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.

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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.

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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:

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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 – 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.

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!

 

OGS Conference Day 3-5

So much to learn!

Day 3 – Lectures Pt.1

The Opening Keynote Lecture was delivered by Danielle Manning from the Archives of Ontario, where she talked about their special Exhibit ‘Family Ties’ about four different families living in Ontario at the time of Confederation.

D. Joshua Taylor spoke about the movement of families along the border of New York and Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries. The shifts of the borders between the countries, and even between the New England states were very dynamic creating varying government districts in which to consider when seeking resources. This was best shown with the state of Vermont shifting territorial claims during that time period its.

Dr. Blaine Bettinger gave a fantastic talk about the Future of Genetic Genealogy. There is already so much happening now in this field, that the future as he predicts certainly looks exciting in terms of Ancestral Reconstruction using DNA sharing among descendants.

Linda Reid gave a very concise lecture using her family as case studies to illustrate how Genetic Genealogists can trace their families back to the 18th century (Scotland) with Autosomal DNA. It was complex, but very well done and the information is incredibly useful to understand how to apply DNA as a tool alongside the paper research.

The Banquet was fabulous with another lecture from Joshua Taylor about “Family History in Prime Time” which was entertaining with all the fun pop-culture pedigrees presented – from Disney characters to The Simpsons, and Star Wars Families.

Day 4 – Lectures Pt.2

I started the day with Marian Press explaining how to properly use ‘Search’ while mining databases. – Incredibly useful, I picked up a lot more tips, hopefully now I’ll find more results. And I’ll read the HELP page instructing proper search functions for particular databases. 😉

Kathryn Lake Hogan’s lecture was packed full of information on just how many resources there really are – if you know where to find them – to research United Empire Loyalist era ancestors. So many places to check out!

Joshua Taylor spoke this time about 19th & 20th century Border crossing between US and Canada. So many more places to check out!

Dr. Blaine Bettinger’s lecture was about solving 18th & 19th Century mysteries using DNA. It was similar in nature to the lecture Linda Reid gave, but there was much more focus of the science involved to explain how the DNA connects relatives.

The Final Keynote Lecture was Joshua Taylor’s talk about what the Future holds for genealogists.

The OGS 2017 Conference was wrapped up with many ‘Thank Yous’ and door prizes and –

 The Grand Announcement : OGS Conference 2018 in Guelph Ontario at Guelph University Campus.

 

Day 5 – “Using Ancestry Day”

All about using Ancestry and AncestryDNA.

 

Wrap-up:

The Title of the Conference was “Our Canada – Your Family: Building a Nation 2017”.

This was my first Genealogical conference. I met a lot of people, and during the “First Timers” gathering, I saw a large room full of other people sharing the experience right along with me. I met people who’ve been attending OGS conferences for a few years, and I also met a few people how have been going for decades. Everyone I spoke to was warm and welcoming and happy to be at the event.  It was interesting to see all of the major Genealogy related companies well represented and fully engaged with conference attendees.

I went to as many lectures as I could – every time slot available (I’ll probably be sleeping most of Tuesday away!). And yet, for the workshops – there were 6 concurrent topics being taught in the morning, and again in the afternoon. For every lecture hour scheduled, there were 3 other topics going on at the same time. Hermione’s Time Turner would have been awesome! My head is spinning with all that I’ve learned over the 3 days of workshops and lectures, and yet, there is still so much that I missed.

Maybe next year? I hope so!

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