Brick Wall Busters (2011)
Our Second Annual "Brick Wall Busters" session was held on 22 November 2011. Members were asked to submit their Brick Wall Queries; six of those queries, three from local / regional members and three from members outside of Nova Scotia, were selected for our President, Dr. Allan Marble, C.G.(C) and Virginia "Ginny" Clark, C.G.(C) to analyze and make some suggestions for how these members might be able to further their research and, hopefully, break down their Brick Wall.
Responders:Virginia "Ginny" Clark, C.G.(C)
Allan E. Marble, C.G.(C)
Over the past two years, I have been researching my Elliott roots, which have led me to Nova Scotia. I have hit one mystery up in Cape Breton that has left a gap in my research, although I feel that I have great circumstantial evidence to make a very reasonable leap. I believe that I could confirm my theory with the proof of a single marriage, and I am hoping you might be able to assist me in this regard.
My great-grandfather George William Elliott emigrated from Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to Winchester, Massachusetts, US in the late 1800's. His father's name was also George Elliott, and his mother's name was Catherine McKenzie. I believe that I have found his family in the Canadian census for the years 1871 and 1881. At that time (1871), his mother, Catherine McKenzie Elliott was already a widow.
George William was one of 7 children. His older brother, John Stephen Elliott, was born in 1850 and died on 3 May 1870, when he drowned in the Bay of St. Lawrence. On his death certificate, his father is listed as George Elliott, occupation seaman, but his mother (Catherine Elliott) was the informant. This makes me suspect that his mother was already a widow at this point in time (1870).
I have located a Death Registration via the Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics website for a George Elliott who died in Cape Breton in 1865. His age here is specified as 50, which would put his birthdate somewhere around 1815 or so.
My family also has a few original documents that provide some clues here: I have in my possession some original ships' papers dated 1854 and 1855, that have been passed down through my family. These papers (Certificate of Character/Certificate of Discharge) are for a seaman George Elliott, with a birthdate specified of 1812, and a birthplace specified of Nova Scotia.
I also have an old family deed, dated 1868, that documents the sale of a plot of land on the "North side of Sydney Harbor" for "the sum of one dollar" by "Joseph Austen" and "Sophia Almy Austen, his wife of the one part" of Dartmouth, Halifax to one "Catherine Elliott of North Sydney in the County of Cape Breton, widow of the other part". This tells me that Catherine Elliott was a widow by this date of 1868.
Now, a little research shows me that the "Sophia Almy Austen" named in this deed was born an Elliott before she married Joseph Austen. She had a brother, George Elliott, who was born in 1812 and died in 1865. Other than birth and death dates, I cannot find anything more on Sophia's brother George. I believe that this George Elliott was Catherine's husband, and my great-great-grandfather. I believe that he is the same George Elliott of the ships' papers, and that the deed we have is documenting the sale of some land by Sophia Almy Elliott Austen to the wife of her late brother, 3 years after his death, for a nominal sum of one dollar.
The marriage record I am seeking would provide a concrete link between the George Elliott of Sophia Almy Elliott's family, and the Catherine McKenzie Elliott who I know to be my great-great-grandmother.
So to recap, I am searching for definitive documentation of a marriage between a George Elliott, (1812 - 1865) and a Catherine McKenzie (born approx. 1824 in Scotland). They had 7 children:
John Stephen (b 1850, d 1870)
Sophia (b 1853)
George William (b 1855, d 1926)
Mary (b 1858)
Eliza (b 1860)
Catherine (b 1862)
Daniel John (b 1864)
Since the oldest child (that I know about) was born in 1850, I would suspect the marriage to have occurred somewhere in the late 1840's. They seem to have settled in the Sydney area in Cape Breton, where several (if not all) of the children were born. Sophia Almy Elliott's family was from the Dartmouth, Halifax area. Perhaps her brother George married in his hometown of Dartmouth before moving up to Sydney? Or had he moved to Sydney and married there? I also believe the family religion to be Protestant or some variant, but definitely not Catholic.
I have already been in contact with a researcher at the Highland Village Museum, and I have done extensive Internet searching. I joined GANS in an effort to further my research a couple of years ago. I am also a member of Ancestry.com, and have searched thoroughly through their archives.
Since I am currently residing in Colorado, US, I will be unable to attend the GANS lecture on Nov 22 in person. I would be so very appreciative if my query could be addressed as one of the "away" member queries. Any information at all that would further my quest would be very much welcomed.
Thank you so very much for your time.
George died 1865 looking for marriage 1850 who were his parents c 1820 marriage *****note most marriage records in the 1850s do not tell much other than the date and bride's maiden name. [parents only mentioned in RC registers] search the following:
Check out the Elliotts of Guysborough county.they appear to be Ch of England though. And those in Londonderry. Miners tend to move to other mining communities when they need work, and the Elliots were living in North Sydney/Sydney Mines by 1881. 1861 census for CB County may help by showing where the family was living.
Deeds: There is no land petition for George [or any Elliott] in CB petitions so he must have bought land. Perhaps a clue here as to where he came from in a purchase of land in CB.
Check out early probate records both for Cape Breton County and for Halifax for a father.
Look at family names for similar names in other families: *Is the middle name William a clue, perhaps the father of George senior. * there was a Stephen s/o John Elliott of Dartmouth who died as a young adult in 1846
My great great grandfather was named James Alexander Hughes and was born May 24 either 1818 or 1819 and died May 1901 in Victoria B.C. and buried in Digby, N.S. Married Mary Elizabeth Farnham on May 27, 1845 in Digby, N.S. He could have been born in Halifax, N.S. or Digby, N.S. but I think he was born in the British Isles. He was a sealer off of Digby, N.S. and also in the Bering Sea. I have searched Ancestry.Com; My Heritage.com;Automated Genealogy.com and others but cannot find where he was born nor his parents or when he arrived in Canada.He had 7 children; 4 girls and 3 boys.
James Alexander HUGHES of Digby
b. ca 1818 d.1901 BC
where was he born, who are his parents and when did he arrive in Canada?
checking all the census from 1871-1901 find he says he is born NS in all of them. In 1891 he says his father was born England and mother b. Ireland. Therefore fairly safe to say he was b. NS and did not emigrate from England to here.
Where in NS he was born is harder. Church registers for baptismal records: most likely Ch of England so start with the Digby Trinity Anglican registers. They start 1786 but also try Weymouth Anglican  and Bridgetown United for Methodist/Presbyterian  If no luck there then try Halifax churches or other towns that have early registers.
Probate Records: there is a terrific index and abstract for both Digby and Annapolis counties. John Hughes died in 1822. He was a merchant and had lots of doings in other Digby estates. This looked hopeful, but his wife Mary died in 1840 and her will mentions her 5 children: William Henry, John Coldwell, George, Margaret and Elizabeth. NO James. There is always the possibility that John was the grandfather. There was the suggestion that James Alexander might have gone off to BC but he marries in 1845, produces all his children in Digby and shows up in all the census until 1901 when he has gone to BC to live with his daughter.
Newspaper notices for marriages and deaths, not only the GANS publications but also the Presbyterian Witness and the Wesleyan which tended to cover the whole province.
Census records: We have found his family in the various census, but look again for any older man [or woman] who could have been the parent of James born ca 1818. There is an Andrew Hughes in neighbouring Bear River who was born in 1809 but he claims to have been born in Ireland, not England. The 1827 and 1838 census are indexed but no Hughes is listed for Digby. There is a William Farnham though.
Land Grants: there are petitions for grants divided into before and after 1800. On-line the archives have produced the cards that have .petitions. with personal information on them but not the cross reference cards nor the warrants to survey, etc. there is a reference to a John Hughes, a Loyalist looking for land in Digby, but no James. Deeds: these can be tedious if the family bought a lot of land or held mortgages, but might be a way to find his father.
It would seem a good thought that his father might have been a seaman or mariner as James A and most of his sons followed the sea.
School records: Lastly, there is a group of records at the NS archives of 'School Papers. which hold some lists of pupils and their parents in the 1820s and 1830s.
Suggestion from meeting that you look at cemetery listings.
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Is James Arthur Reid his real name?
James Arthur Reid
b. June 11, 1880 in Guysborough, NS (from death certificate NSHVS)
d. Jan. 5, 1955 in Joggins, Cumb. Co., NS (from death certificate NSHVS)
1881 Guysborough Census
John Reid 56 Baptist African
Eliza Reid 58 Baptist African
Lewis Garo 10 Baptist African
1891 Guysborough Census (Guysborough Intervale)
Reid, John 64 H born in Virginia Baptist Farmer
Reid, Eliza 65 W born in Nova Scotia Baptist
Reid, John 6 S born in Nova Scotia Baptist
Reid, James 10 S born in Nova Scotia Baptist
1901 Guysborough Census
Reed, John M Head M Jan 1825 73
Reed, Eliza F Wife M Dec 22, 1824 76
Reed. James M Adopted S June 26, 1879 21
Reed, John M Adopted S July 25, 1885 15
I have been searching for years trying to ascertain whether these two REID boys were born Reid or took the name when they went to live with John and Eliza.
I have been unable to find a birth certificate for a James Reid/Reed/Read born in Guysborough.
I have visited the museum in Guysborough and they have no documentation for this family.
I contacted the Strait School Board to see if school records were available assuming these boys attended school in Guysborough Intervale or Boylston, and was told no records were available for that area. I have visited the Baptist Church in Guysborough and reviewed their church records but was unable to find any mention of Reid's in that church. There was another small Baptist church in Boylston and I have spoken to numerous people in hopes of locating those records, without luck.
I have visited the Baptist Archives in Wolfville and they do not have records for the Boylston Baptist Church.
My husband and I have visited Guysborough in the past year and did some extensive visiting throughout the community to try and uncover any small leads that would help solve this mystery. However, nothing much materialized for the REID name.
Given the ages of John and Eliza Reid I feel strongly that they are not the biological parents of James and John, but would like to know what the connection is and whether these boys were actually Reid's.
I respectfully submit my "brick wall" for consideration in the 2nd Annual Brick Wall Busters with hopes that it will be chosen. After 30 years of trying to track down the identity of James Arthur Reid and who his parents were it would be wonderful to be able to move this family back another generation.
James Arthur Reid of Guysborough
b. 1879-1881 Guysborough
Who were his real parents?
Adopted children present a really hard problem to solve. You may never be able to learn birth parents. However, one advantage in this case is that the family is black, making them easy to follow in census records and thus ruling out other Reids in the county.. Then your case has the disadvantage of being Baptist, a problem because that denomination does not generally baptize infants, but rather young adults with no age nor parental information in their baptismal registers.
It looks like you have done most of the obvious searches. Try the 1871 census looking for a young girl who could have been his mother as well as the 1881 in case his age is slightly out, also to find a young woman. NSA has a published index and transcript for the 1861-1891 census. Look for any Reids. From the death record and 1901 census we have his birth date as June 1880 or 1881. If it was1881 then the April census would not include James. If a year earlier, then he should be listed. His age at marriage June 2, 1908 was 27 but was this 27 and about to turn 28 on the 11th, this would make his birth year 1880. Look at the printed census for any young boy age 0-2, especially noted as .African..
In 1871 Guysborough Intervale: John & Eliza Reid have a household that includes Julia Wood age 15y, Mary Roberts age 6y and Bridget Wood widowed and age 75 .later one Julia Reid is living with an Ash family in 1891
1881: Guysborough Intervale: Note that John & Eliza seem to have young children in their home who are likely not theirs. In 1881 they have 10 yr old Lewis Garo living with them. Check out Lewis Garo In 1881 There is a Julia Reid in the household of Thomas & Catherine Clarey. She is African Baptist, b. NS age 23 and listed as a servant.
There is an Eliza Reid age 30y living alone and a Jane Reid age 15y Church of England living with John Keay and his mother Isabelle and others.
Check all marriages [NS genealogy.com] for any children of John & Eliza.
Check out all deaths for any link to the family. Eliza died 1911 but little info in this record. John jr md 1909 but lost his wife in 1913.did he remarry? Follow his brother John.
Church registers: Although usually Baptist, try other denominations as some Reids are Methodist. Also search the Anglican churches.
I have no answers, but some people to follow up.
Meeting suggestions of looking at Probate records. Also Reids in other counties like Pictou, Colchester and Cumberland as these families moved around a lot.
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My great grandfather was James Alban Welton born about Sep 1868 on Glasgow Mountain, outside Diligent River, in Cumberland County. Died June 3, 1933. My brickwall is trying to figure out who are the parents of James Alban Welton.
On his marriage certificate it lists them as James and Mary Welton. On the death certificate they are listed as William and Mary Ann Welton with Welton being the maiden name of the mother was well ( he is called James W Welton in the NS vital stats death record).
His brother George said his parents were Cephas and Mary Welton. His sister Jane died in the Pugwash Asylum with parents unknown. In the 1871 census James Alban is listed as 2 years old with a potential sister Rosamond age 14. I cannot find her.
I believe his mother to be Mary Ann Welton daughter of Cephas Welton as in the 1871 census she is living there with Cephas who is a widow and what appears to be her brother, two daughters and two sons. She dies in 1919 as a widow, but I see no record of a marriage.
I have checked Census records, obituaries, vital stats, parish records for St Georges in Parrsborro, probate records, Henry Jenks journal, Cumberland Genealogy Yahoo group and cemetery records. I am not sure what to look at next.
Allan's Comments: Welton of the Diligent River area of Cumberland CountyBack to Top
Brickwall question: Who were the parents of James Alban Welton?
Statement by Jennifer describing her research to date.
My observations: A review of James Alban Welton's marriage and death certificates in the Nova Scotia Vital Statistics confirmed that his father's name was given as James W. in one record and William in the second. In both records his mother's name was given as Mary. My initial thought was that James W. was probably James William and that he was sometimes described as James and, on other occasions, described as William. Since James Alban's death certificate gave his date of birth as 26 September 1868 I decided to view the 1871 Census for his family. Family #179 in the Census for Mill Village, Cumberland County, listed the family of Cephas Welton and included a two year old boy named James Welton. Also in that family was a Mary Ann Welton, aged 40, but with no indication whether she was married, a widow, or single. There were no adults named James Welton or William Welton over the age of 30 in any of the Welton families in Cumberland County in 1871.
I then turned to the 1861 Census for the Diligent River area and Hutchinson's Nova Scotia Directory for 1864-1865. The names of James or William Welton did not appear in either of the foregoing sources. There are no death certificates in Nova Scotia Vital Statistics for a James Welton or for a William Welton who would have been over 30 years of age in 1871. Furthermore, the Anglican Church Records for Diligent River and for Parrsboro do not include a burial record for either a James or a William Welton.
1. James or William Welton may have been a seaman who was never at home when the census was recorded, never owned land, and died at sea.
2. James or William Welton may have been a member of one of the several Welton families in the Aylesford and Wilmot areas of the Annapolis Valley. He and Mary Ann may have parted company shortly after the birth of James Alban Welton, and he may have returned to Aylesford Township. Ezekiel Welton and his two sons Eri and Cephas living in the Annapolis Valley petitioned for land in Cumberland County in 1815 and received grants in that County. It appears all of the Weltons in Annapolis, Cumberland, and Kings Counties are descendants of Ezekiel Welton, a Loyalist.
3. James or William Welton may have died between 1868 and 1871. No record of his death has been found.
My advice: There were eight separate Welton families in Kings County in 1838. You may have to reconstruct each one of these families in order to identify a James or a William Welton who could have been the father of James Alban Welton.
Romans Family -- Scotland to Northwest Arm then Hammonds Plains
Archibald Romans, and family, came to Nova Scotia from Midlothian, Scotland, around 1819 and settled in the NWA area, but I have never seen the evidence, beyond Archibald buying 150 acres of land and some buildings in 1826 from William Kidston located in the "Northwest Arm".
(I have the deed/mortgage record, but do not know exactly where the property was located).
Archibald died in Nov. 1830 (Acadian Recorder), leaving his wife, Isabella Stuart, and a number of children. I have been unable to find out where the property was exactly, what happened to the land from the NWA, or where Isabella and her children were located between the time of Archibald?s death and her marriage to Alexander Anderson of Hammonds Plains, sometime in 1845 (History of Hammonds Plains).
Isabella moved to HP with her three youngest children, Mary Stuart, Charles, and Robert upon her marriage. The Hammonds Plains property was left to my gg grandfather, Robert Romans, upon Alexander?s passing. I have checked all available census records, the NS Land Registry, the History of Hammonds Plains (Dorothy B Evans), but have not come up with any helpful information.
Thanks for any help you might be able to give!
The Romans Family of Halifax
Brickwall questions: Where was the Archibald Romans property located? Where did his family reside following his death in 1830 and until his widow remarried circa 1845?
My observations and suggestions: The deed and mortgage which transferred land from William Kidston to Archibald Romans in 1826 clearly stated that the land in question was in the Spryfield area. It may be that this property was located in the vicinity of Kidston Lake in Spryfield. William Kidston had purchased seven properties between 1805 and 1822 and it is likely that one of these properties, or part of one of these properties, was sold to Archibald Romans. The descriptions of the seven properties of William Kidston should be read and compared to the description of the property Kidston sold to Romans in 1826. If a match is found the identity of the person who sold the property in question to William Kidston would be known. It would then be necessary to carry out a search of the owners of that property until the person who was granted the land is identified. The location of the property can then be found on Crown Land map #66. This method should provide the location of the property in question. There is, however, the possibility that William Kidston received the property in question through inheritance from his father and, if so, it may be necessary to read his father's Will and become familiar with his father's properties. Assuming that the location of the property in question is, in fact, identified, one should next look at the Ambrose Church Map for Halifax County, published in 1868, and note who is living on said property in the latter year. Once the owner of the property in 1868 is identified the previous owners can be determined and it may be possible to find out when Archibald's widow, Isabella, departed from the property. Since there is no entry in the Halifax Deed Index under the name Isabella Romans, it may be that the property was not sold until after she married her second husband, Alexander Anderson.
Where was Isabella between 1830 and 1845?
1. She could have remained on the property purchased by her husband in 1826
2. She may have moved in with her parents, a sibling, or a sibling of her late husband, if they were living in Halifax County in the 1830s. I noticed that a Robert Romans had 15 people in his household in 1838 according to the census, including four females over the age of 14. I also noticed that a William Stuart had 9 in his household and that a John Stuart had 7 in his.
3. She may have remarried between 1830 and 1845
1. Follow the directions given above to locate the land purchased by Archibald Romans.
2. Engage in extensive research on the Romans, Stuart, and Kidston families in order to learn more about Isabella and her whereabouts from 1830 to 1845.
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MITCHELLS IN CUMBERLAND COUNTY AND PICTOU
Looking for assistance in verifying arrivals and arrival dates in Nova Scotia, from co. Londonderry, Ireland, or seeking insights into tracking early Canadian land records.
New immigrants were (all related):
1. Dr Samuel Mitchell (1795-1862) of Wallace, Cumberland County, arrived in Wallace ca. 1817-1819 as a newly-qualified doctor, married firstly ca. 1820-1821 to Georgina Oxley (who died in about 1824) (their twin sons, Capt Rufus Mitchell of St.Johns, N.B. and Capt William Mitchell of Amherst, Cumberland County were born in Wallace, N.S. in 1822).
2. David Mitchell (ca. 1780-1862) and wife Margaret Mitchell (she was born Mitchell too!) came to Wallace to join Dr Samuel Mitchell in 1829, settled first at Middleboro, Cumberland County, later moving to Linden/Goose River - a farmer with six sons!
3. Another cousin, Dr John Mitchell (1803-1877) came to Merigomish, Pictou County, ca. 1829-1840), later joined ca. 1842 by his brother David Mitchell who settled at West Merigomish.
4. Other cousins, brothers Samuel Mitchell, Hamilton Mitchell and Isabella Mitchell were at Bathurst at about this time (Isabella Mitchell later relocated to Wallace).
Sources already consulted:
Most fascinating source was from David Dewar at the Wallace Area Museum - the transcript of a family letter dated September 1857, written to Dr Samuel Mitchell of Wallace by his son (who was later) Dr Robert Mitchell of Amherst, then a medical student at Edinburgh University, writing home to report back to his parents while on a visit to the old family home in Ireland, at Killymallaght, co. Londonderry - described as a place where "the Mitchells and McKinlays were as thick as bees".
(The original of this letter had been preserved by being stuffed down, as insulation, inside the walls of a timber-framed house. Beats any archive as a depository!)
Any guidance would be most appreciated.
Allan's Comments: Mitchells in Cumberland and Pictou Counties
Brickwall question: When did Samuel and John Mitchell arrive in Nova Scotia and where can one find the land records for the province?
David Mitchell of South Africa listed several sources he had checked and has clearly done a lot of research on the Mitchells who have emigrated to the northern Nova Scotia. He has not, however, had access to Nova Scotia land Records. He described Samuel Mitchell as a young surgeon who he believes arrived in Wallace, Nova Scotia, in 1817 or 1818. David writes that John Mitchell, also a young surgeon, came to Merigomish in Pictou County sometime between 1829 and 1840.
David should consider hiring a Certified Genealogist to check Land Grant Petitions (RG20 Series A), Land Grants, and Cumberland and Pictou County Deeds (RG47), all of which have indexes. All of these land records are held by the Nova Scotia Archives in Halifax. A quick check of the card index for the Land Grant Petitions indicated that Samuel Mitchell petitioned for land at Remsheg (later called Wallace) in 1820 and also in 1824. Both petitions give important information on Samuel such as his occupation, the fact that he was unmarried, and in the 1824 petition, dated 4 October, he stated that he had been in Nova Scotia for nearly seven years. The 1820 petition included a Robert Mitchell who may have been a brother of Samuel. Since David does not mention Robert in his submission, he may wish to have a Certified Genealogist research the latter's family.
It is interesting to note that Samuel stated that he was unmarried in the 1824 petition. This conflicts with David's information that Samuel had married circa 1820 to a Georgina Oxley. That of course is a possibility but, if so, one would have expected Samuel to describe himself as a widower in the petition.
John Mitchell of Merigomish did not petition for a land grant but did purchase land there in 1831 and 1832 according to the Pictou County Deed Index (RG47). He was described as a surgeon. John was actually in Nova Scotia as early as May of 1830 according to Heather Long's compilation of Marriages in Nova Scotia, 1752 to 1841. Trinity Church Records of Antigonish indicate that he was married to Nancy Copeland on 17 May 1830.