Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Findings: Canadian Online Records and a McARTHUR Obituary

I didn't have as many "finds" this past week. I spent quite a bit of time inputting data from a Descendancy Report shared with me by the wife of a distant WILKINSON cousin. Her information appears to be mostly oral family history, and as this family lived in Canada for many generations, I decided to see what I could find online. I used the vital records indexes for both Manitoba and British Columbia to verify or correct information in the report. The report listed William WILKINSON (the person from whom the descendants were listed, and brother of my 3rd-great-grandfather John) with a death date of 25 September 1934, but no death location. His wife's death information stated she died 26 February 1947 in Victoria, British Columbia, so I checked the BC vital records index using William's name only, and found a listing for a William WILKINSON who died 25 September 1939 in Victoria. This is very likely the same William, and to confirm, I wrote a RAOGK volunteer to request obituaries for both William and his wife Mary Magdaline (THOMPSON) WILKINSON.

I'm just amazed and thrilled with the amount of Canadian information available online these days, from the provincial vital records indexes to the census records indexes and images that are being provided by a variety of websites! It's getting easier and less expensive to trace my Canadian ancestors and relatives these days.

I also used information found at FamilySearch's Record Search pilot website in Michigan vital records and found marriage records for two of William's sons. Speaking of Michigan vital records, stay tuned to this blog next week for a series on these records.

click on image to enlarge and view citation

Another Canada - Michigan link in my family tree is my M(a)cARTHUR family. A cousin sent me a photocopy of the obituary of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Daniel J. MacARTHUR. He was born in Canada and immigrated to the United States, as his obituary confirms. It also confirms he was buried in the Hill/Danley/Phillips Cemetery in Fulton Twp., Gratiot Co., Michigan. The obituary gives his death date (March 10; and other records state the year was 1919), then says "Funeral services were held at the house Thursday and the remains brought to St. Johns [Clinton Co.] and laid to rest Friday in the Danley cemetery on the Gratiot county line." I used the calendar tool in my RootsMagic program and entered "1919" to view that year. I determined that Daniel died on a Monday; the funeral was March 13th, and the burial was the 14th. If you do not have access to a program like this, you can find calendar calculators online.

As I always am, I was intrigued by the listing of the number of descendants in his obituary: "seven children, four boys and three girls, 22 grand children, and 7 great grand children..." Have you ever looked an obituary and then tried to figure out to whom exactly these numbers refer? You may discover additional descendants! Be aware, however, that these numbers can be incorrect. When my paternal grandfather died, the wrong numbers of grandchildren and great-grandchildren were listed in his obit; no matter how I rearranged the possibilities with adoptive and step-descendants, it didn't work out. Somebody simply goofed, and that's often what happens when people's minds are filled with grief and/or the overwhelming duties of filling out paperwork for death certificates, obituaries, probate proceedings, etc.

Although not a "find," I decided to see if I could find cotton gloves for sale here in town, instead of having to purchase a large box of them online through an archival supplier. I've been needing to get some to use while handling old family photos, documents, and heirlooms. At the last Scanfest, someone mentioned purchasing them at art supply stores. I called Spokane Art Supply; they were out of stock momentarily, but recommended Inland Photo up the street. The photo shop employee told me they had two pair of one-size-fits-all regular cotton gloves for $8.95 (not appealing, since I have very small hands), and one pair of anti-static ones in either small and large for $14.95. I'm going to check them out later today. I don't need anti-static ones, because I'm not using them to work on electronics, but they may be the better choice for comfort and fit.


Joe said...

Miriam: I have this Canada genealogy guide that may be helpful: Online Death Indexes & Records for Canada

Miriam Robbins said...

Joe, you're amazing! I didn't realize you had these online. I've updated the second paragraph of this post to link to your list of Canadian vital records indexes and your list of Canadian census records and indexes.