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February 3, 2009

A Photograph Leads to More Genealogy Discoveries

In my mother's boxes of items from her apartment, I found 2 photographs both marked on the back in my grandmother's writing. One was a photo of Grandma's brother Ernest (Ern) Simpson with his daughter Doris.

Ern's photo was written on the back "April 21st 1923. Wait[ing for t]he Canada on the [dock?] at Liverpool" My mother had added the names "Doris & Ernest Simpson" in block printing

The second photo was of Ern's wife Cordelia Cook. Auntie Cordie's photo was harder to read but it said "[-----------] alone S S Canada April 1923" I love that Auntie Cordie is on board the SS Canada and you can see the funnel and other ship structures in the background.

Ernie was born in 1883 in Ramsgate England, the eldest child of my great grandparents David & Sarah (Stead) Simpson. As kids We saw quite a lot of Uncle Ern, Auntie Cordie and their daughter Doris. They would often drive from Toronto to Ajax for a visit.

I know quite a bit about Ernie as he and his wife Cordie came to Canada in 1908 and settled in Toronto where he ran a Grocery Store.

A search of Ancestry.comlast year found Ern and Cordie's arrival in Canada in 1908 but I had never gotten around to checking other years in case they went back to England to visit family. So the 1923 photo was a very nice surprise!

The photographs in Mother's possessions sent me scrambling back to but nothing was found for their sailing from Liverpool to Canada in 1923. I did find their departure from Canada to Liverpool in 1922 and the passenger list shows that they were headed for his mother's house in Ramsgate.

His paternal grandmother Sarah (Page) Simpson, shown here in the picture of Ern in 1885, lived with his mother until her death in 1921 so sadly Ern would not be seeing her on the 1922 trip.

When Doris died in her 90s, all of her papers and photographs came to me for safe-keeping. She and her parents were preservers, there were oodles of documents. Curiosity compelled me to look through the box at the time but I confess that I never scanned or studied them in depth.

Although I am bogged down with boxes from my mother's apartment, off I went to pull out the tub with Doris' belongings - and to my delight I found several documents that provide more detail on her father Ernie.

Ernie's original birth certificate from 1883 was in Doris' Genealogy Box, as was his wedding certificate (the original) from 1907. In a strange "small genealogy world" kind of way, I happen to have my great grandmother's bible which has the entry of his marriage written the same day it occured.

I also have several lovely wedding day photos of Ern and Cordelia, found in an antique photo album belonging to Doris. One is the full wedding party and the rest are of the happy couple.

The bible is another story. After Great-Grandmother Simpson died in England, the bible was given to my grandmother's sister's step-daughter who gave it to her daughter who immigrated to Australia to live! That's confusing isn't it? So Great-grandma's bible was in the hands of a non-blood distant relative who very graciously mailed it to my mother when she asked for it many years ago.

So now I am digging through my mother's cousin Doris' Genealogy Box and will write about what I find there that relates to my Uncle Ern Simpson and his family.


Taylorstales-Genealogy said...

What a wonderful genealogy story! I am so happy that you are the "keeper" of all that information and documentation. It is so interesting to continue to read your discoveries. Thank you for sharing friend.

Apple said...

The twists and turns we take are always interesting. I wonder what other side roads your mother's papers will lead you to?

kathryn said...

What lovely photos. And how much they speak to us.
And God bless the “preservers”. Even if you did not research these documents immediately, they were preserved and you are now finding new nuggets. How lucky you were that your distant relative sent the family bible back to your mother. And going with a tangent, like your looking into Ernie and Doris, a collateral line, shows how enriching this type of research can be.
I’m sure all these discoveries will help ease the pain of your recent loss of your mother. Nothing is lost.
God bless you all.

Richard said...

Fantastic!! You're inspired me to seek out more photos of my family. I hope you find more from cousin Doris' genealogy box. Tell us if you do.

Familytreeservice said...

Fantastic!! You have inspired me to dig out more photos of my ancestry. I hope cousin Doris' genealogy box is of more hope - tell us about it if you are successful. Good luck.