Sunday, September 21, 2008

Miriam's Got Canadians - Part I

I was so excited to hear that Kathryn Lake Hogan of Looking4Ancestors has begun a Canadian Genealogy Carnival for those of us with Canadian roots! As I started to look through my RootsMagic program to find all my Canadian ancestors for a post for the 1st Edition of this carnival, I realized that I have a LOT of Canadians in my family tree! Wow! I should have started writing quite a while ago!

I don't have to look far to find my first Canadian-born ancestor: it's my Dad. He was born at the U.S. Army Air Force Base hospital in Edmonton, Alberta when his father was stationed there during World War II. With all the fuss about Barack Obama and John McCain's places of birth, I asked Dad why he had to get naturalized as a U.S. citizen at age 16. His response was that since his birth record was certified by the province of Alberta, rather than by the U.S. military, he was considered a Canadian citizen. Reading through the arguments regarding McCain's status, I'm still not convinced that Dad was required to go through the naturalization process. But that's all history, now. Speaking of history, I find it relevant that it's in Dad's family lines that I find all my Canadian ancestors. I divided this post into two parts: his father's Canadian ancestors, and his mother's. I have prefaced each paragraph with the ahnentafel number of my ancestor, and have included a map for easy reference.


19. Dad's father's maternal grandmother was Mary J. (WILKINSON) LEWIS, and she was born in 1872 in Port Hope, Northumberland (now Durham) Co., Ontario, the eldest of eight known children of John WILKINSON and Mahala SAYERS. In late 1880 or early 1881--just in time to miss both the 1880 U.S. Federal Census and the 1881 Canadian Census!--the WILKINSONs probably emigrated from South Monaghan, Northumberland Co., Ontario to Montague Twp., Muskegon Co., Michigan, along with several of Mahala's siblings and their families. In 1882, they relocated to nearby Whitehall Township. I'm not sure why the families immigrated to America, unless they found land to be cheaper and more abundant work opportunities there (John WILKINSON was a carpenter).

38. Mary's father, John WILKINSON, had been born in 1845 in Woodstock, Oxford Co., Ontario. He was the second of five known children of Richard WILKINSON and Mary LAMOREAUX (or TERRY). I have had great difficulty tracing this family around Ontario. They seem to have moved east and away from Woodstock and settled in York County by 1856 or earlier. This date was the year John's youngest sibling William was born, in Aurora. I currently have no other specific birth locations for any of the other siblings of John and William, and I can't find the family on any census prior to 1871, when they appear in Whitchurch Township (now Whitchurch-Stouffville). Although his parents and siblings were in Whitchurch Township in 1871, John was living about 108 km (67 m) south and east in Port Hope, Northumberland County where he married Mahala SAYERS, and where at least two of his five Canadian-born children were born. Another child was born in Cavan Township in Dunham County (where Mahala's parents were living), and the last child born before they immigrated apparently had a birthplace in South Monaghan, Northumberland County. What complicates locating this family is the fact that both municipal and county names and borders changed or were merged several times between then and the present!

39. John's wife, Mahala SAYERS, was born in 1847 in Prince Edward County (not Island), Ontario, most likely in Athol Township, where her father is known to have owned land from as early as 1837. She was the eighth of apparently 12 children of John Henry SAYERS and Mary CAHOON, both Ulster Scot immigrants from Ireland. Between 1861 and 1871, most of the SAYERS family moved to Cavan Township, Durham County, although it seems that some of Mahala's older married siblings settled in Hastings County. Cavan was only 39 km (24 m) north of Port Hope, so although I don't know how John and Mahala met, it's easy to see why they were living in that community at the time of their marriage. As mentioned above, their first five children were married in at least three Ontario communities relatively close to one another; the last three children were born in Muskegon County, Michigan.

76. Richard John WILKINSON, John's father, was born c. 1815 in Yorkshire, England, according to family records. Although family records state his second child, John, was born in 1845 in Woodstock, Oxford County and death records state his youngest son William was born in 1856 in Aurora, York County, I cannot find Richard himself on any type of record until the 1871 Canadian Census, where he and his wife and four of their five known children were living in Whitchurch Township, York County. I find them there again in 1881, but in 1891, wife Mary is listed as a widow. I have been unable to locate a death record for Richard in the Ontario death records available at Ancestry, even using a variety of names, spellings, Soundex searches, and nameless searches using his birth year (+/- 10 years) and/or birth location.

77. In our family records, my 4th-great-grandmother is listed as both Mary TERRY and Mary LAMOREAUX. In all official records, her maiden name is listed as LAMOREAUX. Our family records state she was born in New Brunswick, but official records say Ontario. Her death record does say both her parents were born in New Brunswick, however. She was born around 1818. Searching the Internet on both surnames, I found information on a James LAMOREAUX born in Markham in 1825, whose surname was changed to TERRY after his mother, Rhoda [--?--] LAMOREAUX re-married to a man by that name. I have tried unsuccessfully several times to contact the author of this information, a man who lived on the other side of this state. I'm not sure if he is no longer living, or has moved, but I would surely love to find out why my ancestor has two surnames! I have sometimes wondered, LAMOREAUX being of obvious French ancestry, if TERRY was a dit name, but it doesn't seem too likely. In researching the TERRY surname, I've determined there were some prominent Loyalists by that name.

After her husband Richard died, Mary lived in the Village of Markham, where she died of pneumonia in 1901. I would love to be able to discover the burial place(s) of Richard and Mary. They are my brick walls and I have been working hard to discover more about them.

78. Mahala SAYERS' father was John Henry SAYERS, born 1811 in Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland; he was an Ulster Scot who immigrated with his widowed father William and four siblings to Prince Edward County, Ontario in the 1830s (the family apparently immigrated in several trips). After his marriage to Mary CAHOON in Picton in 1831, we find him owning land in Athol Township from 1837 to at least 1861. By 1871, they had moved to Cavan Township, Dunham County, as stated above. I cannot find him or Mary in the 1881 Canadian Census, so I assume they may have died by then. However, I cannot find either in death records.

79. Mary CAHOON was born about 1816 in Ireland; her father was Preston CAHOON. I do not know where in Ireland she was born, although it wouldn't surprise me if she also came from County Donegal, as her husband did. I also don't know if her father immigrated to Canada. CAHOON can be an alternate spelling of CALHOUN, and I've looked through some extensive family histories of the CALHOUN and CAHOON families (and other spellings), unsuccessfully. I've only seen Mary's marriage record and found her on the 1861 and 1871 Censuses. She's another brick wall.

156. William SAYERS was born in 1758 in Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland. His wife's surname was probably GILLESPIE, since that is the name of one of their sons. In the 1830s, when he was 80, he immigrated with family members and neighbors to the Bay of Quinte, Prince Edward County, Ontario. I found extensive information on the family of one of his sons-in-law, Stephen MARTIN, in a history of the Bay of Quinte. The SAYERS family lived all over in both Prince Edward and Hastings Counties. William died at the age of 102 in Hungerford Township, Hastings County. There has been a great deal of research done by various Sayers cousins and myself on the descendants of William. Someday, I hope we can find out more about his ancestry!
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