Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Remembrance Day – “Yield Not To Difficulties”

I was going to write a memorial post about my Grand-uncle, Stanley Fairbairn, but I didn’t know much about him, my mother hadn’t seen him since he left Essex County. I didn’t think it would do him justice, so I asked his daughter, Judy, if she would like to write something about him so this is her Remembrance Day post:

My Father Stanley Gerald Fairbairn was in WW11. He enlisted in the Canada’s Armed Forces 27 Jul 1940 at North Bay, Ontario, Canada. Stanley’s army number was #B.54545. He was sent to Shiloh, Manitoba, Canada to do training. He was in the Military Police promoted to LP Captain. He was trained for mechanics of trucks and war machinery and had his Class 111 Track and Class 111 Wheel. Father was transferred to Balwood,Newfoundland 19 Oct 1942 for hernia surgery.

He left Canada 9 May 1944 from Debert, Nova Scotia belonging to the Algonquin Regiment and had reverted to private at his own request to go overseas.

After disembarking in England by ship, he was merged to the Scottish Essex Regiment 15 Aug 1944. The D-Day invasion 6 June 1944 on the shores of France left almost every man dead. My Father was in the second wave shipped to France by boat 17 Jul 1944. The assignment was to try to fight their way inland. On 26 Aug 1944 at Elobef, France tanks were crossing a clearing when the Nazi’s started firing at the tanks. My father managed to get out of the tank along with a buddy, they ran for a trench and dove in . Exploding mortar fragments hit the back of the trench killing Father’s friend and leaving Father in very serious condition.

He had a penetrating wound in left chest with shrapnel, part of his left hand was missing fingers, his arms were mangled , his face was cut, his lips were shredded and shrapnel had went into the left side of his neck. He was rescued and flown back to England. There were no drugs to ease the pain on that flight, my father was conscious the whole time, not expected to live.

In England he was listed with the Black Watch. at Leavesden Military Hospital on 26 Aug 1944, amputations of both arms: the left arm below the elbow and his right hand. He ran raging temperatures. They sent cables home to Canada, notices of serious wounds.

Black Watch # 54545 PTE Fairbairn Stanley Gerald,
diagnosis..DANGEROUS 27 Aug 44, Cable No. to Ottawa 341A, sent 6 Sep 1944.

Gas gangrene set in, they sent my Father back to surgery 21 Sep 1944, this time they amputated the left arm just below the shoulder leaving a small stump.

Note on 1 Oct 1944 right stump … graft did not take; 12 Oct 1944 the right arm was amputated just below the elbow bend. His temperature raged. The English Hospital discharged him 5 Nov 1944, “fit to travel” home to Canada by ship. 25 Nov 1944 on Voyage 1 from Liverpool to disembarking at Hailfax, Canada on 11 Dec 1944.The whole crossing he had raging temperatures.from Essex Free Press, Essex, ON

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs sent him by train to Toronto to recuperate. The war wives were told to not be shocked by what they would see. How could they not be shocked? They sent healthy husbands off to war and mangled men came back. The official date of discharge from
the army was 17 Feb 1945. Stanley was 29 years old 4 months.

My Father was fitted with a hook on his right arm and had to learn to use it instead of a hand. Father learned to feed himself, drive a car and a boat and to write all using a hook. Stanley took great pleasure in fishing and hunting and raised his four children to enjoy country life.

It took great strength of character to learn to live his new life. Father never talked about the war, I learned about the double amputations of both arms after his death. This Remembrance Day 2009 I will share my Father’s wisdom with you. He said remember you are a Fairbairn …

“Yield Not To Difficulties”

On this Remembrance Day I challenge every family member to do something worth writing about to make this family proud. May my words help you to understand the price our family paid for freedom.

Author: Judith Lynn Fairbairn-McGinnis
Dedicated to the Memory of Stanley Gerald Fairbairn

Name: Stanley Gerald Fairbairn
Birth: 7 Oct 1915
Birth Place: Essex,Ontario, Canada
Death: 27 Nov 1984
Place: Sudbury,Ontario,Canada
Burial: Park Lawn Cemetery
Tier 1A,Veterans
Place: Sudbury, Ontario,Canada

Filed under: Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy, Photos, Special Events, , , ,

My Grandfather, Orville Neil

My grandfather, Orvile Neil, was born on September 30, 1910 in Sandwich, Ontario and grew up in Paquette’s Corners, a village just south of Windsor, Ontario. He married Ruby Fairbairn in 1930 and they had eight children, four surviving to adulthood. He passed away on September 7, 1975 in Windsor, Ontario of a heart attack.

I didn’t know much about my grandfather, he and my grandmother divorced and she remarried before I was born. He was a slight man, about 5’6″ and balding. He always wore a suit, or at least that’s what he always wore when I saw him. He retired from Ford Motor Co. of Windsor and lived in a storefront duplex a couple of blocks from the factory. In the 1960’s, the area he lived in was a bad part of town and when my family would visit my aunt, who also lived in the back of the duplex for a time, we couldn’t go out of the house. My grandfather lived in the storefront part.

He wasn’t home much when we visited, except for in the mornings. He would have a shot of brandy before his morning coffee “to get his ticker going”. When my grandfather wasn’t home, he was at one of the bars on “the strip”. I guess he was a stereotypical Irishman, he liked his liquor. My parents would go to the bar to get him for a visit and we were instructed to lock all the doors and keep the windows up until they returned.

My grandfather always called my mom “Babe” and his favourtie flower was Baby’s Breath. My mother made sure there was a lot of the flower in his casket spray. My mom said that he was a gambler and his favourite numbers were 7 & 11. He died on Sept. 7th and his funeral was on the 11th. One thing that my grandfather and I will always share is our birthday.

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

Carnival of Graveyard Rabbits – Funeral Cards

Here is my submission for the Graveyard Rabbit Carnival- Isabella Taylor was my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother’s wife. This is an image of her Memorial Card.

Isabella Gabella (Gilboe) Taylor

from- A Family Record
embracing a sketch of the history of the Scratch, Wigle, Fox, Friend, Wilkinson, Shepley, McCormick, Malotte, Coatsworth and Iler families and other early settlers of the County of Essex by Mrs. Mary J. Burch

Filed under: Carnivals, Fairbairn, Genealogy, Photos, , ,

COG #79 – Family Reunions – Our Next Family Reunion

My submission for the 79th Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Jane at CanadaGenealogy or “Jane’s Your Aunt” blog has a link to a previous blog post of our family reunion as I blogged about our first reunion before the carnival topic was announced.

As anyone who follows my blog already knows, we had our first Fairbairn family reunion recently and we are planning our next one in 3 years. The family isn’t located close enough to have an annual reunion, and we need a lot more than a year to prepare for one.

Our next family reunion will hopefully have better weather, so more family can attend, but you can never plan the weather, so at least we have some foul-weather experience under our belt already.

We learned quite a bit from our first reunion and the second one will be even better. We have three years of fund-raising ahead of us so we will be able to reserve the whole group site and have lots of space for activities and parking and it will afford more privacy as well. A few of the family had to park at the front entrance and walk to the group site.

We are also going to have a committee made up of a volunteer from each branch of the family, to organize the next reunion. With a representative from each branch of the family, more members will be notified of the reunion and there will be a better turnout. This year, my cousin and I organized everything, and, since I was recovering from major surgery, she did most of the work at the reunion. It was a lot of work for her and she did a great job. If there were more family there, she wouldn’t have had as much time to enjoy the reunion.

Next reunion, I think we’ll take pictures of every family separately as they arrive, so that we have pictures of all of the families attending. This year, there were group photos taken on Sunday afternoon, beause it rained on Saturday, but the family that had been there the day before and earlier in the day weren’t included.

I had a lot of fun planning my first family reunion and meeting new family. Now, maybe, I’ll get in touch with some of my dad’s side of the family and start planning a reunion with them as well!

Filed under: Carnival of Genealogy, Carnivals, Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy, , ,

I Hope There’s A “Plan B” – Fairbairn Family Reunion

To quote a famous Scot, Robert Burns , “the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go awry”. So it goes for the weather and planning an outdoor family reunion. Our 1st Fairbairn family reunion has been in the works for 1 1/2 years and is finally here. The two day event this weekend is being held at a campground, and, of course, there are severe thunderstorms predicted for the area tomorrow, not all day at least, and temps in the 90’s on Sunday. I think this might bring the attendance down, but I hope it doesn’t dampen the mood for the family that braves the storms. Those who don’t come tomorrow will probably come out and join us Sunday. I’m glad it’s a two day event!

We are brainstorming, trying to make a Plan B, for inclement weather. We are going to be doing more indoor activities. I think we’ll have to set up a big tent, an expense we hadn’t planned on, and a safe place to go nearby if the winds pick up.

We are going to have to have a euchre or cribbage tournament instead of a baseball tournament. We will probably have a couple of tables for playing Texas Hold’em and Blackjack. The little ones are going to be doing crafts and playing games. I’ll bake some cupcakes for them to decorate. I don’t know what the park is going to do about the hayride and trick-or-treat if it’s raining. The group photos are going to have to be taken on Sunday, there’s going to be a lot of sun, the best chance of rain will be in the evening. The kids will be able to go swimming, it will be hot, the hottest day of the summer for our area.

Even with the rain, I think we’ll have a great week-end, I’m planning on having a good time anyway.

Filed under: Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy,

Wordless Wednesday -Jane Fairbairn Kendrick

Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy, Photos, Wordless Wednesday, , ,

Wordless Wednesday – The George Fairbairn Family

Here is a picture of my great-great-grandparents, George and Jane McDowell Fairbairn and their family. We are having a family reunion next weekend and descendants of this family will be getting together for the first time.

Filed under: Daily Genealogy Blogging Themes, Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy, Photos, Wordless Wednesday, ,

Fairbairn Reunion Family History Updates

Since I have a lot of time to work on my laptop while recovering from my surgery, I have been working on my Fairbairn database, I’m hoping to have it finished by the first of August, then I’ll start working on designing the shareable CD for the family reunion.
I opened a new database in Rootsmagic 4 and dragged my Fairbairn ancestors over into it from my Family history database. I am filling in all of the blanks, and adding sources and media files to it. I am sorting through all of the Ancestry records and my research files, finding images for all of my Fairbairn descendants.
The Scottish naming patterns for our Fairbairn family are the same as for most of the Fairbairns in North America, so I’m going cross-eyed with all of the Thomas, Robert, George, John and James Fairbairns there are, generation after generation, sorting out what is my family. The Fairbairn families are differentiated by where they lived on the borders in Scotland. Mine are the Fogo Fairbairns.
I am glad that the censuses for Ontario are online, to help me match up who goes with what family here. Some stayed in Detroit, Michigan as well, and I’m having a hard time sorting them out.
I am trying to fill in the blanks for the families that stayed in Scotland and a few that immigrated later also. John Fairbairn, the only brother of my immigrant ancestor that stayed in Scotland, married Marjory Rose and lived in Leitholm, Berwickshire. Isobella Fairbairn, sister of , Robert Fairbairn, married Alexander Luke and had a family in Coldstream, Berwickshire, Scotland. After Alexander’s death in 1854 and Isobell’s in 1858, the rest of the Luke family immigrated first to Ontario and then to Minnesota and ended up in Spokane, Washington.
I have a form on my family reunion website to send information for updating family history. Quite a few family members used it, and I am very gratefull that they did. I just have to enter the new data from the emails into my RM4 program.
I am creating a giant wall chart for at the reunion as well, filling in what info I have, and leaving spaces for new information to be filled in at the reunion. I will then enter the new data there, in my Rootsmagic-to-go and create the disks when all of the data is recorded. I am planning to have the wall chart kept to take to future reunions as well.

Filed under: Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy,

COG #77 – God’s Wrath

My mother was babysitting her seven year old younger brother, Glen, on Friday, June 14th, 1946, the day before her mother’s birthday. She was nine years old at the time and was fairly responsible for her age. Suddenly, he ran out into the street and was struck by an automobile, and was killed instantly. She felt responsible for his death, but it wasn’t her fault, it was just an unfortunate accident.

On the following Monday, the day of his funeral, June 17, 1946, there was a tornado in Windsor, Ontario, that killed 17 people and injured hundreds. She was one of the injured, a brick wall fell on her and her knee was crushed. She had to have it surgically repaired and a pin remained in her knee for the rest of her life, as a reminder of what she’d done. She told the story many times over the years how God had sent the tornado as a punishment for her not keeping a closer watch on her brother.

Here is more information about the tornado that hit Windsor and Tecumseh that day:

Filed under: Carnival of Genealogy, Carnivals, Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy, O'Neil/Neil, Obituaries, , , ,

Our First Family Reunion – Counting The Days

The first Fairbairn Family Reunion is less than a month away, on August 8th & 9th. My cousin and I are organizing the two-day affair to be held in Amherstburg at the Jellystone Campground. This is my first experience at organizing a family reunion so we’ll see how it goes. My cousin lives in British Columbia, so we have been keeping in touch through Facebook, Fairbairn Family Reunion group on Facebook, the reunion website, Twitter, emails and since we switched to cable for our phone, I can call her anytime, at no cost.

I am going to be making shareable CDs with my Rootsmagic4 program. I was going to make printed copies of a family book, but since I already have the program, I think family members would have fun playing around with all the features of Rootsmagic4,, and if they want a book, they can design and print one up themselves. The shareable CD is the full program, but it is not editable. There is only one database. There will be a lot of old family photos to be scanned to CDs and photos of the reunion activities and group photos that I will be putting on CDs as well. It will keep me busy, since I won’t be participating in any activities, I will be recovering from major surgery. I am going to make a giant wall chart to be filled in at the reunion by the family members also. We put a form on the website for updating family information too.

The RSVPs and t-shirt orders are coming in steadily, and there will be a quilt raffle at the end of the reunion. We are taking orders for t-shirts and raffle tickets for the quilts on the reunion website, through Paypal, or by mail. My cousin and I decided that even those family members who are unable to attend the reunion, should be able to participate in the quilt raffle, t-shirts and CDs, so we are requesting a shipping address with the orders.

We are planning a scavenger hunt of a different sort, so the little ones can play too. Insteead of a list of items to find, the participants have to find any item that starts with the letters that make up the words FAIRBAIRN FAMILY REUNION.

We are also going to have a softball tournament, weather permitting, and since I have tons of fabric, I am sewing team “shirts”, actually more like halter tops, one size fits all, in two different colours.

My cousin reserved the group campsite for the reunion, and there will be a tent set up where I will be scanning and making CDs. I would like to hold some family interviews there too. I’m looking forward to it, and I’ll let you know how it turns out in a month. If this one is successful, I might just organize a family reunion with my dad’s family!

Filed under: Fairbairn, Family Files, Genealogy, ,

July 2020