Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Do you know an Etches?

Last month, tucked inside a birthday card, came two old photographs. The person shown was thought to be a friend of the sender's father serving with the CEF during WW1. I was asked if I could find the person's descendant's, if any, and pass the photos on.

I believe there is a living descendant, but an email to the person I thought it might be received a negative response.

On the back of the photo was written 210298 Sig W C Etches, an abbreviated addresses in Seaford, Sussex, and Welland, Ontario. Two people knowledgeable on military history inform me the photo shows the person in a type of "uniform" worn by people in rehabilitation. That's consistent with the information in his military file at Library and Archives Canada.

Research so far reveals the following:

Wilfred Charles Etches was born on 26 March 1898 at Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, England. He was the son of Charles Etches and Marion Donegani whose marriage was registered in Bakewell, Derbyshire, England, in the second quarter of 1897.

In the census of 1901 he was in a household with his mother, head of household but not shown as widowed, who was born about 1875 at Edington, Somerset, England, and his father’s sister, Alice Etches, born about 1890 at Ilam, Staffordshire, England.

The birth of a younger brother, Charlie Maurice Etches, was registered in Bakewell in the last quarter of 1901.

Wilfred Charles Etches emigrated to Canada in March 1912, sailing on the Megantic from Liverpool to Halifax.

Information in his military record shows he worked as a railway steam fitter before enlisting in the CEF on 17 November 1915. He gave his address as 209 W Main St in Welland, ON, and his brother, Maurice Charles Etches; living near Bakewell, as his next of kin. He sailed for England in 1916 and was on active service until shortly after he was blown out of a truck in France on 18 April 1918. He was hospitalized thereafter, returned to Canada from Liverpool on 29 January 1919 and discharged as medically unfit for duty on 1 March.

While on duty he assigned part of his pay to Mrs E.G. Donegave (sic) of Valois, Quebec. I rather suspect this is the wife of Eric Grantley Donegani, his mother’s brother, who, according to information from the Quebec Family History Society, was a Founder and President of the Valois Citizens' Association formed in 1917. Donegani served as a Pointe Claire city councillor from 1924 - 1926 and mayor from 1929 – 1931. A street named originally Sunnyside Avenue was changed to Donegani Avenue.

On 22 Jan 1921 Etches married Ada Isabell Stevenson in Toronto, giving Niagara Falls as his residence.

He crossed the border at Niagara Falls three times in 1921 and 1922 giving his residence as Niagara Falls, ON and occupation as RR Clerk.

There is a long period here for which I can find no record.

Wilfred Charles Etches died in Fort Myers, Florida, on 3 Nov 1979, and is buried at Fort Myers Memorial Gardens together with his wife who predeceased him.

A posting on Rootsweb Worldconnect shows two sons, Norman Goodacre and Robert.

If you know of these sons, or another descendant, please let me know by leaving a comment which won't be posted if it has personal or contact information about a living person.


JDR said...

I received a reply from Holly Rice. Wilfred Etches was her great grandfather, and Norman Goodacre her grandfather. Would Holly please email me at < john dot d dot reid at gmail dot com >.

Joe said...

My stepson is Christopher Etches of Lasallle,Ontario , great grandson of Wilfred, and his aunt is Francis Kelly (Wilfred's Grandaughter) of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Wilfred lived in Windsor about 2 blocks from me from at least 1941 until the mid 1970's when he and his wife moved to Fort Myers

Joe said...

Wilfred and Ada moved to Florida in 1967.