A postcard view of the British ocean liner "RMS Andania" of the Cunard Line

A postcard view of the British ocean liner
"RMS Andania" of the Cunard Line.

One of the pleasures of revisiting my family history research is taking the time to fill in details I previously skipped over, either because I didn't know enough to do the research competently or the relevant records weren't available online and I couldn't/can't visit the archives in the USA and Canada.

I did know my father had an Aunt Suey in Canada, as my Auntie Dot went to visit her when Expo 67 was held in Montreal.  (She bought back some lovely Spanish dancer and Japanese Geisha models for me and my sisters, which cemented the visit in my memory). What I didn't realise until I started looking into it was how many aunts and uncles my father had 'across the Pond' — and how many potential cousins that meant for me. If any of you out there are my cousins, do get in touch!

The first of the family to cross the Pond were three of the youngest children: Frank Leslie Wright (1898-1961); James Daniel Wright (1899-1986); and Dorothy Wright (1901-1913).  As mentioned here and here, they were Middlemore Homes Children, sent out to Canada in May/June 1912 to remove them from a poor home environment in the slums of Birmingham and give them a supposedly better start in life.  They travelled on the SS Carthaginian1 from Liverpool to Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada and then on to New Brunswick(probably by train and ferry) —  a long journey for young children going into the unknown.

Poor Dorothy died from spinal meningitis in 1913 in Petersville, New Brunswick; I don't know if she was ever placed with a family. She is buried in the Coote Hill United Church Cemetery.

Frank Leslie Wright was placed with Silas Kirkpartick, in Wirral, Queens County, New Brunswick, and seems to have taken to the farming life. After a brief spell in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War I3, he returned to New Brunswick and married Minnie Wright in 1921 at Gaspereaux Station in Petersville (Queens County).  They had two children before emigrating to Jacskon Springs, North Carolina in the United States in 1924. Frank worked as General Farm Labour according to the 1930 US census4 and the family had three more children while they lived in the States.  In September 1930 they returned to New Brunswick and a final child was born in 1943. (The gap between 1930 when the last child was born in the States and 1943 when the next child was born in Canada is suggestive, but I haven't found any trace of other children in the gap, as the birth registers for the period are not online.)  Frank died as a retired farmer in 1961 in Lancaster (St John), New Brunswick and is buried at the Cedar Hill Extension Cemetery.

I don't know where James Daniel Wright was placed in New Brunswick. He has a Canadian Experitionary Force record for World War I which isn't yet online, and the next trace of him records his emigration from New Brunswick, Canada via Eastport, Idaho to Spokane Washington.He married Hazel Cockle in 1924 in Douglas, Oregon6 and they had 4 children between 1925 and 1933. In the 1930 and 1940 US census, he is listed as an Edgerman in a sawmill.  He died in Lane, Oregon in 1986 and is buried in the Drain-Yoncalla Masonic Cemetery in Yoncalla (Douglas), Oregon.

My other great-aunts emigrated in the 1920s, all three as domestic servants (although that was not what most of them had done in the UK, it entitled them to emigration assistance from the Salvation Army).They all worked and died in Montreal.7

Susan Jane (Suey) (1894-1972)  was the first adult  to travel in 1921, sailing on the Scythia to Halifa, Nova Scotia. with her fare part paid by the Salvation Army. Her occupation in England was "Chemistry", which I take to mean she worked in a Chemist's shop, but was not a registered chemist or druggist; her name does not appear in "The Registers of Pharmaceutical Chemists and Chemists and Druggists" published in 1919 by the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. By 1924 she was working as a domestic servant for D.A. Wanklyn, a prominent citizen of Montreal.  In 1927 she married Henry Smith; they had no children.  Suey died in Montreal in 1972 and is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery in Outremont (Montreal).

Ethel Violet (Hettie) (1902-1994) sailed on the Andania to Quebec in 1992, to "better heself" and "make my home"; once again her fare was part paid by the Salvation Army. In 1924 she was living with her sister Suey and probably also working for D.A. Wanklyn.  She married Lewis Wheatley in 1925; they had one child .Hettie died (possibly) in Montreal in 1994; I don't know where she is buried.

Mary Agnes (Madge) (1886-1947) was the last to travel, sailing to Quebec on the Saturnia in 1924 to "join her sisters Susan and Hettie". She had been a Nurse Attendant in England, but became a domestic servant, again in the home of D.A. Wanklyn.  Madgenever married and had no children, dying in 1947. She is also buried in Mount Royal Cemetery.

Tracing these aunts and uncles of my father has led me to explore sources I've never used before, and to look into the geography of places in Canada and the USA that I would never otherwise have investigated.  It's been good fun, and I suspect what I've learned will prove useful as I trace other branches in my tree.

1 All immigration/emigration records were accessed at Ancestry unless otherwise noted.

2 New Brunswick very helpfully has vital records online.

3 Canadian World War I military records are at Library and Archives Canada.

4 US census records are accessible at Ancestry and other places.

5 "Idaho, Eastport, Arrival Manifests, 1924-1956" at FamilySearch.

"Oregon, Marriage Indexes, 1906-1924, 1946-2008" at Ancestry

Ancestry has vital records for Montreal records from the Drouin collection, as does the Drouin Institute

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Jan 16, 2017 By ColeValleyGirl

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