52 Ancestors – Conflict

When I first signed up for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge I planned to follow through and post something each week based on the weekly prompt. As it often does, life gets in the way and I found myself missing the first weeks of June. So, rather than playing catch-up, I decided to switch and follow the monthly theme instead.

The theme for June is Conflict which can be interpreted in many ways. I decided to turn inward and face the inner conflict that I’ve experienced over the past four years and finally share my DNA story.

Up until Mother’s Day 2018 my family tree was pretty straight forward. I had a mum and a dad and I had identified several generations of ancestors. I knew exactly who I was and where I came from. The only mystery in our family was the origins of my husband’s paternal grandfather.

My daughter and I had discussed doing the Ancestry DNA test with the hope that it would provide some clues into the origins of my husband’s grandfather, Cyril Clyde Orchard. My daughter was keen to take the test, so I ordered one for her. The test arrived in March, she spit in the tube and we sent it in.

Shortly afterwards my daughter headed off to the UK and life continued as usual. On Mother’s Day Sunday I woke up to a message from my daughter that her results were in and I should go check it out.

As I looked through her DNA matches. I noticed three close family matches that I didn’t recognise. I didn’t think much of it at first, then I started digging a little deeper and noticed that she didn’t have a single Rines match. There were Jamieson and L’Oiseau matches but out of the thousands of cousins she had, there wasn’t a single Rines.

I’ll never forget the moment the penny dropped, and I realised what was happening. My dad Carl was not my biological father. I was devastated. At that moment I felt like I had just lost my dad all over again. It took me weeks to process the information and even longer to accept the reality. My whole identity was now in question. At least that was how I felt.

I ordered a test for myself, even though I already knew the truth, and my journey of discovery began.

So why am I sharing this story? As a family historian I feel that it’s important to be truthful and as accurate as one can be when presenting a family tree. My family tree is public on Ancestry and my DNA is also set to public. (My DNA matches can see we connect). At first glance one can see my parents are Helen Jamieson and Carl Rines, but if you have a really good look around you can see that I have a second father and more ancestral lines.

Carl will always be my dad. He was the man who raised me and was there for every important event in my life. He knew the truth, but he never once treated me as anything other than his daughter. He loved me as his own and I as far as he was concerned, I was his.

My parents took the secret to their graves. And although I would love to be able to know more about the situation, it’s probably better that way. I am who I am, and I have three parents. My dad, my mum, and my biological father. At least that is the way I now see it.

So, from a family history perspective I now have even more ancestral lines to research.

Tracey Rines 1968, original held by Tracey Orchard, Brisbane, Australia

The above photo of me was taken Christmas 1968. My mum gave it to me the year after my dad died. It was the only photo that Dad carried in his wallet – He carried it for over 30 years. If ever I need perspective, I just think of this photo.

Week 21 – Yearbook

The prompt at 52 Ancestors this week is Yearbook, so I decided to try to find information about my mother’s high school years.

According to my mother, she attended high school at Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute (KCVI). For most of my life I was told that she had to leave high school in year 10 to help her mother when her youngest sister was born. As mum got older the story changed and she talked about graduating from year 12.

To try to solve the mystery, I turned to the website KCVI and QECVI Legacy Website. Although I was unable to find any mention of my mother, the website which holds copies of old yearbooks, gave an interesting insight into high school life at the time my mother would have been attending.

Week 20 – Textile

The decline of the woollen mills in Bradford- Upon- Avon was likely a contributing factor in my husband’s fourth great grandfather, George Orchard, deciding to leave the UK and move his family to Australia in search of a better life.

River Avon and former factory, Bradford-on-Avon – geograph.org.uk, downloaded from Wikimedia Commons.org

George Orchard and Caroline Mallett

George Orchard was born in Bradford-Upon-Avon, (Bradford) Wiltshire England in 1817. Although the exact date of his birth is unclear, he was baptised at Holy Trinity Church in Bradford on April 7, 1817.[1] George married Caroline Mallett on Feb 02, 1836, at Holy Trinity Church in Bradford.[2] Their first son Henry was born shortly after their marriage on March 03, 1836.[3] Over the next 21 years, George and Caroline lived, worked, and raised their children in the town.

On the 1841 census, George and Caroline are found living in Kingston Square, Bradford. George’s employment is listed as dyer.[4] In the 1851 census, they are living at 165 Morgan’s Hill, Bradford with George’s employment listed as wool dyer and Caroline’s occupation listed as wool picker.[5]

Bradford, an industrial town, had for centuries been a thriving community based around the woollen cloth industry. By the beginning of the 18th century, there were 25 clothiers. The population of Bradford was increasing, with many moving to the town to work in the thriving cloth industry. The industry continued to thrive into the second half of the 18th century, but by the beginning of the 19th century the number of clothiers had reduced to 17 and by 1830 there were only six. This decline in the cloth industry resulted in hardship for the town, as it had been the only industry for nearly three centuries.[6] In 1848 Kingston Mill, one of the largest woollen mills was sold to Steven Moulton to open a rubber mill.  According to Explore BOA, “The town offered everything he was looking for” including “redundant woollen mills”, and “a skilled (and unemployed) workforce used to factory conditions.”[7]

It can never be known for sure why George and Caroline decided to leave England and settle in Australia. It is likely the decline in the woollen industry which had employed both George and Caroline for over a decade was a determining factor.

Although their financial position at the time of emigration is unknown, according to James H Treble in the book Urban Poverty in Britain, the average wage of a labourer in 1857 was 15 to 17 shillings per week.[8] According to the passenger list of the ship the Orchards sailed to Australia on (the Zemindar), George paid £2.10 for his passage.[9] This amount, based on the average wage of a labourer, amounts to approximately three weeks’ wages. Although they were relatively poor, they had managed to save at least a small sum of money for passage, and to make necessary purchases upon arrival.

On May 20, 1857, George and Caroline Orchard and five of their children, George 16, Maria 14, Arthur 12, John 9, and Samuel 7, left Plymouth for Sydney on the ship the Zemindar.[10] According to history recounted by a family member, “the Orchards had come to Australia to start a new life for they had heard there was enough firewood for everyone’s fires and all the tea you needed.”[11]

According to stories passed down by family members, the Orchard family were originally booked to sail on the Dunbar but had to change their plans and delay their departure by three days. Maria had fallen ill with red spots, so they booked on the Zemindar instead. The two ships raced each other trying to be the first to arrive. It wasn’t until the family arrived in Sydney that they learned the fate of the other ship.[12] On the night of August 20, 1857, the Dunbar which had departed Plymouth on May 31, 1857, was driven into a reef as it attempted to enter Sydney harbour. All but one of the 121 on board perished when the vessel broke up and sunk.[13] The Zemindar arrived in Sydney on August 23, 1857, after a voyage of 95 days.[14]

Maria later recounted the horrific scene that they encountered upon arrival with bodies floating past their ship and expressed the sentiment that someone must have been looking out for them.[15]

Research to confirm the departure dates of the two ships question the facts of the story as handed down from family members. It is possible that some elements of the story are true; they may have originally wanted to sail on the Dunbar, but that is something that may never be known for sure.

On the Zemindar’s passenger list there is a notation that Caroline had an uncle living in Sydney.[16] Her uncle, James Maltman who had been transported to Australia for life for housebreaking, arrived on the Planter in 1832.[17] No other information has been found, so it is unknown if the family had any meaningful contact with him.

Upon arrival in Sydney, George purchased a dray, loaded up their possessions, and headed north.[18] Sadly, it wasn’t long until tragedy struck. In November 1857, George and Caroline’s son George had been riding on top of the dray. He fell off and was run over by one of the wheels.[19] According to the diary entry of Andrew Brown dated Nov 20, 1857, George died on November 19, 1857, after holding on for nearly two weeks before finally succumbing to his injuries. During the time he laid dying, the family kept a constant vigil of prayer at his bedside.[20]

Following the death of George, the family continued their journey north. George worked as a Shepherd at Redbank near Paradise Creek, and at Rosebank. Other jobs he did were fencing and tin mining although not much is known about either of these employments.[21]

The family eventually settled in Tingha and the remains of the family home can be found on Guyra road.

Caroline died at Kangaroo Camp, on April 11, 1872, the cause of death is listed as Dropsy.[22] George went on to live a long and healthy life.[23] According to family history, he was the first person in Tingha to receive an aged pension when it was introduced.[24] (The first aged pension was introduced in New South Wales and Victoria in 1900).[25] George died in Tingha on Nov 23, 1904.[26] He was buried in Tingha cemetery and a wooden cross was erected to mark his grave. During bush clearing years later, an out-of-control fire destroyed the cross, so the exact location of his grave is unknown.[27]

Footnotes

[1] Baptism transcription for George Orchard, 18 April 1817, Bradford on Avon, England, United Kingdom, Wiltshire Baptisms Index 1530-1917, FindMyPast.com, accessed 10 June 2021.

[2] Marriage transcription for George Orchard, 02 February 1836, Bradford on Avon, England, United Kingdom, England Marriages 1538-1973, FindMyPast.com, accessed 10 June 2021.

[3] Christening transcription for Henry Orchard, 1836, Bradford on Avon, England, United Kingdom, England Births and Christenings 1538-1975, FamilySearch.org, accessed 16 June 2021.

[4] Census record for George Orchard, aged 25, Kingston Square, Bradford, Wiltshire, England, 1841 England and Wales Census, The National Archives, HO107/1066/2, Ancestry.com, accessed 16 June 2021.

[5] Census record for George Orchard, aged 35, 165 Morgan’s Hill, Bradford, Wiltshire, England, 1851 England and Wales Census, The National Archives, HO107/1066/2, Ancestry.com, accessed 16 June 2021.

[6] Ross Dunning, ‘The Woollen Industry in Bradford’, Wiltshire OPC Project, 2013, https://www.wiltshire-opc.org.uk/Items/Bradford-on-Avon/Bradford-on-Avon%20-%20Woollen%20Industry%20in%20Bradford.pdf, accessed 12 June 2021.

[7] Explore BOA, ‘The Hall’, https://www.bradfordonavon.co.uk/explore/the-hall/, accessed 12 June 2021.

[8]James H. Treble, Urban Poverty in Britain 1830-1914, Routledge, Oxfordshire, UK,pg 15, Google Books, accessed 12 June 2012.

[9] Passenger list entry for George Orchard and family, Zemindar, arriving Sydney, 23 August 1857, New South Wales, Australia, Assisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1828-1896, Ancestry.com, accessed 18 May 2021.

[10] Passenger list entry for George Orchard and family.

[11] Melissa Nelson to John Cornelius Thorn, letter, 1996, Transcribed copy held by Rhonda Audsley, Ancestry.com, accessed 05 June 2021.

[12] Nelson to Thorn, letter, 1996.

[13] New South Wales State Archive and Records, ‘Wreck of The Dunbar’, https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/archives/collections-and-research/guides-and-indexes/stories/the-wreck-the-dunbar, accessed 12 June 2021.

[14] Passenger list entry for George Orchard and family.

[15] Nelson to Thorn, letter, 1996.

[16] Passenger list entry for George Orchard and family.

[17] James Maltman, Planter, 1832, Bound Indentures 1832-1833, New South Wales State Archives, NRS12188, pp. 93-94, New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842, Ancestry.com, accessed 12 June 2021.

[18] Nelson to Thorn, letter, 1996.

[19] Nelson to Thorn, letter, 1996.

[20] Diary entry for 20 Nov 1857, Andrew Brown, ‘Andrew Brown Journals, 1838-1893’, State Library of New South Wales, Microfilm, MAV/FM4/3096 (B 968-972), transcribed excerpt held by Diane Archer, NSW.

[21] Nelson to Thorn, letter, 1996.

[22] Death Certificate of Caroline Orchard, died 11 April 1872, Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, New South Wales, 4399/1872.

[23] Obituary for George Orchard, Armidale Chronical, 30 Nov 1904, clipping held by Diane Archer, New South Wales.

[24] Nelson to Thorn, letter, 1996.

[25] Australian Bureau of Statistics, History of Pensions and Other Benefits in Australia, https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/8e72c4526a94aaedca2569de00296978!OpenDocument, accessed 17 June 2012.

[26] Death registration of George Orchard, died 23 November 1904, Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, New South Wales, 14991/1904 (index only; no image currently available), Ancestry.com, accessed 05 June 2021.

[27] Nelson to Thorn, letter, 1996.

Week 19 – Food & Drink

The theme at 52 Ancestors this week is Food & Drink. I grew up in the 70s, the era of Jell-O salads, salmon mousse, Hamburger Helper, TV Dinners and Cool Whip. Yes, I know TV Dinners were invented in the 50s but they became really popular in the 70s, and they often found their way to our table when I was a kid.

Cover, “Quick, Easy Jell-O Wonder Dishes: Entrees Relishes Salads Desserts” sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Although all the above mentioned foods were popular when I was growing up, the things I remember most from my mother’s kitchen was the smell of a big pot of chilli or homemade chicken soup simmering on the stove.

Mum was a practical cook. She grew up in the 30s so her style of cooking reflected this. Dad was a meat potatoes man so most nights the main meal consisted of mashed or boiled potato, two vegetables, and meat. Shake n’ Bake chicken made a regular appearance as did meatloaf, and liver with onions.

We rarely ate rice, although I do remember Rice A Roni sometimes being on the dinner table. The only pasta that was popular was macaroni. We sometimes would have Kraft Dinner but mostly mum would make a macaroni casserole. The thing I remember most about mum’s macaroni casserole was that everybody liked it… except me. The casserole consisted of cooked macaroni, canned tomatoes, ground beef, celery, and a bit of onion. All topped with a thick layer of cheese and baked in the oven. I can’t remember her using many herbs at all in her cooking. Mostly she seasoned food with a bit of salt and pepper and maybe a tiny bit of garlic. This casserole made a regular appearance and I remember the only bit I would eat was a bit of cheese on the top. Thankfully, bread and butter was always on the table.

Another dish that mum made that everyone liked except me was one she called Hash. This consisted of ground beef, diced potatoes and a bit of onion. The beef was browned with some onion then the potatoes were diced small and added along with water. No herbs or spices that I can remember, just a bit of salt and pepper. Dad loved it and I remember my Uncle Sam, mum’s younger brother loved it too. Whenever Uncle Sam and Aunt Helen would visit, the subject of mum’s Hash would always come up. Aunt Helen would jokingly remark that only my mum made Hash the way he liked it.

Although I remember hating mum’s Hash I was also curious about it at the same time. I often asked mum why it was called Hash and she always just said “because that’s what it’s called.” Years later I came to the conclusion that the appeal was probably based more on nostalgia, than anything else. It was one of those those dishes you ate as a kid, and it was the memories attached to it that you loved the most. As I studied and learned more about my French Canadian heritage I discovered that this dish called Hash that mum always made, was most likely something Gramma Jamieson had also made. I suspect it may have been a version of Hachis or maybe it comes from the French verb Hacher meaning to cut up.

Takeaway food wasn’t something that I remember having very often, but when we did it was usually fish and chips from Division Fish and Chips. The fish was batter heavy and greasy, but I loved the chips and the vinegar based coleslaw. I remember it came as a side in a tiny paper cup and for me that was the best part of the meal.

Although I did learn the basics of cooking from my mum, my style of cooking is nothing like my mother’s. I love experimenting with new ingredients and use lots of herbs and spices. Occasionally though, I will make a pot of chilli or chicken soup, two of my favourite comfort foods.

Week 18 – Social

The prompt at 52 Ancestors this week is social. Once again I found myself wondering what on earth I was going to write. But then it hit me and I knew exactly what I wanted to write about… The social pages!

In early January I discovered that my hometown newspaper was finally on Newspapers.com. Since then I have spent many hours searching through the old issues. At first I thought that I would mostly utilise the obituaries, but I have found the social pages not only informative, but also entertaining.

The social (society) pages is the section of the newspaper dedicated to the daily activities of the citizens of the district. Here you will find out who went where, who visited who and so many more delightfully mundane goings on.

One of my favourite articles to date is a write up about The Jamieson Family Reunion.

As I read the article I immediately made the connection to two photographs I have in my collection.

Jamieson family photo, circa 1957, original held by Tracey Orchard, Brisbane, Australia
Jamieson family photo, circa 1957, original held by Tracey Orchard, Brisbane, Australia

Although I could identify many in the first photograph as my aunts, uncles and cousins, the second was a bit more of a challenge.

I knew the man on the bottom left was my great uncle Melville “Yammy” Robinson Jamieson. Although I had never met him I had seen pictures of him in the local paper as he was a bit of a local sports personality. I suspected the man next to him was his brother Gordon as I had seen a photo of him on Ancestry.com.

The article above leads me to believe that this is a photo of five of the Jamieson brothers. Unfortunately, of the remaining three, I don’t know which is which, but hopefully I will eventually be able to put the correct name to each one.

Week 17 – Document

This week I share how I worked out my dad’s true birth year using the 1921 Census.

When I was growing up I remember dad telling me that there was confusion surrounding his year of birth. From what I remember he said the government had his age a year younger than what was recorded in the family bible by his mother.

Dad turned 65 in November and retired in December. I remember being in my final year of high school, so he would have retired in 1985. This would mean that the government had his birth recorded as 1920.

Dad died on December 6, 1999 at the age of 80. Which of course would mean he was born in 1919.

As birth records for 1919 and later have not been made public yet, I turned to the 1921 census. Of course they didn’t make it easy to locate the entry for the Rines family on the forms. The transcription of the surname has been recorded as Kines.

Based on my analysis of the census document I determined that dad was in fact born in 1919.

Excerpt of 1921 Canadian Census, https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1921/

The 1921 census was taken in the first half of the year. Dad is the final Rines entry (Carl) listed on the document. According to this he was aged one. The heading on the document stipulates that the age recorded be the age at the person’s last birthday. If dad had been born in 1920 then he would have been approximately seven months old at the time of enumeration. As he was approximately six months away from his next birthday he wasn’t yet two. So I believe that according to the info on the census document dad was indeed born in 1919.

Carl Rines, Circa 1940, taken at family home 1087 Division Place, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, original held by Tracey Orchard, Brisbane, Australia.

Week 16- Negatives

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following post contains names of people who have died.

I racked my brain to come up with something to write about for this weeks prompt. I didn’t have any actual negatives to take a look at so I couldn’t focus my attention on that. Then I thought about the negative things I have discovered about some of my early ancestors and although I’ve researched many of them extensively, I feel I need to learn more before I tell their stories.

So I thought about my own recent experiences and I remembered the negative attitude I had about one of the units I had to study for my Diploma in Family History. Although I thoroughly enjoyed most of the subjects, there was one that had me feeling less than positive.

Oral History- Although I loved the idea of interviewing an ancestor, the reality was I didn’t have any ancestors to interview. My parents and all my grandparents were long gone, and any elder relatives I had were in Canada. I thought about conducting an interview remotely but decided it wasn’t possible. Although I knew the interview did not have to be specifically about my own family, that was what I really wanted to focus on.

I thought about organising to interview someone in the local community, but with Covid at its peak, I decided to stay closer to home, so I decided to interview my husband. My husband’s experiences growing up in Australia were very different to mine, so I decided I would focus on that.

The unit I was less than enthusiastic about turned out to be one of the most interesting. The following is the shortened version of the essay I wrote based on the interview with my husband Richard.

A Serendipitous Discovery

I first noticed the paintings at my mother-in-law’s home when I came to Australia in the late 1980s. At that time, I didn’t take much notice of them, as I’d had little exposure to Australian art.

Photograph of watercolour painting, 2021, original held by Tracey Orchard, Brisbane, Queensland.
Photograph of watercolour painting, 2021, original held by Tracey Orchard, Brisbane, Queensland.

When my mother-in-law died in 2014, my husband inherited the paintings along with some other Indigenous artefacts that she had collected over the years. It was then that I discovered the importance of the paintings, but it wasn’t until my recent oral history interview with my husband Richard, that I became aware of their significance to the Orchard family history.

Richard, the eldest of three boys was born in Warwick, Queensland. He lived there until the late 1960s when his father, a trained baker decided a change of career was needed. Richard recalled his father becoming dissatisfied with his job, so he applied for a position as a labourer on a local construction site. After a while, he started working as a carpenter and spent some time building houses. An opportunity for employment in Darwin came up with the construction of the new airport so he applied for a position. The family packed up and started on what would be the beginning of a 10-year adventure. “The family actually bought a caravan and we towed it all the way to Darwin and lived in a caravan in Darwin while he worked on the airport construction site up there,” said Richard.

The family moved from one construction job to another. For the first 18 months they moved from place to place – Darwin, Cairns, Calliope, never spending more than six months in one location.

In 1971 following a short trip home to Warwick, the family set out once again. This time the destination was Hermannsburg Aboriginal community. Richard’s dad had applied for a position with the Australian Aboriginal Commission to build the new community centre at the Hermannsburg Aboriginal Mission in Central Australia, near Ayres Rock. His application was successful, “so we all piled in the caravan again and drove out to Hermannsburg”.

Hermannsburg Aboriginal Mission was established by Lutheran missionaries in 1877. Established as a school and dormitories for children, it remained under the control of the Lutheran Church until 1982 when the land was returned to the local Arrente people.

Hermannsburg Aboriginal community is also known as the home of Aboriginal painter Albert Namatjira. Albert Namatjira was the founder of what is known as The Hermannsburg School Art Movement. Encouraged by Albert Namatjira to take up painting, Benjamin Landara was one of the early artists of the Hermannsburg School Art Movement. He was also the husband of Albert Namatjira’s daughter, Maisie Namatjira. The two paintings pictured were painted by Benjamin Landara.

Between 1971 and 1974 Richard lived in the Northern Territory in the communities of Hermannsburg, Alice Springs, and Ayres Rock.

During their stay in Hermannsburg, the family immersed themselves in the lives and culture of the local Indigenous community. Richard recalled establishing relationships with some of the Aboriginal people that were there. “I remember one old gentleman in particular that I spent days with, and he was showing me just little things, things like animal tracks, understanding how some of the timbers worked and so on, much as they would teach their own children,” said Richard.

I asked Richard about the significance of the paintings and he recalled his time spent with Benjamin Landara. “I mentioned an elderly gentleman that I spent a lot of time with, who taught us lots of things- that was Benjamin Landara. We built a strong relationship with him; he was like a grandfather. He told us stories. Mum and dad also had a good relationship with him,” said Richard.

One of the paintings, the one with the gum trees on the one side was a gift to the family from Benjamin Landara. The other painting with a gum tree on each side was commissioned by Richard’s mother.

During the interview, Richard talked about a set of boomerangs carved by Benjamin Landara that are also part of the collection of items he inherited. There are two boomerangs in the set – one for hunting and one for fighting. He recalled time spent with Benjamin Landara where he was taught about the construction of the boomerangs. The boomerangs, stained with ochre “were roughly shaped. They were then soaked in water to soften the timber up and then the upper curved surface of the boomerang is carved in ridges with a kangaroo bone,” said Richard.

The time spent learning from and interacting with Benjamin Landara are treasured memories for Richard. The paintings and the stories attached to them will continue to be passed down to future generations of the Orchard family.

Bibliography

Art Gallery New South Wales, “Albert Namatjira”, https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/education/exhibition-kits/hills-beyond-hermannsburg/albert-namatjira/, accessed March 10, 2021.

Aussi Towns, “Hermannsburg NT”, https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/hermannburg-nt, accessed March 10, 2021.

CooeeArt, “Market”, https://www.cooeeart.com.au/marketplace/artists/profile/LandaraBenja/, accessed Mar 10, 2021.

Commissioned watercolour painting, photograph, 2021, original held by Tracey Orchard, Brisbane Australia.

Find & Connect, “Hermannsburg Mission (1877-1982)”, https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nt/YE00017, accessed March 10, 2021.

Orchard, Richard, oral history interview by Tracey Orchard, digital recording, Brisbane, Queensland, 27 Feb 2021, original held by author.

Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Queensland.

The Hermannsburg School of Modern Art, “Albert Namatjira-Pioneer”, https://thehermannsburgschool.org/albert-namatjira-pioneer/, accessed March 10, 2021.

Watercolour painting, photograph, 2021, original held by Tracey Orchard, Brisbane Australia.

Week 15 – How Do You Spell That?

The prompt at 52 Ancestors this week is … How Do You Spell That? Upon reading the prompt, I immediately thought about my maternal third great-grandmother Marie and the confusion around the spelling of her surname.

Marie Maillot

Marie Maillot, Myott, Mailhot, Myatt or Maiotte, has so far proven to be one of the most intriguing mysteries on my Jamieson line.

When I first started researching Marie, I discovered that many family trees on Ancestry.com had Marie’s surname spelled Myott. Her parents were listed as Scottish immigrants, Thomas Myott and Margaret Campbell, but the only record provided in support of this theory was a marriage record for the couple. Although this proved that a Thomas Myott and Margaret Campbell did in fact marry, it in no way connected them to my Marie. After extensive research I was unable to find any evidence to support this connection, therefore I concluded that my Marie was most likely French-Canadian, and I set out to prove this theory.

According to the individual record on PRDH, Marie Maillot was born around 1805. No information about her parents, her baptism or her burial were recorded on the record. The only additional information was the date of her marriage to Thomas Jamieson, my third great-grandfather.

Thomas and Marie were married in St Jean Church of England on 25 Aug 1823 in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec. The marriage record was signed by Thomas Jamieson, his father Hugh Jamieson, and George Miller. Marie Maillot signed with her mark “x” as she was unable to sign her name.

During their marriage Thomas and Marie had 11 children:

Margaret Jamieson 1823-1904
Hugh Jamieson 1824-1859
Amelia Jamieson 1825-1825
Agnes Ann Jamieson 1826 – 1909
Joseph Jamieson 1828 – 1904 (My ancestor)
Thomas Jamieson 1829 –
Peter Jamieson 1831 – 1856
Elizabeth Jamieson 1835 – 1856
Jane Orilla Jamieson 1837 – 1838
Thomas Mary Jamieson 1842-
William Jamieson 1846 –

Marie Maillot died 09 May 1855 in Roxton Falls, Québec. The burial record is from St Jean Baptiste Catholic Church. The signatures that I can successfully transcribe are Thomas Jamieson, Peter Jamieson, and Hugh Jamieson. An obituary for Marie in the Montreal Gazette confirmed her date of death.

The first step in my search for Marie’s true identity was to research and compile a list of Marie candidates, then rule them out one by one. As Marie was unable to sign any of the documents found, the spelling of her surname varied. I concluded the most likely spelling was the one from her death record (Maillot) as this was recorded in French. 

I knew Marie’s estimated date of birth was 1805. I examined every PRDH record I could find for Marie Maillot, born between 1800 and 1810, (five years either side of her estimated date of birth). I looked at the birth, marriage, and death dates of all the candidates and narrowed it down to one possibility:

Marie Maillot – Born 17 Aug 1802 in Chambly to parents Joseph Maillot and Marguerite Benjamin dit St Aubin. The document listed the birth, marriage, and burial dates for most of her siblings, but only Marie’s birth date was listed.

I had saved baptism records for most of the children born to Thomas and Marie, so I started looking for clues. As I looked over the saved documents, I noticed that I had saved two sets of baptism records for the two youngest children, Thomas Mary and William.

Upon closer inspection it appeared that the last two children born to Thomas and Marie had been baptised twice. First as Catholic shortly after their birth, then as Protestant many months later. It appeared Thomas was not present for the Catholic baptisms and Marie was not present for the Protestant baptisms. It seemed a very odd occurrence, but the names, places and dates were almost identical. The only discrepancies I could find was in the birth dates which were out by a day on one and two days on the other.

I’ll continue to research these births, but unless I can find proof of another couple with the same names in the same town, who gave two children born only a day or two apart the same names, then I’m pretty sure these double baptisms occurred.

Whatever the circumstances around the baptisms, the question now is why? What prompted Marie to have her last two children baptised Catholic?

The first possible clue was the use of the name Thomas twice for Thomas and Marie’s children. The first Thomas was born in 1829. I have not been able to find any other record of this Thomas, so did he die and if so when? A daughter Jane Orilla was born in 1837 and died in 1838.  Did Thomas and Jane die around the same time? And was that what prompted Marie to have her last two children baptised Catholic?

As I wondered what caused Marie to return to her Catholic faith, I also wondered what made her turn away from it in the first place. Was it the fact that Thomas and Marie’s first child Margaret was born only five weeks after their marriage? Although it will never be known, it is possible that her pregnancy was a factor. Not only did Marie fall pregnant outside of marriage but she married outside her faith and she married a Scotsman. These three things may not have met with the approval of her family.

The next question I asked was how do I tie my Marie to the Marie born to parents Joseph Maillot and Marguerite Benjamin dit St Aubin?

As the Protestant baptism records only had the parent’s names and dates, there were no useful clues. The Catholic baptism records contained the name of the “marrain” which is godmother in French. The godmother on both Catholic baptism records was Euphrosine Lebrun who was the wife of David Maillot, son of Joseph Maillot and Marguerite Benjamin dit St Aubin. I now had a connection to the suspected family.

Convinced that the records, although complicated, supported my theory of Marie’s identity, it was time to see where the DNA evidence would take me.

The first thing I did was add Marie’s suspected parents and four grandparents to my family tree on Ancestry.com. The idea was to wait for ThruLines to generate a few hints that I could use as clues. After 24 hours the ThruLines had been created and I had 64 possible DNA matches, who according to information from their trees, descend from Marie’s parents or grandparents.  Knowing that ThruLines are only as good as the trees that the information is taken from, I knew a lot of additional research would be required.

To date I have only analysed the top five or six matches, but so far, their research and trees seem sound. It looks like these matches and myself descend from ancestors that confirm my hypothesis – Marie was the daughter of Joseph Maillot and Marguerite Benjamin dit St Aubin.

As I’m working with my French-Canadian ancestry there is always the possibility that there are multiple ways we are related, but so far I’ve found nothing that would suggest a closer common ancestor or ancestor couple.

I will continue to research, but for now I am convinced that I have solved the mystery of the identity of Marie Maillot.

Sources

The following sources were used in my research:

Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BAnQ), Montreal, Quebec, Canada, https://www.banq.qc.ca.

Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), https://www.prdh-igd.com.

Québec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), LAFRANCE Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, https://www.genealogiequebec.com.

Week 14 – Check it out

Several months ago, my daughter found a crocheted blanket at an op shop. As we looked it over, we noticed that several of the squares were damaged. We decided to take it home with us and see if it could be saved. It was just before Christmas, so I washed it and tucked it away in the spare room.

Last week as I was cleaning the spare room, I found the blanket under a pile of my fabrics, so I pulled it out and decided to have a go at fixing it. Five hours later I had repaired the four damaged squares and the blanket was ready for its second life.

As I sat and worked on the repairs I wondered about the story behind the blanket. I thought about the time and love that went into the project. I thought about my own mother and all the crocheted projects she had made over the years.

Mum had always been a knitter, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that she took up crocheting. I remember my Aunt Shirley (mum’s younger sister) sitting with her and teaching her how to crochet. After those first lessons mum became a crocheting wizard.

I remember her making Christmas arrangements that she would sell to make a bit of extra money just before the holidays. She would take a large margarine container and punch holes all around the top edge. She would then crochet around until she had completely covered the container. She would crochet three chains to make a hanging basket and then fill the basket with fake flowers and other festive items. Mum would hang the baskets in the front window of our house with a little sign and people would stop and buy the arrangements.

The annual school tea and sale (fete) was always a busy time for mum. She would spend hours crocheting little items for the craft stall. One item I can remember her making was a little bonnet.  She would crochet a tiny little bonnet, tie it on a lollypop, then she would draw a face on the lollypop. She made hundreds of these over the years and they were always a big hit with the kids.  

I remember the bed spreads mum made for her sister Doreen. Aunt Doreen loved the colour mauve, so mum made her a set of single bed covers in mauve and white. The centres of the squares were mauve roses, and the rest of the square was white.

As I sat and stitched and remembered, I thought about all the blankets and other projects mum made over the years and I wondered how many of them made their way to a charity shop.

Thankfully, I have several that she made, including the first granny square blanket that she made in the 70s. I brought the blanket with me when I moved to Australia in 1990. Sadly it suffered a bit of damage to one of the squares and has been packed away for years. My recent mending experiment prompted me to finally make the needed repairs and I’m so glad I did. Check it out…

The repair work doesn’t match perfectly. The yellow is a little lighter and the dark blue is slightly different. I’m happy with the results and think mum would be pleased that her blanket is once again being enjoyed.

Joseph Alexandre Ulderique L’Oiseau

Today marks the one hundred and six year anniversary of the death of my maternal great-grandfather Joseph Alexandre Ulderique L’Oiseau. Ulderique also known as Henry Bird died at the Battle of St Eloi on the night of April 9, 1916.

Private Ulderique L’Oiseau
21st Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force
4th Infantry Brigade
2nd Canadian Division

Photograph of Private Ulderique L’Oiseau, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, 1915, original held by N. McCormack Johnson, New York State.

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,”[1]

The fields of Flanders, the final resting place of my great-grandfather Private Ulderique L’Oiseau, service number 59600.[2] He was one of the nearly 61,000 Canadians who died in World War One.[3]

Joseph Alexandre Ulderique L’Oiseau (Ulderique) was the youngest of seven children.[4] He was born in Montréal, Québec, Canada on March 7, 1872. A seventh child for Aurelie D’Aragon dit Lafrance and fifth child for Joseph L’Oiseau.[5]  

Aurelie married Joseph L’Oiseau after the death of her first husband Cyrille L’Oiseau. During my research I discovered that Cyrille and Joseph were distant cousins.

Very little information can be found about Ulderique’s early years, but he can be found on the 1881 Canadian Census living near Montreal in Hochelaga Village with his parents and three older siblings.[6] By the age of 17, he had moved to Kingston, where he married Mary Ann Maville (Annie) on April 29, 1889.[7]

Following their marriage Ulderique and Annie remained in Kingston, where Ulderique worked as a barber at TJ Healey’s barber shop.[8] Ulderique and Annie had nine children, the youngest William Adolphe was born in 1909.[9] 

Ulderique enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) at the age of 42. His attestation papers were signed in Kingston, Ontario on November 11, 1914 and he was assigned to the 21st Battalion.[10]

In the years prior to his enlistment Ulderique had served in the military reserve. His previous service included three years with the 14th Rifle Brigade of the Princess of Wales Own Regiment and one year in the 5th Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery.[11]

When Canada entered the war in August 1914, there was no shortage of men eager to answer the call to enlist. Reasons such as patriotism or a sense of adventure were some of the motivating factors.[12] It is not known why Ulderique, at the age of 42, with a wife and young children still living at home would enlist. He was at the higher end of the age limit, which at the time was 18-45.[13] The percentage of married men who served was also relatively low at only 20%. During “the first year of the war the wives of married men could demand that their husbands be released from service”.[14]

In an article from the local paper, The Daily British Whig dated Aug 20, 1914 Col. Morrison describes the practice of woman preventing their husbands from going to war as being used too liberally, describing Canadian woman as being unpatriotic.[15]

It appears that Kingston, a city with a long military history did not suffer from a lack of patriotism. The call to enlist went out and many local men including Ulderique enlisted.[16]

At the time of his enlistment, statistically Ulderique was in the minority. During the early stages of the war 70% of Canadians enlisting were British born subjects.[17] Ulderique was native born, his lineage tracing back over many generations to the founding of New France (Québec).[18]

The 21st Battalion remained in Kingston for training through to the spring of 1915.[19] During this time Ulderique received disciplinary action on two occasions. On March 18th he was fined $2.00 and on April 20th he was fined $6.00. No information regarding the nature of the offences is recorded but given the most common reason for disciplinary action was drunkenness, it is possible this was the reason for the disciplinary actions.[20]

On May 5th the Battalion departed Kingston by train for Montreal. They arrived in Montreal on the 6th and proceeded to the docks where they departed on the troopship the Metagama.[21]  The Metagama docked in Devonport England on May 16th.[22]

From Devonport the Batallion proceeded to West Sandling camp near Kent. Over the next few months, the 21st Battalion remained at West Sandling to undergo training. Diary entries are consistent over this time outlining the daily operations which included musketry training, bayonet fighting class, physical drills, and other training exercises. Instances of hospitalisations and disciplinary actions are also recorded.[23]  On May 24th Ulderique received disciplinary action for drunkenness and was fined $6.00.[24]

On September 1st the Battalion was inspected by His Majesty the King in preparation for deployment to the front.[25]  

On September 12th the Machine Gun section departed for the front from Southhampton. Ulderique along with the remainder of the 21st Battalion departed camp on the 14th and proceeded to Folkstone.[26] They boarded the steamer the St. Seiriol and proceeded to cross the channel arriving in Boulogna at 9 am.[27]

The battalion continued to St Omar and then to Dranoutre where they were engaged in the trenches for the next few weeks, eventually moving on to Ridgewood on October 22nd.[28] 

Fighting continued in the trenches N and O near Ridgewood alongside the 20th Battalion until April 5th. During this time diary entries report minimal daily casualties.[29] During this period Ulderique once again receives disciplinary action. He is sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment No. 1 and fined $6.00 for being absent from camp from 5pm December 26th to 5pm December 27th.[30]

On April 5th the 21st Battalion proceed to billets in La Clytte. They remained there until April 8th when they relieved the 27th Battalion at P trench in St. Eloi.[31] On April 7th, Ulderique is once again disciplined, this time for drunkenness and sentenced to 14 days field punishment No. 1 and fined $2.00.[32]

The Battle of St. Eloi took place between March 27th and April 19th. St. Eloi, situated about 5 kilometres south of Ypres, had been a scene of vicious fighting throughout the war. It was an important event for the 2nd Division as it was their first set battle.[33]

The night of April 8th the 21st Battalion along with the 12th and 19th were ordered to attack the craters.[34] The fighting was fierce, and by morning the 21st had suffered a total of 36 casualties.[35]

The fierce fighting continued and on the night of April 9th Private Ulderique L’Oiseau was killed.[36] Ulderique was buried a few days later in Ridgewood Cemetery, Voormezeele, West Flanders, Belgium.[37] His wife Annie was notified of the death of her husband by telegraph dated April 19, 1916.[38]

Figure 1. Image of telegram from newspaper article, Peter Gower, ‘Lost on the field of battle’, Kingston Whig Standard, 11 April 2005 news clipping held by Tracey Orchard, Brisbane.

Following the war, the family received the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Memorial Plaque, Scroll and Memorial Cross.[39]

Ulderique is honoured alongside other fallen soldiers from Kingston on the wall of Remembrance and on a memorial plaque in City Hall.[40] His grave is marked by a simple white headstone embellished with a maple leaf, erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.[41]

Below is a photo taken a few years ago when Ulderique’s grandson Sanford Jamieson, and Sanford’s children made the journey to visit his grave site.

Sanford Jamieson, 2018, original held by C. Paquette, Ottawa, Canada

Footnotes

[1] John McCrea, ‘In Flanders Fields’, Poetry Foundation, 1915, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47380/in-flanders-fields, accessed 20 August 2021.

[2] Service record of Ulderique Loiseau, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada, RG150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 5719-23, LOISEAU U, unpaginated.

[3] Canadian War Museum, “The Cost of War”, https://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/history/after-the-war/legacy/the-cost-of-canadas-war/, accessed 20 August 2021.

[4] Baptism of Cyrille Loiseau, baptised 01 August 1848, Boucherville, unpaginated, LAFRANCE Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, Québec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), Num. 2966625; Baptism of Charles Eustache Loiseau, baptised 23 October 1851, Boucherville, unpaginated, LAFRANCE Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, Québec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), Num. 5502666; Baptism of Joseph Alexandre Loiseau, baptised 14 February 1854, Boucherville, unpaginated, LAFRANCE Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, Québec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), Num. 5502804, https://www.genealogiequebec.com/, accessed 20 August 2021; Marriage record of Joseph Ludger Loiseau and Marie Louise Landry, 31 July 1882, la Nativité-de-la-Brenheureux-Vierge-Marie, Québec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968, Ancestry.com, accessed 20 Aug 2021; Baptism of Joseph Elie Emmanuel Loiseau, 19 April 1867, Montreal; Baptism of Marie Georgiana Loiseau, 26 January 1870, Montreal; Baptism of Joseph Alexandre Ulderique Loiseau, 7 March 1872, Montreal, Québec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection,) 1621-1968, Ancestry.com, accessed 20 August 2021.

[5] Baptism record of Joseph Alexandre Ulderique Loiseau.

[6] 1881 Canadian Census, Library and Archives Canada, https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/, accessed 20 Aug 2021.

[7] Marriage of Ulderique Loiseau and Mary Ann Miville, 25 Nov 1889, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada marriages 1826-1936, Ancestry.com, accessed 22 August 2021.

[8] Digital Kingston, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, “City Directories 1855-1923”, https://research.digitalkingston.ca/records-and-documents/city-directories/city-directories-1855-1923, Accessed 24 Aug 2021.

[9] Baptism of Margaret Ann Loiseau, 4 December 1892, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada, Roman Catholic Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1760-1923, Ancestry.com, accessed 20 August 2021; Marriage record of Fortineau Loiseau and Adelaide Yoemans, 3 April 1918, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1926, Ancestry.com, accessed 20 August 2021; Baptism of Alice Doris Loiseau, 6 January 1896, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada Records, Catholic Church. Saint Mary’s Cathedral (Kingston, Ontario), FamilySearch.org, accessed 20 August 2021; Birth of Mary Ann Loiseau, 8 October 1897, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada Births, 1858-1913, Ancestry.com, accessed 20 August 2021; Marriage Record of Leo Paul Loiseau and Gertrude Josephine Derosiers, 19 Feb 1924, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1936, Ancestry.com, accessed 20 August 2021; Baptism of Mary Rose Loiseau, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada, Roman Catholic Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1760-1923, Ancestry.com, accessed 22 August 2021; Baptism of Delia Mary Loiseau, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada, Roman Catholic Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1760-1923, Ancestry.com, accessed 22 August 2021; Birth of Joseph Ulderique Loiseau, 30 October 1907, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario Canada Births, 1858-1913, Ancestry.com, accessed 22 August 2021; birth of William Adolph Loiseau, 11 Aug 1909, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada Births 1858-1913, Ancestry.com, accessed 22 August 2021.

[10] Service record of Ulderique Loiseau, unpaginated.

[11] Service record of Ulderique Loiseau, unpaginated.

[12] The Canadian Encyclopedia, ‘The Great War Soldier’, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/the-canadian-great-war-soldier, accessed 24 Aug 2021.

[13] The Canadian Encyclopedia, ‘The Great War Soldier’.

[14] The Canadian Encyclopedia, ‘The Great War Soldier’.

[15] Digital Kingston, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, ‘Daily British Whig’, 20 August 1914, Pg. 1 https://vitacollections.ca/digital-kingston/3677133/page/2?n=.

[16] Peter Gower, ‘Lost on the field of battle’, Kingston Whig Standard, 11 April 2005 news clipping held by Tracey Orchard, Brisbane.

[17] The Canadian Encyclopedia, ‘The Great War Soldier’.

[18] Tracey Rines (Tracey Orchard) family tree, Ancestry.com.

[19] PWOR.ca, ‘21st Battalion History’, https://pwor.ca/museum/21st-battalion-history/, accessed 24 Aug 2021.

[20] Service record of Ulderique Loiseau, unpaginated; Canadian War Museum, “Discipline and Punishment”, https://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/history/life-at-the-front/trench-conditions/discipline-and-punishment/, 11 Mar 2022.

[21] PWOR.ca, ‘21st Battalion History’.

[22] PWOR.ca, ‘21st Battalion History’.

[23] Diary entries 15 May 1915 to 31 July 1915, Confidential War Diary of the 21st Battalion CEF, Library and Archives Canada, https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/Pages/war-diaries.aspx. Accessed 10 August 2021.

[24] Service record of Ulderique Loiseau, unpaginated.

[25] Diary entries 1 August 1915 to 1 September 1915, Confidential War Diary of the 21st Battalion CEF

[26] Diary entries 12 September 1915 to 14 September 1915, Confidential War Diary of the 21st Battalion CEF

[27] PWOR.ca, ‘21st Battalion History’.

[28] Diary entries 15 September 1915 to 22 October 1915, Confidential War Diary of the 21st Battalion CEF.

[29] Diary entries 23 October 1915 to 5 April 1916, Confidential War Diary of the 21st Battalion CEF.

[30] Service record of Ulderique Loiseau, unpaginated.

[31] Diary entries 5 April 1916 to 8 April 1916, Confidential War Diary of the 21st Battalion CEF.

[32] Service record of Ulderique Loiseau, unpaginated.

[33] Scholars Commons @ Laurier, Tim Cook, ‘The Blind Leading the Blind: The Battle of the St. Eloi Craters’, https://scholars.wlu.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1049&context=cmh, Accessed 12 Aug 2021.

[34] Cook, ‘The blind leading the blind: The Battle of the St. Eloi Craters’; Diary entry 8 April 1916, Confidential War Diary of the 21st Battalion CEF.

[35]Diary entry 8 April 1916, Confidential War Diary of the 21st Battalion CEF.

[36]Diary entry 9 April 1916, Confidential War Diary of the 21st Battalion CEF.

[37] 21st Battalion CEF, ‘Ulderique Henri Loiseau aka Henry Bird’. http://21stbattalion.ca/tributehl/loiseau_u.html, accessed 24 Aug 2021.

[38] ‘Lost on the field of battle’.

[39] Service record of Ulderique Loiseau, unpaginated.

[40] ‘Ulderique Henri Loiseau aka Henry Bird’.

[41] Commonwealth War Graves Commission, ‘Find War Dead’, https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/, accessed 24 Aug 2021.