Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ancestry DNA

My father has generously consented to having his DNA analyzed by AncestryDNA and I am so incredibly grateful for this!

He told me from the beginning that he had no desire to do any of the activities that would follow submitting his sample. Things like uploading a GEDCOM file, following up on matches etc etc. He wanted me to manage all of that on his behalf.

Could I do that? Was it possible? And how would I do that once we started the proceess?

Can You Purchase A DNA Kit For A Family Member?

Thankfully I discovered the Facebook group Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques and so I posted some questions:

I asked:
"Can I purchase an ancestry.ca DNA for my father and upload his results or does he have to purchase an ancestry membership as well?"

I received many responses to my query. One in particular came from Lesley Anderson whom I had met at the 2016 Ontario Genealogical Conference in Toronto and at the 2017 Ontario Genealogical Conference in Ottawa.

Lesley Anderson wrote:
"You can purchase an AncestryDNA kit for anyone and they can activate it online themselves and send it in. They do not need to purchase a membership but if you have one they can benefit from it to have additional features by inviting you as a contributor or manager under the DNA settings page."

 Which DNA Kit Should I Buy?

Well, that was all I needed to know and now I needed to know which DNA kit should I buy?

Because I had been building my family tree on Ancestry.ca since 2008 (and researching my family history since the 1980s), I was hoping that the AncestryDNA offered the "best bang for the buck".

I researched the topic to learn that the whole area of DNA and genealogy is a lot more complicated and that there were no easy answers to "Which DNA Kit?" anyone should buy.

This is a well prepared comparison of the five top companies that do Autosomal DNA testing for genetic genealogy purposes: 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, Family Tree DNA and the Genographic Project.

At the end of the day I chose AncestryDNA for my father because:
  • there are 5,000,000 people (DNA) in the database 
  • we can contact any "cousin matches" through Ancestry.com’s messaging system
  • it is possible to download of raw data fileof the DNA results
  • Overall accuracy and sophistication of the biogeographical ancestry analysis was 4.5 (only surpassed by the  23andMe DNA test)
  • Special feature: Comparison of overlap of ancestral origins between matches and automatic identification of common ancestors, surnames and birth places between matches' family trees
The support offered by Ancestry was excellent. I made inquiries about shipping and they responded quickly and with an 800 telephone number if I had any additional questions.

Waiting For The Results

We mailed the sample the same day and were surprised at how AncestryDNA has kept us up to date every step of the way. 

The DNA kit came from Utah and then we mailed it to Ireland. We were notified when it arrived and when it entered the lab for processing.

We are now waiting for the results....and getting ready for the next step "You've Received Your Results. Now what?"

Part I 

Part II 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sept. 10: National Grandparents Day

National Grandparents Day is celebrated at different times of year depending on the country. 
In Canada and the US it is 
Sunday, September 10th, 2017

My great great grandparents
Jeremiah and Mary (Brennan) Moynahan (based on of photograph circa 1922)
Mixed media sketch on monoprint by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Diane Nolin of "Genealogy: Moving Beyond BMD" has issued a challenge for National Grandparents Day and you can read about Diane's challenge here: http://genealogybeyondthebmd.blogspot.ca/2017/09/grandparents-day-challenge.html

Diane Nolin's CHALLENGE:  "Tell a story as told to you by one of your grandparents!"

I would like to expand on that challenge slightly:
  • Did your grandparents ever tell you a story that you never forgot?
  • Did you ever hear a story about one of your grandparents that you never forgot?
  • Did you ever hear a story about a grandparent who you NEVER met that makes you wish you could travel back in time to talk to them?
My Paternal grandparents
My maternal Grandparents

The picture below was taken in Windsor, Ontario on the porch of my great grandparents home on Campbell Avenue. 
(On the left is me and on the right my cousin Lorri.)
We are posing with our great grandmother
Mary Anne Elizabeth (Broderick) Moynahan (1869-1960) 

I feel very fortunate to have this photograph.

Happy Grandparents Day

Friday, May 12, 2017

On This Day: May 12

Wedding Day May 12, 1903
Patrick Broderick and Clara Moynahan
(Photo from private collection of Bernard Broderick)
On this day in 1903, Patrick Broderick married Clara Moynahan at St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Maidstone, Ontario.

St. Mary's R.C. Church, Maidstone, Ontario
Image Source: Maidstone Cemetery Records
St Mary's church is located on Lot 293, North Talbot Rd., Highway 3, Maidstone, Ontario.

Many  of  our ancestors are buried in the cemetery there (https://essex.ogs.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Maidstone-ST-MARYs-Ess2818-INDEX.pdf)

Source: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.Original data - Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec,
Patrick had his brother Leo W. Broderick (who later became a detective) as his best man, and Clara had her sister Maud Moynahan (who later married Frank Flannery) as her maid of honour.

Photo of Moynahan sisters Maud Agnes and Clara
(Photo from private collection of Frank Lyons)

Unfortunately, Clara (Moynahan) Broderick died in 1919 at the young age of 37 years (after a lingering illness) leaving her husband Patrick with five children aged 18 months to 15 years.

Source: The Border Cities Star - Dec 13, 1919

At 51 years of age, Patrick remarried American-born Mary Josephine Kuehne (1876-1938) on November 28, 1922 in the Roman Catholic church in Amherstburg. Josephine was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Joseph Kuehne (born in Switzerland) and Sarah Darragh (born in Cleveland, Ohio)

Source: Essex Free Press (Essex, ON), December 8, 1922

The Broderick-Moynahan Family Tree

The Broderick-Moynahan Family Tree
I have written previously of Patrick and Clara and some of their children
I have not yet written histories on the Workmans (Indiana) , the Wheelers (California) and the Lyons (Windsor) who have descended from this marriage. My research has benefited greatly from an online ancestry connection to a Lyons distant cousin. I am very grateful for that.

More family facts
  • Frank Broderick and Clara Moynahan's children were not only cousins to John Moynahan and Mary Broderick's children (like my grandfather Ernest Moynahan), they were double first cousins: They have both sets of grandparents in common.
  • Double Cousins have happened more than once in our family tree
    • Matthew Moynahan and Catherine Carr and Timothy Moynahan and Julia Ann Carr
  • A new stone was erected for Patrick and Clara Broderick in 1989 (see photo below)
Bernard Broderick (1916-1992) son of Patrick and Clara Broderick
(Picture taken in 1989 at Bernard's parents new stone
at St Mary's Cemetery, Maidstone, Ontario)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

On This Day: April 2 - Nellie (Annal) Simpson Was Born

 Nellie (Annal) Simpson (1899-1962)
(my 1st cousin 2x removed) 
Photo credit: Private collection of Graydon Douglas Simpson (son of Nellie Annal)
For 2017, I have decided to use  "On This Day" (or OTD for short) as a means to:
  • honour the life events of my ancestors
  • revisit my previous research on them, 
  • check for any new information online (i.e. on ancestry and Family Search)
  • update any of my previous blog posts if new information was found
  • share these #OTD memes on social media like my Facebook page (to share with family) and on twitter (to share with other genealogists).
In some cases, I have created new blog posts (see Francis Clifford Tomlin's Headstone and Ann (Moynahan) Jobin). Such is the case for Nellie - I want to dedicate this blog post to her on her birthday.

Nellie (Annal) Simpson (1899-1962)

I had written a little bit about Nellie previously in my blog post 52 Ancestors No.31 Meeting Distant Cousins from the Annal-Hess Clan . In that blog post I described how two distant cousin genealogists, Vicky Hess and Kim Simpson, were the reason that my Annal-Hess clan research was so far advanced. They had done ALL the work! I am sincerely grateful to both of them.
Nellie Lillian Annal was the daughter of  James and Mary (Wright) Annal

I had written previously about Nellie's father James Annal (1873-1921) as well in my blog post 52 Ancestors #36: Fire Chief and Ice Dealer James Annal . I was surprised that James had died so young (47 years of age) being described as "hale and hearty" and a "powerful, vigorous man" and James had worked as an "Ice Man" and Firefighter. Sadly, he did not live long enough to see his three grandsons born (the children of Nellie and Graydon Simpson.).

Pictures of Nellie with her parents James and Maggie Annal 
Photo credit: Private collection of Graydon Douglas Simpson (son of Nellie Annal)

 Three Things To Know About Nellie

As a birthday tribute to the Nellie Lillian Annal who was born on this day, April 2 in the year 1899, here are three things you probably did NOT know about her.

Fact No. 1: Nellie had two sisters who died before their second birthday

How sad that Nellie grew up as an only child and how sad that her two sisters did not even live long enough to see their second birthdays. It must have been hard on Nellie's parents as well.

I love the poems that appear on Bessie and Rena's headstones and I am assuming that they were probably written by their mother (?). Both girls, Bessie and Rena, are buried at the Riverview Cemetery in Wallaceburg, Ontario.

I located a death certificate for Bessie and learned that she died from "gastro intestinal" according to the physician in attendance.

Nellie's sister Bessie Irene died at 1 year 6 months and 13 days old

Nellie's sister Rena May died at 8 months 11 days old.
Fact No. 2: Nellie had three sons

Nellie with her three sons
(left to right): Russell Lee, Graydon Douglas, and James Willard
(c. 1930s) Photo credit: Private collection of Graydon Douglas Simpson (son of Nellie Annal)
All three of Nellie's sons married and lived in Michigan and Nellie lived to see the arrival of six grandchildren.

Composite of wedding announcements for the three Simpson brothers (taken from the Detroit Free Press archives).

Fact No. 3: Nellie Lillian (Annal) Simpson was a quilter and "sewed for Britain".

I located a Detroit Free Press clipping dated March 9, 1941 (Page 43) that shows women "sewing for Britain" and one of them is Mrs. Graydon Simpson - Nellie!

Comfort Quilts
"Of all the services that women provided for wartime relief, perhaps the making of quilts represented the most intimate expression of comfort and care for those suffering the horrors of war. Women all over Canada gathered to sew quilts for bombed-out families in Britain......"(Source: http://halifaxwomenshistory.ca/canadian-comfort-quilts/)

I am so grateful to Kim Simpson for sending me photographs of a quilt made by Nellie from her private collection.

Nellie's Quilt
Photo credit:
Private collection of Douglas and Kim Simpson

Nellie's Quilt (close up)
Photo credit:
Private collection of Douglas and Kim Simpson

Nellie's Quilt (detail)
Photo credit:
Private collection of Douglas and Kim Simpson

Nellie Lillian (Annal) Simpson Died in 1962
Death Notice: Detroit Free Press (6 Jun 1962): Simpson, Nellie l.
Nellie died in 1962 and is buried in Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens in Novi, Michigan alongside her husband Graydon who died sixteen years later (1978). There are no pictures available online of their headstone.
Death Notice: Detroit Free Press (18 Jan 1978): Simpson, Graydon

Links to War Time Sewing Clubs

Monday, March 27, 2017

On This Day (OTD) March 2017

In past years, I have used Amy Crow's "52 Ancestors" as a means to go deeper into my family history research.

For 2017,I have decided to use "On This Day" (or OTD for short) as a means to
  • honour the life events of my ancestors
  • revisit my previous research, 
  • check for new information online (i.e. on ancestry and Family Search)
  • update any of my previous blog posts if new information was found
  • share these #OTD memes on social media like my Facebook page (to share with family) and on twitter (to share with other genealogists). (See the images at the bottom of this post for examples of previous March 2017 posts.)
  • In some cases (like Francis Clifford Tomlin's Headstone) I have created new blog posts.

On This Day :
Ann (Moynahan) Jobin
Was Born March 27, 1877

Ann (Moynahan)Jobin

On this day, March 27, 2017, we commemorate the birthday of Ann Jobin. She is my 2nd great-aunt and she was born in Maidstone, Ontario. She is the daughter of Jeremiah and Mary (Brennan) Moynahan.

She married Alexander Jobin and lived her entire life on the same farm she moved to when she married Alex (9th Concession in Sandwich South, Ontario).

The newspaper reports that in December 1947, Ann's friends were "wishing her a speedy recovery from a serious operation" which she never recovered from. She eventually died from this "serious operation" in March 1948. No further information is available on this operation because the online records do not yet go to 1948. ( Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947 ).

I wanted to dedicate extra space to Ann today to share three interesting facts about Ann's life that folks might not know.

FACT #1: Ann's father Jeremiah Moynahan died in her home in June 1922 while on a visit:

FACT #2: My grandfather, Ernest Moynahan, was one of the six nephews who were pallbearers at Ann's funeral.

FACT #3: Ann's headstone at St Mary's in Maidstone Ontario has a interesting dollar sign symbol at the top that has nothing to do with money.

Source: CanGenWeb: Maidstone: St Mary's Cemetery
"This symbol, which looks like a dollar sign ($), is actually the letters I, H, and S superimposed over each other. These represent the Greek letters Iota (Ι), Eta (Η) and Sigma (Σ), which are the first three letters of Jesus in Greek." (Source: Cemetery Wordpress)

Happy Birthday Ann (Moynahan) Jobin (1877-1948)

OTD Archive - March 2017

March 1
 March 6
 March 10

 March 13
 March 14
 March 21
 March 27

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Tomlins and Nickersons of Nova Scotia

As a family historian and genealogist, I know that there is only so far I can go in recreating the lives of our ancestors from paper records. The very best information about the lives of our ancestors is often found in the stories and conversations with their descendants and extended family.

In 2009, Carolyn Tomlin, (the grand daughter of Frank C. Tomlin (1882-1918) shared a lot of information about our Tomlin-Nickerson Nova Scotian roots and I have her permission to share it here.

Francis Clifford Tomlin's Headstone (1882-1918) 

Francis C. Tomlin's Headstone at Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, N.S.
(Source: Photo taken by Carolyn Tomlin)
The Tomlin story starts with this photo of a headstone that held clues to an otherwise unknown fact about Francis C. Tomlin (a tinsmith who worked at the Hillis Foundry, Halifax) and the Halifax Explosion of 1917. 

Carolyn explains:,
"This (head)stone is at Fairview Cemetery, Halifax. Francis C. Tomlin searched day and night through the ruins of north end Halifax and the next day's blizzard looking for bodies after the Halifax Explosion. He lost his daughter, mother-in-law, 4 sisters-in-law and their families; 3 brothers-in-law; all those who worked with him at Hillis Foundry where he was a tinsmith. He caught pneumonia, typhoid and then died of meningitis on March 21, 1918. The Halifax Relief commission refused to give his widow, Maggie, a survivor's pension and she was angry when she put the stone up - she made a point of carving in stone that he was a victim, putting the date of the explosion before the date of death."

 A scene following the Halifax Explosion. The Hillis & Sons Foundry is the building on the left
Creator: Unknown; Date: December 6, 1917
Reference No. MIKAN 3193301, 3624172 Library and Archives Canada, C-003624B
N.S. Archives Photo: Looking north toward Pier 8 from Hillis foundry after great explosion, Halifax, Dec. 6, 1917  Date: 1917    Reference no.: W.G. MacLaughlan Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1988-34 no. 14

Detail of Francis C. Tomlin's Headstone at Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, N.S.
Read "Injured By The Explosion Dec 6, 1917; Died Mar 21, 1918"
(Source: Billion Graves)

 Francis Clifford Tomlin (1882-1918) is Effie (Tomlin) Creighton's Brother
Our 2nd Great-Uncle

The tree above demonstrates how we are descended from Francis C. Tomlin

Carolyn said that when she was growing up "... in Halifax; our back yard shared a fence with my Dad's cousin Gladys (Melhuish) Garrison, whom ......was Effie Tomlin's daughter." See the picture below with Effie on the far right and Clyde Garrison (second from the left) who married Gladys Melhuish.
Photo from Barbara Huston Collection:
(L to R): Emily Creighton, Clyde Garrison, (my grandmother) Dorothy (Moreland) Creighton
and Effie (Tomlin) Creighton-Melhuish (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Photo from Doreen Evan Collection:
(L to R): Emily (Creighton) Rudge, Gladys (Melhuish) Garrison,
and Edith (Melhuish) Laidlaw

 A Missing Tomlin? Twin Albert Clarence Tomlin

According to Carolyn, a Tomlin is missing from our family tree: "Effie's third brother Albert, who left N.S. for Massachusetts. American census info indicates he lived in a boarding house, unmarried, and somewhere else I heard he worked in factory." 

When I looked, I found Albert at Family Search and he was a twin!
  • Twin boy: Albert Clarence Tomlin was born 12 Feb 1877 (Source:
    "Canada Births and Baptisms, 1661-1959," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLG4-MLB : 27 November 2014), Albert C. Tomlin, 12 Feb 1877; citing Halifax, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 12 Feb 1877, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,318,438.)
  • Twin girl: Frances C Tomlin was born 12 Feb 1877 (Source: "Canada Births and Baptisms, 1661-1959," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLG4-MLR : 27 November 2014), Frances C. Tomlin, 12 Feb 1877; citing Halifax, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 12 Feb 1877, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,318,438.)
I have been unable to locate the twin sister. She does not appear with him in the 1891 census so we can only assume that she died (a death record has not been located)

I did locate Albert. In the 1896 McAlpines Halifax Directory he is working as a cotton weaver and in Halifax at King's Place with his father Samuel.

 By 1918, Albert is living in Massachusetts and enlisting in the Army for World War I.

Massachusetts, World War I Selective Service System draft registration cards, 1917-1918) Film MASSACHUSETTS North Easton City, no. 41, T - Z Fairhaven City, no. 42, A - R

Source: "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GBRT-HCM?mode=g&i=135&cc=1968530 : 14 May 2014), Massachusetts > image 136 of 652; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

The Tomlin House

Carolyn wrote that "The whole family of Samuel & Emily appear in the 1881 Canadian census, under the name Twomlin on King St. Halifax. The house still exists, except it has been moved round the corner to Robie St. This happened when I was a teenager; my Dad pointed it out to me as his grandfather's house."

I checked the two following Wikipedia websites and could not see a house that fit this description.

I sent an email to Heritage Nova Scotia asking for assistance in locating this house (if it still stands) and I was redirected to the Nova Scotia Archives who responded:

"There was only one house part of James Dempster’s North End Planning Mill on the 1879 Hopkins City Atlas of Halifax, Plate No S. See Maps on our web site and you can look at the atlas.  The Goad Fire Insurance Plans of 1895, 1899, 1911 have a small two storey building or residence on the south side of the street.  By 1914, the house has a one storey addition at the rear. The street appears on the 1878 City Atlas but we did not find it laid out on the 1889, 1895, 1899 Goad Atlas. The 1911 atlas show the street but it is unnamed. The 1911 Atlas calls it Garrack Street.

We perused the Halifax City Directories on-line and found Samuel Tomlin listed as a labourer at 84 Grafton Street. By 1880, he is listed as a coal hawker and later as a coal carrier. The first year he resided on King’s Place is 1888 and his home was on the east side of the street. The only street in the area where that fits this description is Love’s Lane later known as Kings Lane and today is June Street. This street runs from Cunard to West and was originally a cow path.

Please forget the previous. We checked a 1901 Halifax City Directory and found Samuel Tomlin living on King Street which ran between North Street and St. Alban’s Street west of Robie Street. This is where Francis “Frank” G. Tomlin and his daughter Veronica Tomlin lived when they were killed as a result of the 1917 Halifax Explosion."

The Nickersons

The last of the oral history shared by Carolyn Tomlin is about the Nickersons:
" ....But Emily Tomlin was Emily Nickerson, daughter of James Nickerson & Esther Purdy.
Plug those names into the search engine on Ancestry, and it'll take you back to the 1500's in England.
The 1871 Census of Canada shows Emily - but Esther is dead by then and a stepmother is there; and in our home town of Clark's Harbour on Cape Sable Island there is the Archelaus Smith Museum, which has hand-written records of the local families, and one Emily Nickerson married to a Samuel Thomlin of Halifax. Voila! I have a picture of it which I can't lay my hands on, but I will find it.
The Nickersons came from Cape Cod after the expulsion of the Acadians to take over the Atlantic fishery."
Carolyn Tomlin concludes her message by saying, " I kept my Tomlin name when I married because I am literally the last of the Tomlins."
Halifax Explosion Postcards

I am grateful to another distant cousin (Doreen Evans) who is filling in more of the Nova Scotia gaps with wonderful photographs.

I have added four postcards below depicting the Halifax Explosion so that you can have a better idea about the conditions that poor Francis Tomlin searched for his lost family members. They are scanned from the photograph archive held by Doreen Evans (granddaughter of Effie Tomlin)

Daughter Veronica Tomlin died in Explosion

As you recall from the beginning of this post, "Francis C. Tomlin searched day and night through the ruins of north end Halifax and the next day's blizzard looking for bodies after the Halifax Explosion. He lost his daughter," and many, many other family members and co-workers.

You can view the death certificate and other information about his daughter Veronica Tomlin who died in the Halifax Explosion Dec. 6 , 1917 here: https://novascotia.ca/archives/remembrance/list.asp?ID=1731 Veronica is buried st Mount Olivet Cemetery, Halifax, NS.

You will read from the photograph of her death certificate that she died from "shock due to injuries in explosion" which was the standard cause of death in most of these death records at the time of the explosion.

More Halifax Explosion Links
Another Explosion?

Doreen Evans also sent photographs of smoke clouds that appear to be coming from the opposite shore in Halifax and at first I thought they were related to the Halifax Explosion but then I looked more closely at the clothing in the photo below.

Above: Young folks walking with smoke visible in the background

You can see the young women above are wearing short dresses (below the knee) which would make it a different time period than the 1917 explosion. When I researched further, I came across a reference to the Halifax Explosion II. This referred to an explosion of munitions at the Magazine near Dartmouth, (The Bedford Magazine explosion) (July 18-19, 1945)

See The Other Halifax Explosion, Bedford Magazine, July 18-20, 1945". H. Millard Wright. Retrieved 2013-03-14. http://www.mysteriousnovascotia.com/theotherhalifaxexplosion.htm

Another view of the smoke
Above: Young Men in foreground looking at the smoke
 Cloud of smoke over the rooftops

I cant be entirely sure, but I believe these photographs may have been taken of the explosion of munitions at the Magazine near Dartmouth. If you have any thoughts, please add them to the comment section below.

Many thanks to distant cousins Carolyn Tomlin and Doreen Evans for helping to fill in the stories about the Tomlins, Nickersons and Melhuishes in Nova Scotia. There are so many more stories waiting to be told. Nova Scotia is a beautiful place with a wonderful history that I love to research.