Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

My Two Passions

Genealogy is one of my passions, collecting is another. I thought that I would combine the two in this blog. I have, since I was young, been interested in anything that was “old”. I started out collecting fossils and coins, I saved any coin that was older than me. I was always on the look-out for Indian arrowheads, although I never came across any.

Now, I collect things like my grandmother and great-grandmother might have used in their kitchens, mixing bowls, sifters, a range set, some enamelware, etc.. I have a lot of depression era glass as well as some antique transfer-ware, and I couldn’t pass up a couple of baby bottles that were made the year my dad was born.

I started collecting flowerpots, because they reminded me of all of the violets that my grandmother used to grow all over the house, they were always in full bloom. I also have my grandmother’s mahogany lamp table, and a couple of old oak school desks with all of the dents and scratches of years of students use, one of which my youngest grandson sits at whenever he’s here.

I have a cradle that is really primitive and rustic, it looks like it was home-made, it must be at least 150 years old. I don’t know who made it, but I like to imagine all of the babies that were rocked to sleep over the years in it. It is well-worn and it still works, I used it for my youngest grandson to nap in when he was small, he used to like just sitting in it, rocking and playing with his toys. When he grew out of it, he started keeping his toys in it.

Another item I collect is books, history, local histories, Canadiana, and I have some old local newspapers from the early 1900’s, too. I have some that used to belong to the first mayor of Leamington, which have articles about his elections and the greenhouse industry from WWI era.
When you think about it, genealogy is just another kind of collecting, collecting family history.

Filed under: Genealogy,

11th Ed. Smile for the Camera – Bothers and Sisters – Our Birthday Party

My brother and I celebrated our birthdays at the same time when we were little, our birthdays were 8 days apart. Here is a picture of my 2nd and my brother’s 3rd birthday party in September, 1960. My youngest sister at the time was born in September also, but she wasn’t there, she was only a few weeks old and couldn’t have cake yet.

Filed under: Carnivals, Family Files, Genealogy, Haines/Hines, Smile For The Camera, ,

“Why are we here and not living in a palace?”

My mom told me that when she was a child, her grandmother, Mary Queen O’Neil claimed to be descended from the Royals of Scotland. My mother doubted her and said “if we are, why are we here and not living in a palace?”

Well, I’m trying to see whether she was right, so I’ve been researching my great-grandmother’s ancestry. I know that the Kings of Ireland up until the 1600’s were O’Neils, but that was her husband, my great-grandfather’s side.

Mary Queen’s grandfather, Andrew McDowell Queen was born in 1832 in Port Patrick, Wigtown, Scotland in 1832, son of Robert (Mc)Queen and Janett Milroy. He was married to Mercy Stuart in 1850 in Scotland, who was born in 1834. Was she descended from the House of Stuart? I wonder…

Filed under: Family Files, Genealogy, O'Neil/Neil, , , ,

COG #68 – A Tribute to Women – Sarah Haines, UEL

I received this from a descendant of Joseph Haines, Jr.. The author, Pergrine Otway-Page was the son of Sarah, born 1814, died 1904.

“It was about the year 1776, after the loss of all their property because of loyalty to their King and Crown, that my ancestors on my mother’s side were forced to migrate to Canada. However, it is uncertain from what part of the United States they came. They reached Canada after a long, dangerous journey of much suffering and privation. Arriving first at Fort Niagara and there resting a few days, they were transferred to Canada under the British flag.

The family consisted of my grandfather, the late Joseph Haines, his wife, four sons, Peter, Philip, Edward* and Joseph, and two daughters Sarah, my mother, and her sister, who afterward married a Mr. Whitney. When about one day’s march from the frontier, Sarah who was but eight years of age, while bringing water from a nearby spring, was seized by two squaws and wrapped in their blankets and carried away. It was in the early evening after a whole day’s weary travel, but her brothers pursued them and shot one when the squaws quietly let loose their little captive, and she was thus recovered in perfect safety. The same gun had been their protection upon other occasions during their escape to Canada, and I have it to this day in my possession in perfect order.

My grandfather, Joseph Haines, was granted 200 acres of land on the Four Mile Creek in the township of Niagara, His son Joseph was also granted 200 acres adjoining his father. Peter received his grant in the township of Ancaster, near Hamilton. Mrs. Whitney got her 200 acres on the Humber, and Sarah was granted 200 acres in Darlington twp. My grandfather, Joseph Haines, died at the Humber at the reported age of 130 years.

My father, Thomas Otway-Page, came to Canada form England in 1792. He was highly connected by blood, the eldest brother of the eminent Gen. Sir Loftus William Otway and Admiral Sir Robert Wiler Otway, but he attached his mother’s maiden name Page on reaching Canada. In England he was a Tory and a fast friend of Gen. Maitland, afterwards Governor-General, but his fearless advocacy of free speech and equal rights to all caused a rupture with Gov. Maitland because he could not condone the outrage committed by the order of Sir Peregrine Maitland upon one Robert Randall under the form of the law. and also for having caused Mr. Forsyth’s house to be tumbled into the Niagara River at Niagara Falls, and for which Sir Peregrine Maitland was recalled by the home government.

“My grandfather subsequently became a staunch Baldwin Reformer of influence. He was inofficiously educated and a man of wide and liberal views. My mother was a widow, Bland by name, with two children, Philip and Margaret, when my father married her in 1808. In the meantime my father had bought among other lands in Bertie lot B.F.L.E., Point Albino, which was granted in 1797 to one Timothy Skinner, a U.E. Loyalist, who had migrated from the States contemporaneously with the Haines family. My mother sold her grant in Darlington, and they moved to Bertie on Lot 32 B.F.L.E., where the family has always resided since 1808.

During the War of 1812 my father joined a detachment of the 89th Dragoons, to which he had belonged in England, and while he fought throughout the war with Captain Chambers in defense of his home, King and country, my mother looked after the farm, and she even prepared and wove the clothing from the flax worn by those on the farm, in addition to her household duties, etc., and was frequently obliged to ride to Niagara in the dead of night, a distance of thirty miles, on horseback.

During one of those nocturnal trips to Niagara, taken in the evening of the 12th of October, 1812, being about to leave Niagara towards morning, having just secured her countersign, she heard the battle of Queenston going on and shortly after saw Gen. Sir Isaac Brock and his aide-de-camp, Col. MacDonnell, ride away to the scene of action, to their fate. It was she who remarked that Gen. Brock had forgotten his sword, a very strange incident, but he refused to return for it and remarked that he had a presentiment that it would be his last battle, which subsequently proved only too true. She remained at Niagara until victory crowned ore arms, and in the evening of the same day she realized how dearly that victory had been bought when news reached Niagara that the mortal remains of Gen. Sir Isaac Brock and his faithful aide-de-camp were on the way to Fort George, where, in the presence of Gen. Roger Sheaffe, both bodies were laid to rest in one grave with the tears and sorrow of the whole country.”

“In July 1814, my mother, having learned of the firing by the Americans of the village of St. David’s, promptly sent all her able-bodied farm servants to the seat of war, and the next day, the 25th of July, 1814, the terrible battle of Lundy’s Lane was fought. She also sent her only son, Philip, who was but sixteen years of age, and he was orderly for Gen. Drummond during that day and night of carnage.

My mother garnered the grain with the help of small boys that summer, and with horses all disabled by the incidents of war. I was born the 22nd of August in the same year and was named after father’s fast friend, Sir Peregrine Maitland. My father had his horse shot under him at Lundy’s Lane, and received a musket ball in his thigh which he carried with him to his grave in 1832. Three of my uncles were at the battle of Sandwich under Gen. Brock, including my uncle Philip, who was burned to death in Toronto shortly afterwards.

My father belonged to Captain Chambers’ company of fifty picked men. They were the terror of three hundred American frontier cow tails who were reputed to harass the inhabitants. They once took possession of our farm, and loaded nineteen wagons with all our grain, hay, provisions, etc., in the fall of 1814, and we were compelled that winter to pay $16.00 per barrel for our flour.

It was at this time, when I was but a few months old, they came near pelting me to death, sportively, with our fine golden pippen apples. They sacked our cellar, taking there from all our winter’s meat, including four saddles of dried venison, and stole mother’s carving knife, a relic she had brought from her home in the United States, but it was returned and is still in our possession in fair order. The soldier who took it was ordered by the captain to apologize to my mother for the theft, and was also reprimanded for using impudent language towards her.”

“I can never cease to admire the resolute bravery of my mother, who in many respects was a most remarkable woman. While father was a large and powerful man, mother was small in stature, dark complexioned, with piercing black eyes, very small feet and small slim hands. Her hair was black as a raven, and so extremely long that she could stand erect on it trailing on the floor. A fearless rider on horseback, she was as resolute as she was active. One incident proves this; about 1822, a mischievous boy set fire to a cat, which dashed up a steep ladder into the garret of our house, where father kept his store of gunpowder covered with cotton waste. Smoke issued at once. I screamed fire to my mother, and she took a two pail bucket of water and ascended the ladder and extinguished the fire, but not until three of the hoops were burned off one of the powder kegs.

After the war, times began very much to improve. My father took a position as acting sheriff under Sheriff Hamilton for the united counties of Welland and Lincoln in 1816, and acted in that capacity until 1822, the family, with my mother at its head, remaining on our lands here, My father, however, commenced a business in Toronto shortly after 1828, and while attending to his business as storekeeper he died there in 1832.

In the meantime, he had left a kind old gentleman and a fast friend to our family on Point Albino, by name Dennis, under bond to dare for that part of our estate, and as it was useless for farming purposes, he subsisted chiefly by cultivating a few acres, fishing and netting pigeons. Mr. Dennis furnished us with barrels of salted pigeons on condition that I would not destroy his pigeon business by shooting them, and so expert did he become at pigeon-netting that he considered a take on one day of less than fifty dozen during the season a poor day. He often exceeded that number very much. This kind old man died in 1834, full of gratitude to our family. In the meantime I had grown from an infant hunter of four years of age with a pack of wolf-dogs that protected me from rattlesnakes and carrying a musket with flints, to an age when I should make it the rule to shoot off the heads of wild pigeons with my rifle.”

“When I was about 10 years of age, our place being terribly infested with rattlesnakes, I was bitten by one in the top of my foot. This nearly proved fatal. It was many months before I recovered, and then I became subject to fits until I was 15.

The Rebellion of 1837 broke out when I was about 18 years of age. My mother, ever imbued with a martial spirit, advised me to turn out, which I did, and I was the second recruit to volunteer under Col. Kirby, leaving an eccentric philosopher named Brandyman, who had been my tutor from childhood, with my mother on the farm, and I was mainly instrumental in causing the volunteers to be armed with muskets, which were not at first issued to them. I had no trouble in instructing the recruits to shoot, for I was about as perfect a marksman in those days as could be found anywhere.

I was married in April, 1839, to Miss Magdaline Snider. She was a most dutiful wife and fond mother to my four children and her 19 grandchildren, but to our great sorrow and grief, she passed over to the majority in 1890, aged 75 years, regretted by all.

My mother died in 1852, full of years, aged 84, and she was laid to rest, by her special request, on the bank of Lake Erie, on Lot 32 B.F.L.E., overlooking Point Albino Bay, a most beautiful spot in front of a few garden acres which had been her delight to cultivate during her earlier years, but now for years overgrown with wild sweet balsams. This little plot had been consecrated as the burial-place of pioneers many, many years previous to 1852, and was made more sacred as the last resting-place of all that was mortal of one who was a noble heroine, and with all the attributes of the kindest mother.”

* I haven’t found any record for Edward or Peter, possibly a lapse of memory on the author’s part. Children of record are : Philip, Joseph, Jr., Nathaniel, Sarah, Margaret and Mary upon arrival in Niagara. One son was killed in the Revolutionary war.
– Loyalist Claims for Losses #988

Filed under: Carnival of Genealogy, Carnivals, Family Files, Genealogy, Haines/Hines, Loyalists, , , , ,

Brick Walls – Lyddie ?, married to Nathaniel Haines

I have another brick wall to post, my 3rd great-grandmother, Lyddie or Lydia, married to Nathaniel Haines in Niagara, Upper Canada in 1786. The only info I have on her is that she was the daughter of a loyalist. That’s not much to go on, most single women in Niagara at that time were daughters of loyalists.

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

Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture 12th Edition – A Letter from Ireland

I found this letter on-line a few years ago and was quite surprised that it was from a family member. Walter Shuel was married to Jane O’Neil. James O’Neil, who married Eliza Shuel in Detroit in 1848, was my 3rd great-grandfather. It is an example of the state of affairs in post-famine Ireland and the communications difficulty at the time in the 19th century. My mom mentioned that her sister was best friends with a Huggard girl who lived in Essex, Ontario.

After Walter died, Jane immigrated to Canada. She first went to New Brunswick and stayed with or near a Huggard family there. The Huggard’s were landlords in Co. Kerry before and probably during the famine.
Jane and family eventually moved to Detroit for a short while, and then back to Canada, settling in Essex Co.
Following is a transcript of a letter Jane received from her sister Millie in Caherciveen.

My Dear Sister
Caherciveen, April 2, 1854

I take this opportunity of writing these few lines to you hoping they may find you and family and Brothers in as good state of health as this leaves us at present thanks be to God for all his mercy to us. I received your letter a few days since which gave us great pleasure that ye were all well and doing well. May the Lord be thanked for all his blessings to us. I received a letter from you in October last and wrote_____answer to it the day after I received it. Seems you did not get it wherein you mentioned that you received no answer since last August from me. I mentioned to James if he did not like that country the same way was for doing at home as when he left me it seems he has not notion of coming here wherein he would not write affirms to his uncle or William or me. William is getting a very good sturdy boy and growing very big and stout. he will make a very stout handsome man. I hope the Lord will direct him. James Shuel, John Suels (sic) son went to America last month. He was living with us here since last August. We gave him money to take him to America. It was better send him where he could do something that to stop here.
James Shuel was very well since he was in Tralee until this fortnight past. He was not very well. He is something better today thanks be to God. The seton that was in his neck wore out and I am afraid he must get one on his neck again. We are doing all the Business that is supporting us. Every thing _____ very high here. flour 3-6 per stone, beef__per lb., Mutton 6 per lb., pork 8 per lb, butter 10 per lb., Indian meal 1-9 to 1-10 per stone. It is very well for you to leave this country, there is so much taxes here especially on the poor that it is very hard for them to survive. My dear Jane you will not neglect writing to me once in three months for it is great comfort to us to hear from you and family. Brothers and sisters and Catherine and her family was well the last time I heard from them and was doing well. The land they have now is better for them than [?Killlunafinan]. Jane is doing well all friends are in good health thanks be to God. My Aunt Catherine is here with us yet I thought to write to sister Mary and brother Richard to know how they were. Would wish to know how they are getting on if I knew their address. If you mentioned to me in the next letter you would send to me I would feel obliged to you and if you have heard any account of Sandy Neal-Brother Johns son. I was speaking to Peggy Giles the time I was in Tralee and she had no account of him. She desired me to write to you to know had you any account of him. James Shuel, William, My Aunt joins with me to send their best love to you and family and Brother William, Jane and her husband. Brother Alexander and wife and family and all enquiring friends and I remain your sister
[signed] Milly Shuel

Dear Jane
I hope you will not neglect writing to me once in three months
I won’t post this pay this thinking it may go the sooner.
Let me know how __eddy is or does he _____yet.
Addressed to
Wm Alexander O’Neil
Canada West
British America
To be forwarded to Mrs Jane Shuel

March 16 – New Movie about Irish Famine on History TV
The movie, “Death or Canada”, will air on Monday, March 16, at 8 p.m. on History TV.
Nominated for an Irish Film and Television Academy Award for Best Documentary Series, this powerful docudrama reveals a forgotten chapter of the great Irish Famine, and how the fledging City of Toronto was brought to its knees by the greatest humanitarian crisis of the 19th. century. For more information, visit
View the website!

Filed under: Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture, Carnivals, Family Files, Genealogy, O'Neil/Neil, , , ,

Why so much interest in the Doane family?

The reason is simple, two of my great-grandmothers, both maternal and paternal, were Doans. On my paternal side, Harriet Fernetta Doan, my great-grandmother, was the 2nd great-granddaughter of Titus Doane, Sr., great-granddaughter of Titus Doane, Jr., grand-daughter of Isaac Doan, daughter of Linus and Hannah (Doan) Doan. Harriet was born in Ohio in Dec. of 1854 and came to Canada Jan. 1855. The family must have been to Ohio visiting for Christmas when Harriet was born, as they lived in Welland County, Ontario. Harriet and John Haines/Hines were married in Welland, Ontario in 1872 and relocated first to Elgin County and then to Essex, Ontario between 1894 and 1897.

On my maternal side, Jessie Izillia Doan, my great-grandmother, was the 3rd great-granddaughter of Titus Doan, Sr., born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, came to Ontario in 1793, 2nd great-granddaughter of Titus Doane, Jr., great-grand-daughter of Isaac Doan, grand-daughter of Linus and Hannah (Doan) Doan, daughter of Allan Clark Doan, Harriet’s brother. Jessie Doan was born in Pelham Twp., Welland County on May 24, 1875. The family was living in Essex according to the census in 1891. She married Robert Fairbairn on Nov. 1, 1893 in Essex, Ontario.

My 2nd/3rd great-grandmother, Hannah Maud Doan, was the daughter of William Doan, brother of Isaac.
Therefore, I have less surnames to research, and I have more Doan genes than any other. The Doane family history is readily available, as is the case for most ‘gateway ancestors’ , and I find their history interesting, so if I post alot of information about the Doane/Doan family, I’m not playing favourites.

Filed under: Doane/Doan, Family Files, Genealogy, , , , ,

Elijah Doane

My sixth great-grandfather, Elijah Doane, was born in Cape Cod, Massechusets, on April 3, 1694, the son of Daniel Doane, Jr. and Mehitabel Twining. His family was the first New England family to go to Pennsylvania in 1695 after getting a certificate of removal from the Middletown Monthly Meeting. His family was the first in the family to leave Cape Cod and the first to forsake the church and join the Society of Friends.
He grew up in Wrightstown, Bucks County and was married to Catherine Wilson on Nov. 4, 1718 out of unity of the Society of Friends. On Nov. 4, 1728, he made an apology to the Society for marrying out of unity and it was accepted.
His death was announced in the Philadelphia Gazette implying that he died quite suddenly while in that city. Widow Catherine appointed administratrix on estate, 1736, 9, 25.

Children, from records of Wrightstown Monthly Meeting :
i Ann,’ b. 1718, 9, 24.
ii Mary, b. 1721, 2,24.
iii Rebecca, b. 1723, 6, 12.
iv Joanna, b. 1725, 3, 8.
93 v Titus, b. 1727, 3, 29.
vi Catherine, b. 1729, 11, 3.

The Doane Family – Descendants of Deacon John Doane by Alfred Alder Doane, 1902

Filed under: Doane/Doan, Family Files, Genealogy, ,

Tombstone Tuesday – My German Ancestry

My 6th great-grandfather lived in Green County, Tennessee. Henricus Steinseifer was born in Eisenfeld, Westfaln, Germany on July 27, 1739 and immigrated to Philadelphia in 1749 with his family. Heinricus, aka Henry Stonecypher, married Catherine Call in Culpepper, Virginia in 1760. Catherine died in 1778 in Davie, South Carolina. Henry died in Green County, Tennessee in 1832 at 93 years of age.

Henry and Catherine’s son, Solomon Stonecipher, was born in Surrey, North Carolina in 1772. He married Elizabeth Hawkins Nov. 18, 1796 in Green County, Tennessee. Solomon died in Green County, Tennessee on Sept. 2, 1844. Elizabeth died in Green County, Tennessee in 1824.

Absolom Stoncifer, Solomon’s brother, was born in 1769 and married Sarah Humbert. Absolom died in 1861 in Green County, Tennessee at the age of 92. Sarah died in Green County, Tennessee on Jan. 11, 1860 at the age of 85.

There is a story about Absolom Stoncifer in my blog, My Crockett Connections.

Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Family Files, Genealogy, O'Neil/Neil, Tombstone Tuesday, , , ,

Cabinet of Curiosities 15th Edition – What did I dig up?

While we were digging our pond, about 3 feet down, I came across this piece of iron. It just looked like a chunk of rust when I first saw it, but after cleaning off some of the mud and rust,it started to take shape. When I first cleaned it off, there were thin, black pieces of what I thought looked like leather on the rusty metal that had mineralized and they fell off with the rust. It has a round end and the other end is tapered and flattened. On the round end it looks like there is threading. like a screw, but when you look closer, it isn’t one spiral groove, it is several separate grooves in a row, not evenly spaced. the centre of it is flat and it is hard to see from the pictures, but there is a square depression like there once was a handle, but it is filled in with rust and I’m afraid to clean it any further, I don’t want to damage it any more than it already is.

I took it to the curator at Fort Malden to look at, and he took some pictures of it. He said that it was hand-wrought iron, but it looked too small to be a trade tomahawk. I haven’t heard anything back from him yet.

I am curious to know where it came from, whether or not it is a tomahawk. The lot we live on is listed as part of a farm lot, but it’s right downtown, there hasn’t been a farm here for probably 100 years, our house is about 90 years old, and it doesn’t look like any part of any farm equipment that would have been used back then. Have you any ideas?

Filed under: Cabinet of Curiosities, Carnivals,

March 2009