Tag Archives: canada

Investigating Patrick and Kate’s marriage

20 Mar

I had two specific questions about Kate Allison and Patrick Vaughan’s marriage to answer yesterday when I visited the East Sussex Record Office.

  1. When did it take place?
  2. Was this Patrick Vaughan the one from Canada?

When did it take place?

Although I have a copy of the marriage certificate, the date on the certificate doesn’t match the date in the GRO index. I know this doesn’t make that much difference in the whole scheme of things, but I don’t like uncertainty so I wanted to confirm with the original parish register what was the correct date.

As I suspected the certificate was incorrect, the marriage took place on the 25th December 1917 and not 1918 as the marriage certificate states. It doesn’t really change anything, but just provides a useful reminder that mistakes do occur even in the “official” records.

It could have been a different story if there had been a child born between the two dates, it could have been the difference between legitimacy and illegitimacy.

Was this Patrick Vaughan the one from Canada?

Everything pointed to Patrick Vaughan that married Kate Allison as being the same one who joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in June 1916, but before I would put my hard-earned cash on the line and order a copy of his service record I wanted to be certain. It occurred to me one evening in the bath that I could compare the signature on the marriage register (not on the marriage certificate) with that on the attestation form and hopefully confirm they were the same man.

I don’t have a copy of the marriage register entry to show you, so you will have take my word for it. Although the two signatures are not exactly the same they are similar enough for me to be happy that they are the same man.

This is quite a relief as I have spent a fair bit of time and money over the last few weeks downloading records from Scotland and Ireland for Patrick and his first marriage. Now I have no excuse for not ordering a copy of Patrick Vaughan’s service record.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Patrick Vaughan, you’re a hard man to pin down

5 Mar

My 2x great-aunt’s second husband Patrick Vaughan is proving to be a hard man to pin down. I put this down to two things:

  1. He never stayed in same place for long
  2. His age seems to vary from document to document

Both of these things make me wonder if I have the right man, or even the same man.

I am used to some of my relatives moving about a bit, usually from parish to parish or over the border from one county to another. Patrick on the other hand seems to have hopped from country to country. From his birth in Ireland across to Scotland , then emigrating to Canada. He came back across the Atlantic to England (and possibly mainland Europe) for the First World War, before returning to Canada where he seems to have lived out the rest of his life.

Or at least this is what it looks like. It is hard to be certain because of the variations in his ages across the various documents. The first time I came across Patrick Vaughan was on his 1917 marriage certificate, where his age is recorded as 43, giving a year of birth around 1874. Back in Canada his attestation record from 1916 gives an “apparent age” of 44 years and 2 months, from his date of birth of 17th March 1872.

I think I have found him living in Scotland in 1891 and 1901, his place of birth is correct, but the 1901 census gives his age as 39, which pushes his year of birth back to around 1862. His age in the 1891 census is not clear, it might say 29, but it is not good enough to really be sure.

Going back to Ireland the only likely baptism in the right county and right parish is in 1857. Losing a few years here and there is not a big deal, but it does mean that when he signed up to serve in the First World War in 1916 his year of birth was 15 years out, and he would in fact have been around 59 years old not 44. Interestingly his description does describe his hair as grey.

There are just enough similarities between the Patrick’s on these different records to make me think they are the same man, but not quite enough for me to be 100% certain that they are.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Finding Minnie: taking stock

2 Mar

I have to admit that my Finding Minnie project has got a little out of hand and has grown way beyond my original expectations.

I was a little surprised at first to find my research taking me into Essex and away from my comfort zone in Sussex, but now I have left that comfort zone way behind and I am now trying to get to grips with research in both Ireland and Canada (with plenty of research still left to do in England).

I have no idea where or when this project is going to end. I have already achieved my initial goal of finding out who Minnie was, but instinctively I have just carried on investigating.

Taking a short break has given me chance to review what I actually want to find out and how it is going to happen. My attention has now turned to finding out what happened to Minnie’s mother Kate and the rest of Minnie’s siblings after they arrived in Canada, and also about the life of Kate’s second husband Patrick Vaughan.

I know this process is going to take some time, so whilst I get to grips with Irish and Canadian research I want to return much closer to home and find out more about my grandmother and my great-grandmother who brought up Minnie.

I also want to find out more about the village of High Hurstwood in East Sussex, where they were all living. I can find very little information online about the history of the village, so it will be quite interesting to see what I can find out and it could possibly evolve into a one place study in the future.

One of Kate’s brothers also emigrated to Canada, so as I am starting to explore Canadian research it would be a good time to find out some more about him and his family as well. There is also another brother who I haven’t been able to trace yet, I have a suspicion that he might also have emigrated to Canada so now would be a good time to find out more about him.

Now I see this project more about investigating this particular generation of the Driver family, so I may have to come up with a new name for the project.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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NEWS: Free access to Canadian Vital Records on Ancestry

16 Feb

Someone at Ancestry must be reading my blog and seeing my need for some Canadian records they have decided that they will open up access to their Canadian Birth, Marriage & Death Collections until the 20th February 2012 (more specifically until 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the 20th February). Either that or it has something to do with Family Day in Canada on the 20th.

The free access (registration required) covers some 28 million records across the following collections:

  • Acadia, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1670-1946
  • Bells Corners Cemetery (Richmond Road)
  • Births-deaths-marriages, Christian messenger
  • British Columbia, Canada, Birth Index, 1872-1903
  • British Columbia, Canada, Death Index, 1872-1990
  • British Columbia, Canada, Marriage Index, 1872-1935
  • Canada Obituary Collection
  • Canada Parliamentary Marriage and Divorces, 1867-1919
  • Crawford Cemetery, Dalhousie Township, Lanark County
  • Elmview Cemetery, Kars, Ontario, North Gower Township, lot 24, conc. 1
  • Kitchener, Ontario German War Graves
  • London Press (Ontario) Obituaries, 1998-99
  • Mariages de l’Enfant-Jesus de la Pointe-aux-Trembles, 1674-1975
  • Marriage Notices of Ontario 1813-1854
  • Nova Scotia, Canada, Births, 1836-1910
  • Nova Scotia, Canada, Deaths, 1864-1877, 1890-1960
  • Nova Scotia, Canada, Marriages, 1763-1935
  • Ontario Marriage Notices [1830-1856]
  • Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913
  • Ontario, Canada Marriage Registers by Clergy, 1896-1948
  • Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928
  • Ontario, Canada Obituaries, 1999-2001: Kitchener Record and Windsor Star
  • Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967
  • Ontario, Canada, County Marriage Registers, 1858-1869
  • Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947
  • Ontario, Canada: Civil Marriage Registrations, 1869-73
  • Ontario, Canada: Roman Catholic Marriages, 1827-1870
  • Ottawa, Canada, Beechwood Cemetery Registers, 1873-1990
  • Quebec, Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families (Tanguay Collection), 1608-1890
  • Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967
  • Répertoire des mariages de Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham, comté de Gatineau : 1853-1963
  • Répertoire des mariages du Lac-Sainte-Marie (Comté de Gatineau) : (1881-1963)
  • Repertoire des mariages, Sainte-Anne-de-la-Perade, 1684-1900
  • Riverside Cemetery Index, New Hambug, Ontario
  • Scottish-American Gravestones, 1700-1900
  • Sheldon Cemetery
  • St. James Anglican Church Cemetery, Hudson, Quebec, Vaudreuil County.
  • St. Paul’s United Church Cemetery (the old Methodist cemetery), Richmond, Ontario
  • St. Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Papineau County, Buckingham, Quebec
  • St. Thomas Anglican Church Cemetery, Stanley’s Corners (formerly Rathwell’s Corners)
  • The Denny Cemetery near Philipsville, Ontario
  • Toronto Star Obituaries, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1999 – April 2000, February 2001
  • Waterloo County, Ontario, Cemetery Inscriptions
  • Web: CanadianHeadstones.com Index, 1700-2010
  • Woodland Cemetery Records, Kitchener, Ontario
  • Zion Cemetery, Scarborough, York County, Ontario

What’s in it for me…

As you can see there is a definite shortage of Alberta records, which is where my attention is currently focused. However, I shall be taking full advantage of this free access to search for Patrick and Kate Vaughan and their children, as there is no guarantee that they remained in Alberta. Also there are one or two other relations scattered in my family tree that ended up in Canada that I haven’t really looked into, including Kate’s brother Asher.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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The hunt for Patrick Vaughan’s service record resumes

14 Feb

My attention had now turned once again to Patrick Vaughan, the second husband of my 2x great-aunt Kate Vaughan, and trying to find his First World War service record.

I had discovered that Patrick was a Canadian and an attestation record on the Library and Archives Canada website proved to be a good match, but I wasn’t 100% certain that this was my man. If I was going to order a copy of his full service record then I needed to be absolutely certain that I had the correct Patrick Vaughan.

My first attempts to find out more about Patrick were largely unsuccessful, I didn’t really know where I should be looking. There were a couple of interesting possibilities hidden behind pay-walls, but by and large nothing that seemed a good match, until I stumbled across a headstone for a Patrick Vaughan on Find A Grave.

This headstone was in Taber Cemetery, and Kate and her family had been heading for Taber when they landed in Canada, this seemed a good match. Furthermore, this was a military headstone, presumably erected by the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, and it gave a the same regimental number as the attestation record.

This looked like the missing link I needed to confirm that the attestation record was for my Patrick Vaughan, but still I wasn’t certain. If only there had been some mention of Kate on the headstone, but it only had a date of death (2nd September 1934). I was still left pondering whether I had enough evidence to order the service record.

Then came my eureka moment. I was soaking in the bath, but my brain was still in Canada, trying to justify the cost of the service record. Then it occurred to me, I had the perfect way of confirming if I had the right man. Patrick had signed his attestation form and of course he would have signed the marriage register.

If I could match those two signatures I could safely order the service record in the knowledge that this was my man. It was so simple and so obvious, I didn’t leap straight  out of the bath, but when I did get out I made a note to check the original marriage register when I next go to the East Sussex Record Office (the copy of the marriage certificate I have doesn’t have the actual signatures of the bride and groom).

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Taking my first steps in Canada

13 Feb

Kate Vaughan (my 2x great-aunt) and four of her children sailed to Canada on the 19th September 1919, leaving behind her daughter Minnie to be looked after by my great-grandmother.

Presumably her new (and second) husband Patrick Vaughan had already returned home after serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War.

I wanted to find out more about Patrick and what became of the family once the had settled in Canada. Given that Kate took four children to Canada it seemed quite likely that I would have some cousins out in Canada (even if she didn’t have any more children with Patrick) that might be able to tell me more about the family.

The problem was that I know almost nothing about family history research in Canada and I knew very little about what became of the family after they arrived.

The passenger list had told me that they were bound for Tabor (or Taber) in Alberta but of course there was no guarantee that they actually ended up there. Of course I also knew that Patrick had been a soldier, and hopefully there would be a record of his service that would give me some more clues.

A good start was finding that Library and Archives Canada have digitised attestation records from the First World War and they are available to search on their website. There is really only one likely record for Patrick Vaughan which provides a few interesting details, but of course it doesn’t mention Kate, his next of kin was his sister Elizabeth.

Although it describes him as a widower, which matches his marriage certificate, the age given is about three years out. Interestingly it states that Patrick was born in Ireland, where his sister still lived.

Unfortunately Patrick’s full service record has not been digitised yet. I could wait patiently for it to be done or I could send the LAC some money to get them to digitise it. I never like parting with my money unless I am 100% certain, and there is just not enough information yet for me to be 100% certain, that this is the right man.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Revisiting the outgoing passenger lists in search of Kate

11 Feb

Having failed to find a record of my 2x great-aunt Kate Vaughan leaving England for Canada, I turned my attention to the other end of the journey and found a passenger list on Ancestry that showed Kate and four of her children arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the 27th September 1919 aboard the White Star liner R.M.S. Baltic.

Armed with this information and the fact that they had sailed from Liverpool, I knew I ought to now be able to find a record of Kate and her family leaving England in the outgoing passenger lists on Findmypast.

Knowing the name of the ship made it pretty easy to narrow down the search, searching by ship name brought up a list of ships and selecting Baltic then brought up a list of years, clicking on 1919 brought up a list of sailings for that year. In the list was a departure on the 19th September 1919, the same date that had been recorded on the remaining fragment of the Driver family bible.

The bible had been correct all along, if only I had been able to search on that exact date I could have saved myself a lot of searching. I wasn’t quite out of the woods yet though, I still had to find Kate and her children in the passenger list, but at least now I only had 47 pages to go through.

I clicked through page after page, scanning the list of names for something that looked like the surname Vaughan. I hadn’t been able to find Kate in a person search, so I was looking for something that might have been mis-transcribed.

I wasn’t until I neared the end of the list that I realised I was getting closer and more pieces of the story began to fit together. The last few pages included the hand-written words across the top “Canadian military dependants forwarded by Can. Govt.” This made perfect sense and confirmed my suspicions, Kate’s husband Patrick Vaughan had been a Canadian soldier and the family were now travelling to Canada to join him.

Sure enough there was Kate, or at least it had to be Kate, the handwriting was not clear and the surname was spelt wrong, but it looked like Vaghan P Mrs. Disappointingly it didn’t list each child, but only gave the number of adults and children in the party, three adults (Kate and her two eldest children) and two children.

Although the passenger list didn’t give me any further information I had at last confirmed when Kate left England and that I needed to be looking in the Canadian archives for a record of Patrick Vaughan’s army service and to find out what became of Kate and her family after they settled in Canada.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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