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 …

2018 Conference Calendar -Writing

Dates are set for some great genre Writer/Reader Conferences in Eastern Ontario for this year!

May 26th & 27th Limestone Genre Expo will be held at the Holiday Inn this year, in beautiful downtown Kingston Ontario.  Panels, readings, workshops and pitch sessions available, as well as a special evening with Michael Slade.

August  2nd – 4th  Romancing The Capital will again be held at the Holiday Inn, Kanata Ontario, with a great line up of romance authors to meet and have a great time with.  Panels, dinners and signings – and sooo much SWAG!

October 12th – 14th Can-Con will be at the Sheraton in downtown Ottawa.  It’s always a great time, with incredible programming covering all manner of topics for discussion.

Going to be a great conference year 😀

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.

 

 

 

 

Canada’s Boy Soldiers in WWI & WWII

At the November 2017 meeting for the Leeds-Grenville Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS), former editor of “Legion Magazine: Canada’s Military History Magazine“, Mr. Dan Black gave a very interesting talk about under-age soldiers from all across Canada who served during the WWI and WWII.

 

Some of the young men came home after their tour of duty, but many that didn’t. He read excerpts from two of the books he co-authored with John Boileau, describing their time in the field, and also read from some of the soldier’s letters home to their families and loved ones. For a few of those boys, their mother’s went through great effort to try to persuade the authorities to release their sons from service and send them home.

A great deal of research went into detailing the lives of these under-age soldiers, and Mr. Black shared information about the resources he accessed in order to do it – one of the main repositories accessed was Library and Archives Canada (LAC). He also spoke about some of the more challenging aspects of targeting his subjects due to the fact that their enlistment papers usually had false dates of birth. Many of these boys enlisted at the young ages of 15 and 16, there were some that were even younger. He told one particular story about a young man who enlisted not only under age, but under his elder brother’s name, which cause some difficulties when the family received a telegram expressing the regrets of the loss of their son.

The first book “Old Enough to Fight: Canada’s Boy Soldiers in the First World War” has a forward written by Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire. And the second book “Too Young to Die: Canada’s Boy Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen in the Second World War” had its forward  written by General John de Chastelain.

These books are an incredible resource for researchers of Canada’s Military History during the two World Wars, and for those that have general interest in newly researched and published aspects of those two conflicts.

I thought one of the most poignant aspects of the talk was when he was describing the Estate Forms that had to be filled out by the families of the deceased soldiers – usually by their mothers. Reading each of the files diligently filled out in their hand must have been a very intimate and moving part of the research.

Mr. Black spoke briefly on the next book currently in the research phase which will also be focused on a little known aspect of the First World War, to be written and publication expected for 2019.

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.

Author – Jean Rae Baxter

I recently attended the 49th Charter Meeting of the Colonel Edward Jessup Branch of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada, in Grenville County, Ontario.

The Guest Speaker for the meeting was Author Jean Rae Baxter, a former teacher and Loyalist descendant.

Her topic was supposed to be about major Canadian historical figure Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe, but due to the lack of a projector, she had to improvise and instead, gave a wonderful talk about her Loyalist themed book series.

Ms. Baxter spoke about having to teach historical literature during the 1970’s to a population of students of which about 85% were descended of United Empire Loyalists, and a bus load more of students attended from the nearby First Nations Reserve. She recalled that at the time, she was given ‘classic’ books written about the early time period by American authors with a clear disdain for the Loyalist population and First Nations People during the American War of Independence.

So, she set out to fix this particular problem.

Jean wrote ‘The Way Lies North’ (2007) in response to the need for responsible historical fiction to tell the story of the Loyalists from a Canadian point of view.

This was the first book in the “Forging a Nation” series, for which a sixth book is being written.  The series examines the stories of White Loyalists, Black Loyalists and the First Nations Peoples who were all affected by the violence and uprooting of the American Revolution.

During her talk, she read excerpts from each of the 5 novels currently published in the series. And each one, beautifully written, gave a very clear sense of what the Loyalist populations were experiencing, embodied in the main character of the story. The series is written in teen-aged perspectives for Young Adults, but should be enjoyed by a broader audience.

Ms. Baxter has also written a literary murder mystery novel, and many short stories.