Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Benjamin Haines, SUE

Benjamin Haines, my great-great-grandfather, was born in Niagara about 1802, son of Nathaniel and Lydia ____ Haines. He married Sarah Elizabeth Freisman, born about 1816 in Niagara, about 1835 in Niagara. Benjamin Haines received an Order in Council as a son of a United Empire Loyalist in November of 1836 and received a grant of land in March of 1837. Benjamin and Sarah Haines lived in Niagara Twp., Lincoln County and raised their family of seven sons and one daughter. They relocated to Aldborough Twp., Elgin County where Benjamin died about 1886, and Sarah in 1892. The whereabouts of Benjamin’s grave is not known, but Sarah is buried in the Rodney Cemetery, Elgin county.

Their children are:

i. Peter, born in 1835, died Mar. 5, 1880
ii. Edward born in 1838, died Sept. 30, 1904
iii. Joseph, born Nov. 1, 1842
iv. John, born Feb. 24, 1844, died Mar. 13, 1932
v. George, born May 3, 1845,did Nov. 21, 1921
vi. James Wiliam, born Oct. 17, 1846, died Apr. 1, 1907
vii. Robert, born Jan. 6, 1848
viii. Adeline, born Feb. 28, 1851

(James, 27? and Jane, 10 is listed in 1881 census, haven’t found any further records on Jane)

Order In Council, 1836

1851 Niagara Census

1881 Elgin county census
1891 Elgin County census
Sarah E. Haines death

Filed under: Family Files, Genealogy, Haines/Hines, Loyalists, ,

Nathaniel Haines, UEL

Nathaniel Haines, my 3rd great-grandfather, was born in Johnsonville, Tryon County, New York about 1760, son of Joseph Haines, Sr.,a recent immigrant from Gemany. He served in the King’s Royal Rangers alongside two of his brothers. He then joined John Butler’s Corp of Rangers until the disbandment at the endof the Revolutionary war.
Nathaniel went with his family, who were accompanied by Col. Butler and his rangers to Lachine, Lower Canada, in 1781. They remained there for a few years and then travelled west to Niagara in Upper Canada in 1784. He married Lydia ___, daughter of a United Empire Loyaist, in Niagara in 1786 and settled in Grantham Twp. Nathaniel and Lyddie had the following children:

i. Catherine, born in 1790, married John Risenburg
i. Andrew, baptised at St. Mark’s Church in Niagara in 1792
iii. Mary,was baptised Jan. 10,1801 at St. Mark’s Church in Niagara, married Richard Ryan of Thorold
iv. Benjamin, born 1802, married Sarah Elizabeth Freisman
v. Elizabeth, baptised Sept. 9, 1804 at St. Mark’s Church in Niagara,
vi. Margaret, baptised May 12, 1805 at St. Mark’s Church in Niagara
vii. Lany, born 1805

from Sons and Daughters of the United Empire Loyalists:

from Old united Empire Loyalists List:

Filed under: Family Files, Genealogy, Haines/Hines, Loyalists, , ,

Tangled Lines

My Tremblay and Desbiens lines are all tangled up, with generation after generation of intermarriages between the families for over three hundred years.

For example,
Etienne Debien II, first-born Desbiens in New France, married Marie-Dorothee Tremblay in 1715,
their grandson,
Etienne Desbiens IV was married to Marie-Francoise Tremblay in 1744,
their son,
Etienne Benjamin Desbiens married Felicite Savard in 1768, great-great-granddaughter of Etienne Desbiens II and Marie-Dorothee Tremblay through their daughter, Marie-Francoise Desbiens .

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, just my direct ancestors before 1800. My great-grandparents, Jean Desbiens and Celinase Tremblay, married in 1883, are just one of the many Desbiens-Tremblay marriages in the 19th century.

I imagine there were lots of inter-marriages in New France and Acadia, and everybody is related who live in or came from the area. It seems like any time I meet someone with French-Canadian roots, I have at least one ancestor and more often, several ancestors in common with them, and that’s with only one French-Canadian grandmother.

It doesn’t seem that illogical, when I think about it, with the religious restrictions of marrying outside of the Catholic faith, and the population increases in New France were from reproducing, not from immigration after the 1600’s. They were from already established families with a limited gene pool to fish from. After the expulsion a lot of families from Acadia came to New France , and, over the years moved back, so the Acadian surnames are found in Quebec as well.

Filed under: Desbiens, Family Files, Genealogy, Tremblay, , ,

Etienne Desbien – Marie Campeau

Etienne Debien is my immigrant ancestor of the Desbiens line, my eighth great-grandfather.

Etienne Debien was born in 1648 in Moulisme, Poitiers, France and came to New France in the 17th century. On Jan. 2, 1691 he married the Montreal-born Marie Campeau, daughter of Etienne Campeau and Catherine Paolo who came from LaRochelle, France. She was the recent widow of Nicholas Pilieur.
Marie Campeau had four children with Nicholas Pilieur: Jean, born in 1686, Nicholas and Marie, born & died in 1687 and Etienne, born in 1690.

Etienne Debien and Marie Campeau had the following children:

Etienne, born in 1691, Francois, born in 1693, Michel, born in 1695, Antoine, born in 1697, Joseph, born in 1699, died in 1722, Marie-Josette, born in 1700, died in 1703, Marie-Anne, born in 1702, died in 1703, and Jean-Baptiste, born in 1704.

Marie Campeau baptism 1665

Etienne Debien – Marie Campeau marriage 1691

Etienne Debien death

After Etienne’s death Marie Campeau remarried to Julien Perusie dit Baguete in 1710.

Marie Campeau death

Filed under: Desbiens, Family Files, Genealogy, , , ,

My Brick Walls – Maria ? married to John Freisman

I am researching my great-grandmother’s family and I have an enormous brick wall as far as her mother, Marie, who was born in Quebec about 1780 . She married John Freisman and they had one child in Quebec before coming to Niagara. If the censuses are correct, John Freisman was born in England. I can’t find any records of their marriage in the Drouin Collection.

Their daughter, Elizabeth, was born about 1795 in Quebec (she said she was 50 in 1851 census of Niagara Twp. and her death record says her age was 97 in 1891) and I can’t seem to find any record of her baptism in the Drouin collection either. There is the baptism of John Freisman, son of John and Maria Freisman on Aug.16, 1807 at Fort George in Niagara. The Freisman family didn’t apply for a Loyalist grant when they came to Niagara, so I am thinking they came for the opportunity to own land. Their daughter, Sarah, married Benjamin Haines about 1836. Two of the children, Peter and Elizabeth, never married. John married and moved to Canboro Twp., Haldimand Cty.

From my research, I’ve learned that there was another Freisman family who immigrated from Holland in the later 19th century. I doubt that there is any connection to them.

Ben & Sarah Freisman Haines 1851 Niagara Twp.

Haines cont’d, Maria Freisman (widow) family, 1851

John Freisman family 1851 Haldimand Twp.
Sarah Freisman Haines census, Aldborough Twp., Elgin Cty. 1891

Sarah Freisman Haines death 1892

Holland-born Freisman census Niagara Twp. 1891

Elizabeth Freisman death 1891

Peter Freisman census 1891 Niagara Twp.

Peter Freisman death 1895

Filed under: Brick Walls, Family Files, Genealogy, Haines/Hines, , , , , ,

“George was just wore out”

I have often wondered about the different diseases listed in my ancestor’s death certificates. I run across Bright’s disease, consumption, teething, etc. and I figure out the modern term for the medical condition.
When I found the record of my great-great-grandfather, George Milne Fairbairn, the cause of death doesn’t seem to be listed anywhere, he was just “worn out”. I have seen ‘old age’ but ‘worn out’ is one that I haven’t come across before.

Filed under: Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy, ,

Fairbairn DNA Project

The Fairbairn DNA Project needs male volunteers from our family with the Fairbairn surname to join the project.

Line leader and participant wanted
Thomas Fairbairn b abt 1746 ?BEW, SCT d. 1814 Leitholm m Elspeth/Eppy Wood
├── James Fairbairn, b. abt 1786 SCT m Margery Rose
├── Thomas Allen Fairbairn, b.1829 Edinburgh, MLN, SCT m Mary
├── John Fairbairn, b.abt 1843 Detroit, Waync Co, MI, USA m. Josephine Martin
└── George D Fairbairn, b. 1847 Detroit, Waync Co, MI, USA m. Emily
├── Robert Fairbairn, b.Nov 1796 Longfomacus, BEW SCT m Helen Milne
├── Thomas Fairbairn, b.Sep 1824 Edinburgh, MLN, SCT m Mary Middlemas
├── George Milne Fairbairn, b.Mar 1838 SCT m Martha Jane McDowell
└── John Fairbairn, b. abt 1801 Edrom, BEW, SCT m Janet Lyal

More information: Fairbairn DNA Project, DNA Lineages, DNA Projects Portal, and Fairbairn (and variants) surname DNA blog

Filed under: Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy,

Origins of the Fairbairn name

from the Armstronog Clan Society. website:

The Armstrong – Fairbairn Link

By DeWitt Armstrong and Donald Fairburn. From The Milnholm Cross Newsletter, Summer 1991, Vol. III No.4. This was the newsletter of The C lan Armstrong Trust and is now called The Milnholm Cross and Trust Topics. The Clan Armstrong Trust helped start the Armstrong Clan Society. Also appeared in The Armstrong Chronicles, August, 2005.

Why is Fairbairn, or Fairburn, a sept of the Armstrong Clan? The answer lies buried deep in the past. So few are the written records surviving from eight or ten centuries ago that our best clues come from oral legend. As with the border Ballads, however, folk legends passed down through untold generations may prove more reliable than written history.

The Armstrong name-legend most widely known appears in many places, but the earliest version was written in 1754. Curiously, every other version contains the same elements and the same omissions. The story goes that in an ancient battle the King of the Scots was unhorsed. His armor bearer Fairbairn, with one arm, picked up the king and sat him upon Fairbairn’s own horse. The grateful king decreed that Fairbairn should thereafter be know as Armstrong, and gave him land along the Scottish Border.

Unmentioned in any version are details of the battle, the name of the king, and who won. Partly because the name Armstrong is recorded along the Border as early as 1223, a consensus among our clan historians inclines towards the Battle of the Standard in 1138, when David I lost to the English about 90 miles south of the Border. To us this seems reasonable, especially since the legend makes no claim that, owing to Fairbairn’s gallant rescue, the Scots were victorious. Had they won, would the legend have failed to say so?

Another legend, however, has come down through centuries of Armstrongs. It used to be immersed in a fog of fairy tales, closely matching Danish folklore, whose interest for our present purpose would be slight, except for the appearance within them of the Fairy Bear, which is to say the Fair Beorn.

According to this ancient legend, the Armstrong progenitor was an Anglo-Danish Earl of York, Northumbria, Huntingdon, and Northampton named Siward. Earl Siward was a great warrior, sometimes called, ‘the Strong’, and he was a major figure in the final chapters of Anglo Saxon history just before the Norman Conquest in 1066. The College of Heralds says that Earl Siward’s father was an Earl in England named Beorn, and some scholars say that Siward was a nephew of Cnut (or Canute), King of England. It was Cnut, at any rate, who about 1033 made Siward the Earl of York. Siward then conquered Northumbria about 1042, to bring that kingdom for the first time under the English monarch, with Siward as its earl. On gaining the English throne, Edward the Confessor kept Siward in his earldoms, so that Siward remained one of the most powerful men in Britain.

Then, up in Scotland, Macbeth killed King Duncan, who had married Earl Siward’s sister (or possibly his cousin ). Siward provided sanctuary for Malcolm, son of Duncan, and in 1054 led his army north, accompanied by Malcolm At Dunsinane, Earl Siward defeated Macbeth, whereupon Siward’s nephew (or cousin) became Malcolm III, of Scots. (Editor) This killing by Macbeth and mention of Siward’s victory is noted in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.

Let us now note some evidence incised in stone. From Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Recall the witches’ prophecy “… until great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come..”, and we recall Siward’s troops advancing camouflaged with oak bows. Well, oak trees and bows appear on a number of ancient Armstrong coats of arms, some still visible on tombstones along the Scottish Border and in Northern Ireland. Also appearing on tombstones are swords of Danish Viking style. Moreover, the main feature of the most ancient Armstrong monument, the Milnholm Cross in Liddesdale, (dating from between 1250 and 1350), is a great two-handed, cross-hilt sword of the Viking sort. A similar sword is on the 1583 arms of the Armstrong clan chief, among the remains of Mangerton.

We turn to chronicles of the time to trace the sons and grandsons of Earl Siward. His younger son Waltheof, also a noted warrior, became Earl of Northumbria under William the Conqueror but in 1076 was beheaded for rebellion. Siward’s elder son Osbeorn was killed in the battle at Dunsinane, but he left two sons of his own, Siward the Fair (or the White) and Siward the Red. About the latter we know only through family legend, but the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and other contemporary sources call the former by the name of Siward Barn, and they tell of four events in his life.

1) In 1070, King Malcolm while ravaging Northumbria, found on ships at the mouth of the Wear River and a band of royal and noble Anglo-Saxons. They were Edward the Confessor’s heir Edgar Atheling, his mother and sisters, plus Siward Barn, Earl Marlswein, and ‘several other Englishmen of great rank and wealth’. Having failed in a Danish aided attempt to expel William the Conqueror, they hoped for refuge in Scotland. Malcolm assured them of safe residence there, and after his return soon married Atheling’s sister Margaret, whose pro­foundly civilizing effect upon Malcolm and Scotland led to her sainthood.

2) In 1071, another revolt against William the Conqueror occurred. Siward Barn brought a large body of troops deep into England, to Ely, and joined in rebellion with several noble kinsmen, including Hereward the Wake and the former earls Morcar and Edwin. Against them William the Conqueror personally led the coun­teroffensive, shattering the rebel force. Capturing Siward Barn and Morcar, he kept them alive, as captives, in Normandy for seventeen years.

3) When dying in 1087, King William the Conqueror released Morcar and Siward Barn. Morcar was re-impris­oned by the new king of England. Siward Barn managed to avoid capture and re-imprisonment.

The final written record of Siward Barn is dated 1091, in Durham, near the Border and well east of Carlisle. It is a charter bearing signatures of King William Rufus, of royal officials, and of noble witnesses. The latter include several earls and Siward Barn. Historians think the charter may be a forgery made a few decades later. Even if it is, we see that a knowledgeable ecclesiastical forger of the early 1100s regarded Siward Barn as a Border region noble sufficiently worthy to list in exalted company.

The language used between 1104 and 1108 by the Durham chronicler Simeion to report the 1087 release by the dying king is worth noting. Simeon wrote “he liberated. . . Siward surnamed Barn.. .”. The significance for us is that nine centuries ago scarcely anyone in Britain possessed a surname. Only in the 1100s did surnames begin to appear, and most people lacked them until the 1300s or 1400s.

Spelling was picturesquely variable in the Middle Ages, and later, too. Bjorn, Biorn, Beorn, Barne, Barne, Burn, and Bairn could equally be used for the same person, even though in Denmark Bjorn meant ‘bear’ and in Scotland Bairn meant ‘child’. We could hardly be so foolish as to assert that no Fairbairn in Scotland by the 1500s, say, owed his surname to the juvenile handsomeness of some forbearer. But we do believe that the Border landholder Thomas Fairbarne who sued in a North Tynedale court in 1279 derived his name from Earl Siward’s grandson Siward Barn. Further research into records of the region, we feel, may well turn up still earlier Fairbarns, however spelled

Research by the Clan Armstrong Trust in Scotland has uncovered earlier instances of the sllnl’!h’tlt: Armstrong in the early 1200s. Their locations, like Thomas Fairbarne’s, are all in the near vicinity of the Border as it then existed. In that era Scotland and England were still actively contending for possession of Northumberland and Cumberland. Even though the second Anglo-Norman king turned the Carlisle area into an English stronghold in 1092, that area was frequently held by Scottish monarchs thereafter. Penrith, located further south, was often a possession of the King of Scots as well. These are areas where the Armstrongs were recorded in the 1200s.

Exactly when the Armstrongs settled in Liddesdale will probably never be known for sure. On that front line, records did not survive the incessant warfare.

Some students think Liddesdale was Armstrong country during the 1200s and possibly during some of the 1100s. Just across a saddle in the Cheviot Hills from Liddesdale lay North Tynedale, where we know of one Fairbarne in 1279.

So these two legends, of Armstrong descent from Siward through Siward Barn (or the Fair), and of Fairbairn renamed Armstrong by a rescued king, strike us as simply two sides of the same coin. To date, each new discovery has tended to reinforce this opinion, to support the ancient conviction that Armstrongs and Fairburns (or Fairbairns) are the same stock. Short of the Pearly Gate we are not likely to know for sure, but let the search go on!

Filed under: Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy, , ,

My Mother, the Poet

Marian Joyce Neil Hines Nov.30, 1936 – August 15, 2008

I have just recently started blogging, I’m still getting used to writing in whole sentences where my genealogy is concerned, I’ve been so accustomed to genealogy short-forms and fact-gathering. Now, to put the facts together in sentences that are interesting to read as well as informative to tell their story.
I am not a writer, I have always liked creative writing, but I didn’t excel in it. My mom was a poet, she could create a poem about anything, but her favourite subject was our family. She passed away last August, and I am gathering a collection of her poetry together to make into a book as a tribute to her. Here is a poem she wrote for my grandmother:


Time never, nor space, could ever erase

the picture that’s hung in my heart

of that dear, lovely lady’s sweet beckoning face,

expressions will never depart.

The smile that was gleaming when e’r I knew joy,

the bitter tears when I knew sorrow,

The frown when I, evil task would employ,

the hope of much gladder tomorrows.

Whenever I failed there was naught but despair,

in achievement was nothing but pride,

and no artist’s brush can ever compare

with the picture of her, here inside.

Glowing with sun-rays of love, just for me,

in every chore and all duty.

All that I am, I owe to her now,

may gratitude never diminish.

Because that I feel in Heaven above,

angels whispering to one another,

can find among burning turns of their love,

none with the devotion of Mother.

Written by my mother, Marian Neil Hines (1936- 2008) for her mother, Ruby Fairbairn Neil Allison

My mother was born November 30, 1936, she was a twin, her brother Stephen died shortly after birth. She was raised in Windsor, the small town of Essex, and Cottam, a village near Essex, in Essex County, Ontario. My mom was raised in a Scotch-Irish family with strong religious convictions.

On June 14, 1947, she was taking care of her younger brother while her mother worked, when he was struck by a car and was killed. She thought that she was being punished by God for not watching him closer when, on the 17th, a tornado ripped through Windsor, leaving 11 people dead and 100 injured. She was one of the injured, a brick wall fell on her and her knee was crushed. She had to have a it repaired surgically and made a full recovery although she was bothered by arthritis later in life. My grandparents were divorced after that and my grandmother remarried when mom was in her teens.

My mom knew my dad most of her life, her grandmother was his father’s first cousin. He used to come in to the diner where my grandmother worked and my mom liked him a lot, although she was only eight years old and he was ten years older than her. He told her then that he was going to marry her someday, so she waited.

They got married on April 20, 1957 and started a family together. They had seven children, three sons and four daughters in the next twelve years. After 24 years of marriage, they were divorced, but she never remarried, saying her husband was still alive, and she couldn’t break her vow to God.

Mom moved in with me in November of 2007, after being hospitalized for heart failure. I’m glad that I was able to take care of her, she was afraid of going into a nursing home. She enjoyed doing jigsaw puzzles and crosswords, but she had cataracts and couldn’t see very well, on top of that the doctor said she had conjunctivitis and sent her home with eyedrops. After a week with no improvement, she went to the optometrist and he diagnosed her as having glaucoma and sent her to a specialist that afternoon because she was going blind as a result. She had both cataracts removed so he could treat the glaucoma, but lost the sight totally in one eye and the other eye wasn’t very good. She never could do her puzzles again.

Mom’s worst fear about dying was the process, she didn’t want to have to go into a nursing home, she didn’t want to die in the hospital, but she didn’t want to be a burden either. She was getting sicker, she was diabetic, but she wasn’t’ able to eat anything, her stomach was always upset, she said from her meds, so my sister was going to take her to the emergency room to get her prescription changed. She passed away when my sister came to pick her up to go to the hospital, we walked her to the truck, she sent my sister back in for her nitroglycerine inhaler, she forgot it and she needed it, and when she got back to the truck, she said that she wasn’t feeling well and she said ‘well, here it comes’ and she was gone. She had such a calm look on her face, I kew she was finally pain-free. So, she died peacefully, quickly, and she wasn’t alone.

Filed under: Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy, Haines/Hines, O'Neil/Neil, , , , ,

Historic Honeymoon Destination

When my husband and I were married in 2oo1, the only place we even thought about going was Niagara Falls. We had no idea why, maybe because it is traditional, or close, but we were drawn to the area.

We went to all the usual historical tourist attractions in the area,

Laura Secord’s monument

General Sir Isaac Brock’s monument,

scene of the Battle of Queenston Heights,

Fort George in Niagara-on-the-lake,

and the locks at the Welland Canal.

I started researching my family history four years later, and to my surprise, both of our families lived at Niagara for generations after the Revolutionary war before coming to Essex County. After I discovered this, we planned an extended camping trip, with a side-trip to the Niagara region on the way home. We looked at things with fresh eyes.
We visited Doan’s Ridge Cemetery in Welland County and found my 3rd great-grandmothers’ gravestone,

most of the family stones were too illegible to read, but I knew from talking with the caretaker that those were thier gravestones.

We looked for Butler’s baracks, stopped at a small church and asked someone for directions, and she lived there all her life and didn’t know where it was. The church was right behind the barracks, it used to be part of the barracks!

We toured the Butler’s Barracks and saw where our ancestors hung their hats. The Lincoln Militia use some of the buildings for storage and restoration of different vehicles.

there is a display area with mememtos from the history of the unit.

We went to the Col. John Butler Family burying ground wich had been restored by the
Niagara Hitorical Society.

No trip to Niagara Falls would be complete without a visit to Drummond Hill Cemetery, the scene of the battle for Lundy’s Lane.

Here is a hand-carved pioneer headstone.

Filed under: Brat/Bradt, Family Files, Genealogy, Haines/Hines, Special Events, , , , , , , , , ,

February 2009