Who Would I Have to Dinner?

I really struggled with this week prompt from Amy Johnson Crow on her 52 Ancestors series.

The question is if I could sit down to dinner with any of my ancestors who would I pick? Who would I pick? I have actually mused on this all week. To be honest, I would have them all come, cameras and recorders set up all over the place! Could you imagine?

Or if I could be in attendance at a family gathering, just sit back and take it all in.

STewart family 1950s

The Stewart family

Maybe a bit of a cop-out but if I could I would want it all!

Let’s Get Started

I am following the challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow to write about 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.

A simple word, start, but start what? For me, it means starting my 2018 genealogy journey.

I have decided that I will create a second genealogy book this year. The focus will be my maternal Stewart family. I do not have an abundance of information but it can be surprising once you begin gathering information, there is often more than a person thought.

How will I start?

  1. Creating a file on my computer labeled Stewart book, start moving documents & pictures into it, start thinking of the plan
  2. Start asking cousins for their input
  3. Start envisioning what records to include
  4. Start planning if I need to visit an Archives
  5. Start putting my paper files for the Stewart family in a box by my computer

So here we go with the beginning of 2018 and the start to many new genealogy discoveries and accomplishments!


What will you start in 2018?

52 Ancestors: #10 Elizabeth (Young) Redmond

Murder is a horrible thing and when you encounter it in your family research it is VERY hard to know how to handle it. It is one thing to find a murder but to also discover a child that has murdered their parent, it is simply shocking. I did not know this story until I was researching a branch in my maternal line. Distance and time had made it so our families were not close, and I would imagine that this would NOT be a story that would be easily shared.
Sadly this is what I encountered when researching my tree. I asked a researcher living where my family was located of any information they could find in the newspaper; that is when it all started unraveling.
It seems to me that when someone dies under these circumstance it can over shadow a life. Family members who are dealing with the fall-out may be forced to grieve in quiet and not spend the time remembering the life that was well-lived. This is a my chance to talk about the life of Elizabeth (Young) Redmond that I have learned through my research.
Elizabeth Young was born in Orangeville, Ontario about 1880 to parents William and Elizabeth Harrop. When she was 8, Elizabeth along with her 7 siblings lost their father who was a gardener. Elizabeth was the 2nd youngest of the children and would have been greatly impacted her loss.

In 1905 when she was 26, Elizabeth married Michael Redmond, a labourer and 14 years her senior. The 1911 census shows the family with 3 children and Michael’s mother Mary (Shields) Redmond living with them, Michael was employed at the stockyards.
The following census in 1921 shows the parents, 6 children and Elizabeth’s mother Elizabeth living in the house.

The kids grow up, they belong to the local church groups, play piano, enjoy friendships, and start getting married, and time passes. Michael Redmond beloved father dies in 1936 and is buried

Time & Guide 17 Dec 1936

Time & Guide
17 Dec 1936

Then in 1942 the headlines scream –


The story goes that Elizabeth was set upon by her son Norman and killed. It is a tragedy that has impacted for generations.

Here is one of the articles that hit the paper about the family.

Times & Guide  12 Feb 1942

Times & Guide
12 Feb 1942

I believe Norman spent the remainder of his life in prison and died in the 1980’s. Elizabeth lived a wonderful life she was involved with her community, her church and a wonderful mother. She lived a wonderful life.

52 Ancestors: #7 Grace Brown

I don’t have any photos of Grace Brown (Coffey) but I feel like she has such an interesting story, which is yet undiscovered. Grace was born in Ireland probably Dublin, to parents John Brown and Mary Boyd. Grace grew up in Kingston, Ontario with her 8 siblings. She married William Coffey on the 22 March 1860 which lasted for 42 years until her husband’s death. Grace was a widow for the next 20 years until she passed way in 1922. Her obituary is below.


The Daily British Whig Tues. Aug. 22, 1922

The Late Mrs. Coffey

Mrs. Grace Coffey, widow of the late William Coffey, of this city passed away at the home of her daughter Mrs. Joseph McAuley Gananoque on Sunday after a short illness. The deceased was born in Ireland eighty-seven years ago but resided in Kingston most of her life. There are surviving two sons, William and Thomas, and one grandson William, and six daughters Mrs. George Kennedy, Stratford; Mrs. W.F. Lowe, Los Angeles; Mrs. Hughes, Port Hope; Mrs. Kayes, Rivers, Man.; Mrs. McAuley, Gananoque and Miss Coffey, Montreal.

The remains were brought to Kingston, Monday, and the funeral took place from 315 Johnson street the residence of William Coffey, to Cataraqui Cemetery at 3 p.m. Tuesday, under the direction of James Reid, undertaker, Rev. Mr. Duncan pastor of Bethel Church officiated. The casket was banked with beautiful flowers from relatives and friends, expressing the affectionate regard in which the deceased was held.

52 Ancestors – #5 James Raymond Stewart

James or Ray as he was known was born 1900 in Manannah Twp., Meeker Co., Minnesota. His father David first settled in the area as a young man and travelled north to Canada to marry Bridget McMahon who lived in the same community he had before leaving Ontario.


James had quite a journey in store. He was the 7th child born to David and Mary and a few short months after his birth he travelled with his family to their new home in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. This journey today is 662 miles and takes about 10 hours, travel in 1900 would have taken quite a bit longer. Ray’s dad David was a farmer and his boys grew up knowing farm life.

At the Stewart farm in Yorkton, SK.

At the Stewart farm in Yorkton, SK.

Ray lost his mother when he was 12 which left his older sisters to care for him. Ray knew that having two older brothers he would have to make his own way, he adventured off to the Peace Country in Alberta and liked what he saw. This prompted him to file for a homestead, then travel back to Saskatchewan to gather up his meagre supplies. His goods arrived by train in 1927 and Beaverlodge was now home.

James Stewart  abt. 1920

James Stewart
abt. 1920

Same photo with some photo editing.

Same photo with editing.

Ray spent the rest of his life in the Beaverlodge area, where he raised a family and worked hard to provide for them. It wasn’t always easy, they lost their home to a fire and finances were always  struggle. He had a positive attitude and a generous heart. James died in 1990 surrounded by his family.

My children standing on the location of Ray Stewart's homestead.

My children standing on the location of Ray Stewart’s homestead.