

1. Lethbridge, Alberta : Interviews of Pioneers conducted in the 1970s

12. Alberta Genealogy
Won't you join me for more
 unique Canadian discoveries in 2017?