Discover your inside story. Save 20% on Ancestry DNA April 21-26

November 23, 2014

Help Send a WW1 Soldier's Cap Badge Back to Family

Michael L. wrote to me about a cap badge he found many years ago. Here is Mike's story:

I am looking for descendants of a John Orr who served in WW1 and lived in Oshawa in 1926. I have a hat badge that I recently traced to him and would give it to a descendant of his. I found it in my mothers’ garden around 1943.It is from the Canadian Highlanders Regiment. A few years ago I was curious and looked up who had lived in the house before my parents moved in. John Orr was living there in 1926. Last year I found a site with Attestation papers. I found John Orrs’ papers and he was in the Canadian Highlanders. If you could find a relative that would be great to give it to them.

Help Send a WW1 Soldier's Cap Badge Back to Family
The cap badge reads 

A search of the online CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) database brings up Captain John Orr born 27 August 1890 in Wishaw, Scotland, enlisting on 23 September 1914. His Regimental Number is 24908
His mother Helen is given as his next-of-kin and he was single. 
I did some research and found the family in the 1881, 1891 and 1901 census for Wishaw, Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire Scotland. His father was Andrew, his mother Helen and John had many older siblings.
John Orr Attestation Paper front
I was able to put together a family grouping of:
Father: Andrew Orr born ca 1849 Liberton Lanarkshire
Mother: Helen born ca 1851 Stonehouse Lanarkshire
  • Marion b ca 1875
  • Adam b ca 1877
  • James b ca 1879
  • Elizabeth b ca 1881
  • Janet b ca 1884
  • Mary b ca 1886
  • Andrew Jr. b ca 1889
  • John b. ca 1891 
I have not done any more research to find John Orr after his enlistment in the CEF in 1914 but he might appear in the 1921 Canadian census and on a ships passenger list arriving in Canada between 1901 and 1914. 

If any of my readers want to help find descendants so the cap badge could be returned to family, please leave responses as a comment on this blog. If you have information on living descendants it will not be published online but I will pass it on to Mike L.  

What a terrific thing if we can send this cap badge to family!


Wendy Waring said...

I would love to help with this little task, particularly as my parents were in the Argyle and Sutherland Highlands regiment in Hamilton, and I have a vague recollection of an Orr among their friends there...but I have tried a couple of times now to get images out of ancestry -- and while I'm able to perform searches, when I request an image, or further details, I get shunted to their 'pay for membership' flash page. In the past I have been able to access images of the census without a paid membership. Do you have any idea what's up with that? Was their a limited time that the 1921 census was to be available to the public on ancestry? I think it's a crime if that's the case. Thanks for any light you can shed. I've posted a query at ancestry, but really don't expect to hear back there.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Hi Wendy

The answer to your question is found here

The agreement between LAC and Ancestry is explained.

Wendy Waring said...

Hi Lorine,
No, that doesn't answer my query. Perhaps you don't realise what I was getting at. Ancestry is now requiring paid membership to access the images for the 1921 Canadian census. In the past it has been free. Even attempting to browse the images by Province | District | Subdistrict -- which according to the agreements referenced on the LAC site should be free -- triggers the pay wall flash page for buying ancestry membership. Am I the only person out there who has had this problem? I'll go and post on a few other forums, see what I can find out.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Wendy - this page indicates that the 1921 census is not free if you are using your computer at home.

I cannot speak to what you say is different as I am an Ancestry subscriber so have no way of knowing if those images were indeed free to view at one point in time

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

I should add that even if the 1921 images were free at one point, it would not surprise me if it was never intended to be forever but only for a specific time period - such as one year.