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Gems in Homestead Files

The mail arrived yesterday and with it a package for me, I had ordered homestead records from Manitoba. The homestead files were for my husband’s great grandfather’s first wife’s two brothers Wilhelm and Leopold Ziebart. Edward Greber was married to Leokadia Ziebart in Russia and they immigrated to the United States and later to Canada with their children. In order to find out more about the Greber family, I have been researching collateral lines.


GREBER, Edward & Leokadia with boys

Leokadia, Edward jr., Edward & Charles Greber



Leokadia died in 1905, leaving Edward with 2 young sons Charles age six and Edward age two. Edward remarried shortly after and with his new wife Otilia Wiesner four more children were born to them. Edward and Ottillia are together for six years, but then Edward passes away in 1912 in Saskatchewan. My husband descends from the Edward’s second marriage.

We have always known that after Edward’s death the family broke apart. What we weren’t clear on is what happened to his two boys over the next few years.

Last night I sat down to have a look and was fairly impressed by the volume of papers that had arrived. I started with Wilhelm’s and learned that he settled on SW23 T27 W8 which is located near Moosehorn, Manitoba. It is interesting information, I learned he had a wife and four children. Next up was Leopold’s homestead record, he gained entry in 1911 on NE 24 T26 R8 W1 and seemed to have had a hard time breaking his land. His file contains letters back and forth between him and the land records office, who were threatening to cancel his claim as he didn’t have his requirements met. The interesting thing as I am going through is that he mentions relatives, his sister Mrs. John Schmal, brother-in-law Karl Schultz and his mother Ernestine Ziebart. He reports that his mother is living with him and he is his sole support. Reading further reveals that his mother is raising his sister’s children and goes on to name them – Charles and Edward! Leopold moves to the United States and writes to the land records office granting his mother his homestead with all the improvements on it. Ernestine, in a following letter states that she is raising the two boys and later informs records office that Charles has enlisted, so she only has Edward.

This information fills in the years we were missing for the boys. We did know that Charles was killed in WWI fighting for the USA. Edward moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan where he lived with relatives the Bresch family.

It is well worth exploring collateral lines because you don’t know when your questions will be answered or new discoveries made!

Mainly Canadian Birthplace Chart

I have caught the birthplace pedigree bug. My chart shows my Canadian roots and the origins of Ireland, England and Scotland of my ancestors. It was a fun and easy to create and I showed it to my family this morning at brunch this morning.

Birthplace pedigree 5 gen


The chart was downloaded from Marian Pierre-Louis’ post Birthplace Pedigree Fun. And the original idea was J. Paul Hawthorne’s.

And here’s a six generation one that highlights how much I still need to discover! #MyColorfulAncestry

6 generation.jpg

And here’s my husband’s 5 gen chart.

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A Moment in Time

My dad was born Feb. 1, 1938 at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec. This was a huge event in my grandparents lives. They had married later in life, she was 29 and he was 31 on January 28, 1928 and the event took place at Taylor Presbyterian Church. It would a month short of 10 years before they welcomed their son John. The story that has passed down to me is my grandmother although pregnant multiple times, she wasn’t able to carry to term. I have been told she had 13 miscarriages, it may not have been that many but it was a high number.

The scrapbook I have is soley dedicated to the cards received by my grandparents after my father’s birth. The families who gave cards are: Aunt Helen & Uncle Allan, Rev. & Mrs. B.H. Robinson, Lil and Sam (Jordan), Stan & Melba, Sister Mehlman, Winnie & Harry (Eckhardt), Grandpa & Grandma Jordan, Mr. & Mrs. J.C. Stewart, Mrs. Duclos, Bubbie, May & Tom Martin, Mabel Roberts, Vi Davidson, Susie, Harry & Family, Annie Burgess, Pat & Lily, Alice Brown, The WeightmansMrs. J. Davidson, A.J. & W.B. Eckhardt, Mrs. Penfold, Julie Parker, Gertrude & Douglas Cowan, D.M. Brown, Isabel, Hilda Farrow, Sophie Warren, Myrtle C., Effie, Sarah Tyen(?), Elizabeth Porteous, Mrs. H. James. There were also cards that did not have names.


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An example of the cards given to the family.

The scrapbook is a wonderful treasure from what must have been a very happy time in my grandparent’s lives!


2015 in review

I like blogging but sometimes struggle with time. There are many things that keep me busy, #1 is my family, #2 is doing research/the do-over and 3 would be life in general. I blog when I can and I appreciate you stopping by to visit and see what I have been up to. I won’t promise that I will do it more next year, just that I will do it when I can.

I wish all my readers a wonderful New Year and I hope we all break down a brick wall in 2016!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 720 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

NORTON, Ernest Thomas

Ernest Thomas Norton WWI Service

Ernest Bevridge Norton – actually Ernest Thomas Norton

Ernest signed up for WWI September 17th, 1915 stating he was born Aug 29, 1897, in Quebec City, and he was living at 1066 Henri Julien St. Montreal.

Ernest’s occupation at that time was a Candymaker, previously he had been in the 8th Royal Rifles. Written on the margins of his attestation page is “actual age claimed on 12-6-17 birth certificate shows date of birth 30-8-1899”.

Ernest was so excited to sign up he used his brother George’s middle name and claimed he was two years old than he was. His actual age at the time of enlistment was 16 years old. Ernie was 5’51/2”, dark complexion with blue eyes and brown hair.

Arriving in Liverpool, England on the S.S. Adriatic on April 10, 1916, and then sailed for France 12 August 16 where he joined the 73rd Bn. Royal Highlanders of Canada. It seems that once he confessed his true age they pulled him from service for a time but not for long, on October 5, 1918, Ernest was wounded in the field.

October 21, 1916, fatigue had him take a much-needed rest, rejoining his unit Dec.9,1916. Ernest was a part of the events at Vimy Ridge receiving a gunshot wound to his arm in 1917. He recovered from this injury very well and then was shot again, this time in the hand in 1918. And again he was able to continue fighting and stayed until the end of the war, sailing back to Canada on April 12, 1919, aboard the Carmania.

Ernest  married Catherine Whiting in Port Huron, Michigan on the 12th of April 1926 where he was working as an electrician.

He moves back to Canada at some point and eventually ended up in Richmond, B.C. where he was worked as an elevator mechanic. At the age of 82 Ernest Thomas Norton passed away and is buried at the Victory Memorial Park in Surrey.

George Norton & Agnes Allen
Agnes is the daughter Henrietta Arnold who is the sister of George's mom

George Beveridge Norton – Canadian WWI Service #847698

George Beveridge Norton was born in 1893 in Sherbrooke, Quebec to parents George Robertson Norton and Sarah Arnold. George was baptized in 1895 in St. Andrew’s Church, Quebec City.

George grew up there with his four siblings but after their father died in 1912 the family made the move to Montreal settling on 1066 Henri-Julien street. In 1916, George enlisted in the first world war. George stated on his enlistment papers that he was born 4 September 1894 when in actual fact he was born a year earlier. This initially had me stumped but made sense once I had a look at his brother’s enlistment.

On his enlistment papers George listed his mother Sarah as his next of kin and that he was a bartender by trade. He was 5’8.5″, a Presbyterian and was considered fit for duty on March 30, 1916. He stated he was his mother’s sole supporter and the had two brothers in active service. George left for England and arrived at Havre on August 13, 1916. George had a weak heart and in 1918 was invalided on the H.S. Brighton and then posted to the Quebec Regimental Depot in Bramshott. George returned home on the Aquitania and arrived in Halifax on January 24, 1919.

George was officially discharged on February 17, 1919 and planned to move back with his mother Sarah at 192 Mountain St. in Montreal.

Dever, John M. WWI Booklet 1:3

John Brown Jordan & His WWI Service

John Brown Jordan was born August 12, 1888, to parents William and Agnes Brown in Kingston, Ontario. It is not surprising he heeded the call to serve in WWI as his father was a career soldier, as well as his older brother Samuel. John was not new to soldering, he already served nine years with the Royal Canadian Artillery and seven years with the Canadian Army Service Corps. John married to Celina Collins in 1905 at St. Matthew’s Church, Quebec City and they had three children, Celina Agnes Becroft (Bee) born in 1906, John William Sidney (Syd) born in 1908 and Mary Patricia arrived in 1913.

John enlisted September 10, 1914, and is described as fresh complected, with dark blue eyes and medium brown hair. He wasn’t the tallest in stature measuring in at 5’4”.

He sailed on the S.S. Alaunia which transported the first Canadian troops to head overseas. John left for France July 19, 1915, joining the 3rd division and was mentioned in dispatches Dec. 28, 1917. John’s daughter Mary Patricia died while he was gone in 1918. John survived the duration of the war and returned to Canada Sept. 6, 1919, sailing on the S.S. Minnekahda.

John continued working for the military, returning to England and working there as a clerk to the Imperial War Graves Association. John and his wife Celina divorced, and John married Rose Emma Matthews Davis, a widow from England. Rose and John’s only child, a son Leslie was born in 1921 in England.

Leslie also became involved in the military, in WWII he was a Flight Seargent with 108 Squadron. Leslie’s plane crashed in Dundalk, Ireland killing seventeen people. Leslie is remembered on a plaque in Brighton (Downs) Crematorium in England.

John Brown returned to Canada after WWII, and he and his wife settled back in Kingston.

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Rose and John Brown Jordan visiting relatives in Montreal. c1950 

John died there in 1951; he is buried at Cataraqui Cemetery.

  • A memory that told to me by John’s nephew, Herbert Jordan was that John was very hard to understand as he had been gassed during the war and had a hole in his throat.