graveyards, gravestones, photography and family
It started on a Friday, just when I thought I was getting the hang of all this genealogy stuff, when my ancestors managed — after forty years — to throw me a curve ball.
I have been collecting proofs of births and marriages in my maternal grandfather’s line (ATKINSON) for my Upper Canada application to the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) headquartered in Toronto. I have also been gathering obituaries and gravestone photos to supplement those whom I have not managed to obtain census records and/or vital statistics on.
The Upper Canada application (when completed), describes and proves your direct lineage to ancestors who resided in Upper Canada prior to 1840. (“Upper Canada” was the name used to describe Ontario from 1791 until 1840. From 1841 until 1867 it changed to “Canada West.” The name “Ontario” was not used until 1867.).
Imagine my surprise, when a research package (I requested 31AUG) came from the Hamilton Branch of OGS on Friday (28SEP). In it were obituaries, death notices and submissions from the “Social” pages referring to my 2x great grandparents, Thomas II (who died in 1902) and wife Sarah (CAWARD; who died in 1921), as well as details of the published Cemetery transcription record.
Also enclosed in the package were photographs of the cemetery they were buried in — the same graveyard I walked past with my paternal grandmother, Emily (“Gramma Rabbit”) on our Summer visits to the Catholic cemetery, a little further from town, to tend to the other side’s family stones — Dang it, it really is a small world!
The pictures of their gravestone are beautiful: a moderately-impressive piece of black granite, sandwiched between a limestone base and capstone. In Masonic style, the stone has four faces/sides: North, East, South and West. Thomas, Sarah and their son John’s details of birth and death are found on the East side, facing the entrance along the highway.
There was one more photograph in the set; a single closeup of the North face/side, and it puzzled me:
Donna (my wife) looked at the pictures with great interest. “Who’s Annie?”
I shook my head, “I don’t know.”
But, no, after looking at the years of birth and death, she was not listed as predeceasing him in his obituary or death notice, which were also included in the package (The Hamilton Branch had thought of everything!).
I quickly reviewed my extensive notes. No Annie, no Anne or Ann, and still no ANNswer — but that wouldn’t necessarily make my wife’s hypothesis wrong, it would make it only plausible.
They had ten (known) children:
Annie was not listed as a surviving (or predeceased) sibling in any of the obituaries of the above-named children or their respective spouses; nor is she listed on Tom or Sarah’s obituaries or death notices.
So, just who is she? Taking my wife’s idea, I made it into another possible outcome that was equally plausible: maybe she was Tom’s (or Sarah’s) younger sister!
Thomas ATKINSON Sr and Bethia KIDD had fourteen (14) children: the oldest (Robert) born in 1838 and the youngest (Rachael) born in 1868! Annie was born three years earlier in 1865, and, could possibly be another child; but nothing was found.
Unfortunately, Sarah’s siblings I have no information on, and did not learn the names of Sarah’s parents until I located her death registration recently.
So, Annie could fit in any of these possibilities, but where does she properly belong?
A cousin (related through Rachael’s line) with as deep a curiousity of genealogy as I do; only difference — she has an Ancestry subscription!
After I wrote back to the Hamilton Branch (OGS) asking for Annie’s obituary, I told Sheri about our mystery girl and she went digging. Within an hour, she had information that she quickly shared with me.
**NOTE: The 1871 Census lists “Mary B” as a one-year daughter
So, Annie was the daughter of Sarah Caward, but not Thomas II Atkinson; and she was born five years before Sarah married Thomas.
But that still leaves the question: Who was Annie’s father?
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