This is a blog post that I have been working on for quite some time now. I was struggling to post it because I want to have it all right, somehow I feel responsible to make sure that the information I put out there is correct and complete. However, something I’ve re-learned in the past week helped me get over that hang up. I will never have all the answers, but sharing what I do know may help somebody else learn. I recently received a message on Ancestry from a cousin of my husbands who is excited to learn more about the Ramsay and Rodger side of her family. She is just beginning on her journey to trace her family history. I also want to learn more, everything that I can and fill in all the blanks, so hopefully sharing this will help us both! Please enjoy my (not yet complete) post about a very special man.
Below is a photo of my husband’s maternal great grandfather, James Rodger.
Those eyes of his are so familiar to me, my husband and his mom have the same big brown eyes.
He was born in Crail, Fife, Scotland on August 9, 1884.
Then in the 1919 Scotland Electoral Registers (below) we see he and his wife Robina living on 3 South Street, Leven, Fife.
His occupation is listed as soldier.
At this point they already had 4 children as follows:
William Fletcher Rodger born 1909,
Jemima Rodger born 1911,
Robert Ramsay Rodger (my husband’s grandfather) born 1912 and
James Ramsay Rodger born 1918.
So, my next question was how did James and his family end up in Canada?
This is what I was curious about. So, I did a bit of research and discovered that in the interwar years, the Overseas Settlement Committee provided assistance to ‘suitable people,’ many of whom were Scots, who wanted to settle in one of Britain’s dominions. There was promise of plenty of land, jobs and opportunities in Canada. Recruiters were sent with attractive posters and pamphlets to entice emigrants with free passage.
On the below “Declaration of Passenger to Canada” we can see that the ship name is the S.S. Metagama.
The date of sailing was July 1st, 1921. James’ age is listed as 36. His intended occupation is a farm labourer and his intention is to settle in Canada. His passage was paid by “Overseas Settlement.”
I know that the following year, his wife Robina and their children also came to Canada to join him. Then in 1923 the youngest child was born, Charles Rodger.
I wish I knew more about his life here in Canada. Someday I hope to learn more. What I do know is that the decision he made to come here affected many generation of Rodgers, Ramsays and Wrights and I, for one am grateful for his bravery! For me, telling his story and passing it onto future generations keeps his memory alive.
There was so much information on this “Certificate of Registration of Death” that was new to me. I was unsure of James Rodger’s parents names, as there are a few on Ancestry. But here they are listed as William Rodger and Annie Wallace. This was a new last name for me to trace! So exciting! I also learned that his occupation was listed as a janitor for Hydro Electric. Sadly, James was only 59 years old when he passed away from Coronary Thrombosis.
He was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, Ontario. I have a request in with Find A Grave for a photo. ***Update – thanks to my brother-in-law who went to Mount Pleasant this morning, cleaned up the marker stone and sent out a picture for me. Family is the best.***
“Gone is the face we loved so dear,
silent is the voice we loved to hear;
Too far away for sight or speech,
But not too far for thought to reach.
Sweet to remember him who once was here,
And who, though absent is just as dear.
Lovingly remembered by his Wife and Family.“