Category Archives: 52 Ancestors

Anne Archambault (Ancestor # 11, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, 2015)

I’m a little late this week but better late than never.

I’m trying to imagine what would have occurred in Montreal way back in the mid 1600’s when
Anne Archambault discovered that her husband, Michel Chauvain, was a bigamist. They contracted to marry in July of 1647, had two children, Paul (1650-1650) and Charlotte (1651-1718). By Feb 1654 Anne was married to Jean Gervaise.

Was there a big todo? Did her father, Jacques, confront him peacefully or otherwise? Were the neighbours scandalized? One would think not, since many men had mistresses back in the day, but Montreal was a small, and I imagine, close knit community. At any rate, Michel was packed off back to France presumably in disgrace. I wonder if his wife in France ever found out?

Cheers,

Donald Ross Stewart (Ancestor # 10, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, 2015)

S# 0004, Doc #2  B&WDonald Ross, born about 1827 at Barney’s River, Nova Scotia. He was the son of Archibald Stewart and Elizabeth Crocket. Archie came over from Scotland around 1801, landing in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.

Donald moved to Prince Edward Island from Pictou County as a young man and taught school at Cape Traverse. On 27 December 1862, Donald married Fannie Glover, daughter of William Gover and Ann Watmough. The J. P. officiating was Harry Compton Green, the husband of my 3x great aunt, Elizabeth “Caroline” Ellis. Finding this record and a few others in and around Summerside, where different branches of my family are connected in the records, really makes me realize how small a community it really was.

Donald and Fannie had two children, Lucy, born 26 Aug 1863, who went on to marry Kenneth Forbes Ellis (they are my great-grandparents) and William Allan, born 22 March 1864, who married Emma Blanche McPhail.

Donald died on the 21st of January 1873 of tuberculosis. He had been ill for a year. He is buried at the North Bedeque United Cemetery. His widow, Fannie, went on to run a hotel/boarding house situated on the waterfront in Summerside.

Cheers,

William Glover (Ancestor # 9, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, 2015)

wmgloverOne of my third Great-Grandfathers was William Glover. William is the progenitor of a very large number of the Glover’s on Prince Edward Island. According to a decorated list of family BMD dates he was born 14 July 1790. Numerous sources say he was from Dumfries, Scotland, but I haven’t been able to verify that yet and I am wondering if that is true. You see, William married Ann Watmough at Warrington, Lancashire, England on 3 May 1816. What was he doing in there? Just another mystery that I have yet to unravel. While I was looking for Ann’s family in Warrington, I noticed that there are Glovers in the same area. Not an unusual name, so no big surprise, but it makes me wonder. Was his family from Lancashire and his parents had travelled to or moved to Dumfries and so he was born there, then at some point they moved back to Lancashire, or was William working in Lancashire, having moved there himself as a young man?

Family-record

This is the family record that some of my info came from. You can see that a lot of the writing is consistent which leads me to believe the document was created after the death of Ann on the 23rd of September 1864. Clearly not a primary source document for a lot of the information included, but nice to have just the same.

William and Ann’s first son, William was born at Warrington on the 17th November 1816. In 1817 they moved to Prince Edward Island and settled at Five Lanes End. The name was later changed to Barrets’ Cross. In 1862, it was changed to Kensington. It might be only four roads now, but you can still clearly see where the fifth lane (black arrow) came into the intersection.

Five Lanes End

William was the postmaster and worked out of his house. The Post office was situated on the corner of the roads to Charlottetown and Margate (red arrow above).

WGH

The post office was the section to the right. My father remembers visiting elderly cousins, Gordon and Jane Glover, in this house. They were siblings who never married. Gordon was the Post Master like his grandfather before him. At some point the house was moved across the road to Charlottetown and down several houses. The post office is gone and the house was updated, more windows were added to the front on the second floor and the centre gable was modified.

Glover-House-Kensington-PEI

William died on the 21st of April 1875 and was buried at St. Mark’s Anglican Church. S# 1309, Doc # 1051 2005_0912Image0001 S# 1309, Doc # 1051A William Glover Ann Watmough (2)All in all, I know relatively little. William won a prize in 1831 at the Prince County Cattle and Grain Show for the best sow and an entry in the Richmond Parish register says that he was an Inn Keeper. Looks like there’s a lot more work to do on this one…

Cheers,

Catherine Pillard/Pillat/Le Plat, Filles du Roi or Amerindienne? (Ancestor # 8, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, 2015)

This week I am branching out or back a bit further than I would normally. I don’t know much about Catherine Pillard, except what I read on the internet. I haven’t researched her much except to find that I am descended from her. I plan to do a lot more research on her and this post will get me started.

The reason I am interested in her is I came across a bit of conflicting information this week. Catherine was supposed to be one of the girls contracted to come to New France to provide wives for the settlers and soldiers living there. I suppose it is understandable that in the early years of a colony there is not necessarily a lot of women among the settlers. What’s a king to do? If he wants his colony to become well established, he sends women of marriageable age to marry his colonists. Hence les filles du Roi.

The only problem is, mt-dna tests done on several of her direct female line descendants show that she was Haplogroup A. If you are not aware, Haplogroup A is a native North American Haplogroup. More about that later.

by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale,  Source

by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale, Source

Between 1663 and 1673 approximately 770 women were sponsored by King Louis XIV to come to Nouvelle-France. Their passage was paid for and many received a small dowry. Most were between 16 and 25 years of age. On arrival they were cared for by the nuns. They had the right to refuse marriage if the man was not to their liking. Most did find husbands.

Catherine Pillat (Pillard, Laplatte, Le Plat etc.) apparently arrived at Québec on 30 June 1663 aboard Le Phoénix de Flessingue, having sailed from La Rochelle, France. This site includes the name of their parents. There is a baptism recorded in 1646 in the registers of Chapelle Sainte-Marguerite of La Rochelle, in Aunis, France, that is supposedly hers. She married Pierre Charron on the 19th of October 1665. I descend through her son François.

Another website claims that she is not on any passenger lists. They go on to explain that the evidence that Catherine came from La Rochelle, France is suspect and give a good theory for Catherine to be the daughter of Atseña, nicknamed Le Plat, a Huron chief. They breakdown the occurrences of various different versions of her name, and identify a place in present day Ontario (on Nottawasaga Bay and Lake Simcoe), that was part of the Huron Nation lands, that according to the Rocollet preist Sagard, was also known as La Rochelle by the french.

There is so much conflicting data out there, one does not know what to believe. All I can do is try to gather all the info I can and try to find the primary documents for myself. I do know that DNA doesn’t lie. If a reputable lab has done the work and the results are mt Haplogroup A and the genealogies of eight descendants have been scrutinized and found to be reliable, then barring a baby being switched at birth, I am thinking Pierre Charron’s wife was not who we think she was.

Catherine Pillat’s profile at wikitree

Today, I find out that Catherine is Haplogroup A10. I am waiting for further info on that. New developments everyday … how is one to keep up?

Cheers,

Dawn

Sources/further reading:

http://www.fillesduroi.org/src/kings_daughters.htm

http://www.afgs.org/Kings_Daughters_Anniversary.html

http://www.migrations.fr/NAVIRES_LAROCHELLE/phoenixflessingue.htm

http://www.geninfo.org/Pillard/La_Rochelle-E.htm

http://www.charron-ducharme.org/index.php/en/catherine-pillard-en/87-catherine-pillard-s-origin

Susan Bowness Bell Weeks (Ancestor # 7, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, 2015)

My great-grandmother Susan Bowness is another brick wall we have a theory about.

John T. Weeks and Susan Bowness

John T. Weeks and Susan Bowness

Her parents are stated, in several sources, to have been Robert S. and Thirza (Tuplin) BOWNESS, but other sources disagree and really, she doesn’t fit into the chronology of the family. She was adopted by Herbert BELL, the husband of Jean BOWNESS, who was the sister of Robert S.Bowness.

Apparently Susan was adamant that she was a BOWNESS. Indeed that is the only surname I ever heard associated with her, except for her married name of Weeks (though in her marriage records and in Herbert Bell’s will she is called Susan Bell). Susan also insisted that she was from Norboro, PEI.

Robert Bowness & Jean (Bowness) Bell also had a brother named James who lived in Norboro. James & his wife Sarah (sometimes known as Susan) sent their daughters Emma and Lydia to live with their aunt Jean in Alberton. It seems likely to me that they might have also sent another child to live with the same couple.

Emma Bowness and Susan were very close. My father & aunt remember Emma’s grandsons being “2nd cousins” (which is what they would be if Emma & Susan were sisters).

So the theory is that Susan was the daughter of James Bowness and his second wife Sarah Mugridge. This is my father’s matrilineal dna line (his mother’s mother’s mother etc). I have tested his mt-dna and am hoping someday to find other female direct line descendants to test and compare. My uncle told me that this is one mystery that I would never solve. Hehehe, He really shouldn’t say that sort of thing to me…only makes me more determined!

Cheers,

Dawn

Margaret Potter (Ancestor # 6, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, 2015)

This weeks unofficial theme is “So far away”. I think that theme might be applicable for my great-great Grandmother Margaret Potter. Born in Greenock, Renfrewshire Scotland on 3 September 1829, I’m sure when she found herself in Liverpool, England sometime before the age of 20, she thought she was far away from her home. She likely never would never have imagined that she would end up in Prince Edward Island, Canada before she was 25.

Margaret’s father, Cap’t John Potter, is said to have died at sea. I have conflicting dates for his death, but I think he died in 1845. Margaret’s mother, Margaret Kemp Mills, also died that year. Margaret had one sibling that I know about, John, who was 3 years older than she.

I can imagine the relatives were scrambling to decide what to do with Margaret when she was orphaned at age 16. John would have been old enough to have gone out into the world to seek his fortune and indeed, I have found him in Sacramento California, in 1870, though not very prosperous but that’s another story.

The little information I have on the Potter family is that they were a seafaring family. Margaret’s father and maternal grandfather were both sea captains and I believe that some of Margaret’s uncles or cousins owned a shipping company. This is how I think she got to Liverpool and how she likely met her future husband John Ellis, also a sea captain.

The story in my family was that Margaret’s family thought John Ellis to be telling tall tales when he told them that horse races were held each winter on the frozen ice in Summerside harbour. Not having endured any Canadian winters I’m sure they couldn’t imagine the sea water freezing over to the degree necessary to run horses on it. Since most family stories are based on some degree of truth, even if they are embellished through the generations, this story gives me hope that I will find evidence that Margaret was living with relatives in Liverpool before she married John Ellis.

Margaret and John were married 4 October 1848 at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Liverpool. Their first child, Margaret McGowan, was born 19 November 1849. In the 1851 British census, Margaret, was recorded living at 119 Bedford Street, Toxteth Park, Liverpool, Lancashire, England. She was married, 21 years old, born in Greenock, Refrew. Her husband was a Master Mariner away at sea. One servant was living in the household named Mary Ann Lloyd. Mary Ann was a nurse caring for baby Margaret, no doubt.

Hannah, was born 22 July 1851 in Liverpool. Sometime between then and 8 August 1853 when Kenneth Forbes was born, Hannah emigrated to Prince Edward Island where three more sons were born: John Henry, born 8 July 1855, Francis Potter, born 28 November 1857 and Everard Hutchinson, born 4 March 1860. John bought a parcel of land from his father and in true Sea Captain style built a house on the shore just east of the harbour in Summerside. There are no pictures of this house, but I like to imagine that it had a widow’s walk.

That was not the end of Hannah’s travels. Sometime before 25 Apr 1865 she returned to Liverpool. Everard Hutchinson died there that day and was buried at St. James Cemetery, Liverpool. I believe her next trip to the Island (Prince Edward Island) was her last Atlantic crossing. Her comings and goings around the Maritimes were recorded by Robert Ellis, her father-in-Law, in his day books. Captain John Ellis died 18 December 1873 and Maggie went on to live to a ripe old age of 88 years. She died 12 August 1917 and was buried at St. John’s Anglican Church Cemetery in St. Eleanor’s.

Cheer,

Dawn

Joseph-Alexis Roch (Ancestor # 5, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, 2015)

Joseph-Alexis Roch, 1911

Joseph-Alexis Roch, 1911

Joseph-Alexis Roch, born 31 August 1858, at St-Norbert, Berthier County, Québec,  was the son of Pierre-Amedee Roch and Domitilde Ferland. Not much is known about his early life. He married Marie-Louise Tellier on 28 January 1879 in St-Gabriel-de-Brandon. In the 1881 census they were recorded at Ile-Dupas and had one daughter, Marie-Emestine who was one month old. Joseph was teaching school.

By 1891 they had moved to St-Cunegonde (part of Montreal). The family had expanded to included Sylvio (1882), Clementine (1886), Charles Edouard Arthur (1888).

Again, in St-Cunegonde, in 1901, the family also included  Alfred (1891), Camille (1893) and Alice (1897). Sylvio was not living with the family.

By 1911 the family was complete with my grandfather, Joseph Pierre Paul (1903) included, while M. Emestine and Sylvio lived elsewhere. Joseph had retired from teaching by 1911 but before that he was apparently the principal of L’ecole Belmont on Rue Guy in St-Cundgonde.

from "An Account of the Schools Controlled by the Roman Catholic Board of School Commissioners of the City of Montreal, Montreal, 1893

from “An Account of the Schools Controlled by the Roman Catholic Board of School Commissioners of the City of Montreal”, Montreal, 1893

At some point my grandfather put together a series of photographs of his father.

"avec Maman, 1914

“avec Maman, 1914 (Marie-Louise Tellier & Joseph-Alexis Roch)

My grandfather tells us that he owned some property and a “Sucrerie”

"a sa Sucrerie 1915" (loosly translated: at his sugar shack, 1915)

“a sa Sucrerie 1915” (loosly translated: at his sugar shack, 1915)

"avec moi, 1925"

“avec moi, 1925” (Joseph-Pierre Paul Roch and Joseph-Alexis Roch, picture must have been flipped at some point since the license plate is mirrored)

J-A. Roch in Boston, 1928

J-A. Roch in Boston, 1928

rochfamilyphoto

c1906

I don’t know much else but a family member said this about him, “…a big man, approx. 6 feet tall, very stern looking & did not stand for any nonsense but had a big heart.” At some point he married a second time (Marie-Louise died in 1920) to Edwidge Bock.  He died at age 69 and was buried on 2 Feb 1929 at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery in Montreal.

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery

Cheers,

Dawn

Hannah Darby (Ancestor # 4, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, 2015)

Hannah was the second youngest daughter of Benjamin Darby and Sarah Darby. Born about 1799 at what would become St. Eleanors, Prince Edward Island. Noting much is known about her early life except what can be imagined in a place like Prince Edward Island. While I’m sure life was hard with a lot of physical labour to be done, I think it likely that she spent some time playing in the warm tide pools with hermit crabs, and with lots of older brothers she likely had more than one jellyfish thrown at her.

Thought to be Hannah Darby

Some time after the spring of 1819, a young man came into her life. I can imagine a young girl of that era living in a small isolated place would daydream and wonder who she would marry. Would he be one of the young men that she had grown up with or would someone new come to town and sweep her away! I think it’s safe to say that’s what happened to Hannah. Literally swept away back to England by Robert Ellis after a few years of marriage. They married  in 1823. A son, John, was born in 1824.

Hannah’s sister, Deborah, was living in the Miramichi, New Brunswick. One might think that if you married and went away to live where your husband was from, you might never see your family again. Clearly that was not the case in the Maritimes. It seems that people were travelling back and forth to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick all the time. Hannah was visiting Deborah when her second son, Forbes Alexander, was born on the 4th of December 1826. We don’t know for sure if Robert was with her, but I imagine he was as this area of New Brunswick was a major ship building area and he was a cabinet maker/joiner, finishing the interiors of ships. Forbes was named after Deborah’s husband, Alexander Forbes.

Thought to be Robert Ellis

Thought to be Robert Ellis

Sometime between Forbes’ birth and the 12 of January 1830, Robert was to take Hannah on an even longer voyage back to his home in Devonshire. On that date George Alfred was born, only to live 3 years and 8 months. He is buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard in Bideford, Devon.

A daughter, Elizabeth “Caroline” was born the 10th of June 1832, followed by another son, William “Henry” Rawle on 3 July 1836. Caroline and Henry were both named after Robert’s family members in Bideford.

I’m thinking that England was getting old for Hannah. Her second son Forbes died of Typhus in 1839 and the following year, she, Robert, John, Caroline and Henry, sailed back to the Island and Hannah’s family. They made their home in what became Summerside. In addition to her own children, Hannah cared for her grand-daughter Robertina.

Hannah wrote her will in April 1889 and died the 4th of February 1891.

Cheers,

Dawn

(Sources available on request)

The Widow Bremble (Ancestor # 2, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, 2015)

Sarah Bremble Darby… I have no idea what her maiden name was. She is a complete mystery.

Somewhere along the way, likely in New York City about 1782 or 1783, she married Benjamin Darby … I think … though I could be wrong … maybe they never actually married…who knows. She travelled with him and their blended family of 5 daughters, Elizabeth Darby, (born c1773) and Mary Darby (born 2 Apr 1774), Mary Bremble, Ann Bremble (b. c. 1776) and Frances Bremble (b. c. 1781) to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada in 1784, spent a year at Grimross (now Gagetown), then moved to PEI in 1785, where they settled and produced 9 more children.

Her first husband was likely a loyalist but I have no idea who he was and searches for the surname Bremble turn up very few individuals. The name could actually be Brimble, Bramble, Brumble … this is one brick wall I doubt I will ever solve.

Robert Ellis, the myth becomes a man (Ancestor # 3, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, 2015)

medium_15005040436 (1)photo credit: reCreate texture via photopin cc

We had a long standing brick wall, Robert Ellis, my 3rd great-grandfather. We knew lots about him after 1819, very little before. My mother actually wrote an article for the North Devon Heritage Journal in 1996 called “Robert Ellis, Man or Myth?”

Shortly before this, she had found a “genie buddy” online, through the early genealogy message boards. John lived in North Devon, he took a big interest in the mystery of Robert ELLIS and helped my mother with a fair bit of local research. Through their combined efforts my mother came up with a theory of who Robert ELLIS was. After she died in 1998 it was up to me to prove her theory.

 Robert Ellis

 Thought to be Robert Ellis, col. Dawn Ellis

From his tombstone, his birth year is estimated as 1797. Family tradition says that he was from Bideford, Devon, but his tombstone says he was “a native of London, England”. He was apparently the cousin of William ELLIS, shipbuilder who emigrated to Prince Edward Island around 1818. William was from Monkleigh, Devon, only a short distance from Bideford.

From his daybooks, that were discovered in my grandfather’s attic in the 1981, we learned that Robert emigrated to Prince Edward Island in 1819. Family tradition states that he was a young cabinet maker who just finished his apprenticeship and came to PEI to do the fine work in the ships built at Green’s Shore (now Summerside).

Robert married Hannah DARBY, daughter of Loyalist Benjamin DARBY (see Ancestor # 1) in 1823. A son, John, was born on 15 April 1824 and became a Master Mariner. A second son, Forbes Alexander was born 4 December 1826 at Miramichi, New Brunswick, where Hannah’s sister Deborah resided with her husband Alexander FORBES.

Some time between 12 February 1827 and 12 January 1830, the family removed to Bideford, Devon, England. George Alfred was born there 12 December 1830 and died 29 August 1833. Two more children came while the family lived in Bideford. Elizabeth Caroline, born 10 June 1832, and William Henry Rawle, born 3 July 1836. (who later emigrated to New Zealand). In William Henry’s baptism Robert is described as a “joiner”. Forbes Alexander died there on 8 May 1839.

The names of the last two children gave us some clues as to where to look for connections in Bideford. Mom found a woman named Margaret ELLIS who married a William RAWLE on 25 October 1799. William and Margaret had two daughters, Elizabeth Margaret, baptised in 1800, and Caroline, baptised in 1802, both in Bideford. We speculated that Margaret ELLIS might be an aunt or some other close relative of Robert’s.

Robert’s daybooks give the impression that he was operating an inn or a pub with multiple entries for beer and the settling of various people’s accounts. He appears to have been a treasurer of a “Club” with entries concerning a Club Dinner at the Bell Inn at Parkham, Christmas 1839. The daybooks also contain descriptions of work to be done on ships, including lengthy contracts and three pages headed “List of Goods for Exportation…” followed several pages later by the following:

Bideford April 1st. 2nd. &c 1840. MrChas. Andrew Caddy Dr. [debit] to Robt. Ellis – To Six Days packing, superintending and putting on board goods … To 32 Days on board the Minerva took care of goods. May 16th Charlottetown P.E. Island looking round for Store to Sell goods &c.S# 436, Doc # 281_00024 (2)

This entry gives a pretty good estimate at the date that Robert, Hannah and the three surviving children returned to Prince Edward Island and the Royal Gazette of Tuesday 19 May 1840 reports the entry of the Brig Minerva to the port of Charlottetown, with “Goods to Mr Ellis'” and lists the family as passengers.

Volume two of the daybook begins on 18 May 1840 and list lists accounts of a number of individuals and debts to C. A. Caddy for such things as duty, postage and printing and continues until 12 August 1840. On 17 August a new set of accounts begins in Murray Harbour and ends 4 May 1841. We speculate that Robert was in the employ of Charles Andrew Caddy up to this time. During this time Robert bought 90 acres of land on Lot 17 (Summerside), Prince County for the sum of £170 PEI currency. He and his family settled on this property in May 1841 and it became known as “Woodland”. In Roads to Summerside, p. 27 it is recorded that “Older citizens can still recall the moss-covered roofs and walls of their homestead, which stood in the midst of ancient willows, just east of Mr. Ronald Campbells.” His daybooks continue in Bedeque (Summerside) on 9 May 1841.

After settling once again near Hannah’s family, Robert secured the contract to finish the interior of St. John’s Anglican Church (pictures and story at the link). There are other various contracts, including individuals purchasing pews in the church. Robert seems to have continued acting as a merchant and, along with his farming endeavors, he was also a “Fence Viewer”, and owned a part interest in a ship called the “British Queen”. The books record the various comings and goings of the family including the arrival of son, John’s wife, Maggie from Scotland and Robert going to Charlottetown to have a cancerous growth removed from his cheek. One of the earlier but slightly curious entries notes that Caroline cut off Henry’s finger. On 28 August 1872 there is an entry, probably made by Hannah, that Robert had died of cancer.

After Robert’s death we have a letter Hannah received, dated 3 October 1876, from Edward Dingle with the rents on some houses in Bideford.

All this information and nothing  about his life before 1819! All we had to go on was speculations about the names of two children, some houses he owned in Bideford, and some deeds that a Robert Ellis with a son named John Ellis, who was born in 1824, signed along with a William Ellis back in Bideford. These were found by Mom’s buddy John and concerned an inn called The Peacock in Bideford. They dated 1819, 1828 and 1839. These documents helped form my mother’s theory. If I could prove it I would have his family back to Johan ELLIS born in 1549 in Northam, a town close to Bideford.

From the deeds:

1819
“…and rented additional ground from the Bridge Trust (?), i.e., “Indenture between Samuel Rooker of Bideford Minister of the Gospel, Walter Bowen Postmaster, Richard Easby Rawle Lieutenant in HM Navy of the second part, Sarah King spinster of the third part, William Ellis the Younger and Robert Ellis both of Bideford, Joiners” of the fourth part, by indenture of lease bearing the date of 16th Dec 1774 made between William Houndle Mayor of Bideford and the seven other persons herein named of the first part and William Rawle, Maltster, …”

1828
“… all that dwelling house 2 courtaliges & Premises with the Apportments [sic] thereunto belonging, situate lying & being on the North Side of the Markt [sic] Place in Bideford aforesaid containing from N to S 100 feet & from E to W 34 ft or thereabouts bounded with the lands of said feoffees lease to Wm. E. [Ellis] & R. E. [Robert Ellis] their executors administrators & assignees as tenant in common & not as joint tenants for & during the term of 99 years fully to be complete & ended if John Ellis aged 4 years or thereabouts son of the said Robert …”

1839
“Mr. R. E. [Robert Ellis] to Mr. Wm. E. [William Ellis] assignment of amoiety of an inn called The Peacock in the Market Place for 3 several terms of 99 years etc …”

While mom was alive we had researched a little of all the ELLIS families in Bideford. I knew who was living there. I knew there was one other Robert (the son of William the shipbuilder, who was often mixed up with my Robert), and a William, born about 1787, son of William ELLIS, Sr. and Mary GALSWORTHY. Looking at the wills in this family it appeared that William and Mary also had a son named Robert. When William Sr. died, in June of 1841, he left some houses to his son Robert, to his widow, and the remainder of his property to his son William. These houses were identified by location and tenant. In 1843 a John ELLIS (thought to be the nephew of William Sr. and first cousin of Robert and William Jr.) died and left some houses to a Robert, “son of William Ellis the elder”. These houses were also identified. He also left property to Elizabeth Margaret Rawle, his niece, and so we were able to tie Margaret Ellis who married William RAWLE into the family in Bideford. From all this, and handwriting samples, mom speculated that my Robert ELLIS and William ELLIS Jr. were brothers.

The first thing I did was a y-dna test on my father and on a descendant of William ELLIS, the shipbuilder, who was supposed to be his cousin. I wasn’t about to spend heaps of money researching a bunch of houses, that I didn’t have addresses for, in Bideford, until I had proof that Bideford was likely where his family was from. Remember that tombstone that said he was a native of London? Turns out they match. Robert and William, the shipbuilder, do share a common ancestor!

Then as I was debating about how to go about researching the houses …do I hire someone or make a trip to England myself,  I was searching through the Family History Catalog when I came across some voter registrations that my mother had not looked at. I can’t imagine she missed anything, so I think they had not been filmed when she had been researching this family.

I collected all the Ellis entries in Bideford. I found my Robert and a William:

1836 – 1840

Robert – Market Place (the Peacock Inn was in Market Place)
William Jr. – Allhalland Street

1841

Robert – Prince Edward Island and part lease hold of houses in Allhalland Street
William Jr. – Allhalland Street (but in the 1841 census he is listed in Market Place as an Inn Keeper)

Yes, It really said Robert was in Prince Edward Island. I let out a whoop just as my friend Ben came in. I couldn’t believe it. Finally after all these years, Robert is with his family AND I may have found his birth in London … but that’s a whole different story!

Cheers,

Dawn

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