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I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me. Donations of pre-1920 photographs are also most welcome. I hope you enjoy your visit!
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Friday, November 9, 2012

The Adorable Swain Sisters, Roland, Manitoba, 1908




These adorable sisters are identified as Marjorie D. H. Swain, 2 years 3 months, and Ruth M . J. Swain 7 months, August 9th 1908.  This real picture postcard was mailed to Mrs. Matt. Emerson, Port Perry, Ontario.  The message reads:

Aug 20 1908,

Dear Martha
This is the latest of the children and I think it is your turn to get one.  We enjoyed a visit from Waldo over Sunday, he is looking well.  Hope the rest of you are the same. Love from Dora.

The two girls are probably the daughters of Ontario-born William E. Swain and his second wife Dora Ellen Swain.  William's fourteen-year-old son, Newton E. William Swain, appears with Margy D. H. Swain and her parents in the 1906 Canada Census1. Dora was only 26 years old, so it is highly unlikely that she is Newton's mother.  At the time the family lived in Roland, Manitoba. 

Five years later, the Swains can be found in St. Paul's Township in Manitoba where four-year-old Ruth Swain makes her first appearance in the census.  Newton is not living at home any longer2.

The local history book with the very long title, Trails of the Pioneers. Records, Accounts, Historical Studies, Data, Reports, Letters of the Section of Manitoba, Canada Lying Southwest of Winnipeg in the Red River Valley and Centered on the Town of Roland, Manitoba  by George Henry Hambley, has a little bit of information about the Swain family.  First, on page 289, there is a brief listing of events for 1909 which simply says, "March 27, Newton Swain died, spinal meningitis from arrow in eye."  This likely explains why Newton does not appear with his family in the 1911 Census.  Then, on page 89 we learn that Mr. W. E. Swain arrived in Roland in 1899.  He seems to have been a farmer, harness-maker, carpenter and real estate/insurance salesman.  According to the author, Mr. Swain was born "on the shores of Lake Scugog in Ontario."  There is a also a picture of W.E. Swain in the church choir on page 129.

I haven't been able to trace the girls after 1911, except for the following gravestone information I found for a Marjorie D. H. (Swain) Thorarinson, who died 23 February 1937 and is buried in Elfros Cemetery, Saskatchewan.  Her birth date is identical to our Marjorie.  I suspect she is our Marjorie, though work would have to be done to confirm this.



1 "Canada Census, 1906," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KHJJ-RJW : accessed 01 Nov 2012), Margy D H Swain in entry for William E Swain, 1906.
2 1911 census of Canada, St. Pauls West, Selkirk, Manitoba, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 22, subdistrict St. Pauls West, p.1 (penned), dwelling 10, family 10, William Swain family, digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed Nov 1, 2012), citing microfilm LAC microfilm T-20326 to T-20460.

1 comment:

  1. There is a Ruth Maude Swain, who married a Henry John Matheson in 1926 in Brandon, Manitoba. She might be your girl, but they both disappear after that.

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