Elizabeth “Lizzie” Currens Fountain

CURRENSElizabeth-1920aFred & Lizzie Fountain, Mille Roches, ON, Canada, 1920’s.

Elizabeth Currens immigrated from Ireland to Canada about the age of 15 around 1881, and perhaps on her own. Family stories suggest that she came to Canada to work in the household of a cousin in Eastern Ontario where she remained for some time before migrating to the village Mille Roches, Ontario. Mille Roches village no longer exists because it was one of the Lost Villages of the St.Lawrence Seaway Project.

CURRENSElizabeth-1866b.jpg

She was born 29 May 1866. According to her birth certificate, the family resided at 6 Furnace Row in New Mains, Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Her father Joseph worked as a “Blast Engine Fire man”, likely a position with the coal mines of Cambusnethan parish. There is a photograph of Furnace Row viewable online (original photo from North Lanarkshire Heritage). Historical maps of Scotland can be accessed at the National Library of Scotland Website.  Elizabeth was the only one of her siblings to have been born in Scotland, everyone else before and after were all born near the village of Cookstown, Tyrone County, Northern Ireland. She was the 3rd of 8 children born to Joseph Knox Currens and Elizabeth Holland, who married in 1859 Cookstown, Derryloran Parish, Tyrone Co, Ireland.  A more complete version of Elizabeth’s birth registration is available at ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk.  And the Irish vital registrations for many of her family members are available at IrishGenealogy.ie .

Elizabeth’s siblings were: Henry Charles b.1862, Margaret Jane b. 1864, Joseph Knox 1868-1901, David George Allen 1870-1909, Martha b.1872 , Samuel James 1875-1894, and Mary b.1877. Irish Townlands the family lived in were: Killycurragh, Tullycall, Drumglasseragh and Unagh, all in Tyrone County. These townlands mostly exist as ‘roads’ now.  But they can be seen on  AskAboutIreland.ie website, using the Place search.  The historic map has a modern overlay.

At this time, Elizabeth is the only child known to have immigrated to Canada. Her brother Joseph and his family were in Glasgow, Scotland at the time of his death during the Boer War. However, not all of the children have been tracked down the generations as yet either.

CURRENS-FOUNTAIN-1890a.jpgBy September of 1890, when Elizabeth married Frederick Fountain, they were both listed as residents of Mille Roches Ontario. Fred is the son of Robert Fountain and Marilla Sweatland. The marriage occurred in the town of Cornwall Ontario, by License 8 September 1890.  A copy of their Marriage registration is viewable on the FamilySearch.org website. The witnesses, Charles Fountain and Aggie Denneny are Frederick’s siblings.

All of their 9 children were born in Mille Roches where Lizzie and Fred lived out their lives. Even though the couple had many children, they also had many tragedies, having lost several of their children at very young ages. Four daughters and one son lived well into adulthood.

CURRENSElizabeth-1890c

Children of Lizzie & Fred Fountain

Their children were: Mary Catherine “Cassie” 1891-1904, Elizabeth May 1893-1961, Margaret Jane 1895-1965, Martha Agnes 1897-1898, Frederica Winifred 1901-1975, David Curren 1903-1904, Martha H. 1903-1904, Matilda 1906-1969, Joseph Robert 1909-1974.

The family appears in all of the Canadian Census records 1891-1921.  This one is from the 1901 Census for Cornwall and Stormont, pg.11:

CURRENElizabeth-1901a.jpg

There are a few photographs of Elizabeth in her later years.  Most known photographs were taken during her daughter Maggie’s visits with her family from Guelph Ontario.  Maggie’s husband Jim Mahaffey was usually taking the photos.

CURRENSElizabeth-1923a.jpg1923 Mille Roches, Ontario, Canada.  Adults: Lizzie, Fred, Maggie and Unknown. Children: Margaret, Robert, baby James Mahaffey.

 

CURRENSElizabeth-1927a.jpgJim Mahaffey (also a native of Northern Ireland), Lizzie & Fred.  Children: Robert, James & Margaret.  ca. 1927

CURRENSElizabeth-1930a.jpg“Lizzie” Elizabeth (Currens) Fountain, 1930, Mille Roches Ontario Canada.

Struggling with breast cancer the last two years of her life, Lizzie died 2nd of September 1931 at the home she shared with her husband Fred in Mille Roches and was buried in the village cemetery.  Fred joined her in 1942.  A copy of her Death Certificate is available on FamilySearch.org. 

CURRENSElizabeth-1931b.jpgObituary posted in Cornwall newspaper, September 1931.

About 30 years after Lizzie’s death, her surviving children are seen in this photograph from July 1961.

FOUNTAIN-1961aMargaret Mahaffey and Joseph Fountain along with Elizabeth Walker, Winifred Ray and Matilda Smith. (order of 3 women on the right unknown).

 

 

 

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Gene-O-Rama & QFHS – 2018

I recently discovered two more Canadian Genealogy Conferences.  I’m undecided if I will attend either of them as yet, but they do look pretty tempting!

GENE-O-RAMA – Presented by the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society April 13 & 14, 2018 at the Confederation Education Centre on Woodroffe Ave, in Ottawa Ontario.  If interested, you can register for the two day event and workshop for beginner genealogists.

QFHS – The Quebec Family History Society will hold it’s International Conference May 18-20, 2018 at McGill University in Montreal Quebec.  The first day of the conference will be Ancestry Friday, followed by Opening Ceremonies with the rest of the lectures and activities held Saturday and Sunday.

The schedules for both conferences look really tempting and I just want to sign up for all of the conferences …

Traitors, Spies & Heroes – Jennifer DeBruin

Last night I attended the Smith’s Falls and District Historical Society monthly lecture held at the Smith’s Falls Heritage House Museum, where Jennifer DeBruin gave her talk entitled “Traitors, Spies & Heroes – Loyalist Espionage During the American Revolution“.

Jennifer’s talk was an entertaining evening of story telling about some key members of the Smith family that founded Smith’s Falls, along with several other notable characters that founded some of the other communities along the Rideau corridor.

This talk was especially exciting for me since I have St. Lawrence Region Loyalist ancestors that I am researching, and now need to find out if they also might have done spy work for the Crown! I’ll be poking around some more in the Haldimand Papers at Library and Archives Canada

It was a great talk for anyone interested in learning about the spy network that existed during the Revolutionary War, citizen life in the colonies of New York and New Hampshire/Vermont, Loyalist movements during the war and settlement afterward.  As anyone who has studied the Revolutionary War knows, it was a civil war where hard choices had to be made, almost a century before the American Civil War, and no one was allowed to remain neutral.

Jennifer will be presenting this talk at the The American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley Conference June 7-10 2018 hosted by the Fort Plain Museum.  Check out Jennifer’s upcoming events and past publications.

2018 Conference Calendar – Genealogy

I’m excited to have registered for some of these upcoming Genealogical Conferences coming up in Ottawa!

March 10th,  The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa will be hosting a One-Day program of lectures called “Tracing Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors” being given by Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt from The Ulster Historical Foundation.  It will be held at The Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa.  Register for the UHF event soon, limited space, lunch boxes available.

June 1st – 3rd  The Ontario Genealogical Society Annual Conference will be held at the University of  Guelph, in Guelph Ontario this year.  “Upper Canada to Ontario: The Birth of a Nation” , will be complete with tours, workshops, BBQ, Banquet and Marketplace, with two full days of lectures with a long line up of speakers. Registration is open.

September 28th – 30th  The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa Annual Conference will be held at The Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa.  This year’s focus is Scottish Family History and Genetic Genealogy.

Membership to each of the Societies isn’t necessary to attend the Events and Conferences, but they do offer discounts to members as well as Member’s Only access to resources on their websites.  The OGS and BIFHSGO have monthly meetings and lectures, as well as Special Interest Groups.

 

 

 

 

Remembering those that Served in WWI & WWII

Many Canadian families have at least one ancestral relative that served in the First and Second World Wars. Through my family research, I have discovered that my family has many soldiers that served with either the Canadian Forces, or the British Forces.

With the release of all the WWI files at Library and Archives Canada, researching your First World War Veterans has become incredibly facilitated. The first part of the project had images of Attestation records uploaded, and the bulk of the remainder of the individual Canadian Soldier Personnel Records have been scanned and added to the collection. The UK Archives have also been scanning and uploading their records to their Archives website as well.

From the UK Archives, I downloaded the service record of my Great Grandfather Matthew Connor who served with as a Trumpeter and Gunner with the ‘A’ Battery (Forfarshire) of the 256th Brigade, 2nd Highland (51st) Division out of Dundee Scotland. After reading through his military record, I went back to the UK Archive site, and ordered a copy of the War Diary for his Division. The detail of the Division’s activities is incredibly useful for understanding the movements of my ancestor throughout his time in service. I was also able to find information and photographs for his Division on the Forces War Records website.

LAC has mainly uploaded service files for the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (CEF). Home Defense was not included. For another of my other Great Grandfathers James J Mahaffey who served as Home Guard (and was also a Trumpeter), patrolling the St. Lawrence River (From Prescott to Cornwall), much of the file has been lost for the ‘D’ Squadron of the 4th Hussars, and little is known about the unit during the First World War. A partial pay list and receipts collection has survived. [There is a small blog post about the Squadron on the Cornwall Community Museum site].

There are many other websites available that have histories of military Divisions where a researcher can learn at least a rudimentary amount about their Relative’s placements, or have dedicated lists of those that lost their lives during the conflict.

World War II records are still protected under privacy laws, and but are available if requested to direct descendants of soldiers that served.

This is a short list of the individuals that I have found to date. I still have an enormous amount of research to do for each one, but for most, I have at least the basics, thanks to information available on-line.

WWI –

  • CONNOR, Matthew ~RFA – 2nd Highland Bde/51st Div, ‘A’ bty. (635077)
  • CORDES, Herman ~CEF – 257th Btn. (1102317)
  • CORDIS, William ~CEF – 257th Btn. (644573)
  • CURRAN, David G ~BA – Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers/1st Btn. (44264) *KIA
  • CURRAN, Samuel J ~BA – Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers/1st Btn. (24193) *KIA
  • GERARD, Hubert D ~CF – 94th Regt. (2700323)
  • GERARD, Joseph W ~CF – 94th Regt. (2700322)
  • LALONDE, Arthur J ~HD/CEF – 59th Btn, 253Rd Btn., C.A.M.C (1090063/455819)
  • MAHAFFEY, James J ~HD – 4th Hussars, ‘D’ Squadron (NPAM)
  • McNAUGHTON, John ~CEF – 48th Highlanders, 15th Btn (27376) *KIA

WWII

  • CAWKER, Thomas R ~RCN
  • FOUNTAIN, Joseph R ~CF
  • LALONDE, Alexander J ~CEF
  • LALONDE, Arthur J ~CAF
  • McHAFFIE, James JF ~CF
  • McHAFFIE, Robert JJ ~CF

 

I hope to add further posts for these individuals once I have more detailed research to flesh out their stories.

BIFHSGO Conference 2017 : England, Wales and Methodology~

September 29 to October 3 – The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) held their annual conference at The Ben Franklin Place in Nepean Ontario, with themes of England and Wales and Methodology Research.

Friday started with concurrent workshops in both morning and afternoon sessions. In the morning I attended “The Manorial System and How to Use Manorial Records” with Celia Heritage and after lunch break, at the nearby Royal Oak, I attended “Maps and Mapping” with James F.S. Thomson (Associated with the Toronto Branch of OGS) where I learned a ton about where to find old maps and what fun things I can do with them! Both workshops were excellent with detailed handouts of resources to follow up on.

The conference opened with keynote talk by Glenn Wright called “Another Bloody Englishman! Britannia in Red Serge, 1873-1920” which was an interesting history of the North West Mounted Police which had strong ties to England.

Saturday, Session 1 Plenary by Celia Heritage “Beyond All Reasonable Doubt” followed by a coffee break with delicious snacks and a visit to the Marketplace where I perused old maps, books and postcards. Throughout the day, I attended “Buried Treasures: The Parish Chest” with Paul Milner – which was fantastic and is based on Paul’s publication of the same name. “Researching in English and Welsh Records Offices” with Celia Heritage was a very useful hour spent mostly discussing how to prepare yourself for a visit to the repositories and get the most out of your time. The lecture was ‘homework’ heavy, stressing the importance of looking at research guides available on the repository’s website and that also FamilySearch.org had incredibly useful research guides for most areas in the world. The last panel of the days that I attended was “Occupational, Guild and Freedman Records” with Paul Milner.

Sunday’s panels were: “Using Death Records to Break Down Brick Walls” with Celia Heritage, “The English Probate System” with Paul Milner and “I’ve Lost My Ancestor Before 1837” with Celia Heritage.

The Plenary talk to end the weekend was given by Paul Milner entitled “My God, Nobody Told Me!” was poignant and touching and a wonderful way to end a genealogical conference, challenging everyone to share their findings with family and write histories before the knowledge is lost.

Saturday and Sunday ran two tracks of lectures, so I haven’t listed everything from the schedule. All of the lectures were recorded which have been edited and made available in the Members section of the BIFHSGO website along with their respective handouts – with the exception of Friday’s 4 workshops. I encourage anyone interested to become a member – the lectures are all fantastic!

Every session I attended was full of relevant information, interesting and entertaining, and very often inspirational. I came home with so much information on how and where to find materials to search, I wanted to search all the things as soon as possible. It was a genealogical candy store overload!

With access to a research center and well-stocked market place, there were always things to see and do during breaks. I came away with a sweetly priced AncestryDNA kit and some old detailed maps of Dublin and Manchester. I was a little slow to GlobalGenealogy ‘s vendor table that had the books on ancestral occupations, where the “Textiles” copies sold out.

Biggest Take-Aways that everyone stressed:

  1. Not everything is on-line – despite the millions of records being uploaded daily on numerous on-line repositories, it is the tip of the iceberg of what is actually archived.
  2. Be Methodical in your research – planning and recording documentation and sources.
  3. Read research guides for every resource you plan to access in order to have a full understanding of what the materials are that you’re searching for as well as available coverage.
  4. Compile and Share your findings.

I’m looking forward to the BIFHSGO Conference 2018 Themed: Scotland!

BIFHSGO 2017 (September Meeting & Conference)

 

Tomorrow morning, Saturday September 9 2017, BIFHSGO (British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa) will have their first meeting of the Fall session after summer break. Speaker John McConkey’s topic will be “The Sinking of the SS Portsdown” from 10am to 11:30am at the Ben Franklin Place, Ottawa Ontario. There will be a SIG (Special Interest Group) – BIFHSGO Writing Group following the lecture. The Scottish Genealogy Group will be meeting Saturday September 23. Times and locations are on the Meetings page of their website, as well as a listing of other SIGs affiliated with BIFHSGO.

Annual Conference! –

Also coming up this month is the Annual BIFHSGO Conference from 29 September to 1 October, also at the Ben Franklin Center, Ottawa Ontario.

“Learn about English and Welsh family history and genealogy research methodology. Our Marketplace will be open to visitors”

This will be my first time attending and I’m pretty excited about this conference, especially the seminars leading into the conference itself.  Friday will feature a City of Ottawa Archives Tour.

The speakers include: Celia Heritage, David Jeanes, Gillian Leitch, Marnie McCall, Ken McKinlay, Paul Milner, James. F.S. Thomson and Glenn Wright. I’m really looking forward to visiting the Marketplace!