Monday, December 27, 2010

Military Monday~Private Ralph John Smith

Private Ralph John Smith
Reg# 727265
110th Perth Battalion

On  November 11th of this year I posted about my Grandfather's service in WWI and how he and 4 of his brothers all fought in the war at the same time. The photos above are of his brother Ralph John Smith. Ralph served with the 110th Canadian Over-Seas expeditionary force, Perth Battalion. He joined the Army on January 4th, 1916 and was sent to Shorncliffe Camp near Folkstone England.

  The photo on the left shows he qualified as "RB"and "L", the photo on the right explains RB was Rifle Bomber and L was a  Lewis Gunner (machine gun).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday~ I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

"Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. Don't you see? It's not just Kris that's on trial, it's everything he stands for. It's kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles."  From Miracle on 34th Street .

          My Mom on the right knee of Santa Claus and her best friend,
Shirley Colter Horn on the left.
Toronto Canada in the mid 1940's

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Sunday's Obituary~Mary Watson Smith

Source: newspaper unknown
Highly Esteemed Woman, Mrs. James Smith, Dead.

 Highly respected by a wide circle of friends, a much-loved woman died at her home, 389 Front Street, this morning in the person of Mrs. James Smith. Mrs. Smith who was in her 74th year, had been ill for past five months.
  The departed woman was born at Frederick New Deer, Aberdeen, Scotland and to Canada about 50 years ago. She fomerly Miss Mary Belle Watson, she took up residence at Avonton but moved to Stratford a short time later and had been a resident of the city since that time.  She and Mr. Smith were married 55 years ago and five weeks ago today celebrated the anniversary of that event.  She was a staunch memeber of the City Mission.
  Surviving Mrs. Smith besides her husband are six sons and two daughters.  They are: James and Melville, Toronto; Albert, Winnipeg;  Ralph, Secretary of the Y.M.C.A, at Moncton, N.B.; Harold, Y.M.C.A  secretary, Montreal, Stanley, well known Stratford sports offical, at home;  Mrs. R.B. Alexander, Hamilton, and Mrs. Jessie Berkircher, at home.
  The funeral will be held Friday from her late residence, 389 Front Street, and will be conducted by Rev. J.G. Connor of Memorial Baptist church.                                      
Mary Isabella (Bella) Watson, my Maternal Great Grandmother died the 12th day of September 1939. She is buried along side her Husband in Avondale Cemetery.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award

 Leslie Ann  presented me with the Ancestor Approved Award yesterday, Thank you so much for the acknowledgement. The award comes with a request that you List ten things that you have learned about your ancestors that surprised, humbled, or enlightened you and to Pass the award to ten other genealogy bloggers.

 My list of 10: 

1. My fourth great Grandfather Alexander Smith was a solider in the 3rd Regiment of Foot in Scotland in 1780.

2.  I found that searching the last name of Smith was not as hard as I first thought it would be. That if you learn the naming pattern of your family and their homeland you will have a better chance of finding the right John Smith (8 so far in my family).

3. I was surprised to see how long my ancestors lived, most living well into their late 80's.

4. I was surprised to learn that my Maternal Grandmother had married someone before my grandfather at the age of 17, and that the marriage only lasted 6 weeks.

5. I have found that what you have been told by family and what is recorded in records are sometimes very different stories.

6.  That a picture is really worth a million words or more if you look for the hints in it.

7.  I've been enlightened to find so many strangers willing to help in the  journey of tracing your family.

8. I was surprised and sad to find that my 3rd great grandfather had died in a poorhouse in England.

9. Very Surprised when a long lost Cousin found my blog and contacted me

10. Amazed when I found my paternal grandparents names online, since my dads adoption records are sealed this was a huge discovery.

I'm going to think about the 10 blogs I will pass this on to as there are so many out there, I will post the 10 at a later date.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Wordless Wednesday~Sisters

~My Big Sister Heather and me~

Love you Heady, thank you for always being there for me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sundays Obituary~ James Fenton Smith

             James F. Smith Dies in Toronto

One of Stratford's well-known residents, James Fenton Smith
died in St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto on Monday at noon, in
his 84th year. Mr. Smith, who had been making his home recently
with his son Melville, Toronto, had been a patient in the hospital for
the past ? weeks.

Born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, he married the former Mary Watson,
in Aberdeen, Scotland on July 4, 1884. The couple came to Canada 55
years ago,first living in Avonton, where Mr. Smith farmed for two years.
On removing to Stratford, Mr. Smith first worked at McEwen's Bakery,
later at the former G.T.R shops, and then at Whyte Packing Company,
where he was employed as a stationery engineer. For many years
he was caretaker at Romeo School. He retired about 14 years ago.

He was the oldest member of Stratford Lodge, Sons of Scotland and was
also an active member of the Canadian Order of Foresters serving as
financial secretary for many years.

Mrs. Smith died in August, 1939.Surviving are two daughters Mrs.
Robert Alexander, Hamilton; Mrs. Jessie Berkircher, Toronto;
sons, James and Melville, Toronto; Albert,Winnipeg; Ralph,
Sault St. Marie; Captain Harold, Serving overseas as a Y.M.C.A
supervisor; Stanley, 100 Church Street; one sister, Mrs. W.M. Morrison,
Welland, and one sister and one brother in Aberdeen, Scotland; also 15
grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

The body is resting at the Hornbuck Funeral Home, 156 Albert street,
where the funeral service will be held on Thursday afternoon, at 2:00
o'clock. Rev. F.G  Hus*** pastor of Grace Chapel, will officiate, and
interment will be made at Avondale  cemetery.

   I would like to thank my Cousin, Ralph Smith who sent this to me the other day, up until then I knew very little about my Great Grandfather, other than basic information of where he was born and died. But after reading his Obituary I now know that not only was he a hard worker but that he continued to farm after he left Scotland, a least for awhile, he was also a Baker,a stationary engineer, worked for the Grand Trunk Railway and finally the caretaker of the school my Grandfather attended working there until he retired at the age of 70. A member of the Sons of Scotland and The Canadian Order of Foresters , involved in his community and in organizations dedicated to helping others this tells me he was a compassionate person who was loved and respected by his family and all who knew him. A lot of wonderful information from such a small piece of paper, I wish that I had known him while he was alive.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sports Center Saturday ~Sir George Williams College

  My Great Uncle Ralph Smith attended Sir George Williams College in Springfield Massachusetts  from 1924-1928 where he played on the varsity soccer team.

Uncle Ralph's pocket watch with Springfield & soccer ball fob, the ball commemorates their 1928 victory over Yale.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When Christmas comes in November

We all have our different reasons for why we blog, mine has always been in hopes of finding my family. 147 days after my first post my dreams and hopes have come true. This morning I noticed I had a missed call and had a voice message on my phone, I didn't recognize the number so I played the message. As I listened to the voice tell me their name and explain their reason for calling, my head started spinning, I started jumping up and down doing that silly dance we have all seen our children do, after the message had finished and I had caught my breath I dialed the phone number for the person who would turn out to be my Cousin Ralph. We talked for awhile and he explained how he had seen my blog , tracked down where I worked, placed a call and finally was able to find a phone number for me ( Note for all new bloggers: make sure you have an email address on your blog so family members do not have to become detectives in order to contact you) we hung up and I headed to my computer to start sending some documents to my cousin but before I could push the send button I had an email from Ralph, it would be the first of many today and each was like opening a million Christmas gifts for they contained photos of family members, newspaper articles and photos of  family treasures. I feel so very blessed today and thankful for my family, both the old and the new. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Surname Saturday~ Farquhar~

This interesting and unusual surname is  of Old Scots-Gaelic origin, and is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic personal name "Fearchar", meaning "dear or beloved man", composed of the Gaelic elements "fear", man, and an obscure element meaning "dear, beloved. There are various spellings of this name in the early records and Fearchar Fada was a ruler of the kingdom of Dalriada (in what is now Argyll) in the 7th century. Farquharson (son of Farquhar) is the name of a Highland clan often found in
 Margaret Farquhar is my fourth Great Grandmother, she was born in Aberdour Scotland  in 1771 and baptized on the 22nd of June .The baptism record above gives her fathers name as Thomas, and  the witnesses were George and William Farquhar. I was not as lucky with her Baptism record as I have been with other family members, this one did not give her mothers Name. I have searched for a marriage record for "Thomas Farquhar" but have not been able to find one yet, so the search for Margaret's mother continues.

 Wm Farquhar in Bonner Town Hill had a son baptized called Thomas

Thomas Farquhar  my fifth great Grandfather was born May 16, 1740 to William Farquhar  in Aberdour, this is as far as my search on the Farquhar line goes for now though. I have spent most of the day  searching for records on my 6th great grandfather William Farquhar and looking for a marriage or death record on Thomas, so far I have not found it. Hopefully I will have more to post about the Farquhar's  very soon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day ~ Thank You To All Who Have Served~

Melville Morrison Smith
64th Depot Battery
Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force

My Grandfather wanted so badly to serve along side his older brothers, Ralph, Albert and James, that in 1916 he lied about his age ( Attestation paper #1) stating his birth year was 1898, he was actually only 15 years old at the time. He was caught in his lie and sent home, but returned a year later and enlisted once again ( Attestation paper #2).
The following year  his brother Harold enlisted bringing the total of Smith Brothers fighting in WWI to  five.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday's Obituary~ Aunt Madge

                                        Madeline Cocklin Falconer

Falconer, Madeline (Madge)~ At her home after a lengthy illness on April 19, 1987 Madge beloved wife of Jack, mother of  John Jr. and Gerald of Scarborough and Gail Papaleo of Cornwall, Grandmother of Cameron,Peter, Shannon, Marc, Apryle, Adam,Cindy and Monty. Private Service at the Jerrett Funeral Chapel in Lieu of flowers donations to the Ontario Cancer Society would be appreciated by the family.

 Source: Toronto Daily Star April 21 1987

** My Great Aunt

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ Dad

           Ronald Eric Sivinski

           83 years young and still likes to race his Pinewood Derby car.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Surname Saturday ~Christian~

Name Meaning and History
English, German, and French: from the personal name Christian, a vernacular form of Latin Christianus ‘follower of Christ’. This personal name was introduced into England following the Norman conquest, especially by Breton settlers.
                                          Bromley: The former church of St Michael and All Angels Photo By Nigel Cox

Mary Ann Christian:
My 2nd Great Grandmother  was born on the 20th of December 1857 in Tower Hamlets, Middlesex, England, She was the fifth child born to Sarah Fish and Samuel Christian. Mary Ann married William Allen on the 7th of October 1877 in St. Michaels and All Angels Church in Bromley.

                                      Copy of Marriage Record For Mary Ann Christian and William Allen

                                       St Mary Magdalene church, Woolwich 
 Samuel Christian:
My Third Great Grandfather born the 18th of April 1829 in Greenwich,Kent,England to David Christian and Sarah Wiles. Samuel married Sarah Fish on the 16th of March 1851 in St Mary Magdalene church, Woolwich. His occupation according to the 1861 census was Blacksmith. They had eight children. His death is believed to be about 1904.

  • Thomas Christian ~ Born 1846
  • Sarah Christian~Born 1849
  • Daniel James Christian~ Born 1852-  Died 1912
  • Sarah Christian~Born 1856
  • Mary Ann Christian~Born 1857- Died 1914
  • Samuel Thomas Christian~ Born 1861
  • Joseph Christian~ Born 1867
  • Emily Christian~ Born 1870
                                                                                      St Alfege Church

David Christian:
 My Fourth Great Grandfather was born abt 1780. He married Sarah Wiles on the 21st of November 1809 in Saint Alfege Church in Greenwich . I have been able to find and document five children being born to them between 1810 and 1829. David Died abt 1849

  • Thomas Christian~ Born  1810
  • David Christian~ Born 1817
  • Mary Ann Christian~ Born 1820
  • Daniel Christian~Born 1822
  • Samuel Christian~ Born 1829

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday~Mary Wilson and Peter Imlah

                                      ~Methlick Old Parish Kirkyard~
                                              Methlick, Aberdeenshire Scotland

Gravestone #295 Inscription:

Erected by his wife & family in affectionate remembrance of PETER IMLAH Millbrae, Ironside, New Deer d. 31 Aug 1882 aged 70. His son PETER d. 21 Sept 1856 aged 14, JAMES d. in infancy 1850. MARY WILSON wife of the above PETER IMLAH d.12 May 1900 aged 85.

This is the grave of my 3rd Great Grandparents Mary Wilson and Peter Imlah and 2 of their 10 children, James and Peter.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Surname Saturday ~ Couper~

                 Meaning and History of the name surname Couper
The name has a double significance in Scotland, being both a maker of casks and native of Cupar, Fife, where it is recorded from the thirteenth century onwards, It is commonly spelt Coupar.

Jean Couper

   Jean Couper my 6th Great Grandmother was born in Methlick Aberdeenshire Scotland on the 15th day of March 1691 to Richard Couper. I have not been able to find any documentation that gives her mothers name as of yet.

May 28, 1713 she married Alexander Imlah in Methlick Aberdeenshire. They were farmers in Little Ardo and had four sons: Alexander,James,Peter and Paul

 Jean Couper Imlah (Imlay)  died on the 14th day of February 1768 and  buried in the Old Methlick Parish Kirkyard


     Photo of gravestone and inscription can be found in my previous post for Tombstone Tuesday

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Sentimental Sunday ~ Cousin Gordon~

                                                    Gordon Edwardson


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Methlick Kirkyard~

                                          ~Methlick Old Parish Churchyard~
                                            Methlick, Aberdeenshire Scotland

#1 Plot 202
Erected by Alexander Imlah merchant in Waterside of Gight in memory of his Wife Helen Marr Died 18 June 1880 aged 70, their daughter Mary died 20 May 1860 aged 22. Above Alexander Imlah died there 06 August 1882 aged 88. Helen Imlah died 17 June 1899 aged 69.

Alexander is my 2nd Cousin 5X removed.
#2 Plot 201
Isabel Gordon in testimony of connubial love dedicated this stone to the memory of her loving husband John Imlah sometime farmer in Blackhillock. After acting well the part of a tender husband and affectionate parent died in the Lord 1792 aged 66. In the grave laid the bodies of Richard and James Imlah their sons. The former died 1778 aged 32 the latter 14 April 1798 aged__. Also the body of Alexander Imlah their son sometime farmer in Mains of Iddoch died 11 February 1817 aged 66. Isabel Gordon their mother died 15 September 1820 aged 85 and John Imlay late farmer Blackhillock died 13 January 1845 aged 81. Also Grant Imlah messenger at arms, Peterhead died Cuminestown 06 August 1877 aged 74.

John Imlah and Isabel Gordon are my 5th Great grandparents
#3 Plot 203
Here was laid in hopes etc. the body of Alexander Imlay sometime farmer in Little Ardow died 11 March 1768 aged 80 also Jean Couper his spouse died 14 February 1768 aged 78. Also of their children Alexander and James. Also their Son Peter Imlay late farmer in Meickle Ardo died 30 April1801 aged 88, Helen Gordon his spouse died 07 November 1818 aged 93 and Alexander Imlay
late farmer Meickle Ardo son of the foresaid Peter Imlay and Helen Gordon died 20 September 1823 aged 70.

Alexander Imlay and Jean Couper are my 6th Great Grandparents
#4 Plot 204
In Memory of Alexander Imlay son to Alexander Imlay farmer in Little Ardoch died in September 1782 aged 22. Also Elizabeth Imlay daughter of said Alexander Imlay farmer in Little Ardoch died 15 January 1784 aged 25. Also the above mentioned Alexander Imlay farmer died 15 December 1789 aged 57, Margaret Anderson his spouse died 11 June 1788 aged 62. James Imlay son of said Alexander Imlay likewise farmer in Little Ardo died 15 March 1847 aged 80, Margaret Stephen his spouse died 03 February 1849 aged 62. Margaret Bruce his 2nd spouse died 04 December 1856 aged 40.

Alexander and Elizabeth Imlay are my 1st Cousins 6x Removed.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mystery Monday ~ Who were Anne and Ada?

The photo below is from an old photo  Album belonging to my dad, Ronald Eric Sivinski ( Hirst). I know from what my dad has written on the back of the photo that the two ladies standing next to him are Anne on the left and Ada on the right. Anne and Ada are the daughters of older lady that dad  referred to as "Aunt Della". Dad had told me Aunt Della was not really his Aunt ,but someone who had cared for him when he was young. The photo was taken around 1943 in Canada, most likely in Thunder Bay.

What I would love to know is who were Anne and Ada and Aunt Della ? Is there a family connection? I can't help notice that the three of them look like they could be related to each other, yet my dad was adopted and far as I know never had contact with any of his birth family. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part, either way I would love to know more about the mystery women in this photo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wedding Wednesday ~ September 19, 1953

September 19,1953

~My Aunt Gerry ( mom's younger sister) and  Uncle Bob ~
 celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary on Sunday.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday’s Obituary ~Melville Morrison Smith~

Today's Obituary notice comes from the Toronto Daily Star  dated Wednesday April 18 1945.
 Melville Morrison Smith is my Maternal Grandfather, Son of James Fenton Smith and Mary Bella Watson.

Melville Morrison Smith

Page 3 of the April 18 1945 issue
Page 20 of the April 18,1945 Issue
Notice  of thank you from the Family 
          Toronto Daily Star dated Saturday April 28,1945

For anyone not familiar with the Toronto Daily Star and their Archives : I have used the archives many times in my family search, The archives go from 1894 to 2007 with Subscription options available, You can subscribe for 1 hour, 24 hours, 72 hours, 7 days, 1 month or 1 full year. You can also search the year of 1945 for free.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Surname Saturday ~Morrison~

~Morrison ~
There are three distinct origins of the name Morrison - two Hebridean and one mainland derivation that have all come to be spelled the same way. The Aberdeenshire branch were originally 'sons of Maurice' and seem to have no connection with the Hebridean clan. To read more about the Surname please visit the following  Morrison Clan History.


Ann Morrison 1827~1869
1857 Record of Marriage for Ann Morrison
Ann Morrison my great great grandmother was born in Aberdour Scotland in 1827. I have not been able to locate a birth record for her but on the 1841 census it shows Ann and her dad George Morrison a Hand loom Weaver living in the village of New Aberbour. The 1851 census gives a little more information and shows that George is a Widower, still a Hand loom weaver and he and Ann are living at 46 High Street Aberbour. I know from Ann's marriage record to John Smith Feb. 07,1857 and her death record March 20, 1869 that her mother was Isabel Skinner. I can find no records of Isabel's marriage or Death.
 Ann Married John Smith Feb. 07, 1857 in Aberdour Scotland they had 7 children:
  • James Fenton Smith:1856 – 1943 ( My Great Grandfather)
  • Robert Smith 1858 –
  • Mary Murray Smith 1860 – 1950
  • Jane Wright Smith 1862 –
  • George Smith 1864 –
  • John Smith 1865 –
  •  Ann Smith –1868 

       George Morrison  1791~ 1873 
    1873 Record of Death for George Morrison
    George Morrison my 3rd great grandfather was born 26 June 1791 to William Morrison and Margaret Farquhar in Abbey. It appears he raised Ann his only child from a very young age and lived with her till the time of her death in 1869 (George appears on the 1861 Census living with Ann and her family at 68 High St. Aberdour). Through out all the Census records his trade was Hand loom weaver/Linen Weaver. On the 1871 census George is living in the Lane House in Aberlour and his occupation is Former Linen Weaver. On the 18th of Oct 1873 George Morrison Widower of Isabel Morrison died a pauper.                                               
                     ~ William Morrison~
1789 Record of Marriage William Morrison
 William Morrison my fourth great grandfather. I have found Williams marriage record showing William married Margaret Farquhar January 15 1789 in Aberdour Scotland. I know from George's death record that William was a Mason but this is where my search ends for now, I hope soon to be able to Add more about my Morrison line and the mysterious Isabel Skinner.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday's Child ~ William Beal ~

Ephraim Pioneer Cemetery
     William Henry Beal
 infant son of
 Henry and Mary Beal
Sept 13 1855
Sept 12 1856

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ The Death of Harry Cocklin~

Harry Cocklin started using his Step fathers surname of Mason in 1924 at the age of 13. I posted a picture of his car in an earlier post here that was taken a few months before the accident, of my mother and Aunt sitting in the car. Harry Cocklin ( Mason) was my Great Uncle.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~Kissing Cousins~

My Pal and Cousin, Ricky Smith and myself dressed up in front of my house in Glendale California.



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday ~Methlick Old Parish Churchyard

      Methlick, Aberdeenshire Scotland

      ~ Grave Stone of ~
           James Imlay~  my 3rd Great Grand Uncle
          Helen Reid~ my 4th Great Grandmother.

Inscription : This Stone marks the grave of James Imlay overseer at Woodhead of Cairnies, Parish of Lonmay Died 15 April 1842 aged 34. His Faithfulness and honesty rendered him beloved in life and regretted at death. He was the 3rd son of John Imlay and Helen Reid in Blackhillock, Fyvie. Said Helen Reid died 1 March 1840 aged 63, her remains lie under the stone on the left. She was an affectionate wife and a loving mother. Erected by their son John Imlay.

 I want to thank David Peters in Aberdeen Scotland who was kind enough  to drive out to Methlick and take photos of all the grave stones of my family members who are buried in the old church yard.