Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

I Can’t Find Lany!

I am having a hard time finding any records for Lany Haines, my 2nd great-aunt. I have found that she was baptized at St. Mark’s Church in what is now Niagara-on-the-lake, but at the time it was Fort George.

My 2nd great-uncle, John Freisman, older brother of Sarah, was also baptized at Fort George. Is it a coincidence that his wife’s name was also Lany, or is this a case of siblings marrying siblings? I don’t think that Lany was a very common name and the population was sparse in Upper Canada so I am looking for any marriage and death records, probably in parish records at St. Mark’s Church. I will have to check next time I’m in the area.

Filed under: Brick Walls,

Surname Saturday – Desbiens

I am searching for any of my grandmother’s sibling’s family. My grandmother, Josephine, was born in Essex County in 1897. Her family was from the Charlevoix Quebec area and came to Essex County, Ontario about 1890. John Desbiens and Celina Tremblay had a large family but I don’t know much about them other than what I have from obituaries. As far as I know, three of her oldest siblings were born in Quebec, the rest were born in Essex County.

John and Celina Tremblay Desbiens’ family:

Marie Louise, born 1884, died before 1891 census
Joseph, born 1885, married Aurize Laliberte in Belle River on Oct. 15, 1912, she died a year later during choldbirth
Emile,born 1890
Louis Thomas
Medard married Marie Girard in Bele River on Oct. 20, 1914
Eugene, born 1893
Delia, born 1893
Adelina Debrah
Josephine, born 1897, married Wm.E. Hines, Oct. 6,1917
Celina married Walter Randall in Belle River on Jan.16, 1912
John J.,born 1901
Eva, born 1905

If you are researching these families or have any information about them, please leave a message or contact me.

Filed under: Desbiens, Surname Saturday

Surname Saturday – Brat, Bradt

My husband is descended from the Albany family of Bradts, from Albert “the
Norman” Brat, his brother founded the Schenectady family. I started a new
database for my husband’s family. I’ve been gathering Dutch Reformed Church
records from Albany before the Rev. War. They spelled the surname Brat in the
records. I was looking for John Bradt who was married to Susan Seger, I found
him, Jan Brat, married to Zantje Zeger.

I found the baptismal records for their
son, Myndert (Minor) in 1760, born in 1758, married to Catherine Van Alstine, but didn’t
find any marriage records for him there, he must have been married in Upper
Canada ( my 2nd great-aunt was Catherine Haines, married Daniel Van Alstine,
maybe she widowed young and was the Catherine I’m looking for, wouldn’t that be
a hoot?). Not much hope of finding the record here, there were no churches here
(Ontario) until 1792. Maybe I can find a baptismal record from St. Mark’s Church
in Niagara for his children.

His son, William, married to Elizabeth Austin, born
in Albany, NY is who my husband descends from. Their son, George married
Catherine Hoover and moved to Pelee Island after her death, and he’s buried on the

Charles Bradt was born in Cayuga Twp., Haldimand county in 1881 and moved to Pelee Island with his father and brothers. He was married to Alzina Lee and resided on Pelee Island.

Filed under: Brat/Bradt, Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Family Files, Genealogy, Surname Saturday, ,

Wordless Wednesday – Charles Bradt

In an earlier post, I identified this photo as Charles Phipps on Pelee Island, but the correct identity is Charles Bradt on Phipp’s farm on Pelee Island.

Filed under: Brat/Bradt, Genealogy, , , ,

Do The Spelling Rules Apply To Names?

I have often caught myself misspelling surnames because of the spelling rules I learned as a child. I was a good speller, always getting “A’s” in spelling, but since I’ve started doing genealogy research, I have found that some of the rules of spelling and pronunciation seem to have been broken.

This one rule: “I” before “E” except after “C” or when used as an “A” as in “neighbour” and “weigh” I have a real problem with. What is the correct pronunciation of “O’Neil”, is it an “E” sound or an “A” sound? I have never heard it pronounced the way that it is supposed to sound, according to the “rules”. “Freisman” is another example of rules being broken, you can tell by the misspellings in the censuses that it was an “e” sound, I’ve never ran into any that have spelled it with an “A” sound, only “E” sounds. Has anyone else ran into this with any of their surnames?

Filed under: Genealogy, ,

I’m The One Holding The Camera!

I have been looking through my photos, getting ready to scan a lot of them, and I was reminiscing, as we all do when looking at family photos. I found all of the pictures I have of my mother, not very many, either she was on the other end of the camera or there was no camera available to take pictures.

I started looking at how many pictures I had of myself, not too many, and I decided that I would have to start letting other people take pictures so that my kids would have some photos to remember me by. I can’t use the excuse of not having any cameras around, I have a 35mm Minolta, two digital cameras and hubby has one on his phone, but I’m usually the one taking pictures. What I have to do from now on is either have a mirror in the picture that I’m taking, get my timing right so I can use the timer on the cameras or let someone else take some of the pictures.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has done this, whether you are the one behind the camera or you are camera-shy and don’t like your picture taken. Take stock of the pictures that you have of yourself, and see if you are satisfied with what you are leaving for future generations to remember you by. What do they collectively say about your life? Do they show a mosaic of who you are, what you enjoy doing, where you’ve traveled, the milestone events in your life, the humourous times? If you aren’t, then give the camera to someone else the next time you take it out, and “Smile”.

Filed under: Genealogy, ,

Surname Saturday – Tremblay

I chose to explore the “Tremblay” surname today, my great-grandmother’s maiden name. I have posted about Pierre Tremblay and Ozanne Achon, who were my immigrant ancestors. Tremblay and it’s variations is the most common French-Canadian surname, put it into Google translate and it comes back with “Smith”, the most common name in North America! The difference between “Smith” and “Tremblay” is that Smith is a common name that a lot of different families share, with no blood relationship, there was a smith in every village and hamlet in Europe, it was a “nickname”. But people with the name of Tremblay, Trombley, Trimble and variations in North America, ” in their tree, although a common name, are all cousins, descendants of Pierre du Tremble, from La Rochelle, France.

My great-grandmother, Celinase Tremblay was the granddaughter of Pierre Tremblay Romain, the Seignieur of Eboullements, Quebec in the early 1800’s. She was born at Charlevois and was married to Jean Desbiens of Ste-Jerome parish. They migrated to Essex County in 1890, after the birth of their third child with Celina’s parents, Philias Tremblay and Marie-Louise Dallaire, Extended family made the journey as well, but her father died less than a year after arriving, 1n 1891.

Here is my great-grandmother’s family:

As you can see, she had a large family. I found a few newspaper clippings in the Essex Free Press Archives at OurOntario as well:

I have a lot of research yet to do on this family. I found a few records on the Seeking Michigan website for the families that moved across the river. I have to find time to enter all of the sources and images that I’ve discovered into my database, but there’s a lot of searching left to do.

Here is Celina Tremblay Desbien’s pedigree chart:

Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Family Files, Genealogy, Surname Saturday, Tremblay, , , ,

Wordless Wednesday – On The Island

Charles Phipps, husband of Emma Bradt on his farm on Pelee Island.

Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Genealogy, Wordless Wednesday, , , ,

Things (Greatgreatgrand)Mother Used To “Make Do”


You can tell by the recipes our ancestors used, that they had to make do with the most basic ingredients, they didn’t have a corner store to run to when they ran out of eggs, they had to wait until the chickens laid more. If they ran out of something they had to substitute the ingredient for what they had in their larder.

There wasn’t any fresh fruit in the wintertime, if you wanted fruit, you would have to preserve it by drying it, canning it or making it into jams and jellies. A “root cellar” was just that, it stored all of your root vegetables, onions, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, potatoes as well as the winter squash. Keeping it underground in a cool, dark place, the vegetables lasted for months.

They had smokehouse to preserve ham, bacon, sausages and fish. Beef would be dried into jerky to preserve it. Fresh meat was available by hunting wild game year round or raising livestock. They had their own milking cows for supplying the milk, cream, cheese and butter that they used daily.

Cooking and baking were done with the fireplace, hanging over it, for cast-iron pots or in the coals for roasting and baking. That must have been where the old cliche came from, “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”.


Baking ingredients were a staple of every household, they had sourdough starter to make bread with and depended on it for their leavening ingredient. Sweeteners like molasses, honey, maple sugar and maple syrup were all that were readily available. There was no bleached flour, all of the flour was whole-grain wheat, buckwheat or corn meal. Herbs and spices were grown both for cooking and for their medicinal properties. Every home had an herb garden near the kitchen.

Here is a good example of “making do’”, from the book “Things Mother Used To Make” by Louise Maria Gurney in 1914:

=Fried Bread=

After frying pork or bacon, put into the fat slices of stale bread. As
it fries, pour over each slice a little milk or water and salt to
taste, turn and fry on the opposite side. This is a very appetizing

Now doesn’t that sound yummy? Makes you want to try it, just to see if it tastes as bad as you think it does. Here’s a few more:

=Delicious Dip Toast=

Cut slices of bread, one-half inch thick; toast each side to a delicate
brown. Dip these into hot, salted milk, letting them remain until soft.
Lay them on a platter and spread a little butter over each slice.

Take one quart of milk more or less according to size of family; heat
in a double boiler, salt to taste. Wet two tablespoonfuls of flour with
a little water; stir until smooth, and pour into the milk when boiling.
Make this of the consistency of rich cream; add a piece of butter the
size of a walnut, and pour over the toasted bread. Serve hot.

=German Toast=

1 Cupful of Milk
1 Egg
Pinch of Salt
4 or 5 Slices of Bread

Beat together one egg, one cupful of milk, and a little salt. Dip
slices of stale bread into this mixture, and fry on a griddle in butter
or pork fat. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

Like French toast, but less eggs, more milk!

This one is my favourite “make do” recipe using bread:

=Crust Coffee=

Take the crusts, or any pieces of stale brown bread, and bake in the
oven until hard and brown. Put them into an agate or earthen tea-pot,
pour over them boiling water and boil ten or fifteen minutes. Strain
and serve hot like any coffee, with cream and sugar.

And to think I was just wasting all the stale bread by throwing it out!

Filed under: Genealogy, , ,

Starting a New Christmas Family Tradition

For years I have been making gingerbread cookies, they are my niece’s favourites and she requests them every year. Well, she’s in her early twenties now, and she still runs to check and make sure her gingerbread cookies are in the box of cookies I take to her parents’ house for our family get-together before Christmas. She takes some out, eats one and saves a few for for later so she doesn’t spoil her appetite. Baking Christmas cookies (tons of them) is one Christmas family tradition that I have with my siblings and their children.

I wanted a family tradition that I could share with my children and grandchildren, so, at the request of my youngest grandson, Cameron, who is four, I am going to be baking and constructing Gingerbread houses for my family to decorate. They had a lot of fun decorating their houses last year and he asked a few weeks ago if we can do it again this year. But this year is going to be a little different. The adults had fun helping the kids last year, so I’m going to be making houses for them to decorate too. I make all of the buildings different, so they can take them home and set up their own little Christmas Village. Last year I built a church, a toy store, a house, and a schoolhouse, which the kids had a blast decorating.

I am going to be sharing my recipe for Gingerbread Cut-Outs which I use to make the houses in the Geneablogger’s Winter Cookbook. I will be adding tips and tricks for baking and constructing as well as several decorating tips I’ve learned through the years.

If you have any recipes you’d like to share, they must be submitted before 11:00 pm on Friday, December 2, 2009 to be included in the cookbook. The Geneablogger’s Winter Cookbook will be available at Geneabloggers the week of Dec.7th in PDF format.

Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Genealogy, Special Events, ,

January 2021