Someone’s Military Ancestor – The Jay Brothers

Day 4 of the 11-day Military Challenge

A tattered old newspaper clipping, tucked in amoung a stack of papers that are the remanents of my grandparent’s lives. Carefully unfolding the yellowed paper to see what will be revealed, three brothers off fighting for Canada in WWI, sons of Minnie Jay of 863 Cadieux Street in Montreal.

Minnie their mother tells the newspaper that all three of her boys are wounded –

Jay boys in Khaki

The clipping saved by my grandfather

 Mrs. Jay, of 863 Cadieux street, has given her three sons to the Empire’s service, all of whom have appeared in the casualty lists. Reading from left to right they are: Pte George Arthur Jay of the 3rd Canadian Divisional Signalling Company, who has just been admitted to hospital suffering from gas poisoning; Pte. John Jay, of the R.H.A. now in hospital at Bonscombe and Segt. William A. Jay, who went over with the First Contingent, now the convalescent hospital at Epson, England. The latter has been wounded four times since going to the front.

With no obvious connection to my family, I sit down to research the Jays of Montreal. William James Jay and his wife Minnie had more children than the three sons in the clipping, besides George Arthur, John and William A, they also had Edward, Mildred, Elizabeth, Minnie, and Sally.

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1921 Canadian Census Reference Number: RG 31; Folder Number: 117; Census Place: St Louis Ward, Montreal, Georges-Étienne Cartier, Quebec; Page Number: 14

I found the service files for all three of the Jay men on the Library and Archives website (which is in the process of digitizing all the service files for WWI soldiers). I am happy to report that all three recovered from their wounds and returned to Canada.

The connection to my family is still a question but I believe that one of the Jay brothers was likely a friend of my grandfather, John M. Dever. John was not only a fellow soldier but also hailed from Montreal, maybe they knew each other before serving or perhaps they were in the same Signaling unit.

I may never know how my grandfather knew the Jay men but I thought it fitting that I remember their service.

#someonesmilitaryancestor knew #mymilitaryancestor

My Military Ancestor – Samuel T. Jordan

Day 1 of the 11-day Military Challenge

Samuel T. Jordan was a career soldier serving with the 8th Royal Rifles and later as an instructor at the Royal Military College in Kingston.

I recently found a picture of him on a trip to Kingston hanging on the wall at the RCHA social room. He is in a group picture of Warrant Officers and Staff Sargeants of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, with each person thankfully identified.

#mymilitaryancestor

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Tracing Your Canadian Military Ancestors

If you have any military ancestors in Canada it is likely that you are aware of the indexing of the WWI Soldier’s service records by Library and Archives Canada. They are over 1/2 done and the last update took us to the surname Russell.

Here a few other resources that can be investigated to help you in researching your military ancestor.

1) Commonwealth War Graves Commission – this site contains records of Commonwealth soldiers who were killed and buried overseas, including Canadian soldiers.

2) Veterans Death Cards is an underutilized resource when researching your WWI soldiers. These cards are not in a searchable index but are arranged alphabetically. Select the surname and scroll through until you find who you are looking for. It is not a complete listing but worth your time to check this resource. What is written on the card varies but you may find the soldier’s Reg, number, date of death, location and name of a surviving relative.

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A screen-shot of the Veterans Index card page

3) Navy – again Library and Archives website is the go-to, you can request the 1910-1941 service files for the Royal Canadian Navy – thanks to Dianne Seale Nolan’s comment below I have adjusted this information. Diane also informs us that the Navy service files are not yet available online at LAC, only the index to the Ledger Sheets. With the info contained there, you can request a copy of the ledger sheet (13 cents but I wouldn’t bother, same info is in file) and a copy of the service file

4) Canadian Soldiers killed in WWII is available on Library and Archives website. If you have an Ancestry subscription ($$) you can view the full files.

5) Book of Remembrance – a page is turned once a year on the seven books memorializing Canadians killed in a war. From the site –

The seven Books of Remembrance commemorate the lives of more than 118,000 Canadians who, since Confederation, have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country in uniform. The names inscribed in the Books of Remembrance can also be found in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

Museum & Archives

Do not over look searching for a Museum/Archives in the location where your ancestor was living. Many of them have memorial projects to honour soldiers who fought.

Alberta – South Peace Regional Archives is located in Grande Prairie and their project is to commemorate all the soldiers from the South Peace with a biography.

British Columbia – the community of Chilliwack’s Museum & Archives has an on-line memorial to their WWI and WWII soldiers honoured on their website Chillwack Museum and Archives

Manitoba – Hamiota Archives created a Wall of Remembrance back in 2016 that has the names of 750 soldiers.

Newfoundland – The Royal Newfoundland Regiment has an Archives dedicated to that Regiment.

Nova Scotia – The Yarmouth Museum and Archives houses newspapers from various years that would likely have reported on soldiers activity.

Nunavut – This Canada’s newest Territory and was not created until 1999. Nunavut Archives is who you would contact to inquire as to what is in their holdings for your veteran.

PEI – A search for ‘soldier’ on the Prince Edward Island’s PAROS collections database results in 116 photographs and 22 textual items.

Quebec – Have you ever wondered if your family took part in the battle on the Plains of Abraham? The National Battlefields Commission has a searchable index of soldiers who took part in 1759-1760.

This is a database of the French and British army soldiers in Québec in 1759 and 1760. There are 11,358 entries, 4,079 for French and 7,279 for British fighters.

Ontario – The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa has created a database of Canadian militia personnel not born in Canada.

Saskatchewan – The Melfort Museum and Archives states they have in their holdings

a large archive of photographs, documents, history books, record books and oral histories available for genealogical research.

it may be worthwhile to see if their holdings include soldiers if your family lived in the area.

Yukon – A search at the Yukon Archives on-line revealed a picture from the 1940s of a soldier standing in the snow and they have may have more in their holdings.

This is a small sampling of what different museums and archives are doing to honour our veterans.

Other Sites Dedicated to Soldiers

Historic Canada has a page dedicated to Black Canadian Soldiers.

There is also a website for researching your Aboriginal Soldiers in the World Wars in Canada 

More

Other sites with mentioning are the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and The Canadian Military Heritage Project.

This is a drop in bucket, there are numerous sites that contain information about Canadian soldiers. Dig in and enjoy researching and honouring the veterans in your family!

*Featured Image – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier found on Wikimedia Commons

 

A Fine Celebration

One of the things that I inherited from my grandmother Beatrice (Jordan) Dever was a Royal Canadian Artillery reunion booklet.  She may have attended the event or collected it as her grandfather William Robert Jordan was honoured at the event. The reunion was held in Kingston, Ontario and was reported in the Kingston Whig-Standard on May 23, 1930.

William attended, placing a wreath on the R.C.H.A. memorial along with Mr. W.R. Abbott and Major General R.W. Rutherford.

The reunion booklet contains the programme, the committee members, a history of the regiment and photographs of members.

I have scanned the front page.

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Cover of the reunion booklet.

 

The Royal Artillery Museum has a write up about William Robert Jordan on their website.

Sergeants’ Mess

This photograph of Sergeants’ Mess was probably taken in Quebec City, I came across it on a visit to my great Uncle Herbert Jordan who lived in Montreal. The photograph belonged to his grandfather William Jordan who was a Sergeant in the Canadian Artillery in the 1880s. He started out as a bugler during the Fenian Raids with the Eighth Royal Rifles and served in the Jesuit Barracks in 1870 when he was eighteen years old. He first joined the Eighth Royal Rifles in 1866 as a bugler and later in the Northwest Rebellion where he was promoted to Sergeant.

William had the distinction as being the first to sound call and act as sentry for the Royal Artillery when they took over the Citadel from the 60th Rifles of the Imperial Army in 1871.

He was in the Northwest campaign in 1885 and it was here that attained the rank of Sergeant but he also damaged his hearing due to his proximity to the guns. He also was a bugler and trumpet instructor and then later a gymnasium instructor at the Citadel.

I would dearly love to know in what building this photograph was taken. I haven’t been able to pick him out in the photograph and wonder if he is even in it…I also had to stitch it together the best I could as my scanner bed isn’t big enough for the picture.

 

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William Jordan c.1880

 

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William Jordan abt. 1935.

The Three Jay Brothers in Khaki

I don’t have Jay’s in my family tree but in case anyone is out there searching for them I found an old newspaper clipping in my grandmother Beatrice Jordan’s papers. I am not sure if she kept this clipping or if my grandfather John M. Dever did. Either way, I have wanted to share this clipping for quite some time. The newspaper mentions Mrs. Jay of Cadieux street, the son’s names were George Arthur, John and William. I also haven’t researched the family at all but for me, the hint is the Signalling Company as my grandfather was also a Signaller. Maybe George Arthur Jay is in the photograph I have of my grandfather’s unit, maybe his friend…Jay boys in Khaki