13 November 2006

Ancestors in the Attic: week 4

The first segment of this episode was the most interesting genealogy. A WW1 military tag, including the letters “...OSTER”, number114816 and "5th CMR"was found in a field in England. We are told CMR stands for “Canadian Mounted Rifles.

There is decent documentation (a, b) on the program web site including images of the entire military file.

Using the Library and Archives Canada web site it is no major challenge to find Fred Foster, attestation number114816. The military file shows Fred was born in England, so how did he wind up in Canada, and why did he name a friend as his next-of-kin rather than his family?

Much more detail on the story is here, which is not referenced on the program web site.

According to the program web site "... Fred was most likely a Home Child." It goes on to say "We check the Home Child database at Library & Archives Canada and find a listing for Fred Foster. " This is misleading! There are other Fred Fosters in the database, but this Fred Foster arrived in 1911, a year not yet entered on the database. He was in a party of about 35 that came through the US, all past school leaving age.

The British records tell the earlier part of the story, a birth registration for Frederick Hothersoll J Foster in the Marylebone registration district in the last quarter of 1892. In the England 1901 census eight year old Frederick Foster, born Paddington, London, is a step-son in the home of George Oxley, his wife Eliza, mother-in-law Eliza Rule and brother-in-law Alfred Rule. All the Rules were born in Surbiton or Kingston, Surrey. In the Ancestry.com transcription Rule is interpreted as Hule. Eliza's marriage to George Oxley is registered in the first quarter of 1900 in the Westminster district.

In the March quarter of 1892 there is a marriage for Eliza Rule and John Foster registered in the Marylebone district. A death registration at Marylebone of 37 year old John Foster in the 3rd quarter of 1896 looks about right. Its not clear whether Fred's mother died before he went to Canada, although there are several promising death index entries that would have left him without either parent and no siblings to tie him to England at a time when Canada was seen as the land of opportunity.