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 WordPress.com 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.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 5.42.35 PM

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.

Finding Margaret

You know when you first started doing your family tree and it seems that every time you hit the library you found something new? Well, that’s what my memory of first starting out researching my family tree was like. It probably was a bit more onerous than that, but it’s the discoveries that suck you in. It is like winning the lottery or sitting at a slot machine in Vegas (minus the flashing lights), you get a win and you are hooked. In genealogy, uncovering another record or breaking through a brick wall is the best feeling in the world! These discoveries do not occur as often, but the euphoria still happens every time.

Today was one of those days, I am thrilled to say! I have been on the hunt for my geat great grandmother’s sister for quite a few years. Margaret Jeffery was born Quebec City October 8, 1830, to parents Elizabeth Tipper and Robert Jeffery and her nine siblings, four of which died in infancy. A life of adventure was in store for her, when she was seventeen, she met and married George Humphry, a Captain of the aptly named ship the Margaret.

Chalmer's Presbyterian Church, Quebec City

Chalmer’s Presbyterian Church, Quebec City — witnesses were her sister Elizabeth and her husband Frederick Yeates.

The Morning Chronicle Oct. 30, 1847

The Morning Chronicle Oct. 30, 1847

Margaret moves to her husband’s home in Saint Sauveur, Devon, England, and children start arriving. First George, followed by Emily and then Margaret Adelaide. Little George, only lives four months, but Emily and Margaret survive infancy. Margaret and her children are back in Quebec City in 1858, the girls Emily and Margaret are baptized and husband George is listed as deceased on the baptism record.

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Quebec City

Baptism of Emily & Margaret, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Quebec City — Hannah my 2x great grandmother signs with the mother Margaret.

Margaret appears to stay put marrying again in Quebec City. The marriage takes place at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on September 8, 1864, and the groom is James J. Atkins. Further searching on the couple lead me to the birth record of Frannie Elizabeth. I wasn’t sure if this was the right family as the birth was in a Methodist church in Montreal. I next look for the family in New York, as I know daughter Margaret’s daughter Emily Humphry gets married there.

In the 1875 New York census I find this family and I think it could be them.

1875 census Kings, Brooklyn Ward, E.D. 3

1875 census
Kings, Brooklyn Ward, E.D. 3

The entry lists the Atkins family consisting of parents James, Margaret with children Addie, Fannie, Henry and Lillie. This family looks promising, it states the right birth places for everyone.

The clincher arrived in the mail today, I had ordered a marriage record for Frannie Atkins who married in New York. This Frannie I suspected to be from the family in the census. A longshot but I was feeling lucky! The marriage record arrived today for Frannie Elizabeth Atkins to Gerald Forest Burroughs taking place in Brooklyn, New York in 1886. Frannie’s parents were listed as… James J. Atkins and Margaret Jeffery,!!!! and Fannie is from QUEBEC!! Success! My gamble paid off and I am so happy I followed my hunch that this was her.

Frannie Atkins marries Gerald Burroughs

Frannie Atkins marries Gerald Burroughs

I was saddened to discover that Margaret (Jeffery) (Humphry) Atkins passed away in New York on July 30, 1878. I do hope to track down where she is buried and someday get an opportunity to pay my respects and connect with some Atkins cousins!

Photo Organizing – Finally

I spent this weekend working on one of my goals for this year, getting my photographs organized.

I did an initial sort yesterday, the first sort was by surname. I was able to get through all the photographs in my collection. Once sorted I put all the different photographs sorted by family surnames into their own storage box.

Today I started going through the storage boxes and started a second sort. This sort was getting rid of duplicates and organizing by year (which was a lot of guess work). I was able to get through two surnames today (Jordan and Stewart). Lacking enough supplies has left me at a standstill, just as I was getting into the groove I ran out of the clear plastic sleeves that I want to use for my originals. I will have to get more sleeves and attack it again next weekend.

It feels really good to finally be getting somewhere with my pictures. I can’t imagine how it will feel once I am done.

How things looked as I created piles to easily see my duplicates and to get an idea of the dates of the photographs.

How things looked as I created piles to easily see my duplicates and to get an idea of the dates of the photographs.

Once they are all sorted by surname and chronologically I plan to scan, identify and number them for easy retrieval!

I also listened to a webinar while I worked so it was a good genealogy weekend!


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 Newspapers.com 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 Newspapers.com


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.