When Grandma Became President of the Rebekahs

Today is the day of my grandmother Beatrice Mary Victoria Jordan’s birth in Quebec City. In wanting to mark the day I also realized it is also the 60th anniversary (one day late) of her becoming the International President of the Rebekahs at their Annual Session in Miami, Florida.

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Beatrice had worked hard in the organization serving in the past as president of the Quebec Assembly and later as the Treasurer and the Vice President of the International branch.

Her year as President had her traveling all over Canada, the States, to Denmark and Cuba. From the looks of things, it was a busy year.

 

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Arriving in Cuba

 

Here she is seated at an event given in her honour at the Sheraton Mount-Royal Hotel.

 

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Beatrice 6th from right with her husband Jack Dever by her side

 

A pretty impressive year and what a birthday present!

 

 

 

 

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What? An Archives Wants My Stuff

Well, not really my stuff, they want my grandparent’s stuff, but how awesome is that?!

My genealogy collection includes a large number of items that belonged to my grandmother Beatrice (Jordan) Dever and on a smaller scale her husband John M. Dever. This ‘stuff’ includes their own personal records but also photographs, letters, scrapbooks and guest books from their involvement with organizations like the Rebekahs, the Montreal Traffic Club, Oddfellows, etc.

I have kept all this memorabilia through many moves, storing it safely tucked away on shelves in my home. Who sees it? No one except me on the odd day that I bring it down and sift through it.

Maybe it would be better off at an Archives, safely away from possible damage (fire, flood, bugs, etc.), or what if something happened to me? Would my family value this ‘stuff’? I shudder at the scenarios that pop into my head. Now all those reasons are solid ones as to why I want to donate this collection but the biggest reason for me to have it housed at an Archives is to make it accessible! How accessible is it in my house? Especially when these records have a broader interest than my own family history.

 

Rebekah collection resized

An overview of what is in the collection

 

Next step to donating is to find out if an Archives is even interested. With some encouragement (thanks, Gail), I made contact with the McCord Museum in Montreal, as this was the city where my grandparents lived. Their Archivist was away but recently she sent me an email and let me know that the McCord Museum would be happy to be the home for this collection! Exciting news!

Distance is a bit of an issue as I cannot come down and show them what I have, so we have emailed back and forth and I have sent photographs of various items as well as a description of what is in the collection.

I also asked questions and I thought people may be interested to know what to ask an Archives when giving a donation. The obvious first question is do they want what you are offering, but if they say yes, here are some questions to ask:

  1. Where will the records be held and what kind of storage facility do they have? Make sure the facility is well equipped against disaster.
  2. Will they create a Finding Aid for your donation?A Finding Aid is a description of what is in the collection. Will it be available on-line? Hopefully, you will get a yes.
  3. How long until your records will be processed? Sometimes this can be years.
  4. I have bibles that are from the organization with inscriptions, would they be interested? Not all Archives are interested in bibles as they can take up a lot of room. Sometimes they will photocopy the inscriptions and give you back the bible.
  5. Ribbons & pins, are they interested? Not all Archives will collect these items so it is important to check, especially if you want the collection to stay together as a whole.
  6. What do they do with the discards? What if there is a duplicate item or something they do not want? You can request to have them returned to you.
  7. How will people be able to access the records? Will it be fully digitized? Do they have a reading room for people to come and view the collection? You want to make sure that others will be able to see the collection.
  8. Do they offer a tax receipt? If this is of interest to you I recommend asking about this upfront.

 

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Pins from the collection

We still have to decide how to get the collection from Alberta to Montreal safely, but that is for another day.

 

I look forward to the day that this collection will be safely in the capable hands of the staff at the McCord Museum and available for everyone to view.

All in all, I would say this is pretty awesome!

 

 

 

A Death by Drink or Not?

Today marks the 124th anniversary of the death of Cornelius McMahon my mother’s great-grandfather. Cornelius left Ireland with his parents and siblings when he was in his 20s, the family had lived through most of the famine but decided to leave. He settled in Ayton, Grey Co., Ontario, married and had seven children. I was surprised to find that he was ‘accidentally killed’ when reading his death record.

Naturally, I wanted to explore this more and I contacted the Wellington Archives which houses newspapers that cover Grey Co., Ontario.

Initially, when reading through the newspaper account I was impressed to read when he was attending an event in nearby Durham he…

was given a place of honour on the platform with all notable men present.

But this quickly turned to dismay when I read…

Before leaving for home he became intoxicated, being addicted to drink.

The newspaper goes on to report that Cornelius and his companion John McIntee both had imbibed too much at the event and on the journey home…

…the colt became unmanageable and on the the road leading through the swamp on this side of Varney ; that both were thrown out and when he [McIntee] went to McMahon’s assistance he found him dead.

The cause of death was declared a broken neck, Cornelius was 69 years old.

McMahon Corn. acc. death001

Mount Forest Representative Sept 21, 1893 pg.8

Another search to see if the coroner’s report had made its way into the newspaper and I found a retraction of the previous story.

…there was nothing in the evidence to show that the unfortunate man was the worse of liquor at the time of his death, and as it is alleged he was not, we cheerfully state these facts and regret the report got abroad and found its way in these columns that he was not sober.

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Mount Forest Representative 5 Oct 1893 pg.8

So was Cornelius a drinker or not? Did the newspaper have to retract because it was an error? Or maybe the family just didn’t want it said? I am sure I will never know, and no matter what he is remembered.

Cornelius McMahon.

St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Ayton, Grey Co., Ontario 

Cornelius McMahon 1824-1893; His Beloved Wife Sara McCue 1825-1915; May Their Souls Rest In Peace; Sarah McMahon Wife of Michael Culliton 1886-1925 Rest In Peace. 

 

The Gazette, Montreal B/M/D – Oct 12, 1957

Here is another installment of birth, marriages, and deaths from newspapers kept by my grandparents, John & Beatrice Dever.

Indexed names –

The Gazette Oct 12, 1957

Births

Arnold

Cliffe

Connolly

Dyson

Heath

Hyde

Lariviere

Mathewson

Phelan

Ross

Saunders

Ward

Whitman

Engagements

Callicott-Paul

Deaths

Axelrad

Blair

Brodie

Cleary

Clement

Dalton

Davey

Dever

Doyle

Duplex

Dupre

Elsy

Forster

Grier

Guigue

Johnson

Laird

Leblanc

Masson

Moisan

Nichols

Pope

Skelcher

Stone

Stonehouse

Stroud

Thibodeau

Tobin

Tousaw

Young

The Gazette Oct 12 1957004The Gazette Oct 12 1957005

 

Should I Be More Focused in My Research?

Confession: I am not the most focused of researchers. There I have said it. I tend to research a family line that a get a shaky leaf on, find a document about or research in new record set that gets released or whatever strikes my fancy. I would call my research a little willy-nilly.

I know, I know, I should do it better, organize, make a plan. So far that hasn’t worked for me or my schedule but there is something to be said for F O C U S I N G.

I recently decided to write about the Jeffery family, so I broke my blog posts into a series about the children of Robert Jeffery and Elizabeth Tipper. Great, focus, a plan, a lot of reviewing of my research, it was great. And then it happened, a huge breakthrough! I have been at this for a few years, new surnames being added to my direct line does not happen every day, and then it happened.

While reviewing and checking my records I went on the Genealogie Quebec website that I learned a lot about while attending the Ontario Genealogy Conference in Ottawa from speaker and blogger Gail Dever‘s ahhhmazing session. I don’t read or speak french so I was sure this site wasn’t for me. My family weren’t part of those early Quebec families (ya a little jealous) so again I was dismissive. I was so completely and utterly wrong. I won’t explain all the fantastic things about this genealogy site but let me tell you if you have ancestors in Quebec you really should check it out.

Back to my story.

One search, all it took was one search…I put in the surname Tipper in the search field and two results came up. Two!!

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I already knew about John & Catherine Taylor’s marriage but the first one was the ‘pot of gold’. You see I knew that Elizabeth Tipper’s parents were John Tipper and Gertrude ________   but I wasn’t able to find out dear Gertrude’s last name. My heart was thumping so fast and I clicked the link. JACKPOT!

 

Tipper John m. Gertrude Cudlip 1795

John Tipper & Gertrude Cudlip married at the Holy Trinity Church, Quebec City, May 2, 1795

Cudlip, yup that’s the name I had been looking for – C U D L I P, what a name! I love it, best   name   ever!!!  My 4th great grandmother has a name, Gertrude Cudlip, and yes, I cried. I said the name over and over in my head Gertrude Cudlip, Gertrude Cudlip, Gertrude Cudlip like a mantra, I didn’t want to stop. I had found her. (Am I the only one that gets this weird?)

I hurried to add this new wonderful name to my tree and waited to see what would pop up for hints, I felt there must be a huge Cudlip family in Quebec just waiting to be found, right? Nope, nadda, nothing, I thought Tipper was a rare name.

I did some research on the name and discovered it could be spelled Cudlipp, Cutlip, etc., and was most prevent in Devonshire, England but there does not seem to be too many of them. And where they are hiding in 1795, Quebec City I would surely like to know.

I guess genealogy isn’t a sprint it is more like a marathon…

Back to my original question, should I be more focused when I research, well if I am not ‘in focus’ then what am I? I think we all know the answer to that. I am not promising anything but with these results my motivation has increased a hundredfold to do a little more planning in my research.

Oh and BTW if you have Cudlip in your tree give me a shout!

Londonderry to Quebec on the Dr. Kane in 1862

My Diver / Dever family had a harrowing journey on the Doctor Kane from Londonderry, Ireland to Quebec in 1862. The ship they were sailing on set out in April of 1862 and struck ice leaving them stuck for an hour. This event was long before the Titanic but I am sure the passengers would have had horror stories of boat tragedies involving ice. It must have been a very long hour!

Thankfully they were able to get free and reach their destination of Quebec.

Their thanks to the Captain was sent into the Quebec Daily News as well as a listing of the some of the people onboard. Here is the list:

Baird, J. Snr.

Baird, J. Mrs.

Baird, John

Baird, Hamilton

Baird, J. junr.

Thompson, Mrs. (Widow)

Thompson, Robert

Maguire, Andrew

Maguire, Margaret

Young, John

Young, Mrs.

Young, Robert

Young, Susannah

Young, Elizabeth

Young, Mary

Adair, James M.

Mackey, Sarah

Latme (?), Mrs. (Widow) 

Latme, Margaret

Wilson, John

Wilson, Mrs.

Portion, Mrs. Robert

Smyth, Elizabeth

Smyth, Jane

Robertson, Andrew

McK_nan, Henry

Adams, David

Lyons, John

Lyons, Mrs.

Dever, James

Dever, Mrs.

Lyons, James

Taylor, James

Charlton, Wm.

O’Donnell, Hugh

McNally, James

Murphy, Thomas

Irvine, James

Irvine, Henry

McDermott, Wm.

Coulter, Andrew

Coulter, Mrs.

Coulter, Eliza

Coulter, Margaret

Wilson, James

Wilson, Mrs.

Wilson, Joseph

Spence, William

Spence, Mrs.

Here is a transcription of their collective statement about the voyage aboard the Dr. Kane taken from the newspaper:

Quebec May 13, 1862, To Captain Samuel Millikan, of the Barque “Doctor Kane,” Londonderry

Sir:

We the undersigned passengers of the Bark Dr. Kane, beg to present to you out sincere thanks, for your kin attention to us in administering to our wants and diffusing comforts to the utmost limits of thy power. Also, the deep interest you took of the sick, in prescribing “Medicine,” most suitable to their several distinct illnesses, thereby promoting health onboard. We unanimously have a deep gratification in being able to pronounce that thy kindess has far exceeded our expectations. And, also we cannot pass over the great deliverance we had on Saturday, 3rd May at three o’clock, AM, when our Bark struck fast into the field of ice. Through God’s most providential protection, we now retain and owe our lives, and thy surpassaple skill in able Commandership, in extracating us out of our perilous situation, in the short period of one hour, likewise, thy personal skill has been most obvious in taking every advantage of the wind, disregarding fatigue and inclemency of the weather. We all feel general satisfaction in our short voyage of thirty days, uniting again in thanks to God, and your exertions in being about to disembark at our desired haven, Quebec.

A reply was penned but it was cut off from the clipping. I have added acquiring this to my to-do list.

My Diver / Dever consisting of James, his wife Sarah (Cheatley) and their two children Eliza (age 4) and Samuel (2 mos.), did not remain in Quebec but settled in Picton, Prince Edward Co., Ontario.

 

Dever, James ship Dr. K165

Quebec Daily News, May 13, 1862

 

 

 

The Normandie Roof, Montreal

Here is a great picture of a men’s social gathering on the Normandie Roof in Montreal. A Google search tells me that the Normadie Roof was located in the Royal Hotel in Montreal.

My grandfather John Melody Dever is a part of this group of men. Grandpa appears to be in his late thirties so I am guessing the date of the photograph to be in the 1930s.

If you have a better guess on the date or recognize the people he was chumming with please let me know!

Normandie Roof Montreal

John (Jack) Dever 2nd from right