#52Ancestors (10, 13, 14): She was not his daughter

While researching the 1921 Canadian Census (on Ancestry.com) to update information on a relative for my weekly post for 52Ancestors, I stumbled upon a transcription for a slightly familiar family.  I say, “slightly familiar” because the surname was all wrong.


The man of the house, was named David. He had the right heritage (Irish), age group (born 1860s), birthplace (Ireland) and marital status — he was a widower.

No, not a “widow;” that is a woman who has worn out her husband!  A widower is a man who has managed to outlive his wife. (Yes, it’s very rare indeed!).

Returning to this glimpse of the Census, David was raising his 15year-old son, St. Clair — this very unique name is what caught my eye and had me wondering …

David’s father was also living with them; his name was John James and he was 72years old.

But it was the next name, a female’s name, that had me scrambling up the stairs for my notes:


“It has to be her! It has to be her!” My mind kept screaming to myself as I opened my document file … and it was!

In the (flawed) transcription of the 1921 Census, supplied by Ancestry(dot)com, Burnetta was listed as a daughter of David’s.  Unfortunately, I cannot re-create it here; so, I include the 1921 Census page in question

Start at Line 20

Burnetta’s proper name was Anna Burnetta Louise TREADGOLD. She was born between 1883-1874, and was the third eldest child of George TREADGOLD and the former Elizabeth ATKINSON. She never married, and after her sister’s wedding, she stayed on at the KIERNAN house as a “domestic.”

DO-MES-TIC, not daughter!

Nina, on the other hand, was the 2nd youngest daughter. Her proper name was Florinda Verena TREADGOLD. [And Dr. Herbert TREADGOLD, who was subject in an earlier post for 52Ancestors (7), was her brother and the 4th eldest child.].


NOTE: It was a customary jibe, when announcing weddings and/or engagements of “matured” men to younger brides; particularly when the groom was old enough to be the bride’s father, the word “Junior” or “Jr.” was placed before the bride’s name.

Thirteen months later: 09APR1906 in Creemore, Simcoe County, Nina gives David a son, St. Clair!


But, sadness would ruin their brief Happiness, Nina died from complications 30APR1906. (But, strangely the newspaper obituary lists her death a year later.).

Transcription: obituary of Nina (TREADGOLD) KIERNAN

The Canadian Census from 1911, lists the proper surname for the three men, but Bernetta is missing the “T” from the beginning of her surname “Treadgold.”.

Transcription: 1911 Canadian Census

By 29JAN1922, David died from Bronchial Pneumonia.

The entire right column No. 9

Anyway, I’m happy, I found them, but I’m disappointed, because the transcripts on Ancestry:

  • have the family listed as BIUSOM rather than KIERNAN; and,
  • Burnetta listed as David’s daughter, rather than a domestic servant and sister-in-law

I’m hoping someone influential will notice this post (with it’s researched argument) and figure out how to fix the flawed transcription the website is offering.


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