A simple act followed by a statement can be life-changing. Such was the case for Kaarlo.
Several years of study at Michigan College of Mines in Houghton, Michigan had prepared Kaarlo, a young Finnish boy from Ashtabula, Ohio for a career in the mining industry. He had worked as a cook on the ore boats on the Great Lakes and knew he wanted something more fulfilling, much as he loved sailing the lakes.
In 1928 he graduated with a degree in Mining Engineering. There was a job waiting for him at Royal Tiger Gold Mines in Breckenridge, Colorado. He packed his Model T Ford and set out for the west with high hopes and dreams of creating a good life, doing something he truly enjoyed.
It wasn’t long after arriving at the mines that he found the owner-manager tampering with the assays (the device used to measure gold). Once the owner realized that the young man was aware of his actions, he ordered him to be “out of town by sundown!”. Kaarlo didn’t back down and stated that he would leave as soon as he could get his car on a railroad car to carry it over the mountains.
Dreams of working in the gold mines were crushed. Being young and a go-getter, he immediately contacted the College to see if they knew of any openings for newly graduated engineers. They responded that there were openings in Canada in the nickel mines in Copper Cliff, Ontario. It was time to head north.
The Big Nickel in CopperCliff, Ontario, now part of Greater Sudbury
Kaarlo Victor Lindell crossed in to Canada on the 31st of January 1929 at Bridgeburg, Ontario1 with hopes and dreams of a rewarding career and a new challenge. He found a room in a boarding house and began working for the International Nickel Company(INCO) and never looked back. He spoke Finnish and soon made friends with his coworkers, among them many Finns. His employer took advantage of his knowledge of Finnish and in 1934 was sent to Northern Finland where he was actively involved in opening a nickel mine in Petsamo. In 1939 that part of Finland was seized by the Russians.
Along the way he met a pert, pretty, vivacious young lady, named Estelle (Esty) and sought her hand. They were married on September 6th 1930 in Sudbury. In the meantime Kaarlo had legally changed his name to Karl and took religious instruction in the Catholic faith having been a Lutheran all his life.
In 1939 with WW11 on the horizon Karl wanted to serve his new country. He became a naturalized citizen on the 8th of August 19392, however, with four children and a fifth on the way, (me) his services were needed in the nickel industry. He remained at work for INCO. Nickel production was crucial for ammunition during the war years.
Royal Tiger Gold Mines thrived from 1918 and into the 1930s, however, it declared bankruptcy in 1938 and in 1973 the town and all the buildings in it were torched to keep the “hippies” from squatting.
Northern Ontario, on the other hand has over time developed and prospered.
It is interesting to speculate how Kaarlo’s life might have been, especially if he had stayed in Colorado?
Business people, merchants and the church recruited 262 French woman who agreed to travel to New France and set up families with strangers before Louis IV decided to set up his “filles du Roi” (daughters of the King) project in 1663.
My ancestor Étiennette Alton was among these women, who are now collectively known as “les filles a marier” (marriageable daughters).Étiennette was a 20 year-old orphan living in France’s Loire Valley when she was recruited by Claude Robutel, the 39-year-old Sieur de Saint Andre and one of 95 surviving members of the “Company of 100 Associates”. Three years earlier he had sailed to Quebec as part of the Grande Recrue and settled in Ville Marie to protect it from Iroquois attack. Robutel returned to France in February 1659 to marry Suzanne Gabriel and search for potential spouses for the other soldiers. Étiennette and others agreed to marry, have children, and ensure the future viability of the settlement of Ville Marie. In return, the company paid the cost of her journey and provided her with a small dowry to set up a household. Étiennette joined Robutel and his wife for an ocean voyage to New France. The Saint-André left La Rochelle on July 2, 1659 and arrived in Quebec on September 7. It took another 22 days to get to Ville Marie via a small boat known as a “chaloupe.”  Étiennette Alton wed Marin Hurtubese in Notre Dame Basilica on January 7, 1660. Claude and Suzanne were among their witnesses. Ten months later, their first son Pierre was born. Over the following twelve years, the couple had three more boys, including my direct ancestor Louis, and two girls. Marin died either on Valentine’s Day or on May 12, 1672. On June 13 that same year, she wed Berthelemy Vinet dit La Reinte and moved to the fief de Verdun outside of Ville Marie on the Île de Montréal. Vinet worked for Jean-Baptiste Migeon, an activist who went to jail for accusing the Governor of Montreal of breaking fur-trading laws and then was himself accused of breaking the same laws. Vinet died on November 18, 1687 and Étiennette was alone again, but only for a little longer than a year. She signed a contract to marry Claude Garigue, a man 13 years her junior on December 13, 1688. By the following April, she tried to enter a convent but ended up getting married anyway on October 18, 1689. The couple legally separated three years later after Étiennette testified in court about regular spousal abuse. “My husband hit me with sticks, his fists and his feet; he threw me to the ground, and wanted to butcher me by trampling me with his feet.” She ran from this particular incident to the home of her children. Garigue died a year later, four days before Christmas 1693. Étiennette lived for another 29 years. She died just before Christmas in Notre Dame Hospital at 84 years old.
 Gagné, Peter J., Before the King’s Daughters: The Filles a Marier, 1634-1663 (Pawtucket, RI: Quintin Publications, 2002,) p 318 Includes a translation of the bride and groom’s marriage contract by Bénigne Basset a clerk in Ville-Marie. In it, Etiennette Alton’s parents, Francois Alton and Étiennette Barillay, are described as “late.” *Note that a previous version of this story did not include this source.
 The dates of Étiennette Alton’s journey to Quebec and Montreal and the ship she sailed on come from a report prepared for my grandmother by genealogiste Paul-André Langelier in 1996. The report also says she was an employee of Claude Robutel. The report also includes the fact that Etiennette was baptised on Saturday November 13, 1638 at the Saint-Thomas a La Flèche church and that six other brothers and sisters were baptised in the same location. Two sisters are apparently buried there.
 A court case to consider their separation took place on January 14, 1692.
My family history includes, like most peoples’ history, twists and turns and coincidences that sometimes defy belief. In the 1970s, my family and I were living in Geneva, Switzerland, when we had a visit from the ‘Mormons’ doing their proselytizing door to door. Because we were in a non-English speaking environment and they were from the USA, we invited them in. Over the course of a few months, we became great friends and we decided to explore the church’s history with them.
One day, whilst talking to them, they mentioned Salt Lake City as the ‘Zion’ of the church, and how the early Pioneers who had left their homes and families to trek across the US to get to Salt Lake City, Utah. That name Salt Lake City brought back a memory. When I was 11 years old, I lived with my Grandparents for a few years and my Grandfather used to ask me to go to the post office to post his letter to a Salt Lake City address. I remember it so well because in the 1950s Air Mail letters were treated differently from normal mail, and I had to have this important missive weighed and stamped before it could be posted, so it made quite an impression. I remember thinking ‘where was Salt Lake City, and why and who was my Grandfather writing too? Of course, by the time I arrived home again, the questions were forgotten.
Now, years later in the 1970’s the question arose again, so I called my Grandfather Percival Victor O’Bray (The English branch spell it with an apostrophe unlike the USA branch who spell it without) and asked him about the letters and to whom he had been writing.
He replied that ‘Well, you know the Americans, they are always doing their genealogy and one day, I received this letter from a lady, telling me I was related to her, I was a distant third cousin’ I questioned him further and he said they had corresponded for a number of years, and at one point, she had sent him a ‘Family Tree’ all handwritten then, of course and started in 1717 to my grandfather’s day. I was very excited by this and asked him, if, when we next came home could I see the ‘Family Tree and read the letters. He replied that I could have the letters and the Family Tree, he had no further use for them, and he would post them to me.
Starting Family Genealogy
I think that started my interest in genealogy and research. The next time I went ‘home’ I questioned my grandparents and family at length, recorded their voices and wrote out the names and birth dates of the family. My Grandparents – who threw nothing out – gave me some marvellous 1800’s photos of family members. On the back, I wrote who these people were, most important because shortly after that, we moved to Canada, and genealogy was put on the back burner in a box, for a number of years.
32 years later a renewed interest came when we met some UK friends again, and members of the Church of Latter- Day-Saint or Mormons. We talked about genealogy, but with young families and busy lives, that was all we did, talked about it, but, never really did any more research. About 8 years ago, we decided the time had come, and we met and researched together. Our friends invited us to their church’s’ “Centre of Family History” in LaSalle, Quebec, Canada to do some real research with them.
Finding Family Skeletons
I found the Family History Centre a wonderful place. Free to anyone at certain times it has most of the current genealogy web sites online open for free. Books, microfiche and copies of records can be researched, with help from church members if needed. It was a quiet peaceful place and we got to spend some time with friends, have lunch and do some family history together. Our friends were a great help, as the Church recommends that its members do family history so they are very experienced. I recalled all the information I had amassed in the 1970s and had no idea how to put it all together. Now I had a chance to do that. I was pleased with how I had named all the photos as it was a wonderful tool to enable me to search online for family members.
I decided to start with the mysterious ‘Family Tree’ from the USA. It was so exciting to be able to put in full names, birth dates and areas to search. I was grateful to the previous Missionaries that advised us to label and date all information as we received it. A really great tip!
My Grandfather was born in Pembroke Dock, Wales and his Great-Grandfather had, as was usual, a large family. Two of those sons, my Grandfathers’ Uncles, Thomas and Samuel OBray became Mormons and left Wales for ‘Zion’ Salt Lake City in 1854.
Samuel William OBray
(Portrait found on Familysearch.org)
That was a surprise for me, considering the friends and interest I have had in the church over the years, a case of my Great Uncles having “been there, done that’ so I was able to trace their long and arduous journey across the plains to Utah through Mormon church records. Our friends were very excited for us, as this was a great honour in the history of the church, to have family that had made the arduous and terrible trip to reach their ‘Zion’.
Through the Welsh Mormon History page, on FamilySearch.org I found that Thomas, was born in Wales in 1824 and he joined the Mormon church when he was 13 years old. Eight years later, he began to preach the gospel in England then Italy, France and Germany. Later, he went to Norway and Denmark. In Malta, he raised up a church branch. In 1854 Thomas emigrated to the US. The ship stopped in New Brunswick, Canada and picked up another family. Thomas joined that family and met Louisa. They continued the journey on their way to St. Louis Missouri to pick up supplies, wagons, food, and animals for the three-month journey across the plains of the United States.
In June at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Thomas and Louisa were married. During that journey, with her brother Albert and her sister Martha, Louisa died of cholera and was buried en route to Salt Lake City on the plains, in an unmarked grave, a bride of three weeks. Thomas continued on with the family and arrived in Salt Lake City in September 1854.
A Few Surprises
In October 1854, Thomas married Louisa’s sister, Martha. Five children were born to Thomas and Martha. In 1857 Thomas married Carolyn and had 9 children with her. In 1864 Thomas married Ruth and they had 14 children together. The women and children, according to Censuses of the time, lived together in separate houses and were called ‘Housekeepers” Thomas lived with Martha and their children.
Altogether Thomas had 28 children and yes, my Great Grand Uncle had ‘plural marriages’! At that time, it was a tenet of the Church. Martha died in 1887 and a year after her death Thomas was sentenced to the Utah penitentiary for 11 months for ‘Unlawful cohabitation. He was sentenced a second time a year later, and served from April to August 1890.
Following a revelation to the church Prophet, the practice of plural marriage was instituted among Church members in the early 1840s however; from the 1860s to the 1880s, the United States government passed laws to make this religious practice illegal. These laws were eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. At that time, the President of the church, Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto, which was accepted by the Church as authoritative and binding on October 6, 1890. This led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church.
Decedents Of The Family
My Great Grand Uncle was asked by the church to explore further land outside of Salt Lake City and to build other settlements, and so he moved his families to ‘Cache’ (secret) County and founded a small place called “Paradise’ just outside of Salt Lake City. Thomas homesteaded the site where the church farm is now located.
In 2014, I visited this small town. It was full of my ancestors. Even the local cafe knew the name of my Grandfather and his Uncles. The Paradise Cemetery was a beautiful place, calm and serene and I found my Uncles and their families. It may sound strange, but I ‘introduced’ myself to them, and told them of their ancestor who wrote to my Grandfather, all those years ago, and how I now ended up here, in Paradise. I hope to go back again one day.
The cemetery contained all of the family who were ‘Pioneers’ and had crossed the plains to get to ‘Zion’ It was very moving to see my two Grand Uncles with special plates affixed to their memorial stones to indicate that they were original Pioneers. Great Grand Uncle Thomas died in Paradise, Utah on 21st October 1899 and Great Grand Uncle Samuel died in Paradise, Utah on 5th June 1910.
Meanwhile, I continue my researching and find surprises every day. I would love to contact any members of Ellen Louise Gibby Facer’s family. She, who wrote to my Gramps, all those years ago! I still have her letters and Christmas cards.
I’ve been researching the Mitchesons, my 19th century Philadelphia ancestors, on and off for a couple of years. One of the things that most intrigues me is to find out where they lived. Was it rural, or in the heart of the old town? At the top of a hill, or in an unhealthy swampy area? And how did the area change over time?
The best way to find out is to look at old maps. The modern ones help you to get your bearings, but studying historical maps of the areas where our ancestors lived and worked is crucial. They show transportation corridors and distances and indicate population density and land use.
My three-times great-grandfather Robert Mitcheson bought a large piece of property facing Coates Street (later renamed Fairmount), between 11th and 12th, in the Spring Garden district, north of the city. Looking at it on this 1831 survey plan, it is clear that this was a rural area and that new roads were being laid out: http://www.philageohistory.org/rdic-images/view-image.cfm/083-1_HP
Zoom in on Spring Garden (the long, narrow pink section) on the1843 survey map at http://www.philageohistory.org/rdic-images/view-image.cfm/ellet and you’ll find the street grid is in place and the State Penitentiary is located nearby, as is the city’s famous Fairmount waterworks. The Mitchesons were becoming urban residents, and Robert took advantage of it. He built boarding houses on his property that he hoped would provide an ongoing source of income for his children.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (http://hsp.org.) is another good source for maps. Its digital project PhilaPlace (http://www.philaplace.org) invites users to write about the histories of their favorite spots in the city. (As I write this, the site seems to be having technical problems.)
To read about Robert Mitcheson’s wife, Fanny MacGregor, see my blog post, writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca/2014/03/fanny-in-philly.html
Have you ever wondered what mind mapping is all about? Members of the Quebec Family History Society Brick Walls Special Interest Group now know the basics, thanks to a presentation by one of their members, Cindy Kelly, at the SIG’s regular monthly meeting in February.
Cindy described a mind map as a diagram used to visually outline information. To make a mind map, you place a singe word or text in the middle of your page or screen and place associated words and concepts around it. You can link branches representing other words to each main branch. Using a different colour for each main branch will help you organize your thoughts.
SIG member Claire Lindell, a former teacher, commented that organizing material visually helps many people learn effectively. Mind mapping can also be used to help organize any kind of research problem.
Cindy listed a number of different websites that offer mind mapping tools, then went into detail about how to use one such site, www.Popplet.com.
Janice Hamilton showed how she is using Popplet to help with one of her genealogical brick walls. She put a photo of Henry Mulholland (born Ireland, 1809, died Montreal, 1887) at the center of the Popplet screen, then grouped questions she has about various aspects of his life around that photo: his unknown origins in Ireland, his addresses in Montreal over the years, his marriage and children, business ventures in the hardware field and banking, and reminders to look for cemetery records, an obituary and a will. She is using this mind map to generate new questions and ideas, and to keep track of her results.
Following the meeting, member Wendy Doran sent an e-mail to thank Cindy for the presentation. She wrote, “It has motivated me to get going already!”
The following article was written for Genealogy Ensemble by Marian Bulford, a genealogist from the West Island of Montreal who has been indexing for many years. She gives us valuable insight about indexing and how we all benefit from the contributions of those who index the records we use in our genealogical pursuits.
Indexing is the data entry of human records worldwide in any language you choose. If you can type, then you can index, so why not get started today?!
The FamilySearch website has provided a way for anyone with an internet connection to assist in the monumental task of indexing world genealogical records. It is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as The Mormons.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in the process of digitizing the bulk of their genealogical records, as well as partnering with genealogical societies and other groups to digitize other records of genealogical value. Most of the websites today have obtained their records from this church.
As indexing is entered, the records are checked and arbitrated a few times. Then these digitized records are uploaded to the online FamilySearch Indexing project site for anyone, including you, to view free of charge.
Easy to download software and index
The indexing software is free and easy to download, and the online tutorials should get you started quickly. There is also an online help desk if you have questions.
You do not have to be a church member to index or search this free website. To start, simply go to the website link here. It takes only a few minutes to download your selected batch of records — in any language and in any part of the world you choose — and transcribe the entries using the provided software you will find on the web page.
Alternatively, if you just want to research a wonderful database for free with no obligation or fees, go to https://familysearch.org.
If you volunteer to index for FamilySearch, just remember, you are helping to add millions of data for us genealogists to find plus, as a side benefit, indexing can help you become a better researcher as you become more familiar with the wide variety of historical documents available to you and the type of information each contains. You can choose a beginner, intermediate, or advanced batch to index.
Where to start?
Indexing consists of births, deaths, marriages, banns, obituaries, christenings, or baptisms. In addition, there are historical records consisting of many other interesting items worldwide. For instance, how about indexing the following databases?
France, Diocèse de Coutances et Avranches – Registres Paroissiau from 1796 to 1880
UK Sussex Church of England Parish Records from 1538 to 1910
US Louisiana WW2 Draft Registration cards from 1940 to 1945
South African Free State, Estate Files from 1951 to 1980
Polska, Radom Roman Catholic Church Books from 1733 to 1868
Brazil, Pernambuco Recife Registro Civil from 1900 to 1920
All of the above databases, and many more, now await us to index them and provide a name or a lead for someone who is searching for their ancestors.
To help you through the indexing process, there are Help fields on the right of every batch you download. You never know, you may even come across some of your family names whilst indexing.
Once records have been indexed through FamilySearch Indexing, the new indices (and sometimes the document images) are posted online for free access at FamilySearch.
How I started
Because I am originally from the UK, I usually go to the UK batches for my indexing as I love history and I find so much of interest there, but I also like to mix it up and, as long as it is in English, I will index it.
Last year, I helped index the US 1940 Census. (As you well know, the census is usually the first place we go to find an ancestor’s name.) That monumental task was also completed well within the time range expected and up and running far sooner than anticipated.
Tremendous response to call for volunteers last month
Last month the FamilySearch website asked for volunteers for two days of indexing by asking everyone you know to join in. This, in part, is their response after that weekend. “We hoped to have an unprecedented 50,000 contributors in a 24-hour period. FamilySearch volunteers excelled, surpassing that goal by 16,511! That’s right—66,511 participants in one day! Incredible! We are grateful for the patience and persistence of many volunteers who faced technical difficulties due to an overwhelming response.” To read more, visit the blog post, FamilySearch Volunteers Set Historic Record.
According to some sources, volunteers participating in online indexing projects are adding over a million names a day in total.
Once records have been indexed through FamilySearch Indexing, the new indices (and sometimes the document images) are posted online for free access at FamilySearch Record Search.
So, log on and go see what you get back for a few hours, or even minutes, of indexing. Why not try a test drive on the above links and be part of the many people proud to add to the billions of records that amateur and professional genealogists like us search for daily.
Genealogy Ensemble now has its own domain. Please update your browsers to select http://www.genealogyensemble.com from now on. (The new address is easier to remember, but if you forget, we still can be seen from the old one too.)
We’ve also upgrade our blog to get rid of those pesky ads.
To look up French-Canadian Catholics:
1. Plug in the name of your ancestor in to the BAnQ archives directly (refer to our link for the right address): no need to know the church or village name.
2. Remember that in Quebec, women are listed under their birth family name in records, from birth to death, regardless of whether they married or not. There may ‘’wife of’’ or ‘’widow of’’ also included.
3. To make it even easier, parents are listed on marriage records.
You can use the Drouin collection of books, one for men and one for women, with marriages 1760-1935, or online Drouin or Ancestry or Family Search at home or at the Quebec family History Society or at numerous other sources.
Portrait of a Scandal: the Abortion Trial of Robert Notman, by Elaine Kalman Naves, is many things: a non-fiction courtroom page-turner, a story about illicit love, a tale of Scottish immigrant families in mid-19th century Montreal, and an exploration of some of the social customs and beliefs of the times. The fact that the book describes abortion practices and life in Kingston Penitentiary makes it all the grittier, while the high-profile identity of the main individual — the younger brother of society photographer William Notman — makes the details all the juicier.
I wanted to learn more about life in 19th century Montreal, home to several of my ancestors. But this real-life story hooked me within a few pages, with the mysterious death of a young physician, Dr. Patton. I won’t be spoiling the book by revealing that Patton committed suicide because he mistakenly believed his patient, a student named Margaret Galbraith, had died as a result of the abortion he performed on her. Her lover, Robert Notman, was charged with procuring the abortion.
The book is full of strong individuals, from the young woman whose hopes of becoming a teacher were doomed the minute she fell for Robert, to the lawyers who argued the case with dramatic flourishes. Their story is in excellent hands. Author Elaine Kalman Naves is an award-winning author, having already written a memoir about her own family, a book about Montreal writers and numerous articles for The Gazette.
Many family historians would relate to Naves’ research process, from her frustration with the red tape she encountered at the McGill University archives to her pleasure following Margaret’s footsteps back to the shores of Loch Lomond in Scotland. Much of the material has been culled from sources familiar to genealogists, including newspaper articles, family papers and city directories. Naves has brought these 150-year-old sources together in a way that makes sense to modern readers. And despite only having fragments of information about Robert’s and Margaret’s lives, she has succeeded in bringing these people back to life.
The bibliographic essay at the end of the book is also worth a look. Two of Naves’ favourite sources, Call Back Yesterdays by Edgar Andrew Collard, and Montreal: Island City of the St. Lawrence by Kathleen Jenkins, are probably on many Montrealers’ bookshelves, while the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online is only a Google search away.
Elaine Kalman Naves. Portrait of a Scandal: the Abortion Trial of Robert Notman. Montreal: Vehicule Press, 2013.
On this 259th anniversary of the Acadian deportation, those researching their Acadian heritage might find the research guide, Acadians of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland of interest. It consists of Acadian Parish Registers under the French and British regimes in addition to the modern-day period under Confederation.
2014 Acadian Congress
The Acadian Congress takes place August 8 to 24, 2014. The map below indicates the areas where many of the Congress activities will take place.
“Then uprose their commander, and spake from the steps of the altar. Holding aloft in his hands, with its seals, the royal commission. “You are convened this day,” he said, “by his Majesty’s orders… Painful the task is I do, which to you I know must be grievous. Yet must I bow and obey, and deliver the will of our monarch; Namely, that all your lands, and dwellings, and cattle of all kinds, forfeited be to the crown; and that you yourselves from this province be transported to other lands. God grant you may dwell there. Ever as faithful subjects, a happy and peaceable people! “
“Prisoners, now I declare you; for such is his Majesty’s pleasure!”
Silent a moment they stood in speechless wonder, and then arose louder and ever louder a wail of sorrow and anger. “
Source: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Évangélineand other selected poems– Penguin Books, 1988.