Welcome!

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!
~The Archivist


Friday, June 29, 2012

Funeral Card Friday: In Loving Remembrance of Kirsti Karoline Halvorsen, 1872-1891



She was just nineteen years old.  Kirsti Karoline Halvorsen passed away on the 4th of November 1891,  one month and five days past her nineteenth birthday, which means her birth date, according to my Family Tree Maker calculator, was 30 September 1872.

I thought these two dates would assure me of success in finding our Kirsti in the censuses.  No such luck.  I am guessing Kirsti was of Norwegian descent and probably lived in the mid-west US.   We know that she was not married. While a residence is not provided on the card, there is a manufacturer's stamp on the reverse "George Mitchell, Fine Memorial Cards, Greenfield, Ind."

George Mitchell produced and sold cabinet card-sized memorial cards for quite a few years across the mid-west.  He would send a personalized, sample card to the next-of-kin of a deceased individual, using information found in newspaper obituaries and death notices.  If the person wished to retain the card, they would have to pay .15 cents within 10 days, or return the card.  They could also order additional cards.  The price per card was 15 cents or a dozen for $1.00.  Customers could choose an alternate poem from a listing of poems, or, for an additional 25 cents, they could provide a poem of their own.

This particular card was called "Design #3" on George Mitchell's advertising brochure of 1891.

I searched on the US, Canadian & Norwegian census databases for Kirsti Karoline Halvorsen and did not hit upon anything promising.  There could be a problem with the spelling of the name in the censuses, but  it will take me a bit more time to learn more about young Kirsti. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What a Shame Wednesday: A Tintype of Three Brothers to Mrs. Dunn



This tintype was found in a Vancouver, BC antique shop.  There is handwriting on the front and back, which gave me some hope when I first saw it.  However, I'm not quite so optimistic about reuniting this one. On the front you can see the inscription, identifying the three boys:  Archie, Wayne, [and it looks like] Wilber. The reverse has a bit of information as well, if it can be read:


I can make out "Please give this to Mrs. N [P or V]. J. Dunn.  Dear [Justin/Teslin/???] I will send you all our pictures as soon as ----- [?].  Our respects."

There are too many unknowns to pursue this one much further.  Even the one surname we are given is iffy due to loose handwriting.  There isn't a location given, and the photo was found all by itself, without any other clues.  The patent date stamped on the front of the paper folder is "Mar 7 [18]65, September 22, [18]68."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Albert and Elizabeth (Purdy) Johnson and Their Five Children, St. Mary's, Ontario, circa 1891





This image, found at a Vancouver flea market, was taken in St. Mary's, Ontario at the Gray Studio.  It has been identified on the back, "Uncle Albert Johnson and Aunt Elizabeth (Purdy) and family.  Grandparents of Ida Davies, Saskatoon, Sask."  According to St. Mary's Museum, a studio operated in the town by the name of Gray Bros. from 1883 to 1889. However, there was a John N. Gray (who may have been one of the brothers) who also had a studio there from 1886 to 1900.  From clues contained in the cabinet card, I would guess this one was more likely taken in the John N. Gray Studio around 1891.

A search of the 1891 Census of Canada turned up a good match with the family of Albert and Elizabeth Johnson, and their five children, Mary, 10; George, 8;  Rosa,6;  Lloyd,4; & Arthur, 1, living in Mountain Township, Dundas, Ontario.1

The big clue written on the back of the cabinet card is the maiden name of Elizabeth.  I found a marriage for Albert Johnson, son of Reuben & Elizabeth Johnson, age 23 to Miss Elizabeth E. Purdy, daughter of William and Emeline Purdy, age 23, on Christmas Day 1879 in Nissouri, Ontario2.

Albert Johnson's occupation is listed as "farmer" on the marriage record, but he later worked as CPR Agent.  He moved his family to Manitoba, prior to 19113.

More research would have to be done to link Ida Davies to this family.



1 "1891 Canada Census," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed June 1, 2012), entry for Albert Johnson, Ontario, Dundas, Mountain, p. 21 [penned], family 105, citing microfilm LAC microfilm T-6331.

2 "Ontario Canada Marriages," 1801-1928, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed June 1, 2012), entry for Albert Johnson and Elizabeth E. Purdy, 25 December 1879, Nissouri, Perth County, Ontario, record no. 47, p.296, citing Archives of Ontario microfilm MS932, reel 31.

3 "1911 Canada Census," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed June 1, 2012), entry for Albert Johnson, Manitoba, McDonald, District 18, ED#7, p. 2 [penned], dwelling 12,family 12, citing microfilm LAC microfilm T-20326 to T-20460.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Funeral Card Friday: David Williams, Warwick, Ontario, 1901



Blessed are they that do His commandments for they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gate into the city. ---Rev. 22:14.


In Loving Remembrance of 
David Williams,
who died at Warwick, Ont., on Monday
June 3rd, 1901,
Aged 92 years, 10 months, 16 days.
Interred in Arkona Cemetery,
Thursday, June 6th, 1901

David Williams (born July 18, 1809, Ontario) left behind a wife, Nancy A. (Rogers) Williams (born 1838, Ameliasburg, Ontario) and a daughter, Phoebe S. Williams, when he died in 19011.  He and Nancy were married on the 1st of January 1871 in Warwick, Lambton County, Ontario.  Both had been married previously and were widowed.  The brides' parents were John Rogers and Sarah Benson Rogers.  David was the son of Welshman, John Williams, Nancy McCorigan Williams2.  I've been unable to locate David's prior marriage in the records or learn if he had other children. 

Nancy Rogers Williams passed away 4 1/2 years after the death of her husband on the 13th of December, 1905 at age 673



1 1901 Census of Canada, Warwick, Lambton East, Ontario, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 78, p.4 (penned), dwelling 32, family 32, David Williams; digital image, Ancestry. ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 8 June 2012); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-6428 through T-6556

2 "Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928," online database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com), Nancy A. Rogers and David Williams, Registration No. none given, page 243 (stamped), Lambton County, 1 January 1871; citing original data at Archives of Ontario; citing microfilm MS932, reel 4.

3 Nancy Williams, Death Registration 015080 (13 Dec 1905); “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 June 2012), citing microfilm MS935, reel 120, Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Francis Lewis Nason & Mother Frances, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1914



This postcard photograph of five-month old Francis Lewis Nason and his mother was found at a Vancouver antique shop.  It's clearly labelled with the child's name, age and other clues that should help in locating additional information.  I expected to find the Nason's in the 1916 census for the Canadian Prairies, but did not.   If this family lived outside the prairie provinces (for which there was a 1916 Canadian prairie census) then the most recent census (1911) for that area would pre-date Francis Lewis Noonan's birth, and possibly the marriage of his parents.

Here's what we know:



The picture was addressed to Mrs. Roy Andrew of Carlyle, Saskatchewan, and mailed from Winnipeg, Manitoba in March of 1914.  This means the child would have been born in the fall of 1913. The Andrew family does show up in the 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, living in Carlyle.   Mrs. Roy Andrew's first name is Edith, and was born about 1884 in Manitoba.  Living with couple and their two children, are Frank Andrew (Roy's brother) and Dorothy Cory, age 18, who is Edith's sister.1

My initial hunch was that Frances was another of Edith's sisters.  I did find Grace Edith Cory, b. 1884, in the appropriate Canada Censuses but Frances is not listed as part of this Cory family in either 1901, 1891, or 1881.

On June 14, 1944, a Francis Lewis Nason, Navigator for the Royal Air Force, appears on a passenger list, heading back to Canada from Scotland via New York2.  His birth date and birthplace match the information from the postcard.  I wasn't able to find anything further on Francis on the LAC (Library and Archives Canada) website.  I decided to try a google search and found the following obituary:

Frances Lewis Nason:
Peacefully at Welland County General Hospital [Ontario], on June 12, 2002. Mr. Francis Lewis Nason of Fonthill was born in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan in 1913. He graduated from the University of Manitoba as a Chartered Accountant in 1937 and worked with Clarkson and Gordon as an accounatant until W W ll. During the war he was a Flight Officer and Navigator, flying with the Ferry Pilots taking planes to England and Europe. After the war, he worked for 25 years as Comptroller for the T. Eaton Company in Winnipeg, Montreal and Toronto. He retired from the T.Eaton Company in 1974 and moved to Fonthill where he worked for 15 years as a Chartered Accountant for Lester Shoalts Ltd. in Port Colborne. Mr. Nason is predeceased by he wife Mae Nason in 2001. There was a private interment Saturday, June 15th 2002 at Pleasantview Memorial Gardens. James L. Pedlar Funeral Home in charge of funeral arrangements 905-892-5762.3

Is this the correct Francis Lewis Nason?  Possibly, but more evidence would have to be located to be certain.


 

1 "1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed June 1, 2012), entry for Roy Andrew, Saskatchewan, Assiniboia, p. 5, family 49, citing microfilm LAC microfilm T-21925 to T-21956
2 "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,"digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed June 1, 2012), entry for Francis Lewis Nason,citing National Archives microfilm T715_6818; Line: 1; ; Page Number: 16-C.
3 "Pedlar Funeral Home Memorial Website"(http://www.pedlarfuneralhome.ca/obit.php?decedid=170 : accessed June 1, 2012), entry for Francis Lewis Nason.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mystery Monday: Who Is the Young Girl in Mr. Immke's CDV?



While we don't know the name of this young girl, there is some hope that her identity might be discovered.  As I was searching for information about the photographer, H.W. Immke of Princeton, Illinois, I was thrilled to find that the Bureau County Museum in Princeton, has an extensive collection of Immke's photographs.  You will find some wonderful photographs of the man and his family on their website, as well a short biography and details about the archive. I do hope there are plans to digitize the collection in the future.   I've written to the museum to see if they have any ideas about identifying or dating this image. 
While we're waiting to hear back, I thought I would take a stab at narrowing down the date of the cdv.  The BCM website says that H.W. Immke worked as a photographer in Princeton from 1866 to 1923.



The imprint is distinctive, but I couldn't find an exact match to it in any of Immke's dated photographs I found online.  So, let's look at the image.  There are several things that make me think this was taken in the 1870s. The fringed chair was popular with photographers in the late 1860s up until the late 1870s.  I found a photograph, taken in 1868 by Immke, with the same chair, or at the very least, the same style of chair.  Prior to the mid-1870s, backgrounds were also often fairly basic, and, in our photograph, the backdrop is plain.  The cardstock is of medium thickness, again hinting at a post-civil war date.

As I was going through Darrah's Cartes De Visite in Nineteenth Century Photography with this photograph in mind, I found a reference to the National Photographic Association's logo that Immke has included on the imprint.  According to Darrah, this logo was used on imprints between 1871 and 1875, but was most widely applied during the years 1872 and 1873.   I would tentatively date this image between 1871 and 1875.

Any guesses as to what the little girl is holding in her hand?  A cookie?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Funeral Card Friday: Elizabeth Davie Wilcocks, 1820-1912, Warwick, Lambton County, Ontario



This death announcement card for Elizabeth Davie Wilcocks was an Internet purchase.  It was one from a group lot of death announcements originating from Lambton County, Ontario.  This particular card tells us quite a bit about Elizabeth.  We know that she died at age 92 on June 27th, 1912 and that her husband, Samuel I. Wilcocks, predeceased her.  We also learn that she had a son, also named Samuel, and that she was to be buried in Arkona Cemetery in Lambton County.



A biography of Lambton county residents provided a detailed history of the Wilcocks family.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Chapel) Davie/Davey of North Devon, England.  She married Samuel Isaac Wilcocks, son of David and Annie (Rowe) Wilcocks, in North Devon, England.  Samuel, Elizabeth and their two sons, Samuel John, and David immigrated to Canada in 1849.  They settled near Woodstock, Ontario for a couple of years prior to moving to Lambton County.  Eight more children were born to the couple:  George, Joseph, Francis, Septemus, Antonius, Bessie and a child who died as an infant.

Samuel Isaac Wilcocks died on November 12, 1901 and at the time of biography in 1906, Elizabeth Davie Wilcocks was reported to have been 84 years old, which presents a slight discrepancy between the book and the death announcement.  The biographer writes (p. 347), "Time has touched her [Elizabeth] lightly.  Her senses are alert, her faculties keen, and she is very active physically.  She is a devoted mother and a true Christian woman and attends the Baptist Church."1






1 Beers, J. H., ed. Commemorative biographical record of the county of Lambton, Ontario... containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and many of the early settled families. Toronto, 1906. Digital images. Internet Archive. http://archive.org/details/recordlambton00beeruoft: 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What a Shame Wednesday: The Bible of William and Hannah Morley, Bollington, Cheshire, England 1842



At one time this cover was still connected to Hannah and William Morley's family Bible.  I wonder if there was a place to write births, marriages and deaths inside and if someone had taken the time to fill out those pages.  For whatever reason, the cover, which was found at an antique store in Nanaimo, BC, has been separated from the body of the Bible.

It is inscribed, "Hannah and William Morley, Bollington, Cheshire, May 2nd, 1842."
Whoever wrote this, used their best calligraphy and even added a few flowers for decoration.  Perhaps it was a marriage gift.



Monday, June 11, 2012

Mary, Jairus, & Eloise Hammond from Paris, Maine, 1892.

This cabinet card photograph was conveniently labelled with each child's name and age:  "Hammond:  Mary Eliza, age 12; Jairus Eugene, Age 5, Eloise Faustena, Age 2 1/2."  Beneath this pen inscription someone has written the date "1890" in pencil.  Based on the information I found researching this family, I believe they were off by a couple of years.

In 1900, the Hammond family is living in Parish, Oxford County, Maine.  The parents of the children in the photograph were Herbert P. Hammond, born  about 1855, and Kate E. Hammond, born about 1857.  Jairus and Faustena (Eloise) are 13 and 10 years old respectively, along with an unnamed son, born February 1900. (1900 U.S. Federal Census, Paris, Oxford, Maine, ED 199, Sheet 15, Dwelling 356, Family 401, Herbert P. Hammond household).

The 1910 Census provides the youngest son's name:  Roy H. Hammond, along with the name of Faustena's husband, Herbert Cole.  (1910 U.S. Federal Census, Paris, Oxford, Maine, ED 202, Sheet 2, Dwelling 49, Family 52, Herbert P. Hammond household).  Missing are Jairus and Mary E., who have started their own families.  

 Mary Hammond married Ernest Ferdinand Shaw on the 4th of January 1899 in Paris, at the age of 18 years (Ancestry.com. Maine, Marriage Records, 1705-1922 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.)
In 1920 Jairus is living in the home of sister and is noted as being married (1920 U.S. Federal Census, Paris, Oxford, Maine, ED 126, Sheet 8B, Dwelling 185, Family 218, Ernest F. Shaw household).  10 years later, Jairus and his wife, Alice, are living on Greenleaf Avenue in Norway, Oxford, Maine.(1930 U.S. Federal Census, Norway, Oxford, Maine, ED 9-34, Sheet 25-A, Dwelling 541, Family 664, Jairus E. Hammond household).

Find-A-Grave has listings for Jairus and Faustena:
Eugene J Hammond (1886 - 1958) - Find A Grave Memorial, and  Faustena Eva Hammond Cole (1890 - 1978) - Find A Grave Memorial.  I have not located Mary Eliza Hammond Shaw's death information as of yet.

If the age information on the reverse of the card is correct, this family portrait was taken in 1892.

UPDATE:  Nov 1, 2012:  This photograph has been reunited with a relative of these children.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Funeral Card Friday: Death Announcement for Showler Waterman, Arkona, Ontario, 1917



According to this death announcement card, Showler Waterman's funeral was held at his family residence on Wednesday, January 24th, 1917 in Arkona, Lambert County, Ontario.  He died two days earlier in Arkona, at the age of 78 years and one month.


In 1911, Mr. Waterman lived at home in Arkona with two of his daughters, Edith & Susanna.  In the census for that year he is noted as being a widower.  The birth date of December 1838 in the census matches up with the calculated birth date we get from Showler's funeral card.1

To learn more about Showler Waterman's family, we have to look at the 1891 Canada Census.  It should be noted that the Waterman name appears with two Ts in the census record.  There, we discover that Showler had a wife, Sophia Waterman, and at least six daughters:  Lizzie, Mary, Lenora, Edith, Susanna, and Lucy.  A domestic servant named Fred Rutter is also a member of the household.2

We also learn from the censuses that Showler was born in England and immigrated to Canada in 1872.  In the year prior, Showler and his wife Sophia resided in Hogsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England with their three-year-old son, Joseph Henry Waterman, and 1-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Ann Waterman.3

There's quite a lot of information available online about the Waterman family.  Too much, unfortunately, to go into on a short blog post, but I encourage anyone with an interest in this family to continue the search.  In the next little while I will be posting a number funeral cards that have a connection to the Watermans.   I hope you will stop by to read more about this family.  


  
1. 1911 Census of Canada, Arkona, Lambton East, Ontario, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 1, subdistrict 2, p.8, dwelling 103, family 103, Showler Waterman; digital image, Ancestry. ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 30 May 2012); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-20326 through T-204660 

2. 1891 Census of Canada, Warwick, Lambton East, Ontario, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 81, subdistrict 2, p.48, family 228, Showler Watterman; digital image, Ancestry. ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 30 May 2012); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-6347

3. 1871 Census of England, Lincolnshire, Hogsthorpe, Dist. 7, fol. 73, p. 8, household 39, Showler Waterman; PRO HO 10/3393B, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey, UK; digital images, "1871 England Census," database, _Ancestry.com_ (www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 May 2012).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Abram and Sarah Ann Bennett Family of Green, New Jersey


Abram Bennett

I found nine photographs marked with the surname Bennett.  They were purchased together, and some of the inscriptions were in the same hand.  I started from the two most well-identified photographs.  The first is the cabinet card image you see above.  It was marked on the reverse in old ink:  "Abram Bennett, father of S. R. Bennett, Grandfather of A. S. Bennett."  There was also a photograph of a woman, inscribed "Wife of Abram Bennett, mother of S.R. Bennett, grandmother of A.S. Bennett (see below).

Mrs. Abram Bennett
Abram's photograph didn't have any other markings.  However, his wife's cabinet card had the photographer's imprint on the back:  Teush Studios, 695 Broad Street, Newark, N.J. and 208, Main St. Saugerties, N.Y.  Since several of the other photos I found were taken in New Jersey, I thought I'd focus on that locality first. The Teusch Studios used this address in Newark from 1886 to 1897.  Even though the cabinet card itself had the earmarks of an 1880s card, the image of Mrs. Bennett seemed to date to the 1860s or 1870s.  I suspect this image was reprinted from an earlier photograph.

The 1850 US Census turned up an Abram S. Bennet in Green, New Jersey (1850 U.S. Federal Census, Green, Sussex, New Jersey, Page 563, Dwelling 98, Family 108, Abram Bennet household).  The son, Sedgewick R. Bennet, born 1838 in New Jersey, looked like a good possibility for the "S.R." mentioned on the photographs.  Abram S. Bennet was born around 1815 and worked as a wheelwright.  His wife is recorded as Charlotte Bennet, born about 1819, New Jersey. In this document the Bennett surname is spelled with only one "t."

Did Sedgewick R. Bennett have any children with the initials A.S?  In 1880, Sedgewick and his wife, Margarett, are living in the home of Margaret's father, Alexander Wighton.  Their children were Honora, Robert W., Fannie and Alexander Bennett (1880 U.S. Federal Census, Dover, Morris, New Jersey, ED 52, Sheet 7, Dwelling 133, Family 148, Alexander Wighton household).  The 19-year-old son, Alexander, born November 1880, seemed like a good candidate for A.S.

Alexander's WW2 draft registration card confirms his middle name's initial is S (for  Sedgewick.)  (Ancestry.com. U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.)  Have we found our A.S. Bennett?  I do believe we have. 

One of the other Bennett photos in the group is labelled, "Margaret Anne Wighton Bennett."   If we go back to the 1880 census mentioned above, you can see this fits into what we've discovered about Margaret Bennett's ancestry.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mrs. Daniel Phelan, Mother of Ida Frazer, Brooklyn, NY, 1880s



This fading portrait features "Mrs Daniel Phelan, mother of Ida Frazer, grandmother of Sarah Bennett."  I believe this Mrs. Phelan to be "Sarah Ann Phelan." This was an Internet purchase that consisted of a large number of Bennett photographs.

The photograph appears to be taken in the 1880s.  The photographer, Robinson & Roe, who also had a studio in Chicago, were located at 227 Fulton, Brooklyn in 1883.  They later moved to 298 Fulton, and then finally to W. 14th. in New York.  Unfortunately, I don't have access to the necessary Brooklyn directories to nail down the dates when the 227 Fulton Street studio was in operation.  We can look at the card itself to try and figure out a time frame.  The card is a dark maroon colour, which came into vogue around 1885 and remained stylish until the early 1890s, and along with the type of brooch and earrings, I'd guess this image was taken somewhere around 1885-1888.

I began the search with the 1880 U.S. Federal Census (Brooklyn, Kings, New York, ED 191, Dwelling 98, Family 215, Daniel Phelan household)  where I found Daniel Phelan and his wife, Sarah Ann Phelan, living in Brooklyn, New York with their unmarried daughters, Ida, 21, and Nellie, 18.  Daniel, born 1820, was a retail coal dealer.  Sarah was four years his younger. Also in the same household was Mary E. Tice, a daughter of Daniel & Sarah's, and her husband John H. Tice.  Mary and John had two sons, George, 6, and Charles, 3.  Another of Sarah and Daniel's married daughters was also living there:  Emma Kollmeyer and husband, James, with their child Ada.  Rounding out the family unit was their son, George Phelan, and his wife, Ella.

I worked my way back to 1850 through the censuses to get a better look at the whole family.  Sarah and Daniel appear to have had at least four children in addition to the children mentioned above:  Sarah Amelia, b. abt. 1842; Daniel, b. abt. 1848, Charles b. 1850, and Fran, b. abt. 1859.

In the 1892 New York State Census (Brooklyn, Kings, New York, ED 129, p. 5, James Kollmeyer household) Sarah A. Phelan is living with her daughter and son-in-law, along with "Ida Frazer" who I am assuming is Sarah's daughter, Ida.  Of course, this would have to be verified with a marriage record, death or other document that lists both her maiden and married names.  Ida Frazer's children, Sarah M. Frazer, age 9, and Howard S. Frazer, age 5, are also living in the household.

Is Sarah M. Frazer the granddaughter "Sarah Bennett" mentioned on the back of the photograph?  We would have to locate a marriage between Sarah M. Frazer and a Mr. Bennett, but I believe it is quite likely one exists.  I could not locate such a document online, but a search of the local New York records could be undertaken to confirm this.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Copy of The Last Will and Testament of James MacMillan, Kenyon Twp, Eastern District, Province of Canada, 1848


As the oldest document of genealogical value I've found to date in a second-hand shop, this little item is one my favourite finds.  The will was penned on the "twenty third day of August, one thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Eight" by James MacMillan (or McMillan) of  Lot 6, 7th Concession in Kenyon Township, Eastern District in the Province of Canada.  The surname appears interchangeably as MacMillan and McMillan throughout the will.  It was witnessed by John Murray, Ewen McMillan, and Lachlan McMillan.

I deliver up my soul to Almighty God who gave it, and my body to the Earth, to be decently buried, as my family and Executors may think proper.

In his last testament,  John makes a number of bequeaths.  His son, Dougald McMillan, was to receive the west half of Lot number six in the seventh concession of Kenyon Township.  James MacMillan goes on to bequeath to his other son, Duncan, the east half of the same lot, with the liberty to make a road  along the river, westward through Dougald's part of the lot.  Catherine MacMillan, who was James' wife, was given claim to all the cattle, house and household goods and farm implements, with the exception of two cows, a heifer and a mare that he left to his nephew, Ewan MacMillan.

James' nephew, Lachlan MacMillan, was given the north half of Lot number 31 in the 7th Concession in Kenyon, provided that he "shall prove to be faithful, sober, industrious, and kind" to James' wife and children, and remain with James' family for a period of six years.

James MacMillan also makes provisions for his three daughters.  Peggy MacMillan was to received a cow, provided she marry.  Nancy and Jean MacMillan were given the rights to live at the family home for their lifetime, as long as they remain unmarried.

James' wife, Catherine MacMillan, should she remarry, would forfeit any claim to the items and property that James had passed to her.  Dougald McNaughton and Angus McMaster, the Younger, both of Kenyon, were appointed the Executors of this will.

Nowhere in the document does James' birth date appear.  After reading through the will, I guessed that James' children were probably still quite young because of James' insistence that Lachlan stay with Catherine and family for a period of six years.  The term may indicate the length of time until the eldest son reaches adulthood, and it could represent the appropriate length of service to justify the handing over of  a valuable piece of property to someone outside the immediate family circle.

I believe James may have been ill when he wrote this will.  I did not find him in the 1851 Canadian Census,   but did locate Catherine Ferguson, 38;  Dougal McMillan, 15;  Nancy, 14;  Mary, 10;  Jean (Jane), 6;  Duncan, 4 and nephews Ewan McMillan, 30;  and Lachlan McMillan, 24; all living in the 7th Concession (1851 Canada Census, Canada West (Ontario) Glengarry, Kenyon, E.D. #4, page 87, lines 14-23).  Unfortunately, I did not find a death record for James MacMillan, either.

I did find a record in the Upper & Lower Canada Marriage Bonds Index for James McMillan, of Kenyon, Glengarry and Catherine Ferguson, of Kenyon, Glengarry,  (Ref: RG5, B9, Vol. 30, Bond #4826) registered on December 23rd, 1835.  Ideally, the next step would be to locate the actual parish marriage record to see if we can obtain the birth dates & parentage of the couple. 

If you have researched the McMillans of Glengarry County, you will know that there are many members of the clan with identical names, which creates a bit of a challenge when trying to untangle the relationships.  Thankfully, James included the concession and lot numbers in his will, which helped in the tracing of this family.

There is so much work that could be done on this family.  I've only shown the starting points here.  Likely, most of the records would be held in Glengarry county, and would not be available online.  I think it could be a fascinating project to continue the investigation.


UPDATE, June 5, 2012:  The MacMillan will is being readied for a trip to Ontario to be "reunited" with a direct descendant of James MacMillan.