Brick Wall Busters (2012)

Our Third Annual "Brick Wall Busters" session was held on 27 November 2012.

   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.

Away Queries

  1. From George B. Fish re Isaac FISH (response: Ginny Clark)
  2. From Anne Sanderson re WEST (response: Allan Marble)
  3. From Janice Switzer re Donald MacDONALD of Antigonish County (response: Allan Marble)

Local Queries

  1. From Gwen Trask re Sophia LEWIS in Yarmouth / Digby Counties (response: Allan Marble)
  2. From Glenda Bishop re McGARRY Family (response: Ginny Clark)
  3. From Carol Weare re Allen Henry MANUEL (response: Ginny Clark)


  Virginia "Ginny" Clark, C.G.(C)
  Allan E. Marble, C.G.(C)

QUERY #1: 

From George Fish re: Isaac Fish - Hants County:

I am trying to trace the lineage of my great great grandfather Isaac Fish, who was born in Hants County, Nova Scotia c. 1800 and died 29 April 1886. He was married to Amy (Mosher) Fish.
I know from what my father told me that the Fish family left Rhode Island to go to Nova Scotia around the time of the American Revolution. The only reference to this that I have been able to find is Michal (Rhodes) Fish widow of Jonathan Fish (b:1704 d: before 1761) and her oldest son Isaac (b: 1726 d: before 1801) arriving from Portsmouth Rhode Island in 1761.
We had thought that he was the son of William Fish and Mary (Sanford) Fish, but John V. Duncanson's book "Newport, Nova Scotia a Rhode Island Township" (p.223-224) lists a different Isaac Fish, who died between 1854 and 1863, as his son. Compounding the confusion, both Isaacs had sons named George, the one who is not my ancestor being George William Fish. Mr. Duncanson's book lists my ancestor Isaac, but is very unclear about his parents.

My lineage is:
  • Isaac Fish (b: ~1800 d: 29 Apr 1886) m: Amy Mosher (b:08 Aug 1805 d: aft 1892) - Listed in the 1871 and 1881 census as residing in Scotch Village, Hants County occ. Farmer
  • George Fish (b: 03 Mar 1841 d:26 Aug 1910) m: Mary Ann Smith (b: Feb 1844 d: 1917) Relocated to Boston, MA in 1886.
  • Herbert Arnold Fish (b: 10 Mar 1880 d: Jul 1946) Born in Scotch Village, Hants County.
  • George Herbert Fish (b: 10 Mar 1907 d: 10 May 1980)

I have researched, Family, GANS, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Nova Scotia Genealogy Network Association, "The Fish Family in England and America" by Lester Warren Fish.
I am currently residing in Wisconsin and have been unable to do local research in Nova Scotia.
I would deeply appreciate any help in this.

Ginny's Comments: 

Fish family of Hants County
Who were the parents of Isaac Fish [1800-1886]?
My first thoughts were to look at the Sanford Book – a genealogy of that family in Nova Scotia and New England. I found several references to Mary Fish but never as a mother of Isaac, but there is a Mary daughter of Elisha who married Isaac Fish and had a daughter Amy. Mr. Fish says Isaac married Amy Mosher, and this seems to be the case. There is a death record for the daughter Amy, but it only gives her father's name, not her mothers. However, other family records indicate that Amy Mosher was Isaac's wife.

There are very few sources one could check. The ones I thought of were really covered by John Duncanson in his Newport Township history which Mr Fish has checked. There are Anglican records for the area, but Methodist ones only cover marriages from 1824. Heather Long in her collection of marriages for NS to 1841 has no entry for Isaac Fish and Amy Mosher.

I looked at John Duncanson's 3 books about Hants County townships but only Newport had any Fish families. George Fish says he has looked at this reference and that Isaac's origins are not definite. Certainly this book has an Isaac born 1726 married to Edith. Duncanson says a second Isaac was born ca 1800 and suggests this is Isaac's father. This would have made his father very old when the second Isaac was born in 1800. And his siblings were born from 1777 to 1793.

Mr Fish states that the family came to NS from Rhode Island around the time of the American Revolution. Actually, it would seem that the Fish family came as part of the New England Planter migration in the 1760s.

As there is no estate or will for Isaac in early 1800 or in 1886, about all I could suggest is a really good dig into probate records and deeds. Duncanson talks about some Fish probate but look for Isaac's brothers and Mosher connections to see if any mention is made of an Isaac. Is Isaac really a brother of James and William?

A last remote possibility is to look for an obituary in the newspapers for Isaac in 1886. These death notices rarely give parentage, but always worth a try.

QUERY #2: 

From Anne Sanderson re: West Family

My maternal grandmother, Love Alena Blair was born in Kentville/Waterville, Kings County, Nova Scotia 11 Feb 1880. Her grandfather's lineage is well known but her grandmother, Jerusha Anne Roach, my 2 x great grandmother's lineage is a mystery and my Nova Scotia Brick Wall!

My mysterious maternal 2 X great grandmother is Jerusha Anne West and she was born in Nova Scotia according to her death certificate.

Jerusha married (1) 12 May 1822 in Mount Hanley, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia John Cooper DeLong, the son of Simon DeLong (1761-1851) and Experience Charlton (1762-1851) John Cooper DeLong was born 12 May 1800 in Wilmot, Annapolis, Nova Scotia, and died Jul 1846 in New Germany, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. They had eight children the last of whom was my great grandmother Catherine West DeLong born 14 Mar 1844 in New Germany and died in my house 02 Jan 1936 just six months before I was born. The intergenerational house idea was adopted from Nova Scotia and she lived with her daughter Love Alena Blair, her granddaughter Helen and soon to be great granddaughter, Me!

Jerusha and John's children: Albert Desbrisay born 20 Jan 1831 In Wilmot and died 06 Aug 1902 in Barss Corner; Experience Ann b. 04 Sept 1835 in Mt Hanley d. 19 Sept 1891 in Dorchester, MA; Mary Elizabeth b. 25 Aug 1837 in Wilmot d. 30 Oct 1927 in Milford, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia; John Wesley b. 12 May 1840 in Barss Corner d. 13 Apr 1917 in Colebrook, Coos, NH; Eleanor b. 25 Dec 1842 in Barss Corner d. 07 Dec 1940 in Amherst, NH; Prudence Isobel b 15 May 1833 in Mt Hanley d. 15 May 1884 in Framington, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; Catherine West DeLong. Catherine, her daughter and granddaughter are buried here in Manchester, NH.

Jerusha married (2) John Roach 26 Apr 1854 in Wilmot .

I can find no reference to Jerusha's parents Paul West or Mary West. One family note refers to her mother as Mary Chappell. Some links refer us to Tolland , Conn from whence come many West families.

Because it is difficult to read her age on the death record I have 2 possible dates or the range in between to explore for her birth. If 62 at DOD and 77 in the 1871 census I look at the range between 1807 and 1809.

Allan's Comments: 

Anne: I did a quick search of the following sources:

1838 Census for Kings County No Paul West
Probate Records for Kings County No Paul West
Deaths, Burials, and Probate for Nova Scotia (1749-1850) No Paul West
Nova Scotia Marriages, 1752-1841 No Paul West
Land Grant Petitions and Land Grants No Paul West
The Cornwallis Township Book No Paul West
Cemetery Inscriptions for Kings County No Paul West
Kings County Deeds Paul West sold land in 1804 and in 1811. The deeds provide no information about his wife and family.

I then remembered that I owned a book which I had purchased about thirty years ago with the title WEST LINES, published in Truro, Nova Scotia, in 1978 and written by Margaret Adelia Ells. It contains 112 pages on the West families of Cornwallis Township, however, there is no index. I spent a little time checking pages and on page 71 found the family of William and Jane West who emigrated from Tisbury, Massachusetts to Cornwallis in 1760. As you can see from the attachment, his fifth son was Paul West, born in 1746 in Tisbury. Later, on pages 74 and 75, I found William West's Will made in 1798 and it lists his son Paul as an executor. I have also attached one page of the Will.

You are welcome to have the book if you do not have a copy. Please realize, however, that this does not definitely prove that the above mentioned Paul West is the Paul West you are looking for but since he is the only Paul West I can find in Nova Scotia during the 18th and 19th centuries, he probably is your ancestor. My theory is that Paul West sold his lands in Cornwallis and moved back to Massachusetts. I have no proof of that but it is probably something you could begin to research.

QUERY #3: 

From Janice Switzer re: Donald MacDonald - Antigonish County:

My great grandfather Donald MacDonald (McDonald) born 29 Nov 1848 in Ashdale, Antigonish, Nova Scotia (parents unknown but I believe could possibly be William MacDonald (McDonald) born 1814 in Scotland and Catherine ? from Nova Scotia. Donald passed away 29 Nov 1915 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. My great grandmother - Margaret MacMillan (McMillan) born 15 Mar 1861 in Nova Scotia and passed away 27 April 1930 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her parents are Hugh MacMillan born Nov 1826 and Mary MacPherson born Jan 1840 - both of Nova Scotia, Canada.

I believe that Donald MacDonald married Margaret MacMillan (McMillan) between 1881-1884 in Nova Scotia but I have never been able to locate a marriage certificate which could tell me who his parents are and to confirm information on one of his brothers which I have done extensive research. Donald and Margaret went on to have 10 children - Colin, John Hugh, Catherine, Mary Isabella, Margaret Ann, Margaret Janet, William J, Rebecca, Joseph and Sarah Rebecca (all born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia).

My grandmother, Mary Isabella MacDonald's delayed birth registration shows Donald and Margaret as her parents. I have found the family in the 1891, 1901 and 1911 Canada Census in Nova Scotia. I am trying to find a marriage certificate so that I can identify Donald's father. I have only found one marriage for a Donald MacDonald and Margaret MacMillan on 25 Feb 1873 which could work but it shows Donald and Margaret as 40 and 41 years old and my family went on to have 10 children, the first being born in 1885. Why wait 12 years before starting a family. The marriage information from 25 Feb 1873 shows Donald's father as Arby and Ann and this information does not work out for my family? I have been working on this information for 5 years and still can't confirm it.

I have done extensive research on a brother (or cousin) of Donald MacDonald. His name was Alexander "Klondike King" MacDonald who married Margaret Chisholm on 9 Feb 1899. Alexander's father's name was William MacDonald. Which all the information that I have from Alexander suggests that Donald was his brother but I have never been able to confirm this. Once I confirm all information I would like to send the information to the Skagway Museum in the Yukon which would add to the history of the Klondike Gold Rush.

I have attached my timelines which shows what sources I have researched, if you have any questions, please contact me. Thank you.

Allan's Comments: 

Janice: When I first read the description of your Brick Wall problem I had little hope that I could solve it.

I am very familiar with the Church Records, Probate Records, and Land Records of Antigonish County and realized that to try to single out your Donald MacDonald from the 100 or so people with the same name living in that County during the latter half of the 19th century, would be a major challenge.

I remembered, however, that the person who prepared the index of obituaries published in the Antigonish Casket newspaper wrote special items on each card to distinguish one Donald MacDonald from others with the same name. With this in mind I began to look at each card of the 100 or so Donald MacDonald index cards and sure enough I found a card on which was written "Brother of the Klondike King". The card led me to the issue and page of the newspaper where your Donald's obituary appeared. I have attached the obituary.

I then decided to stretch my luck by looking at the William MacDonald cards and found a card with the note "father of the Klondike King". William MacDonald's obituary is attached as well and indicates that he came from Strathglass, Scotland in 1834 and two years later married Catherine Chisholm.

Here are the issues of the Antigonish Casket in which I found the obituaries:
Donald: Antigonish Casket, 9 September 1915, page 5
William: Antigonish Casket, 11 July 1901, page 5

QUERY #4: 

From Gwen Trask re: Sophia Lewis - Yarmouth / Digby Counties:

I have searched for decades for the parents of one Sophia Lewis born c.1820 , married 16 October 1839 at Port Maitland, Yarmouth County to Cyrus Parry. Died 4 October 1887 @ 68.
Sophia and Cyrus are both in school record for Beaver River Port Maitland. Unfortunately this record does not list parents.
Because Beaver River is in Digby County and Port Maitland is in Yarmouth County I have researched sources in both counties. What Probate records I could find for Digby County had no Lewis near the Yarmouth County border of the right age. This is not the Planter Lewis family of CapeForchu . I feel the connection is the Digby Loyalist Lewis family.

I would love to fill this large gap on Stuart's otherwise quite largely complete fan chart!

Allan's Comments: 

Gwen: As you probably heard from Deborah I have very little to add on the parentage of Sophia Lewis. I concentrated on the Digby County Lewis families as you suggested but found there has been very little research done on Lewis in Digby County. I checked with Sheryl Stanton at the Admiral Digby Museum and she contacted me today to say they have nothing on the Lewis families of Digby County and nothing on Sophia.

As you are aware it is a Loyalist family and there are many references to members of the family in Isaiah Wilson. In looking at the 1838 Census for Digby County I note that there were seven separate Lewis families in the County in that year. Six of the families had only one female over 14 years, presumably the wife of the head of the household. Thomas Lewis Sr. had seven in his family including two females over the age of 14, one of whom could have been Sophia considering that she would have been aged ca.18 in 1838 and unmarried. Tomas Sr. died in 1819 and Sophia, a baby, may have been sent to a relative to be brought up in some other part of the County, perhaps Beaver River or Port Maitland. Just a theory.

The only suggestion I can make is to contact the Lewis families of Digby County (there are 21 such families listed for Digby County on Canada411) and see if any of them have family Bibles, diaries, letters, or scrapbooks which would shed light on the mystery of "who is Sophia".

QUERY #5: 

From Glenda Bishop re: McGarry - Kings County:

My Great Grandparents arrived from IRELAND in the 1840's and settled in Kings County, Nova Scotia, on the South Mountain 15 miles south of Kentville, N. S. This is the highway that runs from Kentville to New Ross and on to Chester Basin.

The former name for the area was Sherbrooke, then referred to as the New Ross Road, and more recently the area my family settled in is referred to as Blue Mountain.

Great Grandfather, Owen McGarry born 1810 in Ireland. Died 1899 New Ross Rd. His wife Mary (Trainer/or) born 1820 in Ireland. Died 1901 New Ross Road. Married in 1840 in Ireland. I have been unable to find the place of origin in Ireland; the names of their parents; a passenger list or the year of their arrival in Kings County or of any land document.

I have this clue as to when they were in Kings County. In my possession is a small sheet of paper torn from, I assume a small prayer book, with the inscription: “September 22, 1881. Presented by the Most Rev. Michael Hannan, Archbishop of Halifax to Mr. Owen McGarry of New Ross Road, Kings County, in grateful acknowledgement of many kindnesses…(2-3 words?).... 35 years ago…….of his visit as Archbishop 1881 to his hospitable home.” (I gave Terry Punch the original page, but I have the copy). These dates point back to 1846 so I assume they were living on the New Ross Road in Kings County in that year and how long before I do not know.

One daughter Ellen Margaret born 1841 in Ireland. The next child Peter is born 1849 – no middle name or place of birth. He left the farm and in 1884 was in Milan, New Hampshire. The 3rd. child is Owen John McGarry, born 13 Feb. 1850, New Ross Road. He married and had family and died in Clinton, Mass. Six more children were born on the New Ross Road and all moved to the USA. Re: Owen John – I wonder if the middle name JOHN may be a clue to a father's name in Ireland.

I would appreciate any direction in helping me to find Owen and Mary's origin in Ireland; the names of their parents; a Passenger list and arrival time in Kings County. Web-site suggestions would be helpful to me.

My mother once told me that the place of Cork was mentioned.

In 1872 a Post Office was established in their home. Their home was also known as a stop-over for a meal, change of horses or overnight accommodation. St. Joseph's Church in Kentville has a list of the more recent Baptisms. Obituaries do not provide a clue to birthplace. Owen McGarry and other men from that area provided lumber in the building of the present St. Joseph Church.

I know you will have many queries and good luck to all the participants.

Ginny's Comments: 

When did Owen McGarry and Mary Trainor come to NS from Ireland: what county and who were their parents? And what was the ship?

First of all a passenger list is next to impossible to find!

I understand why Ms. Bishop has had such trouble with this family. They are known to be in the New Ross Rd area, and nicely show up in census as farmers but neither of us can find any deed or grant to the land they farmed. In the 1871 census there are several Irish Catholic families living nearby: Patrick Corkery, Thomas O'Neal, Thomas Tyrell.

Glenda is so lucky to at least have the note from the Bishop indicating that McGarry was living there in 1846. He certainly is there in 1861 as well as in the provincial directory for Sherbrooke Road1866-67.
I could find no McGarry in this area getting land grants or deeds, although there is an incomplete petition for a James McGarry for Hants county, 1829. It doesn't tell us anything of interest. In the early census- 1871-1881 Mary is listed as being born in Ireland. By 1891 and1901 she is said to be born in NS and thus no year of immigration being given. One can assume the earlier census are closer to the truth, than the later ones when her son is giving the information.

I looked for Mary's Trainor family to see if the young couple came out with her parents and found very few Trainors. There is a land grant for Patrick Trainer of 200 acres on the New Annapolis Road, 1821. I found a death record for a Patrick Traynor, age 82y who died in Cornwallis in 1870. Is this the man who died in 1872? Probably. There is no indication that he and the McGarry's were connected though. Worth following up.

One thing I was able to add to this tree is a child born between Ellen Margaret in 1841 and Peter who was born about 1849 in Nova Scotia. In the on-line NS Historical Vital Records there is a death registration 1870 for Francis P McGarry, son of Owen and Mary, born in Aylesford in 1843 according to his brother Peter. This moves the arrival time to between 1841 and 1843. I checked some Annapolis and Aylesford records for any McGarry but found none.

I checked the indices to the RC records of the Hfx Archdiocese and see the names McGarry and Trainer in Halifax registers from 1826-56 that would be worth looking at. One entry is for a Margaret McGary marriage to Thomas Trainer 1843-1845 in Hfx's St Marys registers. I have copied this as it seemed a coincidence that the two families intermarried again:
“ Thomas Trainer was the son of P Trainer and Ann McManus of co. Monah[?] married Margaret McGary d/o Patrick McGary and Ellen Bolan of Co. Sligo.” The Windsor parish has an entry for Margaret McGarity in the1834-1840 register. I did not check this out at this point.

I did keep an eye open for any strange spellings…the family was indexed under Owen in the 1871 census

I found no Probate

The other area that has McGarry is Cape Breton, where a branch descends from Dennis. I could find no connection between the two at this time.

At the GANS lecture, someone suggested checking the Prospect RC registers. I did not check these indices as I was looking for either Hfx City or something near Kentville. However, we were told that there are records in Prospect's registers for the Annapolis Rd area. I have yet to check this for you but will soon.

QUERY #6: 

From Carol Weare re: Allen Henry Manuel - Hants County:

My grandfather Allen Henry Manuel and my grandmother Blanch Edna Greenough were married April 30, 1899 in Canning, N.S. He was 47 at the time and so would have been born about 1852. The marriage certificate states that he was born in St. Margaret's Bay to parents James and Sarah Manuel ,occupation engineer. Allen's tombstone in Hillaton Cemetery, Kings County states that he was born in 1854. His death certificate states that he was 69 when he died on December 2, 1919 in Windsor, N.S. and that his parents were Henry Manuel and Mary Ennis (or Eisener). He would have been born around 1850 with a different set of parents. This was definitely his death certificate.

I searched the Baptism Records in the Parish of St. Paul, St Margaret's Bay and found the dates of birth and baptism for 12 of James and Sarah Manuel's 14 children. I could not find dates for Allen or Amos. Where were they baptised?

I also searched for school records but was unsuccessful.

March 16,1974, Mrs Rupert (Ethel) Manuel from Peggy's Cove, wrote a letter listing 11 children of James and Sarah Manuel, including Allen and Amos. She told me that Allen had gone to the USA as a young man.

I also received a letter from my Aunt Ethel Porter in Canning who said her father was born in Peggy's Cove and he had relatives in Gold River and Chester Basin. She said that Allen had gone to sea at age 12 and he had not returned to N.S. for 28 years and then only for a short time.

Allen had previously been married in the USA and had a family there. The 1880 US Census records for Keywest, Monroe , Florida show that Allen was 28 and was born in 1852 in NS. The 1901 Canadian Census for Canning, N.S. shows that Allen was born Aug 25, 1854 and that he was 47. The 1911 Census for Canning shows that he was 62 so he would have been born in 1849. I presume that Allen was born about Aug 25, 1852 in Peggy's Cove and that James and Sarah Manuel were his parents but I would like to know for sure.

James and Sarah Manuel were married Dec 12, 1839 in the Parish of St. Margaret. James Manuel drowned April 21, 1875 and Sarah Manuel died Oct 10, 1904 in Halifax. She was buried in Glen Margaret according to her obituary but I cannot find out where that cemetery is.

James Manuel's parents were Peter Manuel and Ann Catharine Dophny who were married Nov 17, 1814 .in St. Paul's Anglican Church in Halifax. I do not know what happened to Peter but Ann Catharine later married Christopher Allan in St. Paul's Anglican Church in Halifax on Dec 14, 1828.and she was buried in the Indian Harbour Baptist Cemetery. I do not know who Peter's parents were or where they came from. Any help you can give me in solving these problems would be appreciated.

Ginny's Comments: 

Looking for proof of parentage for Allen Henry Manuel: Death certificate says Henry and Mary of Mahone Bay, marriage record says James and Sarah, St. Margarets Bay

In general I would go with the earlier marriage information as the man himself would have given this to the minister. Unfortunately, as Allen was not a young man when he married and he married a much younger woman, so the age sometimes will be lessened so that the age difference isn't too much! Another reason not to accept the death record as gospel is that this information is given at a time of stress by the wife who in this case did not know where or date her husband was born. His daughter when applying for a late birth registration in 1961 gives Allen's birth place at Peggy's Cove.

Sources I thought might be helpful:

*Try St Paul's and other Anglican church records for an entry for Allen's baptism.

*Check NS marriage records for children of James and Sarah to see if Allen is a witness to any of these marriages, indicating he might be a brother.

*Try to find Henry & Mary of Mahone Bay and check for their children: I looked for references to a Henry and Mary Manuel and could find none in the time frame that Allen was born. In Lunenburg County, there is a William and Caroline Manuel. This man was born in Peggy's Cove and I believe an older brother of Allen's. William Henry Manuel - born 1841. Their marriage records says he is born Peggys Cove. It would make sense that in later years, Allen visited his brother and family in the Gold River/Chester area.

* Is there an obituary for Allen? No Kentville Advertiser or Hants Journal for the time. I did not do Hfx papers.

*Probate: no will or estate for Henry or James, Halifax or Lunenburg counties.

*Florida marriage records: Allen has been found in Florida in 1877, 1880, 1885 and a reference to his marriage but no scanned image to see if those records gave parent's names. The reference is in familysearch for Allen Manuel and Frances Sterrup marrying in 1877.

* Church registers: I did recheck the French Village Anglican registers where children of James and Sarah baptised many of their children. I DID find a baptism for a child of theirs, the * name had been scratched out and what looks like “Charles Alen” has been written back in. this child was born Aug [5th] and baptised Sept 22, 1850.

From various records Allen Manuel was born 1850, 1852, 1854,1849, 1850. In 1901 he gives August 25, 1854, but in 1911 he says August 1849!

I have found a baptism for a birth Aug. 5 or 15th, 1850, son of James and Sarah so I am pretty sure this is the correct proof she is looking for.