Friday, 24 July 2009

Long-lost relatives

Have you ever solved a knotty genealogical problem by writing to a local newspaper? That tactic isn't new. I was surprised to stumble across a column in a Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, from August 1899 with a list of such queries. They were a mixture of people at home in England and abroad looking for contacts. Some Canada-related examples from the one issue:

JONES (CHARLES, ELLEN, ELIZA, and SARAH) were sent to Canada in 1873 from Middlemore's home in Pritchett-street, Birmingham. Brother Peter and sisters ask.

From Canada: Sydney Lovelace who left home 14 years ago seeks his father John LOVELACE or any relatives.

From Aldershot, F. C. Barton seeks his brother Michael E. BARTON, last heard of in May 1897 when he left Winnipeg, Manitoba, to go to Yukon River goldfields.

VOYSEY (WALTER) was in Toronto, Canada West (sic), in 1870. Sister Grace and her husband (Robert Laxton) ask.

PLUMS (Ada) went to Canada in March 1895 and afterwards was waitress in hotel in Detroit, USA; supposed now to be in Toronto. Mother enquires.

These are nice genealogical sources as you usually get the names of at least two relatives, better than a city directory entry.

The column also gives follow-ups. For example:

Writing from Ontario, Mrs Lulu Redman says: "My stepmother's brother saw an item in Lloyd's (July 2) stating that James Tyler in London wished to know the whereabouts of RICHARD REDMAN. The slip was sent at once to us in Canada. Richard Redman is my father and is very enxious for the address of my cousin James Tyler. Father had lost all track of his relations for years."

The Long-Lost Relatives column ran from 1886 to at least 1900 (the end of the digitized series).

Some of the entries that mention Ottawa are: Henry James PIGGOTT (1886), George Joseph SAVELL (1886), Roderick MCLURE (1887), William BRACEY (1888, found), Arthur H PEPPER (1888), Henry John BULL (1889), Matilda Ann HURRIT (nee BELL, 1890), James ANDREWS (1890), plus 22 more.

These can be searched as part of the British 19th Century Newspapers database. You need to subscribe to see the full text.

No comments: