52 Ancestors : Week # 43 – Quite The Character

52 Ancestors : Week # 43 – Quite The Character

I’m participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors Challenge. This is week 43 of 52 and I’m not giving up now, or rather I mean the writing prompt is “Quite the Character.

Gertrude Barbara Rich Collier Tennant.

She was the wife of my 4x Great-Uncle, Charles Tennant.

Gertrude was born in County Galway in Ireland on November 9th, 1819. Her parents found themselves “in this wild and remote spot by accident, having been driven ashore on the treacherous Atlantic coast of Ireland some weeks before the birth. Gertrude’s father, the euphoniously named Lieutenant Henry Theodosius Browne Collier, RN, was in command of HMS Falmouth when it ran aground.”

This quote is taken directly from David Waller’s book, which is aptly titled “The Magnificent Mrs. Tennant.”

Yes, that’s right, someone wrote an entire book on her life. So, it would seem she was indeed Quite the Character. In reading through David Waller’s book, there is no way to sum up her incredible life here on just this one blog post, that would be a whole lot of scrolling. Suffice to say her life was illustrious. Her story is at times unbelievable, although according to the author, all of the information was taken from letters found in two long ignored old oak chests in an attic of a farm house, belonging to the wife of one of Gertrude’s grandsons.

Then there is the matter of her pedigree.

Her father, as I mentioned was a Lieutenant in the British Royal Navy as was his father before him. Pictured on the left is Gertrude’s Grandfather, Vice Admiral Sir George Collier (1738-1795), an interesting character in his own right, who served in the Seven Years’ War and the French Revolutionary Wars. He was also considered a hero in the American War of Independence commanding the HMS Rainbow (also quite the story). On her mother’s side it is mentioned that she descended from none other than Oliver Cromwell.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

The Adventurous Life of Gertrude Tennant, Victorian Grande Dame

Gertrude’s early childhood was spent travelling to exotic lands aboard various vessels commanded by her Father and accompanied by her beautiful Mother. At the age of 5 she and her family moved to France and there they remained for more than 20 years.

Gertrude’s life, from what I read, seemed to have a way of orbiting around important moments, interesting places and fascinating characters in history – kind of similar to the way Forrest Gump happens upon great moments in American History. Ridiculous visual there, but anyhow…

One story in the Waller’s book describes Gertrude and her Father (by happenstance) passing through town on the afternoon of February 25th in 1830 as Victor Hugo‘s play Hernani premiered in Paris which caused quite the stir between the new French Romanticists and the conservative Classicists. Gertrude would, a few short years later meet Mr. Hugo in person at his residence, and the description of this encounter in Waller’s book is captivating. This was only the first of their many encounters.

At the age of 14, while on vacation with her family, she met who would become her future husband, Charles Tennant, who at the time was 38. It would be 12 years before they would cross paths again.

She began to make her way in Parisian society by the mid-1830s, finding herself surrounded by members of high society and making many aristocratic French friends. The name dropping is exhaustive. Perhaps, it was via the circles she found herself in that attributed to her becoming Quite the Character, we are after all judged by the company we keep aren’t we? N’est-ce pas?

And then there’s the implied romance or rather long friendship with Gustave Flaubert, the French novelist. In that chest found in the country side were dozens of letters from Gustave to Gertrude, including dedicated first editions of Madame Bovary and other works of this famed author.

She did finally settle down at the age of 27, with Charles Tennant (then 51), although her parents were not entirely pleased with the union. They felt that their daughter would be more suited with someone with a higher social standing.

In 1868 the family moved into No. 2 Richmond Terrace. (Google that fancy pants location!) It wasn’t that long after, in 1873 that her dear husband passed. They had been married 25 years and had 6 children together. She seemed at that point to carry on with her social career and now on with her plans to marry off two of her daughters, Dorothy and Eveleen. Her plans seemed to play off very well indeed, because marry well, Dolly and Evie did.

Perhaps for Gertrude Barbara Rich Collier Tennant, described below as a Lady of Property (with) no occupation, it is true that you are known for the company you keep.

Source : Ancestry.ca

In the 1911 England Census her address was still 2 Richmond Terrace, Whitehall, Westminster. She was now living with 2 of her adult daughters, 2 grandchildren and let’s count shall we? 8 servants altogether? I must confess I haven’t made time to watch Downton Abbey just yet, but I sort of have a visual of how this story goes. What even is a Scullery Boy anyhow?

Gertrude passed away on April 27th, 1918 at the age of 98. She had certainly left her mark on the world and was by all accounts Quite the Character.

Out of curiousity, I did some rough math on this probate record. If we calculate how much £ 80,312 in 1918 is worth today it would amount to a whopping £ 4,593,846! For my own reference, in Canadian dollars that would be approximately $ 7,855,477.

Fancy Pants indeed.

Photo of Sir George Collier : By John James Hinchliff (1805-1875) – The National Maritime Museum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6379488

52 Ancestors : Week # 42 – Proud

52 Ancestors : Week # 42 – Proud

I am participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors Challenge.

This week the writing prompt is PROUD. In beginning to research this post I came across this poem/quote by Nikita Gill that really just says it all.

There are so many of my Ancestors that I am proud of for different reasons. Some of them took a chance and stood up for what they saw as being right, some made sacrifices and/or choices that gave their families a better life. Some served their country. In researching and learning about them and their choices, I find they are (still) teaching me about the kind of person that I aspire to be and my desire to make them proud.

I also am especially proud to be Canadian, although interestingly enough, not one of my grandparents was actually born here in Canada! Does that make me any less Canadian? How is it that we ended up here? I feel very lucky that I am able to live in such a beautiful country.

Their sacrifices and choices allowed me this freedom.

52 Ancestors : Week # 41 Newest

52 Ancestors : Week # 41 Newest

Glider Pilot Regiment

I’m participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge this year. Week # 41 the topic is NEWEST.

I think my latest discovery is relevant to the topic of newest. Recently, I tried something new, different and exciting which led me to this photo here right down here, which I had never seen before.

Taken at Brize Norton Operational Aerodrome after “D” Day landings. Source : Glider Pilot Regiment Society Facebook Group

Sometimes in order to find new things about our Ancestors we have to search in new places. Places you wouldn’t normally think of. Usually, when I think of Ancestry and where to find the best resources, I don’t automatically think of Facebook! However, there are Facebook Groups for nearly EV-ER-Y-THING you can think of!!

What I did was go to a Facebook page that is dedicated to the Glider Pilot Regiment Society and used the search button feature. I simply typed “APPS” in the search. What I was originally looking for was a post that I had contributed a while back, which I realized after the fact was on another site altogether. Anyhow, what turned up was this amazing photo titled…

4 Flight and 20 Flight – B Squadron The Glider Pilot Regiment

This particular Facebook post was looking for help putting names to faces of all of the Glider Pilots pictured. One member was able to oblige. Below are listed the names of these brave men.

The first name (person) I recognized is standing in the very top row, first person on the left. His name is S.Sgt G R Briggs (4 Flight). He was second pilot to my Grandfather/Poppa on D-Day. Poppa can be seen in the third row from the bottom, third person in. They have him incorrectly listed as “J. Apps.” It should read S.Sgt W E Apps (4 Flight).

I’ve split the picture in two parts and tried to zoom in so you can have a better look. I’ve also typed out all the names at the bottom of this post.

Finding this newest photo means a great deal to me. It allows me to learn more about my Poppa and the men he spent so much time with in training and eventually gliding into war alongside. This picture says that it was taken at the Brize Norton Operational Aerodrome after the D-Day landings. At this point these brave men had already lost friends who had glided across the channel on D-Day and never came back. My Poppa was thankfully only injured upon landing.

What waited for these men next would also go down in the history books. Many of the men pictured above also went onto The Battle of Arnhem, which has been the subject of many books and movies.

A great many of these men never returned.

Back Row

  • S.Sgt Geoff R Briggs – 4 Flight
  • S.Sgt R A Howard
  • S.Sgt A C Lawrence – 4 Flight
  • Rooney
  • S.Sgt H S Harris – 4 Flight
  • S.Sgt J M Hooper – 20 Flight
  • Sgt D L G Cooper – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt N Birch – 20 Flight
  • Sgt J R Crone – 20 Flight
  • Sgt Holland – 19 Flight?
  • S.Sgt A Baldwin – 20 Flight
  • Sgt L Bullivant – 20 Flight
  • Sgt F W Fisher – 20 Flight
  • Sgt D G Askew – 3 Flight
  • Sgt De Rungary – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt Harrison
  • Sgt J S Hunter – 3 Flight
  • Sgt G Woodcock – 4 Flight
  • Sgt M Maxwell – 3 Flight
  • S.Sgt B A Osborn – 19 Flight
  • S.Sgt Mee?
  • S.Sgt F W Baacke – 4 Flight
  • Sgt H M J Shorter – 4 Flight

Third Row

  • Sgt H W Cole – 20 Flight
  • Sgt Scott
  • S.Sgt Walter Eddie Apps – 4 Flight ( otherwise known as Poppa 😉 )
  • S.Sgt B Stroud – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt T J Eardley – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt J R Wright – 3 Flight
  • S.Sgt R Whale – 4 Flight
  • S.Sgt A Shackleton – HQ Flight
  • Sgt P D Johnson ? – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt J H R Michie – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt B Morgan – 20 Flight
  • Sgt R M Croft – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt R E Eardley – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt J A Hopkins – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt J Appleyard – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt W E Evans – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt J Cotterill – 3 Flight
  • Sgt P B Boyle – 3 Flight
  • S.Sgt Downes ?
  • S.Sgt P Coates? – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt T Geary – 20 Flight
  • Sgt R Bowles

Second Row

  • S.Sgt J Block – 4 Flight
  • Sgt K Consterdine – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt L Winsper – 3 Flight
  • S.Sgt H T Caunter – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt E Raspison – 4 Flight
  • Sgt H Gray ?
  • S.Sgt A Wilson – 4 Flight
  • Lt R Irvine – 4 Flight
  • Capt A F W Low – 20 Flight
  • Capt F J T Neale – HQ Flight
  • Major T I J Toler – HQ Flight
  • Capt J F Smellie – 4 Flight
  • Lt G R Millar – 20 Flight
  • Lt J H Barclay – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt J R Gowens – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt R B Johnston – 20 Flight
  • Sgt W Ashworth – 20 Flight
  • Sgt H Northern ?
  • Sgt G Bristow – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt J R Clarke – 3 Flight

Bottom Row

  • Sgt D Andrews – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt C W Twiggs – 4 Flight
  • Sgt R Kew ?
  • Sgt Clift ?
  • Sgt T Murphy – 4 Flight
  • S.Sgt T Norris – 19 Flight
  • S.Sgt J F Smith – 20 Flight
  • S.Sgt L W (or N) Jenkins – 4 Flight
  • Sgt G Heritage – 4 Flight
  • Sgt W A Burgoyne – HQ Flight
  • WO2 W Watt – HQ Flight
  • Sgt C Dean – 19 Flight
  • Sgt F Corrie ?
  • Sgt R C Long – 20 Flight
  • Sgt Shephard ?
  • Sgt J M Thompson – 3 Flight
  • S.Sgt L Worthington – 4 Flight
  • ?
  • S.Sgt S G Bone
  • Sgt J W Williamson – 20 Flight

To date, I have written a great number of posts about the Glider Pilot Regiment, D-Day and Poppa. I still have so much more I want to share. I’m in the process of transcribing an interview of Poppa, where at one point he goes over his notes on some of the people he remembered during his time as a Glider Pilot, many of the men from the pictures above. I’m absolutely enthralled. In the meantime, here are the links to my previous posts on the subject.

52 Ancestors : Week # 40 – Oldest

52 Ancestors : Week # 40 – Oldest

Florence Heath Carré

I’m participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestor Challenge. The writing prompt for this week is OLDEST. What comes to my mind is the ancestor in my family who was the OLDEST.

My (paternal) Great Great Grandmother Florence Heath lived to see 102 years! In fact, in just two more months she would have been 103!

Florence Heath

  • She was born Aug. 16th, 1852 in Lytchett Matravers, Dorset, England
  • Her parents were William Mortimer Heath and Emma Meyrick
  • Her mother passed away when she was only 10
  • Apr. 3rd, 1877 she married Arthur Augustus Carré
  • 1881 Census living in Brighton, Sussex
  • 1888 son Edwin Meyrick Carré passes away in infancy
  • 1891 Census living in Melcombe Regis, South Dorset
  • 1901 Census living in Bromley, Kent
  • 1902 her son Arthur Collings Carré passes away
  • 1911 Census living in Headcorn, Kent – lists number of children born as 9, however number of children alive as 7
  • 1915 son Maurice Tennant Carré killed during WW1
  • 1916 son Edward Mervyn Carré killed during WW1
  • 1917 son Gilbert Trenchard Carré killed during WW1
  • 1921 her husband, the Reverend Arthur Augustus Carré passes away

Despite all of the tragedy in her life, I get the impression she made the best of things and carried on. She sure seems to me like she was a fascinating and intelligent woman. I was given a scanned copy of a newspaper write up regarding her 101st birthday that was published in the Southern Daily Echo dated Saturday, August 15th, 1953 – so the day before her 101st birthday!

Mrs. Carré (101) is Still “Full of Fun”

Her eldest daughter, Florence Lilian Carré (my Great-Granny) also lived to be 102. Isn’t that incredible?

Who is the oldest ancestor in your family tree?

Further Reading

The Carré Brothers who were tragically all killed during WW1.

Folklore of Lytchett Matravers Dorset.

52 Ancestors : Week # 39 – Should Be A Movie

52 Ancestors : Week # 39 – Should Be A Movie

I’m participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestor Challenge. The writing prompt for this week is “Should Be A Movie.”

One absolutely ridiculous story came to mind, but first I have to set the scene. This story came from watching a home video of my Grandfather where he was being interviewed by his two sons Mike and Keith (my dad). The interview took place on April 4th, 1993.

This particular story takes us to the Rock of Gibraltar where my Grandfather, Walter Edmund (Eddie) Apps was serving in the Royal Engineers Company. He was working in the engine room powering the searchlights on the rock.

He joined the British Army in 1936, Gibraltar would be his first overseas service which he started in 1938.

THE BRITISH ARMY ON GIBRALTAR 1942 (GM 1852) Searchlights pierce the night sky during an air-raid practice on Gibraltar, 20 November 1942. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205206569

The Interview

Eddie – “I used to look after, keep the engine room clean during the day and then be prepared to run the searchlights, run the engines at night. If the search lights were needed for anything.

Keith – “These search lights were on top of Gibraltar in the caves or…?

Eddie – “They were mounted in sort of in placements around the cliffs edges around Gibraltar you know its straight out to sea. Basically it wasn’t for airplanes, it was for ships. But they also used them to track airplanes too.

Eddie – “I had lots of experiences with the monkeys on the dock. That’s an interesting one that you might want to know about … well these monkeys used to come down, Gibraltar apes. There’s a story that if ever they leave Gibraltar, if ever they disappeared from Gibraltar the British would lose all of Gibraltar. I don’t know how, or what that’s about, but anyway. There was a rumour that how they got onto Gibraltar, there was a tunnel between Morocco and Gibraltar under the Straits of Gibraltar and these apes came through this tunnel to get there. I don’t think its true. But just one of these… it’s fokelore around Gibraltar that that’s where they came from originally.

By RedCoat – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3032679

(I mean, he just looks so cute right?! Just wait…)

Mike – “But the rock is full of tunnels?

Eddie – “Oh the rock itself is full of tunnels. Yeah, they’ve been man made deliberately too. In fact it’s so honeycombed with tunnels that you could put the whole of the army of the people that were stationed there underground and they could never touch them with bombs because they were so far underground the tunnels. And they had all kinds of provisions, they had a hospital underground. All kinds of provisions stored underground you could stay down there for at least six months. Air plants, you know provide air going down, ventilation and stuff. So while I was there they had… and this was of course peace time… they used to have a canteen up some steps above the barracks. And I used to go up there to have what we call a tea and a wad, which was basically a tea and cookies, cakes and things. Rock cakes they used to call them but we used to call them a tea and a wad. I bought some chocolate bars and I was sitting there at the table having a chocolate bar and I went back to the counter for another cup of tea. I came back and when I got back one of the apes had come onto the patio where the table was and stole my chocolate bar! So I threw a rock at it. Chased it away. I threw a rock at it and chased it away and the next thing I knew there was a whole bunch of apes around there and they started throwing things back at us. And they got into the billiard room which is above the canteen and they started throwing these billiard balls at us! Grabbed the billiard balls and started throwing them at us! We all had to get out of there in a hurry because they were pretty accurate. I tell you, we got chased out of that canteen the whole bunch of us about 30 of us. They were chasing us and throwing these billiard balls at us. Finally one of the old timers on the rock he knew what to do, he went into the barrack room and got his rifle and as soon as he came out with his rifle and the monkeys saw this rifle and the monkeys knew what a rifle was because they used to shoot them off every now and again to keep the population down. So they knew what a rifle was and they all took off. But that was quite the experience being beaten by a billiard ball by a monkey!”

I don’t know about you, but to me that scene right there, it sounds hilarious and probably “Should Be A Movie!

Try as I might, I don’t know if I’ll ever get that image out of my mind, of monkeys trying to peg off my Grandfather with billiard balls. My favourite line… “We all had to get out of there in a hurry because they were pretty accurate!

In 1942 my Grandfather left Gibraltar, thankfully unscathed, and made his way back to England, aboard a troop ship which included a lengthy and potentially dangerous detour (another story for another day), where he began his training in the newly formed Glider Pilot Regiment.

Check out this YouTube video of tourists being accosted for their snacks!

Side Notes and Further Research

A great site to check out is Visit Gibraltar where you can view an interactive video touring the WW2 Tunnels. I highly recommend this as you can move the camera angles around and see a 360 degree view under the rock. One day I hope to visit in person.

Incidentally, in researching this post I came across so many interesting and worthwhile websites to check out if (like me) you want to learn more about the Rock and the Barbary Macaques.

Although the species is commonly referred to as the “Barbary ape”, the Barbary macaque is actually a true monkey. Its name refers to the Barbary Coast of Northwest Africa. – Source : Wikipedia

I did look up these rumours about what would happen if the apes ever left Gibraltar – A popular belief holds that, as long as Gibraltar Barbary macaques exist on Gibraltar, the territory will remain under British rule. In 1942 (during World War II), after the population dwindled to just a handful of individuals (just seven monkeys), British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered their numbers be replenished immediately from forest fragments in both Morocco and Algeria because of this traditional belief. – Source : Wikipedia.

Another story links Gibraltar to Africa by a subterranean passage over 15 miles (24 km) long which begins at Lower St. Michael’s Cave and passes under the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Gibraltar Barbary macaques entered the Rock from Morocco this way. – Source : Wikipedia.

Nicholas Rankin also wrote a book called Defending the Rock, which I’m sure is a good read.

In case you were interested to read more about him, here are the posts that I have written about Poppa/Grandpa and his days as a Glider Pilot during WW2 and D-Day.

D-Day : Operation Tonga Pt.1

D-Day : Operation Tonga Pt.2

D-Day : June 6th, 1944

52 Ancestors : Week # 38 – On The Map

52 Ancestors : Week # 38 – On The Map

I’m participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors Challenge. The writing prompt for this week is On The Map.

Every once in a while Ancestry releases updated Ethnicity Results for our DNA tests. I thought that was quite fitting.

In case you are thinking, wait a second…how is it possible that my DNA could change?! Ancestry has an answer for that.

Now that we have THAT out of the way.

Here is how I fit “On The Map” so to speak.

My Updated DNA Ethnicity Estimate

I find all of this very interesting. I’ll try and go back even just a couple of generations and think about where my ancestors were born, let’s say back to my 2x Great Grandparents. We should all have 16 of those.

Here’s what I find.

Starting with the 8 on my Father’s side

(last name – place of birth)

  • Apps – Sussex, England
  • Funnel – Sussex, England
  • Lambert – Hertfordshire, England
  • Feast – Essex, England
  • Newitt – Northamptonshire, England
  • Hill – Shropshire, England
  • Carré – Paris, France
  • Heath – Dorset, England

Then the 8 from my Mom’s birth family’s side

  • Smith – Lincolnshire, England
  • Willson – Lincolnshire, England
  • Mc Clure – Ontario, Canada
  • Carleton – Michigan, USA
  • Taylor – Alabama, USA
  • Morrow – Missouri, USA
  • Thomas – Michigan, USA
  • Deneen – Michigan, USA

My Father’s Updated DNA Ethnicity Estimate

My father’s DNA Ethnicity Estimate was updated as well and I’m not sure where the Scotland is coming from here…hmm. Although it certainly seems that I’m not the only one who finds themselves a wee bit more Scottish 😉 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. Ancestry has addressed this in a recent blog post.

Here are my Father’s 16 2x Great Grandparents‘ last names and place of birth: Apps, Cloke, Funnell, Allcorn, Lambert, Unknown, Feast, Mipplebrook, Newitt, Brooks, Hill, West – All England. Carré – France, Tennant, Heath, MeyrickEngland.

My Husband’s Updated DNA Ethnicity Estimate

I know that my husband is going to be thrilled about this! According to this most recent update he is now 61% Scottish!

His 8 2x Great Grandparents on His Dad’s Side

  • Wright – Ontario, Canada
  • Quirt – Ontario, Canada
  • Unknown
  • Wright – Ontario, Canada
  • Mallette – Quebec, Canada
  • Laverdure – Ontario, Canada
  • Blais – Quebec, Canada
  • Garreaux – Quebec, Canada

His Mom’s Side

  • Rodger – Fife, Scotland
  • Duncan – Fife, Scotland
  • Ramsay – Clackmannanshire, Scotland
  • Powers – Linlithgow, Scotland
  • Carr – Ontario, Canada
  • Barnett – Ontario, Canada
  • Unknown
  • Dixon – Yorkshire, England


Just because I’m curious and they ARE my family even if we don’t share any DNA…Here are the 16 2x Great Grandparents on my Mother’s Adopted Family.

On Po’s Side

  • Perry – New York, USA
  • Robinson – New York, USA
  • Lockwood – New York, USA
  • Thomas – New Jersey, USA
  • Rawn – DC, USA
  • Clendenin – Pennsylvania, USA
  • Nauman – Pennsylvania, USA
  • Dummett – Pennsylvania, USA

On Grammie’s Side

  • Lippman – Russia
  • Kaplan – Russia
  • Unknown
  • Unknown
  • Lippman – Russia
  • Kaplan – Russia
  • Schiller – Russia
  • Eisenstadt – Russia

52 Ancestors : Week # 37 – Back To School

52 Ancestors : Week # 37 – Back To School

Here we are in September already! How did THAT happen?! For Week # 37 of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestor Challenge, the writing prompt is Back To School.

Typically fall is my favourite time of the year. On my morning walk you can already feel the crisp air. On a personal note, this year Back to School means something entirely different in our little family. I won’t be walking the kids up to class…those days are long gone. That’s because this year both of our kids are off to University! I know what you’re thinking, you don’t look old enough to have kids in university!!! It’s true though, our Son will be starting his second year of University (online), but he has made the big move and changed schools – he has moved out. He now lives 4 hours away (sigh), well actually 5 if I’m the one driving. Our Daughter will be starting her first year of University here at home and her school has decided to go ONLINE as well.

Back to School really means something different for everyone this year!

(Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels.com)

As far as genealogy goes though, the most recent find for Back To School for me would be school photos of my Dad. I realized quite recently that I had only ever seen one photo of my Dad as a teenager, there are so many things about my Dad that I don’t know!! So, because I can, I called him and asked him if he had any other photos. He didn’t, but suggested that I could ask his older brother since he was the keeper of all of the family treasures. I emailed my Aunt and Uncle and asked them if they could check and see if they had any other photos of my Dad from childhood. I had seen a few baby photos and like I mentioned ONE photo of him as a teenager.

Here it is, a picture of my Dad when he was approximately 18 years old and worked on the tugboats. Full speed ahead!! It’s hard to get over just how much my older brother looks like him.

Anyhow, my Aunt and Uncle did not disappoint! Just look at this jackpot. She scanned a few pictures for me and we created a OneDrive account where we could share family pictures. Then, when we visited them on Gabriola Island a couple of months ago she handed me this pile of goodies. I’m so grateful that I asked.

Individual school photos of him all through Grade School.

Class photos from Grade 2, 4, & 5 at Kitchener Street in Burnaby and Grade 6 at Rosser Avenue (also in Burnaby).

Report cards from Grade 1 through Grade 9.

His immunization records, baby picture and an envelope of his baby curls.

Another thing that I really loved seeing was my Grandparent’s signatures on the back of the report cards.

Just look at that hair. What a cutie!

I really enjoyed and appreciate these school treasures! You never know what your family members have lying around. I’m grateful that I thought to ask the question and that my Aunt and Uncle could oblige.

52 Ancestors : Week # 36 – Labour

52 Ancestors : Week # 36 – Labour

I am participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors Challenge. The writing prompt this week is LABOUR.


1.work, especially hard physical work.

Recently, I came across in the National Records of Scotland the Statutory Register of birth for my Husband’s Grandfather, Robert Ramsay Rodger. His birth was in the District of Wemyss in the County of Fife, May 6th in 1912. His father, James Rodger‘s profession is listed as “Colliery Stoker.”

James Rodger was born in August of 1884, so at the time of his son’s birth he would have been not quite 28 years old. A colliery stoker, from what I understand would be someone responsible for stoking or fuelling the colliery or coal mine. A quick Google search of mines in the Wemyss, Fife area in 1912 turned up so many options for further research. (I’ll list them at the bottom of the post if anyone is interested and also so that I can find them again myself!)

In the Spring of 1919, I came across his name in the Electoral Registers in Fife. Their address confirmed to me that we indeed had the correct James and Robina Rodger. Several documents confirm 3 South Street, Leven, Fife as their address. James‘ occupation here is listed as Soldier.

In 1921, at the age of 36, he left Scotland for Canada. His present occupation was listed as labourer and his intended occupation was listed as Farm Labour.

On his death registration certificate from March 16th, 1944 his occupation is listed as Janitor in the Hydro Electric industry. I see that the total years spent at this occupation was 5. His last day worked at this occupation was March 7th, 1944. He was only 59 years old.

It seems that James Rodger (my husband’s Great-Grandfather) held many different occupations over the years, and these are just the ones I was able to find record of. All of them seemingly labour intensive, hard physical work. I can see how this trait has been passed down over generations.

Link to my previous post about James Rodger.

Links to further research on Coal Mining in Scotland



The National Mining Museum of Scotland

Northern Mine Research Society – Scotland

52 Ancestors : Week # 35 – Unforgettable

52 Ancestors : Week # 35 – Unforgettable

Helena Ackroyd – The Saga Continues…

This story of Helena Ackroyd has been Unforgettable to me, since I seem to keep talking about it. Plus, it’s been a mystery that I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of, so I feel the need to cinch it all up.

After mentioning the many uncertainties with my husband’s maternal Great-Grandmother, Helena Ackroyd, (several times) I woke up to a message from the General Register Office the other morning. I had only placed my order on August 11th, so I was really quite surprised to have such prompt service!

I was finally going to have the answer to my question about who the father of Helena Ackroyd was?

Here it is! This is the moment I’ve been waiting for!

Drum roll please…….


So, I guess I’m back to square one.

(Insert explitive here.)

If you recall from my previous posts in Week # 6 – Same Name and then again in Week # 22 – Uncertain, I mention how there is confusion about who the father of Helena Ackroyd was.

Okay. Here we go. On her marriage record to my husband’s Great-Grandfather, William Park Ernest Carr, Helena lists her parents as “Isaac Ackroyd and Lizzie Goodchild.” Strangely, though I had never been able to find any. other. documents. that could corroberate that story. I’m going to just assume that she just made these names up.

So then, who did her actual mother, Sarah Ann Dixon, marry and have children with?

Well, I know that her mother, Sarah Ann Dixon married (George) Henry Ackroyd in 1869. Below is a (blurry) screenshot of the record available on Ancestry.com.

West Yorkshire Archive Service; Leeds, Yorkshire, England; Yorkshire Parish Records; Reference Number: BDP14

In the spirit of not regurgitating the entire story again, here’s an attempt at the COLES notes version.

Helena’s two older sisters, Matilda (b.1868) and Mary Elizabeth (b.1874) both have Henry Ackroyd listed as their father.

On the 31st of July in 1876 – Helena is born with NO father listed, as I just paid to discover through the GRO website. Nice.

The next available England Census was 1881 (below) which shows Sarah Ann Ackroyd as widowed – meaning that her husband, Henry Ackroyd must have died! (I suppose my next step should be trying to prove that?)

Also listed in the 1881 England Census, are more of Sarah’s daughters – Matilda, Mary Elizabeth, our Helena (listed as Eleanor) and Sarah Anna.

Following along the next Census is 1891, where we see Sarah Ann Ackroyd (still widowed) and yet still somehow, having a couple more children. Charles H. born in 1886 and Edith E. born in 1890.

So really, three blog posts and an ordered birth register later, I am no further ahead. I still don’t have the answer that I was hoping to find. Maybe I never will. This story will remain, for now anyhow, uncertain and unforgettable.

*If anyone out there has any other brilliant ideas or suggestions, I’m here. I’d even love to see a photo of Helena. It’d be nice to know what she looked like!

52 Ancestors : Week # 34 – Chosen Family

52 Ancestors : Week # 34 – Chosen Family

I found this quote just on a Google search, so I’m not sure who to attribute it to, but it sure fits. This week’s writing prompt is a perfect one for my family. When I think about the above quote, I feel like I am surrounded by chosen family.


The first thing chosen family brings to mind is a very special day in October of 1949, when my Grandparents, Tom and Claire Perry, chose to adopt my Mom in California. They had tried unsuccessfully up to that point to start a family, but knew they wanted a baby. Of course I am so happy that they chose to adopt.

In 2003, Claire (or Grammie as I called her) finished a decade long project of writing story about “Some Of Her Life.” In those memoirs she writes “So all of a sudden we were parents and went home with this adorable little bundle. All of a sudden I was a MOM without even the slightest idea of what to do next. Luckily my paediatrician husband knew how to make up her formula. He knew how to sterilize bottles and the right amount of milk and water to put in each bottle. I was on Cloud 9 and a know-nothing, full of love, excitement, pride, and eager to learn what to do.

As sometimes does happen, perhaps with the stress or pressure subsiding, they were able to have three more children naturally. So my mom grew up as the eldest sister in a family of four children, but also the only one who was adopted.

Tom and Claire were wonderful Grandparents. When I was younger I looked forward to my visits to the UBC Endowment lands where they lived. We would eat raspberries fresh from the garden with ice cream, play croquet in the back yard or board games like Backgammon or Othello with Po. Sometimes we would visit Lasqueti Island, where they had a summer cabin.

Grandparents come to visit in Richmond (c.1975)

Blended Family

The second thing that chosen family brings to mind is my extended or bonus family because I also come from a family (as most of us do) that have parents that are both remarried.

I am so very grateful for my Blended Chosen Family.

My Dad remarried in 1996 and when he did our family grew much larger than I realized at that time! I feel extremely blessed to have a bonus Mom like Josi. She is the most positive, fun-loving, inclusive, warm person and teaches me a lot about the kind of person I want to be. Plus she also puts up with my Dad! haha

Actually, it wasn’t until we attended a family reunion (remember those?) for her Mom’s side of the family back in 2014, that I saw just how large Josi’s family is! Here is a photo of the extended family – AND not everyone could make it!

Josi’s Mom, Ruth had 11 children and she’s still smiling!!

Group photo from our Andrews Family Reunion in 2014

Then there is Papa. My Mom married Gord only a few years ago, but he had been in our lives for a very long time. He was there the first time I brought my husband home to meet my Mom. He has been there through some of the most difficult days of my life. He used to take me on adventures when I was a teenager to watch Drag Racing in Seattle!! He is an amazing Papa to our kids and he is the man that makes my mom weep tears of happiness, so for this I am grateful!