You Can Help Index the 1926 Canadian Census

I have been a little focused (alright obsessed) with the potential release of the 1926 Canadian prairie census. After writing some posts about it I have realized that I (and you) can index the census!

It is available as an indexing project at Family Search, I just was on their site and checked.

How do you find it? Log into your Family Search account and select the ‘Indexing‘ tab at the top of the page.Screen Shot 2018-09-08 at 10.21.21 AM.png

Under Project Name select Canada and BINGO you are there!

I know what I will be spending my nights doing. The sooner it is indexed it is likely the sooner we will have access!

I do wonder why this has not been announced by Library and Archives Canada to encourage people to get involved?

Hold On To Your Hats, The Census is Coming

I have written two previous blog posts about the release of the 1926 Canadian census that covers the western prairie Provinces.

1926 Census to be Released this Year & 1926 Census When – No One Knows

The information on Library and Archives Canada website about the ’26 census has not changed but we are not completely in the dark as to what is going on.

I am happy to report that someone does know. A comment on my blog indicates that the census has been passed to Family Search and their transcribers are working their magic to get the census in our hands.

Nancy states they are indexing

“Name, land description, relationship to head, sex, marital condition, age, place of birth (province if Canada, or Country) ethnicity and year of immigration. Not being indexed is Father’s place of birth and Mother’s place of birth, year of naturalization, mother tongue, and education.”

This is amazing news and thankfully Nancy took the time to give us an update. Hopefully, we will have access to this soon!

A big Canadian thank you to Nancy and all the indexers at Family Search!

 

1926 Canadian Census to be Released this Year

Update: Hold on To Your Hats, The Census is Coming

92 years ago there was a census taken in Western Canada, and it is due to be released this year. The 1926 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.

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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.
RIP
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.

 

Where Are the Marriage Records for Saskatchewan?

Yesterday I went to the Saskatchewan Vital Records website to see if they had finally added the marriage index, and I was sad to see that nothing had changed.

The website still indicates that they will work on the Marriage index when they have completed the Death index.

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Don’t get me wrong the site is great and I have been able to find numerous people in the Birth and Death index, but what is the hold-up on the marriage records?

Maybe we need to copy what they are doing in the US with Reclaim the Records. This is a group that is going after institutions that are making it difficult to access certain records.

I decided to go ahead and make a guess for the marriage year, filled out the forms, uploaded my picture ID and that was then I realized the price. They are charging me a whopping $55.00 for a marriage record. This has to be the most expensive genealogical record in Canada!

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C’mon on Saskatchewan, follow Alberta’s lead, get those marriage indexes online and lets drop that price! You can do better than this.

*Featured image – St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan   found on Wikimedia Commons.

William Lewis Harrop

I wanted to do a post in celebration of my great grandfather William Lewis Harrop’s birthday. William was the fifth and last child born to parents Lewis Harrop and Anna Eliza Stickle. William was born in the 25 of September in 1854, in Etobicoke, Ontario. The Harrop family had moved from New York sometime between 1843-1849, where their first three children were born.

In Etobicoke, the Harrop’s were farmers on land they rented. The father Lewis died in 1860 and was buried at St.-George’s-on-the-Hill Cemetery which is now located in the city of Toronto.

Anna Eliza along with her youngest children, William, Robert, Elizabeth and Mary relocated to Orangeville. Her oldest child Benjamin was married in 1856, and had moved to Chinguacousy, Peel Co., Ontario where he farmed.

In 1871, according to the Canadian census, my great grandfather William Lewis Harrop is living with the McKim family and working as a butcher’s apprentice. With land opening up in the west William makes a move to the Qu’ Appelle District of Assiniboine which later becomes the province of Saskatchewan.

About 1895 he took out an ad with a matrimonial agency and he struck up a correspondence with his future wife Isabella (Sherrill) Cornelius a widow from North Carolina. They were married about 1896 and Isabella moved with her daughter Flora Bell to rural Saskatchewan. The marriage was not long-lasting, William was widowed by 1904. Isabelle’s daughter Flora went back to North Carolina, leaving her mother behind in the Indian Head Cemetery.

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The Harrop home in Balcarres, Saskatchewan. c1915

William may have used the same agency to find his second wife, Rachel Hodgins who was from Huntley, Carleton Co., Ontario. They were married in Balcarres, Saskatchewan in 1907 and settled into life on William’s already well-established farm located on Sec 1 – 21-12-W2 in Balcarres. Three children were born to them over the next five years and the farm continued to prosper.

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Rachel Hodgins & William Harrop c1907

The start of the depression hit the farm hard, coupled with the death of William in 1932, the Harrop family lost the farm that William had worked so hard to establish. Rachel his wife moved to Binscarth, Mantiboa where she died in 1950. The children all moved to different locations, son Walter to Whitewood in Saskatchewan, Dorothy also to Binscarth and Wilma moved to Alberta.

harrop-family

The Harrop family with unknown people. Back row ?, Walter & William Harrop. Front row Dorothy, ?, Wilma & Rachel c. 1920 probably taken at Balcarres, Saskatchewan.

Rachel (Hodgins) Harrop a Fearless Female

Rachel Margaret Hodgins was born on Dec. 3, 1870 in Huntley, Carleton Co., Ontario to parents Rachel Mordy and William W. Hodgins. On the 1871 census Rachel was enumerated at the age of 4 months and was surrounded by Hodgins families. Rachel’s grandparents and many of her father’s siblings are listed next door on the census. Living close by, and appearing below them on the census is William’s brother Henry Hodgins.

The Hodgins family is quite an old family to the Huntley area. They were one of the first settlers to arrive after the war of 1812. Thomas Hodgins, Rachel’s great grandfather was said to have been a soldier in 1812 (another research project for another day). Thomas had 4 children with his first wife and then married again and had 11 more children. There are Hodgins relatives everywhere! But back to the story of Rachel.

Rachel welcomed a sister and then a brother before her mother died in childbed when she was 9 years old.

HODGINS, Rachel M. death 1879

Rachel (Mordy) Hodgins death record

As many widows with young children, Rachel’s father looked to remarry and quickly, as his youngest child William was only 2. Less than a year after his wife’s death William married Caroline Jordan who was 30 years his junior and they lived in Torbolton, Ontario. Similar to his grandfather William went on to have 9 more children with his second wife. It’s funny how I do not know many stories about this family, but one that I did hear was that the children of the first marriage did not stay long in the home and they moved and became house maids or labourers to neighbors in the area. An indication of this is in the 1881 census as none of Rachel’s older siblings are living in the house. Rachel is not living in her father’s home in the 1891 census and in 1901 I can find Rachel Hodgins living in Ottawa and a servant to William Parris who was a brewer. I do not know if this is my Rachel as she has a different birth date according to the census.

Rachel was married to William Harrop Feb. 7, 1907 when she was 37 years old and he was 16 years her senior.

Rachel Hodgins & William Harrop c.1907

Rachel Hodgins & William Harrop c.1907

Rachel worked very hard on the family farm located in Balcarres, Saskatchewan and she welcomed three children into the world. Their farm was large and William proved to be a good provider.

The  Harrop home in Balcarres, Saskatchewan. c1915

The Harrop home in Balcarres, Saskatchewan. c1915

In 1932, William passed away and the Great Depression hit the Harrop farm hard. The farm was taken away from the family shortly after his death and Rachel lived with her daughter Dorothy until her passing in 1950 in Binscarth, Manitoba.

Rachel (Hodgins) Harrop is my great grandmother and one of my fearless female.