The Brock Family of Hackney

My connection to the Brock family was not an obvious one. It all started with a four-page letter written by a niece to her uncle in 1883. This letter must have been important as it was passed down through my family until I rediscovered it in 1993, one hundred and ten years after it was written.

I often would stop by and visit my dad, completely take over his living room by dragging out bins of long since stored away papers, photos, and paraphernalia.  Hours were spent going through the piles, learning all I could from disinterested family members. I remember first discovering the letter, unfolding it, reading the names for the first time. The questions it raised were not answered. Eventually, the bins were handed off to me and I could peruse them at my leisure, which I did.

At home I would sit on my slow dial-up internet connection searching the few genealogical sites that were available and slowly the Brock family story started to unfold. The letter, addressed to “Dear Uncle and Aunt” Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 4.51.12 PMand signed M and R Brock Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 4.49.29 PMrevealed a few names, places and thankfully it was dated Dec. 14, 1883. The two locations mentioned were 93 Glenarm Road, Clapton and an Aunt still living in Great Yarmouth. A later discovery revealed that my great great great grandfather Richard Lee Norton was born in Great Yarmouth, aha! Next lead was searching the 1881 census which was on CD at my local Family History Library. The Brock family living at 93 Glenarm Road in Clapton consisted of four children as both parents were deceased as the letter had indicated. The census listed the oldest brother Richard, Martha and two younger brothers, Edward, and Henry. Further digging led me to the connection, the children’s mother Martha (Norton) Brock was my three times great grandfather’s sister, both born at Great Yarmouth.

Richard Brock's birth registration.

Richard Brock’s birth registration. Mother listed as Martha (Norton) Brock.

The letter, written two years after the census was to their Uncle Richard. The four had been on their own since their father passed away and appear to have stayed in close contact with him.

Robert Brock's death registration

Robert Brock’s death registration in 1879 of bronchitis.

Richard a ship captain had left England and married in Quebec City in 1854. Maybe he was sending them money to help out the expenses? The letter was informing their “Dear Uncle” of the loss of brother Henry and the problems they were having with their youngest brother Edward.

Edward seems to have been a difficult sibling, Richard and Martha were having a hard time supporting him. The letter states that Edward had been out of work since the death of their father (Robert d.1879). Edward convinced his siblings he would be better off in New York and it seems they pooled their money to make this trip a reality. New York bound, he didn’t stay long it, the letter shares that he was back and when they asked why he was returning his reply, “I have altered my mind”. This leaves me wondering if he ever left, perhaps he stayed in England and blew through the money. You may wonder why I am so cynical? It was my latest discovery that makes me wonder.

I have spent some time researching through recently when I realized they also cover English newspapers. I went through the list of relatives that hailed from England, I typed in Richard Brock and came across more information on Edward and his exploits.

The Times (London, Greater London, England) pg.9 Charge Of Stealing From A Brother Aug. 20, 1883

The Times (London, Greater London, England) pg.9
Charge Of Stealing From A Brother Aug. 20, 1883

I have transcribed the news article below.

Worship-street Police-court on Saturday, Edward Brock, 22, brass-finisher, of Glenarm-road, Clapton, was charged with having stolen from the front parlour of 93, Glenarm road, a silver-plated prize cup, value £1 10s., the property of Richard Brock. The prosecutor said the prisoner was his brother and lived with him at the address mentioned. The cup in question, which had been won at a race, was kept in their front parlour. On Thursday evening it was found that the parlour had been broken open, and on an examination being made of the contents of the room the prize cup was missed. The matter was then put in the hands of the police. A pawnbroker from Mare-street, Hackney stated that the cup produced was pledged at his shop by the prisoner on Thursday for 4s. The prisoner then gave the name of John Brock. Detective Fletcher, of the R Division, said he had made inquiries in this case, and had discovered that the prisoner was an idle man and a great trouble to his family. When taken into custody he said, “I do no think you can call it a theft to take away a brother’s property.” The prisoner, who did not appear to be perfectly sane, asked Mr. Bushby if he could be charged with stealing if he promised to return the cup to his brother. The magistrate said he should convict him of unlawfully pawning the cup, the prosecutor having stated that he never gave him leave to obtain money upon it, and for that offence he would be fined 40s ; in default of distress one month’s imprisonment. The prisoner said he owned a couple of houses and could easily pay the penalty. The brother applied for a warrant of distress, as the prisoner had no money or goods, and he wished to see him punished for what he had done. The warrant was granted.

Found on

The news clipping predates the letter I had found by about 4 months. It tells me the siblings were doing all the could to help their brother but as I have learned, people need to help themselves. If Edward was going to make a change in North America wouldn;t he want to come to Canada and seek help from his Uncle? That is why I question if he made any trip at all.

I have followed Richard Brock through the the censuses, he raised his family at the same address in Hackney. I have yet to learn what happened to Edward but I can only hope he made a change. Then again I have to think it is because of Edward that I know a little more about the Brock family in Hackney.

Peter Jordan c.1904, he did juggling for sport.

Tracking Peter Jordan in the Quebec City Directory

Peter Jordan c.1904, he did juggling for sport.

Peter Jordan c.1904, he did juggling for sport.

A wonderfully useful tool when tracking an ancestor’s movements is the City Directories. My ancestor Peter Jordan was born in 1878 in Quebec City, in the 1881 census he is living with his grandparent’s as his father was a widow and off soldiering in Kingston, ON.

In the 1891 census Peter is reunited with his father, brother Samuel, a new mother Agnes and 3 more siblings Mary, John Brown and William.

Jordan Family 1891 Quebec City Census St. Louis Ward p.77

Jordan Family, 1891 Quebec City Census, St. Louis Ward p.77

Peter was married Oct. 22, 1900, in St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Quebec City to Caroline Norton.

Peter & Caroline (Norton) Jordan's marriage record from St. Matthew's Anglican Church, Quebec City.

Peter & Caroline (Norton) Jordan’s marriage record from St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Quebec City.

They had signed a marriage contract two days before their wedding, which I found thanks to the Quebec Archives.

Searching the 1901 census has been futile. I have tried many variations but I have not been able to find Peter in the census. I have yet to sit down and scroll through page by page. On September 28, 1901, their first child was born, Beatrice was baptized Oct. 13, 1901.

Since I can’t find them in the census and I know they later make a move to Montreal I decided to utilize the Quebec City Directories that are on-line at the Quebec Archives /Banq.

1898-1901 – No Peter Jordan in the directory.

Peter does start showing up in the Directories in 1902-1903 and his is occupation is listed as a laundry-express driver and living at Conroy Street in house/apartment 21.

Following Peter through the directories we know he had many different jobs as well we learn where the family lived. Later I could use this information to try and find a photo of the family home.

What I have been able to learn so far is:

1904/05 – Peter worked in a restaurant at St. Louis 86 1/2, the family has relocated from 21 to 12 Conroy Street (unless this was a misprint in the directory). This is the year their son Peter was born August 31.

1905/06 – He was the proprietor of the Mikado Restaraunt on Palace St. (it doesn’t list his home address). A son Samuel joins the family Nov. 4, 1906.

1906/07 – Peter has again switched jobs and is managing The Eastern Provision Co. and his address is given as Conroy 12.

1907/08 – No Peter Jordan listed.

1908/09 – There is a Mrs. Peter Jordan living at St. Patrick’s Street.

1909/10 – this could be when the family moved because I cannot find them in any subsequent directories.

The Jordan family is found in the 1911 Montreal census and is living at 518 Cartier Street.

Their last child Herbert William joined the family August 12, 1914.

Next up will be following the family through the Montreal Directories which are also on the Archives website.

The Jordan family. L-R Peter, Herb with mother Caroline, Beatrice and Samuel in the front. Montreal c.1915.

The Jordan family.
L-R — Peter Jr., Herb with mother Caroline, Beatrice and Samuel in the front.
Montreal c.1915.

Finding Relatives In Wills

I have the will of a relative John Tipper who passed away in Englewood, New Jersey in 1916. John was the only child (surviving infanthood) of Catherine Unkles Taylor & John Tipper born in Quebec City April 25, 1840.

John and his mother move to Englewood, New Jersey in 1866 where John is a very successful butcher. His mother Catherine U. Tipper died in 1881 in Englewood, later John married Charlotte Harrison about 1885.

John and Charlotte did not have any children but were close with the Taylor family in Englewood who were also John’s cousins. John passed away in Englewood Dec. 6, 1916 and his wife just days later.

John’s will has helped me to track down many relatives of this branch of the family. The will revealed many unknown relatives. Names listed in it are Mrs. J.H. Elliott of Atlanta, Georgia; Mrs. W.G. Argabrite of Lewisburg, Virginia; Mary F. Martin of Englewood; Isabella & Irene Unkles; Willard Cass; Ethel B. & Hazel D. Taylor & Lottie Tipper Taylor all of Englewood.

One find of note, Mrs. W.G. Argabrite was Frances Emily Unkles and first married to James Applewhaite Donnelly. James was born in Barbados and was in the states working for the British Consulate. I am sure there is more to be found about this couple!

Resources used:  The Book OF Englewood,, Find-A-Grave, Ancestry & Family Search.

Page from John Tipper's will

Page from John Tipper’s will

If any of these people are in your family tree let me know, my goal is to find a photograph of John Tipper and his wife Charlotte.

*links to the Find-A-Grave entries

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 8.30.48 PM


His Life

From Ontario To British Columbia 

James Stewart Hedley, B.C. c1915


James Stewart was a broad-shouldered stocky man, who lived a life that embraced possibilities and adventures. Born to William Stewart and Mary Loftus in West Flamboro, Wentworth Co., Ontario and baptized on Jan. 6, 1847. James was their first son as a couple but not the first child to the household. Mary Loftus had been married previous to Felix McGowan, and they had three children. As well as three McGowan siblings, on the Stewart side three more brothers and two sisters joined the family for a total of 9 children.

William Stewart was Presbyterian and Mary his wife Catholic; all the children are raised Catholic, which caused some issues in the family according to stories told by a cousin. That’s a story for another day!

The 1861 census reveals that the family had relocated to Normanby Twp., Grey Co., Ontario. Normanby will be home to James for the next 40 years.

At the age of 28 James married Mary Curran, who was living with her parents Edward & Jeanette in Normanby. Together they bought 100 acres on Con 3 Lot 32 and farmed the land.

Mary died after eight years of marriage and is buried in Mount Forest, Wellington Co., in her parent’s plot. They did not have any children, and James must have felt the loss deeply as he did not marry again.

James and his mother Mary, both widowed are living together in the 1891 census for Normanby, James is still farming the land. He must have been ready for a change though.

Around 1902 James left his farm, friends and all that was familiar joining many gold seekers heading west. His first stop on his journey was Fairview, B.C.  and while there he was joined by his sister’s adopted son James Cody. James Stewart opened a store in Fairview, and his nephew worked with him.


Plaque at the Hedley Museum


1906 finds both the James have relocated to Hedley, BC., a mining town. Gold was found close to Hedley in 1898 at Nickel Plate Mountain. 1903 saw a flurry of activity with men digging tunnels in the mountain. At its peak, the population of Hedley was 1,000 people but in 1915 it was in decline as there were under 400 people calling it home.

In Hedley, James was a setter at the diamond drill camp as well he owned a general store.

Here are two of the of ads that I found in the Hedley Gazette which was the local paper that was in publication from 1905-1917.

STEWART Jan 28 1915

Hedley Gazette

Hedley Gazette

Hedley Gazette

The newspaper was one of the best sources of information about James and his life in BC. For instance, I learned that in 1915 had him installing a new floor and shelves in a store upgrade,  as well James regularly gave to the Patriotic Fund to support troops in WWI. There were trials as well, in 1909 he had a small roof fire that was quickly spotted and extinguished thankfully, and in 1916 $12.00 stolen from the till in his store. James’ nephew, James Cody left for Vancouver, B.C. to fix his varicose veins and after went to Helena, Montana to visit family. He wrote back to his uncle and is noted by the newspaper. James lived an active life at the age of 67 years old he was still working at the diamond drill camp. He was injured when sitting on the edge of a tram car when the cables switched, and he was “sent spinning on the track.” Thankfully both James’ recovered from their conditions.

I was also able to learn about other family members from the newspaper. In 1914, it was reported that James’ sister Margaret Cody is traveling to see her son (and brother). After her visit she is heading to Yorkton, Saskatchewan to visit another brother. I love small town newspapers!

Reading through the columns of the paper life in Hedley was relatively normal for the times. The community hosted gatherings; there were women’s groups and dances.

James was far from most of his family in a time when communication was not easy or fast. I am sure he had great friends and enjoyed his life in Hedley. James lived in Hedley until his death that took place at the hospital in the nearby community of Princeton, Jan 23, 1921, at the age of 74 years. Hedley at this time was in decline. According to the papers filed with his estate due to the closing of the mine at Hedley and the general business depression James’ estate owed money. He had property in Hedley and also in Fairview, B.C., which at this time had become a ghost town. His property was not worth very much and the administrator of his estate was having a hard time selling it. James Cody offered to buy one of his lots in Hedley for $250.00.

In 2015, a descendant of James’ brother, David Stewart made the journey to Hedley. Mary Stewart traveled over 11 hours to see the community and learn more about his life. It was a memorable trip and incredible to see where James called home. The fact that the miners lived at the top of the mountain and had a community there was jaw-dropping to see first hand.

James didn’t leave any direct descendants, but we his family remember him and his exciting life. He endured loss and day-to-day struggles but continued to adventure on and explore new horizons.

My fingers highlight the camp location.

My fingers highlight the camp location.

Mary pointing to the camp at on the Nickel plate Mountain

Mary pointing to the camp on the Nickel Plate Mountain

Patricia & Mary in Hedley with the Nickel Plate Mountain in the background.

Patricia & Mary in Hedley with the Nickel Plate Mountain in the background.

Mary (Stewart) Dever at the Hedley Cemetery, Hedley, B.C. June 2015. In Memory of James Stewart 1849-1921 May His Soul Rest In Peace

Mary (Stewart) Dever at the Hedley Cemetery, Hedley, B.C. June 2015.
In Memory of James Stewart
May His Soul Rest In Peace


1852 census West Flamboro, Wentworth Co., Ontario; William Stewart; Family Search index

1861 census Normanby, Grey Co., Ontario; Family Search Index

1891 census Normanby, Grey Co., Ontario; Family Search Index

Hedley Heritage Museum, Tenacity, the Story of Hedley, Then and Today-

Penticton News, Hedley Boys

Hedley Museum –

Princeton & District Museum & Archives –

Fairview, B.C. information keep at the Oliver Archives –

Hedley Newspaper available on-line and ran from 1905-1917

Royal BC Museum which has b/m/d records for British Columbia

History of Fairview, B.C.,_British_Columbia

Photo of James Stewart is a copy of a tintype that was owned by Mary McIntee. Mary McIntee’s obituary

From the Letters of Administration –

At the time of his death James owned Lot 3 Block 24 Map 107 Hedley; N1/2 Lot 12 Block 4 Map 27 Ellis Subdivision Fairview & Lots 10,11,17 & 20 Block 4 Map 27 Ellis Addition Town of Fairview;  Lot 18 Block 24 D.L.’s 1975 & 1976 Group 1, Similkameen Division, Yale District Map 107 – James Cody to purchase for $250.00.

A New Adventure – Genealogy Summer Camp

I live in a fairly remote location and do not often get any Archives to do hands-on research. This has led me to hiring researchers but I confess this doesn’t give me the same sense of satisfaction as digging through and locating records myself. I love that feeling euphoria when I find a record that mentions my ancestors.

I am thrilled that I will be heading out this weekend to Toronto and take part in their Genealogy Summer Camp!

There has been some prep to the trip. We had to fill out a questionnaire about our ancestor and what information we were looking for.

We also had to decide which religious archives we wanted to go to. I picked the United Church Archives, although I do have some Catholic relatives as well.

We received our itinerary yesterday and I was delighted to read how well organized our days will be.

I am hoping to get familiar with the repositories as I plan to be back in 2016 for the OGS Conference that will be in Toronto. Now if only Ottawa branch would offer a camp as well!

Doing the Do-Over

It is kinda like doing the hockey-pokey. I feel like I am dancing a jig as I move at a turtles pace through the process.

I had been planning to rework my tree for some time and the Do-Over fit into my life perfectly. After working at the local archives for a year and a half I knew that I had to do something better. Not to say that I hadn’t been good. I had, but after moving twice and having two more kids the genealogy papers were in storage for a few years. Space was a huge issue. I didn’t stop researching, though I felt like a collector. It is time to put it all together in a consist manner.

I have been scanning and entering information for days. It feels like forever but it hasn’t been that long. I am actually enjoying going through my files and ‘finding’ things that have been tucked away for too long. I have not properly analyzed most of the papers that have been passed down from my grandmother.

Right now my new tree doesn’t have 20 people on it. I refuse to add to it until I have done all the steps on the people I have entered so far. I do not enjoy this as much as the hunt but the detective in me comes out when I see the overlooked data contained in a letter or a postcard. It is not a huge things but interesting tidbits, for example, my dad left Berkley, Detroit with his family and moved back to Montreal. I now have a window of months when that occurred. That kind of information helps me to start putting more detail on my family.

I still am struggling with source citation and making it just so, but I will not give up! I am reading when I get a chance and I thank everyone out there who is sharing their ideas, methods, successes and failures for me and others to learn from. It is a great community of people that is slvery willing to share their process and knowledge. 

I don’t know how long I will be at this. It could take me a year or two to get what I have recorded properly. I will continue to scan, cite and sort and in the end my computer, files and office will be conquered. I am thankful to be doing the hockey-pokey Do-Over and turning myself around!

Ribbon Against Domestic Violence.

Violence in 1840 – A Fearless Female

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out? Blog prompt from Lisa Alzo.

March 19, 1840 is the day my 41-year-old great, great grandmother Elizabeth Tipper laid charges against her attacker. Her attacker was a 5’7” dark-complected man who physically attacked and threatened her life.

March 19, 2015 marks 175 years since that day. The harsh reality of discovering this information was a shock; I had no idea of the horrors that her and her children went through. You see her attacker was her husband. Domestic violence is in my family tree.

I am not sure how often women had the confidence to stand up to their husbands in 1840 or are listened to; Elizabeth did just that. They listened

Elizabeth & Robert Jeffrey married in St. Andrew’s Church, on February 2, 1818 in Quebec City. Robert was a Scottish immigrant to Canada, a stone mason by trade. Children started arriving soon after, first a son John and then daughter Mary both born in Montreal. Mary died the following year, but children continued to arrive until Elizabeth had given birth to nine, with six surviving infancy. Being a Mason, Robert and his family went where there was work, Montreal back to Quebec City and in 1832, St. Etienne de Beauce. Robert signed a contract to build a mill for George Pozer. This answers the question, as to where my great grandmother received her name Hannah Pozer Jeffrey. With the building finished the family travelled back to Quebec City.

The evening of March 19th, 1840 was the last straw for Elizabeth. She took a step that she had avoided till now and went to the police filing a complaint. Was my great grandmother Hannah a witness to this? My daughter Jordan is eight, the same age Hannah was when the events unfolded. Did she hear her dad say to her mom, “…death was waiting for her…” How many times had she heard it before? What else had she witnessed her father do? Not being the first time that he had attacked her mother. According to the police report her father had “been in the frequent habit of beating and ill-using…” her mother.

Forgiveness granted, as is so often the case in domestic violence situations. Elizabeth is hoping that Robert is a changed man, and that bringing the charges against him worked, that he won’t do it again. She reconciled with Robert and their last child Julia Heathfield Jeffrey arrives in 1842. The story is not over though, Robert doesn’t change, things do not go well for Elizabeth.

Less than a year later she had him arrested again, and he served a month in prison this time.

Elizabeth finally stopped forgiving Robert in the 1851 census she is living with her daughter Elizabeth in Quebec City, and Robert’s gone. Elizabeth passes away two years later at the age of 54 “after a lingering illness of eight months, which she bore with becoming resignation”.

Quebec Mercury April 12, 1853

Quebec Mercury
April 12, 1853

Elizabeth (Tipper) Jeffrey, maybe one of my most Fearless Female. This white ribbon is for her.

ribbon_japan [Converted]

*I am very thankful to Elizabeth LaPointe for researching the prison records and to the BanQ Quebec Archives for their on-line databases but in this case specifically for Inmates in the Prison of Quebec 19th century.