Caroline Norton

Fearless Female – A Photo

Caroline Norton

Caroline Norton

March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors.  Who is in the photo?  When was it taken?  Why did you select this photo?

Pictured above is Caroline Louisa Norton, my great Grandmother. Caroline was born in 1877 in Quebec City the daughter of Richard Lee Norton & Hannah Pozer Jeffery.

Caroline lived in Quebec City where she married Peter John Jordan in 1900 and they moved to Montreal between 1900-1911. Her husband was a salesman later opening a tobacco shop in Montreal on Papineau Ave.

This photo of Caroline was taken about 1895 in Quebec City when Caroline would have been 18 years old.

I selected this photo because I love the clothing, her hair style and it is one of the few photos that I have of her as a young lady.

Rachel Hodgins & William Harrop c.1907

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.


A Genealogy Do-Over Ah-Ha Moment

I have been slugging away at the Genealogy Do-Over that is being hosted by Thomas MacEntee which is why I haven’t posted in a while.

There are days when it seems things are progressing well, scanning documents that have been tucked away in binders for a very long time. These documents haven’t been properly analyzed, sourced or digitized. This is my goal, and I estimate it is going to take me at least a year.

Although it is a lot of work there are those moments that make you pause, like when I saw this today


A card from my dad to his mother.


He was only 7 months old when this card was given to his mother.

One thing I didn’t anticipate from re-doing my family tree was a new researcher in my family. My daughter (age 8) was passing by my chair last night when I had my laptop open, assessing what new content I had added to my family tree. She stopped and asked me a couple of questions and then wanted to know where on the tree she was. I had to explain that I was redoing the tree and she hadn’t been added yet. (This is one of those moments that the light bulb appears on top of your head). An idea struck me and I asked her if she would like to add her name to the tree.

Quickly agreeing, she began typing in her name, birthdate, and where she was born. I asked her if she would like to pick a picture of herself to add to the tree. Thrilled we hunted through shots that were on my computer. I was amazed to see her level of interest and how much she enjoyed it. I just found acfamily member who liked something about genealogy! My next thought was how do I proceed?

I sent my daughter off to bed. My mind was racing trying to find a way to keep her excited and interested. I considered letting her do data entry on my tree and I quickly discarded that idea for many reasons, the main reason is I want this NEW tree to be well documented and sourced which probably would not be fun for an 8-year-old. Then it dawned on me – make my daughter her own tree. Create a tree that she can add as much or as little information as she wants, photos, stories she can decide and I won’t need it to be ‘just so’, which will keep the experience fun for her.

I explained to her my plan, and her reaction says it all, “Mom, can I stay home from school tomorrow to work on it?”

Thank you to all the Do-Over people but especially to Thomas MacEntee for helping me get it right!

PeterCarrie Norton Jordan

An Anniversary – 114 Years Ago Today

Peter Jordan married Caroline Louisa Norton on this day 114 years ago, October 22, 1900. They were my great grandparents, my paternal grandmother’s parents to be more exact.


Peter and Caroline were both living in Quebec City when they signed a marriage contract on October 20 and were married 2 days later at St. Mathew’s Church in Quebec City. Witnesses to their marriage was J.B. Jordan (Peter’s 1/2 brother) and Maude Hallett (possibly a friend). Peter & Caroline quickly disappear as I have not located them in the 1901 census but on September 30, 1901 their first child Beatrice Mary Victoria Jordan was born in Quebec City. The family’s next three children were boys Samuel, Allan & Herbert who was born in Montreal.


L-R Allan, Herbert with his mom Caroline, Beatrice and Samuel in front. Photo taken about 1915 in Montreal.

Peter was a salesman later owning a tobacco shop on 179 McGill Street in Montreal.

Peter & Caroline celebrated their 50th anniversary with friends and family in attendance.

IMG_4278 Although I did not have the pleasure of knowing either of them, as Caroline died in 1958 and Peter in 1967, I would have liked to have had the opportunity. Today I remember them and celebrate their 58 years of marriage.

William Jordan_1

William Jordan – Quebec Soldier

Nobody notices the elderly man as he makes his way down Amable Street in the heart of Quebec City. A strong gait, robust frame, and bushy white mustache stained with tobacco, are a familiar sight. He often walks this way and has a seat on the bench, turning his face towards the sun. The warmth relaxes him and he takes a deep breathe. Reflecting on his past he remembers with a smile that day long ago when he changed his future forever.

Everyone is talking about the Fenians and how they are planning to invade Canada. His dream is to join the army and he knows he has to be a part of it. The thoughts flash through his mind; he may not be accepted because his father and mother (God Rest Her Soul) were both from Ireland. He is Canadian though, born in Quebec City on a cold December day in 1852. Joining turns out to be easy, he tells them his name, William Jordan and signs with an X beside where they wrote it. The next thing he knows he is an official bugler for the 8th Battalion in Quebec City. He can’t believe his luck; wait until his friends hear the news. He is a little nervous about telling his father, Samuel, even though the extra income will be appreciated. After the death of William’s mother Mary, Samuel remarried to Matilda Nelson, widow of John Manly. Matilda and Samuel married on December 1860 and there were three young children watching that wedding, William, his sister Eliza and Matilda’s daughter Ellen. He smiles to himself, picturing what his sisters will think of their brother in uniform. Arriving home he burst in with the news that he is a bugler for the local battalion. He finds his worrying was needless as his family are happy for him, they know this is his dream.

Jordan, William soldier2

The friendships and sense of belonging with his battalion is exactly how he had imagined it. He has found his place. Life is grand. He sure looks sharp in his uniform and the girls notice.

The old man got up from the bench and started making his way home. He is spending more and more time lost in his memories. He went inside where his wife was waiting for him, lunch was ready. With a chuckle he can’t help but remember his wedding day…

…the shock of his Catholic girlfriend Anne telling him he is to be a father. Not one to shirk from his duty, he goes through the necessary channels for a Protestant to marry in the Catholic Church. On June 5,1872 at St. Patrick’s Church in Quebec City William Robert Jordan son of Samuel and Mary Quigley and Anne Ready daughter of Thomas and Margaret Pendergast are joined in marriage. It is none too soon as a little later in the month their son William is born.

His smile quickly turned to a frown as he continued to remember the next few years …

The happiness of having a son is quickly dispelled when William Jr. dies at the beginning of July. Holding him in his arms for the last time, William for the first time feels helpless. Their next son Samuel is a joy to the family and the next three children Mary, William and Peter are all healthy; his family is growing. In 1879 tragedy strikes the household. In June his son William, who turned two last month, dies. If that isn’t hard enough, the next day Mary age five joins her brother. Knowing he will never hear the sound of their voices again is unbearable. A quietness falls over the house, a fear of who is next. Anne his wife is prostrate with grief, how can she lose her children and go on? A numbness keeps her going, but the family isn’t done it’s suffering. Anne dies along with their 6th child in April of 1880.

William shakes his head, what a hard time that was. He smiles up at his wife, thankful for what he has now and amazed at all he has seen. Lunch was wonderful as usual. Normally after lunch he would find things around the house that needed fixing but today he decides to lie down and get some rest. His wife is puzzled as he is acting like in a trace. She doesn’t say anything but makes a note to call the doctor. William can’t escape his memories, they join him in sleep as well.

He sees himself in Kingston, Ontario at Fort Henry. It is an adventure to be in this new place far from home. He wonders how his two small boys Samuel and Peter are doing but knows they are in better care with his father, stepmother and their daughter Matilda.

Life is great at Fort Henry he is able to find time to meet some of the local people. One person in particular catches his eye and even though she knows he has two children she says yes when he asks her to be his bride. What a relief to not have to go through all the red tape it took to marry a Catholic, Agnes is Protestant like himself. On Sept. 2, 1881 in Kingston, Ontario Agnes Brown and William Jordan are married. The two young children are sent for and shortly there after 2 more children join them John and Mary. Finally the family is altogether.

William Jordan with his 2nd wife Agnes Brown.

William Jordan with his 2nd wife Agnes Brown.

At 33 years old William is ready to take some of his lifelong military knowledge and put it to work. So it is with enthusiasm that he leaves the city and his family to help quell the rebellion in the North West. The ruggedness of the terrain and remoteness doesn’t bother him. This is what he has been trained for. The battle of Cut Knife Creek is surprisingly difficult. Amazingly a number of men in his Battery are getting wounded, this was supposed to be an easy win. William manages to avoid any injuries, but after it is over his ears are ringing from the guns he has been trained to shoot.

Waking up from his light sleep William wanders over to the drawer where his medals are; such small objects that hold so many reminders of his life.

Coming back home to Quebec from the Rebellion there are many celebrations and the happiest people to see him are his wife and 4 children. It isn’t long before their fifth child William joins the family and makes it complete.  Shortly after arriving home a teaching position is open at the Citadel, William uses the opportunity to pass on his wealth of knowledge.

Looking down at his hands and noticing how they had aged over time he sees the scar he received when …

It is a perfect day for an Assault-at-Arms. He glances over to where her Royal Highness is seated right next to the Marquis of Lorne. He isn’t feeling nervous because he has never been out matched in sword, bayonet or single-stick. The competition is thrilling because joining them is the Royal Navy Squadron. This adds to the excitement as it means fresh faces and unknown opponents. Battling against Bombardier McKay is going to be difficult. McKay is also from the Citadel and his skills closely match William’s. At one point, during the battle, William isn’t fast enough and receives a wound on his right hand. Quickly he shakes it off, it is nothing serious and he goes on to win the day.

Athleticism was something that came easy to William, looking down at the various awards and mementos he sees …

        the reminders of his boxing days. What a feeling to be in the ring and know one can’t be beat. Winning the feather and lightweight championship medals for the Province of Quebec and Kingston, Ontario. Standing and receiving congratulations from colleagues is a rewarding experience.

William continues to wander around the house looking at family photos. So many of the people in his thoughts are no longer alive like his parent’s or his sister Eliza who died when she was just seventeen years old. He cradles a photo of his half sister Matilda, now buried at the local cemetery. Matilda followed in his footsteps by rushing into a marriage to John Perry, before their first child joined them. His stepsister Nellie, who he had so much fun teasing when they were little, married John Gore. Looking at photographs of his sons and realizing most of them moved away, Peter in Montreal, John in England, Samuel in Kingston, only William staying in Quebec City. His only daughter Mary standing so proud in the photograph of her and her husband John Frost and living in Kingston as well. A photo of Agnes, his second wife, catches his eye. After 31 years of marriage she had passed away in 1912. What wonderful memories he has of her.

He remembers making the decision to marry for the third time to Ellen Gibbs, the widow of Frank Kingston. At the ripe age of 61 on April 3, 1913 in St. Matthew’s Church, Quebec City, he made his final journey down the aisle.

William Jordan with wife Ellen Martha (nee Gibbs) Kingston.

William Jordan with wife Ellen Martha (nee Gibbs) Kingston.

William feels the day catching up with him and lays himself down after a hearty supper. It is to be his last. The next morning Ellen calls him down for breakfast but he doesn’t respond. She smiles to herself, remembering his hearing was damaged during the North West Rebellion. She heads upstairs so he can hear her calling, but he is already gone.

William led a very full and interesting life that came to an end on September 27, 1938 when he was 86 years old.

William Jordan abt. 1935.

William Jordan abt. 1935.

William also passed on his passion of military life. Each one of his sons was active in the military for some part of their life. The Jordan family until quite recently has been represented in the Royal Canadian Artillery since it was formed in 1871.

Written by me waaaaayyyyy back in 2002!

Back to Basics

I spent some time today going back to the basics. I have been telling myself for months that I need to review my research to move ahead. I sat down with the information from one of my ancestors that I know I still have many holes. William Robert Jordan was a military man and spent most of his life in the Canadian Military as a soldier and an instructor.
William should be an easy subject to follow, census records, military records, and he married 3 times, so marriage records.
It is not as easy as it sounds. William was born in Quebec City in 1852 and baptized in 1853. This eliminates the 1851 census but what about the 1861? Nope. 1871? Nadda. 1881 – nothing again.
William’s mother died after giving birth to his sister in 1860, no record. Baptism of his sister, not to be found.
The time line does not fill in the holes, but the blanks on the page are screaming at me.
Where did the Jordan family go after William’s birth? Why are they not on the census? I may never know the answers to these questions but the time line is the key to show me where the gaps in my tree are and from there I can plan a course of action.
Hopefully before long some of these gaps will get filled in and I will have a clearer picture of the Jordan family and William.



Names to Faces – Hodgson Family

Here are two photos of 2 people that are more than likely my husband’s ancestors. Both photos are stamped by the photographers whose location was Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. My husband’s family that was from PEI is the Hodgson family that lived in Tryon.
Researching the photographers Geo. H. Cook and C. Lewis does give a bit of a time frame – abt. 1890.
I hoping that someone knows who they are!