1926 Canadian Census to be Released this Year

92 years ago there was a census taken in Western Canada, the 1926 census is due to be released this year. The census covered the Western Provinces of Canada; Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The census was taken on June 1, 1926, more information on the census can be found on the Government of Canada website. 

Wikipedia reports the population of Canada in 1926 was 9,451,000, but it doesn’t state what the population was in those three provinces.


I am still looking for the information that was asked in this census. I also have not been able to uncover the release date for the census.

In preparation, I am creating a list of surnames and places that will be of interest for my family history.

My search will include the following surnames:

Harrop – Balcarres, Saskatchewan, Alberta & Manitoba
Stewart – Yorkton, Saskatchewan
McRae – Alberta

My husband’s family –

Greber – Saskatchewan
Hawkesworth – Alberta
Hodgson – Saskatchewan
Schinkle – Manitoba
Schielke – Manitoba & Saskatchewan
Whitman – Saskatchewan & Alberta
Wiesner – Saskatchewan & Manitoba

And who knows who else will show up once I begin hunting!

Do you think it will be indexed upon release or shortly thereafter? I checked the Library and Archives website but I didn’t find any mention of the release date or if there is an indexing project in place.

I would recommend in preparation for the census release creating your own list, and share it!

Who will you be searching for?

Did Your Ancestor Leave You A Clue at the Cemetery?

Did your ancestor leave you a clue at the cemetery? Mine did.

Sites like Find-A-Grave and Canadian Headstones are great tools to use in helping us research our family but a trip to your ancestors grave could lead to more discoveries. What you don’t see in the pictures posted on those sites is the headstones surrounding an ancestor. I found the clues my ancestor left on a visit to a cemetery which I wouldn’t have found without being there.

The trip took place in 1998 when my mother and I drove to Saskatchewan to discover more about her grandparents whom she had never met. They were all deceased so the trip would be to the cemeteries to pay our respects.

Up until that point, I had done most of my research on my mother’s family by making phone calls, sending emails, applying for b/m/d certificates and visiting my local library & LDS Centre looking at census records. I was on a limited budget and working with next to no information (my mother knew very little about her family history).

My husband agreed to watch our kids and my mother and I set off, loaded with maps and hope in our hearts. On our list was Indian Head, Saskatchewan (where her mother was from) and Yorkton, Saskatchewan for her paternal side. We hit up numerous antique shops along the way and enjoyed our mother-daughter time.

In Yorkton, we visited King Cemetery armed with the knowledge that this was the final resting place of David Stewart & his wife Bridget McMahon, her grandparents. After locating her grandparent’s headstone and getting a photo, I noticed that beside was a matching headstone but the names were unfamiliar. It read –

In Memory of Margaret McGowan
Beloved wife of John McGowan
Born Nov. 27, 1848 Died Dec. 27. 1916.
Also the above named
John McGowan
Born April 1842 Died March 28, 1920

This was puzzling, further investigation around the stones showed that there was a cement border enveloping the stones and a third stone that was David & Bridget Stewart’s daughter Violet. But who were these McGowans?

Finding The Connection

Once we returned from our trip, I checked the Rootsweb mailing list for a surname mailing list for the McGowan name. These mailing lists were a great way for genealogists to be in touch before the advent of Facebook and more modern communications. So I joined the list and sent a query asking if anyone knew why the McGowan stone was close to the Stewart’s and if anyone knew of the connection. About an hour later I zipped back down to the basement to check and see if I had received a response, after waiting for the dial-up of our internet I saw that there was a reply from Dani Lee McGowan. Dani Lee had been to the same cemetery two years previous and took nearly identical photographs.

David Stewart stone King Cemetery

The Stewart stone, photo by Patricia Greber

McGowan stone, King Cemetery

McGowan stone, photo by Dani Lee

Stewart, Violet stone, King Cemetery

My mother Mary (Stewart) Dever is holding back the bush so we can read the inscription on Violet Stewart’s stone. This is the third stone enclosed in the cement border which you can see on the right.

Dani Lee knew the families were connected, but she also questioned how. This began the start of a friendship and collaboration that continues to this day. I started researching the McGowan family and eventually found that we share a common relative, Mary Loftus.

Mary Loftus McGowan Stewart

Mary was born about 1822 in Sligo, Ireland (not proven) and married Felix McGowan, either in Ireland or in New York. In 1839 their first child Bridget was born, and two sons John (1842) and Thomas (1844) arrived after the family moved to West Flamboro, Wentworth Co., Ontario. In about 1845 Felix passed away, the following year Mary who was a devout Catholic marries a Scotch Presbyterian in 1846. Enter my ancestor William Stewart who becomes a father to Mary’s children and together they have six more, James, Margaret, Alexander, David, William all born in West Flamboro. Mary Ann, their last child, was born in 1857 after the family moved to Ayton, Normanby Twp., Grey Co., Ontario.

The flurry of emails between Dani Lee and I during this research period and discovery was almost daily. Every new discovery was celebrated, we were thrilled to have found our connection.

Evidently, our great-grandfathers David Stewart and John McGowan were close. They traveled from Normanby, Ontario settling in Manannah, Meeker Co., Minnesota for about 30 years, and later they both moved back to Canada and finally chose to rest side by side in death.

The Trip was Worth It

Would I have ever discovered this without a visit to the cemetery? I may have, but I think it would have taken me a lot longer to figure out the connection and I would have missed out on years of collaboration with my cousin!

Seeing the stones side by side was a big clue that these families were connected. The cement border indicating the shared plot drove home that I needed to spend time researching this family.

My advice to you, take the time to visit your ancestors final resting spot and keep your eyes open for any clues the left you.

Meet Up?

Dani Lee and I have never met face-to-face but she has plans to travel to Canada this summer and I hope that we will be able to have a reunion that is 20 years in the making!

Still to Discover 

We still have yet to find when our common ancestress Mary Loftus died. We know she was in Minnesota in 1888 according to “Illustrated Album of Biography of Meeker and McLeod Counties Minnesota” where she is mentioned in the write up for John McIntee, her son-in-law.

Her next and last appearance is in the 1891 Canadian census where she is living with her oldest son James Stewart in Ayton, Ontario. That is the last record we have been able to find for her, someday we hope to find where she is buried so we can journey to her resting place and pay our respects.


What A Weekend

I wanted to share my incredible weekend with you.

I am starting this tale by rewinding back to September 2001. My husband and I were getting away on a rare (maybe first time ever) trip just the two of us. I had it all planned out, stops across Ontario and then heading into Quebec, with plans to end the journey at Quebec City. Of course, the trip was mainly genealogy research based.

It was a lovely trip, visiting libraries, archives and connecting with family. One stop was to see my cousin Edith who was living in Cambridge. We had never met face-to-face, up until then our communication had been mainly by letter.

We spent a lovely afternoon at her home and she was willing to let me and my husband run down to the local copy centre with some of her photographs. We made the best copies available on-site (although not the best quality) at that time.


Visiting Edith 16 years ago

Years passed and Edith and I lost touch.

Fast-forward to two weeks ago when I tracked down one of Edith’s nephews who was also related to me. I wasted no time in asking how to get in touch with his aunt. Honestly, I had been scouring obits for Ontario as I thought it possible she had passed away. I was amazed and thrilled to hear that Edith was alive and kicking at 104 years old and living in Gatineau, Quebec.

When I found out that Edith was doing well, I immediately wanted to plan a trip to see her. My husband and I were able to get away so we booked a trip to Ottawa leaving on Thursday and returning this past Monday.

Unable to chat with Edith on the phone, as her hearing is extremely poor, we were traveling with our fingers crossed that she would be home and up for company.

Armed with her address we set out the day after our arrival in Ottawa, knocked on her door, unsure what we would find. Well, I needn’t have worried, once we re-introduced ourselves she quickly remembered us and asked how our cattle farm was doing!


I felt I was more prepared for this visit, I had a bit more research done on the family and was able to ask better questions. I could tell Edith thoroughly enjoyed our visits as she regaled us with stories about times gone by.

Edith could not find one of her photo albums but was willing to have the pictures she on-hand scanned. Thank goodness for the Flip-Pal Scanner!



Gathering of ladies of the Jordan family – L-R Edith, Nellie, Vi, Lillian & Mary Frost taken at St. Joseph’s, Quebec


One photograph Edith had on display was her grandfather and my 2x great grandfather William R. Jordan in full uniform! I had never laid eyes on this photograph before and was beyond thrilled to see as well as scan it!



William R. Jordan – c1885


After three visits with Edith, we had to part and it is so sad to know I will likely not get an opportunity to see her again.

Truly one of my favorite things about researching my family tree is getting to meet relatives like Edith.

*featured image – Edith c1940


OGS – Genealogy Without Borders

I have happily arrived at the OGS 2014 conference held at the Brock University in Ontario.
My first session yesterday was with Glenn Wright. I have been wanting to attend one of his presentations for the past couple of years and I am happy I did.
The session with Glenn was focused on Canada World War I service records and getting the most out of those service records many of us have sitting on a shelf at home. The first thing to help us gather the most from those records is to create a time-line of them. Start with their enlistment and work your way through the records until you get to their demobilization papers. This will give you a great working perspective to research further into the records. Once you have gathered all the information in a much easier to use format you can then proceed to the Library and Archives website and peek at those war diaries that have been added. You can then get even more details on your ancestors time in the war!
I must have about 20 of those files at home and have decided my #1 project will be to create these time lines.
This is a wonderful project just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Great War!