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November 15, 2008

Coincidental Genealogy - Owning a Piece of Someone's Life

Many years ago I bought a book at a local Garage Sale. Inside was the owner's name "Millicent Lynn" and a hand-written genealogy. I knew Millicent slightly, she was an elderly woman in the town where I lived in the 1970s. Millicent was a gentle lovely-looking woman who looked like Helen Hayes and always wore gloves, a dress, and carried a purse over one arm much like Queen Elizabeth. Millicent's son and grandson owned a local business in our small town.

It was through Millicent's grandson that my husband and I met some some twenty years later. My future husband worked for Millicent's grandson and when I published my first book The Van Slyke Family in America: A Genealogy of Cornelise Antonissen Van Slyke, 1604-1676 and his Mohawk Wife Ots-To...., I was directed to his office for assistance.

After our marriage I discovered that my husband owned an antique cupboard that once belonged to Millicent. He also owned the WW1 army helmet that once belonged to Millicent's husband, and a very old black top hat inscribed inside the band with Millicent's husband's name (George Lynn).

With all these connections and treasured objects in our home, I began to feel that we owned a little piece of Millicent and George's lives, and that to complete the circle we needed to find out more about their lives and ancestors.

With that in mind I set out to find Millicent and I'm happy to say that I found her arrival in Canada from England on the Ship Metagama in 1919 as well as many other voyages back and forth between England and Ontario. Millicent arrived at St John New Brunswick on 17 February 1919. It looks like she had $50.00 on arrival, and she was headed for her mother-in-law's in Penetanguishene Ontario

This is George Lynn's WW1 helmet that is part of my husband's WW1 Collection. I also found George's WW1 Attestation Papers and many census and vital records for George, his parents, his grandparents and so on back to 1814.

Now I feel that the journey is complete and I will pass this coincidental genealogy on to Millicent's grandson.


Jennifer said...

Neat post! Some things are just "stuff"... but some things are imbued with so much more. I love that genealogy puts a context and meaning to the things that surround us.

Annette Fulford said...

Fascinating stuff! Millicent sounds like one of the many young women who came to Canada as war bride in 1919. Does she talk about coming to Canada in her handwritten history?

Genealogy Blogger said...

Hi Annette - Sadly there were no personal stories in her book that I bought, just a chart form genealogy of sorts. I know that she met George Lynn in England when he was there during WW1 and that they married in that country.

I am not sure if he sent for her after his return, but apparently the 1919 arrival was her settlement year in Canada. I will ask her grandson if he knows anymore about her coming to Canada

Annette Fulford said...

Hi Lorine, It looks like George Lynn was invalided home on the hospital ship Araguaya in December 1918.

Genealogy Blogger said...

Annette - this is terrific, thank you! I just found George and Millicent's marriage in the Free BMD indexes, and they married in England (W. Derby, Lancashire) in the last quarter of 1918.

So they likely married in a rush before George was sent home. I have to contact their grandson through my sister-in-law so am going to call her today to ask her to ask him if he knows anything else.

btw I've added a link to your wonderful blog on Canadian War Brides - check under Fav Sites here on this Blog (lower right side) I found it last night while Googling "War Brides World War 1"

Annette Fulford said...

Thanks for adding a link to my Blog! I appreciate it.

I forgot to add the marriage info in the last message I left. FreeBMD is usually the first place I search for marriages during the war. Most soldiers married quckly after meeting their prospective bride. My own grandparents were married less than three months after they met.

Millicent must have paid for a better class on the Metagama. She is listed under Cabin dependents. Most war brides who came to Canada in 1919 were given free passage in steerage by the Canadian government.

Anglers Rest said...

What a fascinating post.