June 9, 2013

A Wonderful Genealogical Find on Ebay!

A Wonderful Genealogical Find on Ebay!
Look what arrived yesterday! I found this on Ebay. It is the original group photo taken in 1909 of the Guelph Fire Department - on the first year it was official. Before 1909 the Guelph Fire Brigade was volunteers but in 1909 they became the first to be paid by the City of Guelph.

And guess who was in the Fire Department that year? MY GRANDFATHER Joseph McGinnis! Yep, found on E-Bay of all places....  I was pretty excited when this photo turned up.

I'd seen a scan of this photo at the Guelph Civic Museum so I had a copy of my grandpa cropped from the group photo, but had not seen the original. Now hubs is going to scan it and we'll  frame it for our wall of ancestors.

The original owner's name is on the back of the group photo - Mrs. Watt. Daniel Watt was the Captain of the Hook & Ladder so presumably this photo was given to him in 1909.  


Mrs. Watt's name plus an address which is illegible
The men in the photo are: 

1ST - A. SIMPSON, J. LANNIN, GEO. THOMPSON, W. MCILROY, R. DILLON.
2ND - J. MCGINNIS, J. THOMPSON, J. HEWER, J.G. THOMPSON, G. WHETSTONE
3RD - T. SPALDING, F. WAKEFIELD, W. HEBDEN, A. RICHARDSON, W. JOHNSON
4TH - A. ROBERTSON - CHIEF, G. SPALDING, W.J. ARMSTRONG ASST. CHIEF.
5TH - W. CRAIG, D. WATT. CAPT. H.+L., GEORGE COLSON SEC. ,C. CHASE FOREMAN, H.+L., N. WARNER

Grandpa McGinnis
I did a little research and found some of the men's full names. So far I've found John Lannin (the Guelph Civic Museum has his Guelph Fire Department hat which I wish I could show you here but I need permission from them first); George Whetstone; Charles Chase; Daniel Watt (his wife's name is on the back of my photo); William Hebden; Adam Robertson; Charles Spalding and of course my grandfather Joseph McGinnis.

From the Guelph Civic Museum
"Adam Robertson was the department's third chief; he held the position for quite some time. During that time, a new fire hall was put on the end of the building housing the Farmer's Market and it served the department until fairly recent times. A pipeline consisting of wooden planks wrapped with iron bands and sawdust was constructed from the Arkell Springs in 1907; it provided water for fighting fires throughout the city and is still of significance today. A ladder wagon was purchased about 1900 and Guelph's firefighters became paid public servants in 1909."
Over the years I've found a few treasured genealogical items that connect to my ancestors, but this is the first time I was lucky enough to find a photograph. I've bid on and won an advertising ruler from Biltmore Hats in Guelph where my dad worked, two blank cheques from Biltmore Hats, a lovely watercolour of a rustic stone bridge in Guelph painted by a well-known Guelph-born artist, and a few other interesting items.

My advice? Don't overlook Ebay as a source of genealogy treasures!

8 comments:

Denise Olson said...

What a great find! Once again eBay comes through.

Donna said...

I find ebay a little overwhelming. How do you recommend searching?

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Donna

Just choose what search term(s) you want to look for - a family surname? A location? A combination?

I set up a search on ebay and eliminated keywords I didn't want.

For example maybe you want Van Slyke but you don't want baseball cards that feature Andy Van Slyke! So you might have ebay search for Van Slyke but not sports.

It's easy to do on eBay, they will walk you through it.

Sonja Hunter said...

Finding something like that makes all the searching on ebay over the years totally worth it! Glad you brought the photo home!

New York Historian said...

How much did it go for?

KSAGOK said...

Another hint in searching on e-bay. Search different spelling like Town name +Ma., Mass., Massachusetts you'll receive different results some times plus a lot of the same.

T said...

I have alerts set up on eBay in hopes that someday something I want will show up. So far a lot of NOTHING I'm interested in! But one day, it will happen. My whole family was raised in this area. Where is all the stuff??

Alice said...

Go for the hometown, see what is available. You would be surprised what might show up on eBay and there is a family link. For example, a nice postcard scene on main street and clearly shown is the name of the store your grandfather operated. In my own family there is a wonderful 1910 postcard featuring the Frederick Fountain at the north end of Market St. in Frederick, MD. Yet the main place in focus with any scenes of the fountain is my gr gr grandfather's home - the Groff House. The seller won't know it is the Groff family, just this impressive fountain ... so check out anything in an ancestral hometown.