Matrilineal Monday – Mary Devlin

Mary Devlin is one of my third-great-grandmothers, and I don’t know very much about her yet. She was born in Ireland around 1830 and came to Canada sometime before 1840. She and her husband, William Lloyd lived in Mulmur, Ontario until the 1890’s, when they moved to Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. They had at least ten children (most of the birth years are approximations based on variances across censuses):

Mary Lloyd Ferguson Graham: b. 1855 – d. 1936
William Lloyd: b. 1858 – d. ????
Eliza Jane Lloyd: b. 1860 – d. ????
Margaret Lloyd Bannister: b. 1865 – d. 1931
Harriet B. Lloyd Leeper: b. 1866 – d. ????
John J. Lloyd: b. 1868 – d. ????
James H. Lloyd: b. 1869 – d. ????
Annie Sophia Lloyd: b. 1874 – d. 1892
Richard Victor Lloyd: b. 1876 – d. 1959
Martha Ellen Lloyd Solomon: b. 1877 – d. ????

As a bit of a wildcard, there are two more possible children I am trying to find more evidence for. The first is a daughter listed in the 1871 census. Her name was either Ama E. or Anna E., and she was born in July of 1870. I am fairly certain that this is not Annie Sophia, because every bit of documentation for her states a birth year of 1874. (I don’t have a birth record.)

The other is Emily S., who only appears in the 1881 census. Her birth year is given as 1872. She could be Anna E. or Ama E. maybe?

I’m still working on the Lloyds and Devlins, and hope to get them sorted a bit more in the coming months.

Wednesday Women’s Work – Annie Sophia Lloyd, Tailoress

According to the 1891 Census, seventeen year old Annie Sophia Lloyd was living in Bentinck, Ontario with her aunt and uncle, Jane (Devlin) and Simon Young. Annie was around the age where if a girl was a spinster and there was someone else keeping house, she could take appropriate work until she married. Simon was listed as a tailor-cutter, and Annie as a tailoress. At around 50 years old, after working as a tailor for at least 20 years, Simon’s eyes were surely becoming weak from concentrating on tiny stitches day after day and he needed an extra pair of hands to help him with his business.

I wonder why and how Annie ended up living with the Youngs. I have a strong feeling that Jane was my third-great grandmother Mary Devlin Lloyd’s sister. Simon and Jane had only one child, their adopted daughter Margaret. Mary had at least eleven children and five or six of them would have been living at home in the late 1880s, so maybe Jane wrote to her to see if she could spare someone interested in learning a trade.

Annie would be home in Mulmur by 1892, and die of heart failure caused by rheumatism.

Coincidences – Looking for Lloyds in the Census

When I get a bit antsy to further my research without ordering and waiting for documents, I turn to the census. The census does a lot of things to help me stave off boredom, because I often catch something I didn’t see before. Things like, “Oh! That farm labourer has the wife’s maiden name! I didn’t have their marriage registration when I saw this the first time!”

Lately I have been poking around with my Lloyd line, in particular trying to tie up loose ends with some of my great-great grandfather Richard Victor Lloyd’s sisters, and to find out more about his parents, William Lloyd and Mary Devlin.

Before the Lloyd family moved to Manitoba, they lived in Mulmur, Ontario. In the 1871 census, there are two other adult male Lloyds living in that area, Benjamin and James.

Benjamin died in 1912 and his death registration lists his mother as Harriet Brunley. One of William and Mary’s daughters is Harriet B. Lloyd. This coincidence made me happy to follow this trail even if it doesn’t lead to William and Benjamin being brothers.

A look at the 1851 census makes me think they are related, though. In King Township (about 35 kilometers from Mulmur), there is a Loyd family with William as the head, Benjamin and James as labourers, (a sister?) Harriet who does the housekeeping, and a few other siblings. Neighbours include a Mary Devlin the right age to be my William Lloyd’s wife, who was a servant for the Nunn family; and Ann Maw, who would be the 1871 Mulmur Benjamin’s wife according to birth records that correspond with children in the census. I’ve got those files saved and waiting to be proved with William’s death certificate, which hopefully has his parents names on it.

Another good find was a Devlin connection, which I hope to have time to blog about tomorrow!

Thankful Thursday – Digitization and Our Roots

I had an ungrateful kind of day earlier this week, the sort of day where I’m too impatient and headachey to see the gems in the coal. The kid took a long nap and I should have been glad to have time to myself. I should have been glad that she would wake up happy and refreshed. Instead I had a little sulk, because I wanted to go out. It was in that unreasonable mood that I decided to use the time to do some reading on Our Roots, and try to dig up more on the Lloyds and Dunns from Pioneer Ways To Modern Days.

A browse through the School Districts chapter dropped this picture of children at the Moose Range school in 1917 in my lap:

Moose Range School 1917 - from Pioneer Ways To Modern Days page 185

I admit that my first feeling was disappointment. Oh, it’s just Ena and Bill Lloyd. Why isn’t Illa in the picture? How come I can never find anything out about Illa? I don’t even have a picture of her! Why isn’t anything about my direct ancestors digitized?

I took a break. After a bottle of Mexican Pepsi (do I ever love that stuff!) my headache was gone and I realized what a wretch I’d been. Sure, it would have been exciting to see a photo of Illa. But there were little clues I could tuck away for later. The Meachem kid? Yes! The Meachems were close to the Ralph family. Ena and Illa both married Ralphs, but I wasn’t sure if they both married into the same Ralph family. If the Lloyds knew Meachems, it seems more likely.

I am very grateful for every scrap regarding my family connections that is digitized. If there weren’t scanned certificates and transcribed indexes online, I probably never would have started seriously mapping my family. Nearly every hobby and interest I have has to fit into my sleepless lifestyle, where I feel restless late at night and need something to do. I love that I can just go online to make lists of the tiniest slivers of hints to track down microfiche to confirm things that haven’t yet seen the light of the Internet. I love that without a repository of unusual Canadian books readily available to me from nearly anywhere, I could have pulled my hair out trying to hunt anyone who knew anything about Moose Range, Saskatchewan.

(Mini) Mystery Monday: After Agnes

When Agnes Dunn died in 1910, her husband George was left with six of his sons at home, including one who would have still been in diapers. How did he handle this?

In 1911, George was still living on the farm with Ross (13) and Fred (11). Little Albert had died earlier in the year, before his seventh birthday.

The older boys had already moved out. George was listed as a labourer on Richard and Cassie Lloyd’s farm, and Frank was working for the Drain family as a domestic.

Lizzie married Albert Page in 1908 and had two little girls, Ruby and Winnifred, when they took in two of the littlest Dunns, Manuel (nine) and Wesley (two).

But where did Lawrence go? I feel like I must be missing something, even though I pored over the census for Portage La Prairie and looked to see if he went with one of Agnes’ relatives in Brandon. I even ran a search of the 1911 census on Automated Genealogy to see if maybe he got sent to George’s family in Ontario. No dice. Perhaps in all of the confusion, someone forgot to tell the enumerator about him. He went with Cassie to Saskatchewan in 1914, so he could have been living with the Lloyds. Or since Lizzie took the other little boys, it would make sense for her to have Lawrence as well especially because agewise he was in between Manuel and Wesley. I don’t think George would have kept a four-year old on the farm and sent away a nine-year old.

By 1916, Manuel and Wesley were no longer living with the Pages, but George was. Manuel boarded with the Staples family, and worked as a farm labourer. I am having a heck of a time finding Wesley. I couldn’t find him near Portage La Prairie in the census, and as far as I can tell (census, Ena Ralph’s account for “Pioneer Ways to Modern Days”) he didn’t go west with the Lloyds. That leaves death, even though there is no listing for him in the Manitoba Vital Statistics index; adoption; or being missed by the enumerator.

Maybe something will pop out at me on another look-through, or all will be revealed in 2013 when I can finally get my hands on the 1921 census.

Saturday Surnames: Last Names Like First Names

There are times when I just want to use transcribed indexes to get my bearings or do a quick Google of a name to see if some cousin out there is already doing research. It seems like I get thwarted at every click, because of that common scourge: a surname that is also a common first name.

All of these searches turn up a glut of results that it takes more time to sift through than if I had actually intended to look manually. No, I’m not looking for George Lloyd Smith or George Lloyd Jones. His name is George (forename) Lloyd (surname). That’s it. Or Family Search decides that a man named Ralph Thomson in Michigan is more relevant to my search than the Thomas Ralph in British Columbia that I was actually searching for. Or, forbid if you go from having a first-name-surname to marrying into another one like Jennie Irving when she married John Jack.

Those are the times when I take a deep breath and remember that the best way to find something is to relax and then concentrate on it. It’s like asking a stranger to find your keys; they might look between couch cushions because they don’t know that you usually throw them on the kitchen table and forget about them when you come in. A search engine has a different way of considering relevancy than I do, and I’ll have to forgive it for not being in my head.

On to Portage La Prairie – The Dunns


Photo by Cameron Grove, used under a Creative Commons License.

My search for Illa Lloyd’s ethnicity led to Oakville, Manitoba, a small town in the Rural Municipality of Portage La Prairie. For that matter, Portage La Prairie isn’t that big, either. (Does anyone else remember commercials where Subway or Tim Hortons would say they said they sold a million of something everyday, and compare it to the population of Manitoba? Yeah.) In 1901, the population of the entire province was around two-hundred-seventy-two-thousand, and Portage La Prairie had about ten thousand residents.

What I knew from the census was that Illa, Ena, Bill, and Cassie had been born in Manitoba; and Richard was from Ontario. I decided to start out with the maternal line because it stayed within the province longer.

Using the Manitoba Vital Statistics index, I was able to find birth records for Illa and Ena that confirmed that Cassie’s maiden name was Dunn.

I also found birth and death records for another son, Clifford Hilliard Lloyd, who was born in January of 1908 and died in February. His death was likely related to his premature birth, as Richard and Cassie had only married in June 1907.

First stop was the 1906 Prairie Census. Since Fred wasn’t enumerated with Cassie’s family in 1916, I had no idea of his age. I didn’t want to overshoot and start with 1901 in case he was born after that date. I also was unable to find Cassie’s birth in the Manitoba Vital Statistics index, so I was unsure if she and the Fred Dunn born in Portage La Prairie in 1900 shared the same mother.

1906 Census - Dunn Family, Oakville

We’ve got Cassie (the only one in the province, and the right age), Fred, and Agnes. That’s good enough for me to go back to the 1901 census to see where George and Agnes’ parents were from.

George and Agnes both said they were Scotch. Agnes was born in Nova Scotia if you believe the 1901 census, or Ontario if you take 1906.

If nobody is lying, we’ve eliminated any Plains Cree connection in Cassie’s line. If any Native ancestry exists on this side, it has to be through either Agnes or George’s mother, or one of their paternal grandmothers.

(Side note: George and Agnes registered the births of most of their sons with the province, but not of Lizzie and Cassie.)

Vic and Cassie Lloyd

My Brother: “I wish I had inherited his epic moustache!”

(Photo from “Pioneer Ways to Modern Days, History of the Town of Carrot River and the Rural Municipality of Moose Range”, page 643)

The Benefits of Asking Questions and Questioning Answers

My mum’s family always said that mum’s grandmother, Illa Lloyd, was Native or Metis. “They all look like Indians in those old pictures” someone would say, or “Your aunt looks part Native because our grandmother was probably Cree, from Saskatchewan.” Illa was a huge brick wall in my family tree research. What my mother told me: She died in the 1930s, when my grandfather was 6 or 7. Her name was spelled “Ila.” She was little and dark, Saskatchewan First Nations.

Based on that, I started with the 1916 census of the Prairie Provinces. A quick search on Ancestry.ca didn’t turn anything up, so I went downtown to the Vancouver Central Library, and pulled out a roll of microfilm for the Indian agencies of Saskatchewan. There were no Ilas, Islas, Ellas, Illas, Idas, or Aylas the right age to be the one I wanted.

Then I tried the 1911 Canada census index on automatedgenealogy.com, hoping for any number of things: That a transcription error on Ancestry or mistake by the enumerator in the original had made her hard to find in the 1916 census; that she wasn’t from Saskatchewan, but had moved there later; that she was a different age than I originally assumed.

There were Ila and Ida Lloyds in Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. The one that looked most promising was the Manitoba family:

Lloyd Family, Household Detail on the 1911 Census

Ila lived in the Prairies and was born in 1911 (the right age to have been married young and have a child by 1930). But what was this?

The Lloyd Family - 1911 Census - Nationality

The census records the nationality of each person enumerated. Here, Richard is listed as English, Cassie as Irish, and the two girls, Ila and Eva, as English.

I looked at it with a different eye. Each person’s nationality is determined by their father’s ancestry. This opens up several possibilities: This is not the family I am looking for. Or, this is the right family, and they do have Native ancestry from one of the grandmothers. Or there is no Native ancestry at all, and my Mum was mistaken.

I sat on this for a while, and moved on to easier research in other lines. Finally, I came to the conclusion that I had been approaching finding Illa the wrong way, with secondhand oral information from people who had never met her. Finding someone who knew her was going to be a problem. Her son William, my grandfather, had died in 2001. He and Grandma had separated when Mum and her sisters were little, and they weren’t particularly close to him and didn’t know that much about that side of the family. That left Grandma, who had been married to William in 1950. She must have met some of his family in the years they were together.

Grandma had met them. “They lived outside of Arborfield (Saskatchewan), and I guess they were pretty well established there. Her older sister was named Enid, and a bunch of other brothers and sisters,  George and Gordie or Geordie or something like that, and Bernice. One of Bill’s uncles was a redhead and he was adopted. Larry, maybe?”

Could Enid have been misheard by the census enumerator as Eva? I was a little doubtful. Besides, these Lloyds were nowhere near Arborfield. After combing through the Arborfield census returns for 1911 to make sure I hadn’t missed someone there (I hadn’t), I left the Lloyds behind until I could get my hands on Illa’s death certificate.

It was entirely by chance that I found the missing connection. I had been using ourroots.ca  to look through old town histories in Saskatchewan. It seems like every small town has to put out a book with family histories and the stories of old timers. I had plugged in a search for books about Arborfield, to see if I could find anything about Illa’s husband’s sister, who had married a farmer in the area. (As it turns out, Sarah and Jesse Meachem hadn’t stayed long in Arborfield. They appear on the 1916 census there, but one of their sons was born in Rossland, BC, in 1922.) In a book called “Pioneer Ways to Modern Days: History of the Town of Carrot River and the Rural Municipality of Moose Range” was this:

The Lloyd Family history by Ena Ralph

I pulled up the 1911 census, and realized that what I thought might have been “Eva” could also be “Ena.” And siblings that matched what Grandma said! First hand account! I may have pumped my fist in the air and looked like a complete nerd to everyone around me.

It still didn’t conclusively answer the question of Illa’s ethnicity, but at least I had enough clues to find the previous generation. Score one for persistence and questioning indirect information!

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