Greetings. Our branch has been invited to participate in a fundraiser to help purchase a new microform reader / printer for the Isabel Campbell room in the library. The group organizing this event is the newly formed "Grande Prairie Public Library Friends Society", and their president is Tracey Sauchenko. The event begins with a Silent Auction lasting 2 weeks, followed by an Auction Evening on March 6th, 1999. The silent auction will be held at the library (unless they are renovating), and the Auction Evening at a site to be announced.
Our major part in this event will be a letter writing campaign to invite people to this event, as well as to encourage businesses and individuals to donate items for the auction. As well, the "Friends" are forming a variety of committees, and they can definitely use some extra help. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Catherine Ledger. Besides helping the "Friends" with this project, we are also helping ourselves; our members probably use the microform readers more than anyone else.
Our next meeting is on January 19th, and we will use the evening as a fundraiser workshop for the reader/printer. We need everyone to come out to help with this workbee. Please make every effort to attend, as we will have hundreds of envelopes to stuff and mail.
In February we will celebrate another anniversary, and our evening on February 16th will have a "Wedding Theme". Please bring your own wedding memories, and those of your ancestors, as well as pictures, and feel free to dress for the occasion.
On March 16th, our program is tentatively entitled "How to build a homepage on the Internet." Please let us know if you have a topic for one of our general meetings.
Since we won't meet this month, have a Merry Christmas (Froliche Weihnachten), and a Happy New Year (Gutes Neues Jahr)!
Several volunteers have recently "adopted" a year from the period of 1965 to 1977 and they are indexing obituaries from the Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune using the microfilm at the Grande Prairie Public Library. These years cover the gap of time that is as yet unrecorded. When this project is complete the information will be compiled into a database. Thanks to Debby Was for heading up this project.
The Grande Prairie & District Branch is putting together a cookbook and needs family and ethnic recipes from members. Short anecdotes relating to the recipes will also be accepted. Please forward ideas to Catherine at the next general meeting (or by mail to Box 1257, Grande Prairie AB T8V 4Z1). Volunteer committees will be struck at the next meeting.
Please try to submit a variety of recipes (i.e.: we don't want a million desserts!). Some categories to use are appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, side dishes, desserts, breads, etc.
Recipes can be handed in to Catherine Ledger at the general meetings or dropped off at the library (Isabel Campbell room, 2nd filing cabinet to the left as you enter, 3rd drawer down, Catherine's file) or sent in by mail to the Branch address. Consider naming the recipes, jotting down the country of origin, mentioning a memory or two, and listing your name as well.
Please think about how you would like to help put this together. We will also take names for some duties at the next meeting. Examples of where help will be needed: obtaining sponsors, typing, editing, proofreading, layout, cover, and distribution. All members who take part in this project may also contribute a 'thumb-nail' sketch to be included in the book (no longer than one page in length please).
Births marriages and deaths as contained in the Grande Prairie "Herald" newspaper. Continued from the September, 1998 issue of "Heritage Seekers", submitted by Joan Bowman.
Aug. 16, 1921 Issue:
- "Died - in a fire at the Hotel at Rolla, B.C.: W. D. VINCENT, (a cripple) son of W. VINCENT, an old timer of the North Pouce Coupe Prairie; and Earl GRANT, son of J. H. GRANT (proprietor of the Northern Hotel) who was visiting his father at Rolla while on vacation from College in Butte, Montana Ö "
Aug. 23, 1921 Issue:
No births marriages or deaths found.
Aug. 30, 1921 (Tues.) Issue:
- "Born to Mr. And Mrs. Ed. HALERAT of Beaverlodge,
AB., a daughter Aug. 27, 1921."
- "Death of Frankie COOPER, baby son of Henry COOPER of Lake Saskatoon, AB., who died at the local hospital last Monday."
- Mrs. G. PIERCE of Rolla, BC. Died at the Grande Prairie Hospital last week. The remains were taken to Rolla for internment. Mrs. PIERCE was a sister of W. D. VINCENT, who lost his life in the Rolla Hotel fire two weeks ago Ö "
Sep. 6, 1921 Issue:
No births marriages or deaths found.
Sep. 13, 1921 Issue:
- "Mr. Alfred BELL of this district died at the
Grande Prairie Hospital Sep. 9th Ö"
- "Died - Edward Henry SISLEY in the Grande Prairie Hospital. Memorial service held at the Presbyterian Church. Body to be sent to Maryville, Sask. For internment. Accompanied by Mr. Sisley's sister, Mrs. TANNER."
- "Died in the local hospital, little girl Pricilla WOOD, who died of blood poisoning Ö "
- "Died - Baby Albert SMITH of Lake Saskatoon in a horse and buggy accident Ö Funeral at Lake Saskatoon, AB."
- "In the estate of Grant WRIGHT, late of Beaverlodge, AB., died 31 May 1921 Ö "
Sep. 20, 1921 Issue:
- "Died - Edwin Henry SISLEY, President of the
UFA. Born at Richmond Hill, Ontario in 1866 Ö Brother's Dr.
E. SISLEY of Calgary, AB., Dr. O. SISLEY and Dr.
M. SISLEY of Toronto, and a sister Dr. MANES of
Calgary Ö leaves also a wife. Buried in Maryfield, Sask.
Near the home of his daughter Mrs. TANNER Ö "
- "Murdered - Mr. Shorty BOLTON at his home 40 miles west of Hythe, AB., Ö a trapper."
Sep 27, 1921 and Oct 1, 1921 Issues:
No births marriages or deaths found.
(NOTE: The newspaper issues for October 1921 have random dates - they are not the usual seven days apart.)
Oct 11, 1921 Issue:
- "Born to Mr. And Mrs. J.A. CRERAR on Oct. 8,
1921, a son."
- "Notice to Creditors and Claimants In the Estate of Mrs. E. J. NUTTALL, died March 1919 Ö "
- "Notice to Creditors and Claimants In the Estate of Lewis Nelson GEORGE, late of Spirit River, AB. Farmer, deceased Ö died 23 March 1921 Ö "
Oct 13, 1921 Issue:
- "Notice to Creditors and Claimants In the Estate of
Daniel Patrick McLAUGHLIN, late of Spirit River, Bachelor,
deceased Ö died 17 Dec 1918 Ö "
- "In the Estate of John MURPHY of Goodfare, AB., farmer, deceased Ö died 21 March 1921 Ö "
Oct 25, 1921 Issue: (This issue has been copied on microfilm twice)
- "Born to Mr. And Mrs. John DEWAR of Beaverlodge,
Oct. 11th, a son."
- "Born at Toronto on Oct 1, 1921, to Mr. And Mrs. Avery A. HENRY of Rio Grande, AB., a daughter."
- "Wedding at the Presbyterian Church, Oct. 5, of Mr. Alexander CAMERON of Flying Shot Lake, AB, and Miss Stewart Margaret WATSON, youngest daughter of Mr. John WATSON of Flying Shot Lake, a sister of Mrs. G. REMPLE of Grande Prairie, Ö supported by Miss Gladys BROWN and James TAYLOR Ö "
Nov 1, 1921 Issue:
- "At the Presbyterian Manse on Oct. 28, Mr. J. EIDE
of LaGlace, was married to Miss Agnes M. HAGAN of Valhalla
Ö Rev. Dr. FORBES officiated."
- "Notice to Creditors and Claimants In the Matter of the Estate of Eugen Michael CASHMAN, late of Grande Prairie, Ö died 28 July 1921 Ö "
- "Notice to Creditors In the Estate of Charles J. STEWART of Grande Prairie, formerly of Calgary, Ab., Physicial, deceased Ö 23 June 1921 Ö "
We have received a number of queries to our Genealogical Research Group and the following is a brief outline of some of the queries and the responses that we have had during the year.
1) A query from Brownvale, Alberta 2 March 1998 - A lady wanted an address for St. Josephís Roman Catholic Parish in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. If there was none there, then maybe one in Regina.
Iím not sure why this query was directed to our group instead of one in Saskatchewan but as it turned out this information is easily obtained so I went to St. Joeís here in Grande Prairie and got the requested address.
Most if not all Catholic churches in Canada have a copy of the "Canadian Catholic Church Directory" from C.P. Box 990, Outremont, Que. H2V 4S7 which comes out every year. They also have an e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The directory has the postal addresses, phone & fax numbers and the name of the priest that looks after that church, also the same information for convents. So if you need an address for a Catholic Church anywhere in Canada, just go to the office rectory of your local Catholic church and they should be able to help you.
2) Many of our queries now come to us by e-mail and we are not always sure where they come from, but this one included his snail mail address, which was in California - 23 June 1998.
This gentleman is looking for the death/burial of Louise STOCKWELL born about 1852 in NY. She married Jeremiah CLINTSMAN 29 Sept. 1871 in Russell, St. Lawrence County, NY. They migrated west to Grande Forks, ND, very late in 1800ís. Before 1900, Jeremia and their children return to NY. Louisa is shown in the 1900 Census as a boarder in Grand Forks. (By my math she would be 48 yrs.)
Family rumor is that she worked in nursing homes, eventually migrating to Grande Prairie and died there. No dates are known for this migration, a possible remarriage, or death.
This gentleman volunteers in a genealogical library (one of the best collections on west coast US). If one of our members would research Louise for him, he would do research in their collection for that member.
I looked in all our standard resources, but came up empty. I checked newspaper, funeral home and cemetery indexes.
Considering when this area opened up and the age of this lady, she would have been in her late 50ís, early 60ís trying to make a new start in a place where there would have been little help or support for an older woman on her own.
3) 22 Aug 1998 e-mail. - An AGS member from Whitecourt, AB, Myrna McNiven (Barrass), had seen a biography of Isabel Campbell in Relatively Speaking and had seen that Isabel had been born in Rock Springs, Wyoming in 1907. Myrnaís father was also born there in 1902 and lived there until ca 1915.
Myrna wanted to know if there was anything about Rock Springs in Isabelís collection.
I recommended a book that Isabel had written about their early years in Alberta "Challenge of the Homestead, Peace River Letters of Clyde & Myrle Campbell, 1919-1924". ISBN 0-88864-742-9 Pub. Historical Society of Alberta.
At this time I have no knowledge of a collection Isabel may have had of her American home. Everything we have access to is her work in the Peace area of Alberta.
4) 28 Sep 1998 e-mail from Carla Rigby, Washington. This was a very short query. She wondered if we might have information in our library concerning William RIGBY and Annie DOLLAN RIGBY.
As it turned out this family lived in the area where my husband grew up so I had heard the name many times from my in-laws and I knew where to look. There is a local history for this area "Lake Saskatoon Reflections" ISBN 0-88925-090-1. Included in the book is a two and a half page story for this couple. Also going to Isabel Campbellís index of the Herald-Tribune there were 15 articles from 1921 to 1960 when William died in July 1960. For his wifeís obituary which was in our societyís obituary collection (covers Jan. 1978 to now) Annie had died Oct. 1979. She requested copies of all this material that we arranged to copy and send.
5) 10 Oct 1998 e-mail - A short query by a lady who is interested in learning the history of Dunvegan.
This was an easy request to fill also.
I recommended two books, one published fairly recently and the other from the 1950ís. The first is "A Narrative History of Fort Dunvegan" by Daniel Francis & Michael Payne ISBN 0-920486-70-3 prepared for the Fort Dunvegan Historical Society and Alberta Community Development. Sept. 1993; Watson & Dwyer; 186 pages; photos and maps included. The other book is "The Land of Twelve Foot Davis; A History of the Peace River Country" (including Dunvegan) by MacGregor, James G., 1905-; Edmonton; Institute of Applied Art. C. 1952; 395 pages.
6) July 1998, e-mail - Robert C. Breeden from ?. researching his wifeís family.
"Her grandfather, Henry Gratton KING, left Montana in 1927, never to be heard from again. His brother, A.G. KING, wrote a letter to his brother Henry about the time the brother vanished. A. G. wrote that he was in the heart of the Grande Prairie district. Also that he had a building valued at about $6,500 on a lot valued at about $1,000. He also mentioned that he had five lots in town. From the letter, it seemed as if he was in some type of business as he said the Chinamen were in the same business as he was. (Chinamen is A.G.ís wording.)"
"I am trying to trace Henry through any possible family members he had. I do not know A.G.ís full name. That is how he signed his letter. I have discovered that Henryís parents and several siblings are buried in Wingham, Ont. I have been unable to find any other family members so far."
The first place I searched was Isabel Campbellís index to the Herald-Tribune that had seven entries from the years 1921-1943 when he died. His obituary said he was born in Wingham, ONT. but no age or birth date was given. He had a brother and two sisters living in Ontario but no names given. He owned the Crown Cafe in Grande Prairie (same business as the Chinamen?). Was unmarried. In all this he is always called A.G.
The next place checked was the Homestead Index. I found him with land in the Crooked Creek area, and why he always used initials. His given names were Alaysins Gonzana. He had filled on a homestead 19 Aug 1916 at NW 8 Township 71 Range 5 proved up 1920. There was also a John King who had filed on land 11 May 1920 at SW 9 Township 74 Range 3 proved up 1928. This was under a Soldier Loan. Another man, Gordon Harry King, filed 18 Oct 1913 on NW 7 Township 71 Range 5. He proved up his land in 1917. Long before Henry Gratton went missing. Also John was born in Ireland.
The only other sources I could think where we might find the whereabouts of other siblings was through A.G.ís will. Mr. Breeden was contacted and he wanted the will and probate. There is a charge at Alberta Courthouses of $10.00 a search plus $1.00 for each page photocopied. I went to the Grande Prairie Court House and obtained the file for Alloysius G. King (spelling on will). This turned out to be a LARGE file. We spent a fair bit of time just trying to find something that named relatives. He had left everything to a brother Luke in Wingham, Ont. But we found a listing of expenses, which included sending telegrams to relatives and business interests. The relatives were a niece, Miss Constance King in Regina, Sask., and letters were sent to R.J. King, brother (didnít say where) and Mrs. D. Keister, sister (again not where). Copies of these letters may be in the stack of stuff that was there, but time did not permit reading everything. There was probably $100.00 worth of photocopying there. I did 16 copies. The clerk said, "If more was needed we could just give the "Specific Action Number" (File No.) and we would not have to pay the search fee again."
As you can see, it has been an interesting year for the Researchers at the Grande Prairie & District Branch. It is always gratifying to be able to assist others in their research and hopefully we have been able to further their knowledge of the history of this area and the resources available to people doing genealogy research.
The Grande Prairie Public Library in cooperation with "Friends of the Library" and the "Grande Prairie & District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society" are currently trying to raise funds to purchase a new microform reader/printer.
The purchase price is approximately $10,000.00.
If you or your group is interested in making a tax-deductible contribution towards this purchase, please contact Rick Leech or Barb Moreau at the Grande Prairie Public Library 403-532-3580
One of the rewarding and interesting parts of Library work is to discover historical materials. For over a year, I have been reading and recording cancelled brand files of which the Stockmen's Memorial Foundation has 300,000. This is a huge project that will take several years to complete.
These files contain, normally, the requests for brands or tattoos for cattle, horses, foxes, poultry and sheep. Reading these requests has unearthed some enlightening facts.
File after file, of the early 1900's has many a sad tale as to why brands had to be cancelled. They provide real insight into the horrendous hardships due to finances, bad luck, poor health, isolation, and weather conditions. In one letter to the Brand Registry Office, dated late June 1907 a settler wrote, "Please extend my brand because I'm 12 miles from a Post Office. The roads are impassible because of too much snow."
Some of the paper for these letters makes one wonder. The reverse side of other letters was used to reply, and the registration money was enclosed - all of $2.00. And often, the writer pleased to hold the brand because $2.00 was not available for another few months.
Letters were sent on exquisitely designed stationery with elaborate letterheads. One, from the Drumheller area shows the coalmines, and colourful designs of linoleum. Another contains a map of Camrose, completely laid out with the promise of three trans-continental railways leading into the city. Fox farms put pictures of foxes on their letterheads thus advertising their prized animals.
At times, artistically minded ranchers included, in their brand applications, drawings of the brand on horses or cattle. Some of these were imaginative. Even o9pened envelopes were utilized as writing paper.
The files are a treasure trove for anyone searching for information on family land locations and the moves to different areas. This summer, several descendants of Alberta families who now reside in Virginia, Colorado, Quebec, Montana, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and, yes, some still in Alberta, were able to locate, discover and see actual documents of long lost relatives along with the brand(s) used.
Because of the fragile nature of many of the files, the cancelled brands are not available to the public but are kept in a computer database. However, upon request, a search will be done by the Librarian in the storage area. If files are located, a nominal charge of $5.00 is charged for the search for the actual files.
This Cancelled Brands Project came under the auspices of the Stockmen's Memorial Foundation in the mid-eighties. As part of the agreement, the Foundation agreed that diligent care would be taken of these valuable historic resources.
Donation of older books are arriving, but the collection needs current materials as well. The SMF has purchased over fifty of the latest materials to fill areas in the agricultural, native studies, education, settlement of the West, and rodeo. The Bert Sheppard Stockmen's Foundation Library's mandate is to provide information on the four Western provinces in areas such as agricultural, settlement, social conditions and history of rodeo across the west.
As summer has moved on so has the pleasantly efficient summer student, Sorcha McGinnis, who came in early May directly from the University of British Columbia as a History Graduate. She was a terrific help as this summer was very busy in the Library with well over 10,000 visitors requesting a multitude of answers.
Brands were near the top of the requests and many visitors were pleasantly surprised that the Brick Program is still available. It is a lasting way to say, "I was here!" European visitors enjoy the Brick Wall since it is almost akin to heraldry or family crests.
Library Winter Hours will begin on September 14, 1998 - Tuesday to Friday from 9 to 5 p.m.
Note: To contact The Western Heritage Centre, write to: Box 1477, Cochrane, Alberta T0L 0W0 or telephone 403-932-3534 or fax 403-932-3515
Thank you to member Fran Moore, for obtaining permission from the author and for contributing this article.
I am looking for information on two of my family connections.
Last address for:
Dianne (De-Ann) Johnson
(Wayne Gordon Johnson)
1056 Pritchard Ave.,
Winnipeg, Man. R2X 0G6
--connected on my Dwinnell line in Ontario. Too many Johnson's to pick from in Winnipeg directory.
Last address for:
301 - 47 Akins Drive,
St. Albert, AB T8N 3M6
Telephone: (403) 459-9230
--address change from Grandin Woods Estates effective 28 Jan 1997.
--Several calls lately to above phone number connect me to a different telephone number all together. Lady has had several calls for you. Also a call to Operator didn't get much help. Had another lady write me about the 'York' line recently.
If anyone that knows the whereabouts of either of these ladies, please have them contact me at:
9919 - 85 Avenue,
Grande Prairie, Alberta T8V 0A1
(mail is forwarded), or
3020 E Main St, #H - 94,
Mesa, Arizona USA 85213, or
call me at my "Snowbird" phone
number (602) 985-8760, home phone
until after 1st of April, or
by email at: MernNels@aol.com
Any help appreciated. Hope is enough info to get some feedback from someone out there.
Your Membership Renewal form for 1999 was handed out at the November Branch meeting, or you will find it enclosed with this newsletter.
Please return your renewal to the Grande Prairie Branch address no later than January 1, 1999.
Any renewals not received by the deadline may experience a delay in receiving their next issue of "Relatively Speaking" and "Heritage Seekers".
The "Genies in the Library" are on Christmas break from December 19, 1998 until January 13, 1999. Wednesday evenings have been fairly busy, but Friday afternoons have been extremely slow.
The Grande Prairie Branch and the Grande Prairie Public Library are holding another "Beginning Genealogy" Class on Saturday, March 6th, 1999 in the Grande Prairie Public Library. Watch the library for information on registration.
Beaverlodge Public Library has also requested that we hold a class in their community sometime in early 1999. Contact the Beaverlodge Library for the exact dates.
The 1881 Canadian Census for the Maritime Provinces and Quebec microfilm reels is now in the Isabel Campbell Room. We are still waiting for the Ontario reels to come. We recently received funding from the AGS to order the last 24 reels and those are now on order.
One of the best sources for genealogical research is a local newspaper. As a 'Genie' I am constantly surprised at how many beginning researchers overlook this source. Besides birth, marriage and death dates, a researcher can add many interesting stories about their ancestor and family. They can also gain knowledge about the community.
In Grande Prairie we have the Isabel Campbell Newspaper Index to help us locate information in the Herald-Tribune for the years between 1913-1964 and 1984-1995.
But how does one find out the name of the old newspapers in other Alberta communities? And once we find the name, where do we find the old copies? The answers can be found in "Alberta Newspapers 1880-1982: An Historical Directory" by Gloria M. Strathern, published by the University of Alberta Press, 1988. (ISBN: 0-88864-137-0 or 0-88864-138-9). In the Grande Prairie Public Library this book is in the circulating collection under non-fiction 015.7123035 STR.
Ms. Strathern has listed and described all the identified newspapers published in Alberta between 1880 and 1982, when those papers where published, whether they are the original copies, have been microfilmed or photocopied and where the copies can be viewed. The "Historical Directory" is arranged in alphabetical order by community and then chronologically by newspaper. It is a must to read the User's Guide at the beginning of the book as it explains the format and the abbreviations used.
The book also contains 6 different indexes in the section called "Indexes". They are a Biographical Index, two different Chronological Indexes, an Ethnic Index, a Subject Index and a Title Index.
When the directory lists a newspaper as being on microfilm, it is possible that you may request the microfilm reels through interlibrary loan. Check with your reference librarian for availability. It is also a good idea to quote the source and page number when you make your interlibrary loan request.
Another source for finding Canadian newspapers on microfilm is on the Canadian National Library web site:
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The old Grande Prairie newspapers are located on microfilm in the Grande Prairie Public Library. The newspapers and films begin in 1913.
Since June 1983, Joan Bowmanís ongoing contribution to "Heritage Seekers" has been to provide extracts of the births, marriages and deaths as found in these old newspapers
These extracts are now available in a published and indexed book that contains the extracts from:
a) Grande Prairie "Frontier Signal", published September 1914 to August 1916, and
b) Grande Prairie "Herald" published March 1913 to December 1920.
Write to the Branch for an order form. Cost is $12.00 plus $1.75 for postage & handling. We look forward to sending this excellent work to as many as possible.
My great-grandfather, John G. Spallin was an Irishman from Burnquarter, County Antrim, Ireland. He came to Wakefield, Quebec, sometime before 1878 where he met my great-grandmother, Hannah Morehouse. They were married on May 22, 1878 and left several days later for Pope County, Minnesota. They farmed in Leven Township for 22 years before they returned to Canada and settled in the Fort Saskatchewan area of Alberta.
The Spallin story is a story filled with small mysteries. John G. Spallin's year of birth was one of those mysteries. It varied between 1833-1846, depending on the record. Recently I found the Spallin family on the 1851 Irish census for Garryduff Townland, County Antrim. This information has narrowed the date of birth for John G. Spallin to 1845/6, as he was only 6 on the census. This would make the age listed on his death records wrong. Instead of being 80 years of age when he died, he would have been about 67 or 68. His year of birth is further verified by the 1880 & 1885 census for Pope County, Minnesota.
Family tradition claimed that he came to Canada with his older brother, Joseph in 1856. The census information causes me to doubt this story. John would have only been about 10/11 years old. According to an older cousin, John taught school in County Cork in Ireland before coming to Canada. I doubt that anyone would hire a 9-year-old teacher!!! So when did John come to Canada? He is not at Joseph's home in Wakefield on the 1871 Canadian census. His other brother James (who remained in Ireland) writes "Robert Halliday and me has some large (laughs?) about the times him (Robert Halliday) and you (John Spallin) had in America." in a letter written to John between 1882-4. Where did these two young Irishmen have their adventures? There are no other census records available for Ballymoney, County Antrim until 1901; long after John had left Ireland. As for County Cork - where do I start???
Burnquarter is a small townland southwest of Ballymoney. According to family stories, the family came from Londonderry (town or county?) to Antrim in about 1809. James Spallin, Sr. (JohnÇs father) would have been about 4 years of age at that time. I am guessing that he married Nancy Gilmore (or Gordon) about 1825-1830. Another mystery - there is some confusion over Nancy's maiden name. Her funeral card lists her maiden name as Gordon, however, Joseph's (her sonÇs) marriage record states it as Gilmore. Could it be that Nancy was married previously? To date, I have been unable to find any early records that would clarify when James and Nancy married or clear up the confusion over her name.
Nancy's birthplace is another mystery. Family tradition tells us she is from Edinburgh, Scotland. However, the 1851 census lists her birthplace as Londonderry. Could it be that her parents were from Edinburgh?
Many of the records in Ireland were not kept, were lost or were destroyed in the fire in the Public Record Office in 1922. Civil registration did not become mandatory in Ireland until January 1st, 1864. This makes locating documentation on my family in Ireland very difficult. I have searched the birth record indexes from 1864-1900 for Ballymoney. I found more Spallin births than I thought I would. There are at least two other family units in the Ballymoney area. Could they be siblings of James Sr. My investigation continues...
The family was of the Presbyterian faith and attended church at the Garryduff Presbyterian Church. The Garryduff Presbyterian Church was established in 1835, however their baptismal records are not available until 1885-1985 and marriage records from 1851-1936. Earlier records were lost. The Presbyterian Historical Society did a search of the records for me in 1994. The only entries they found were the marriages for James Spallin (John & JosephÇs brother) to Jane Beverland and Isabella Spallin (their sister) to John Anderson and the baptism for IsabellaÇs daughter, Agnes Anderson.
Family tradition also claims that a sister came to North America with the brothers. Martha does not appear on the 1851 census with the rest of the family. I am guessing that her age is between Joseph and a sister named Mary, as there is a 5-year gap between their ages. Several relatives have questioned Martha's existence but on September 28, 188? (between 1882-84) James Jr. wrote a letter from Ireland to his brother John in Minnesota. In the letter he writes "we got no Letters But 2 for from Brother Joseph and one from sister Marth for the Last too years..." Martha was probably married. There is no indication, as to where Martha was living. One of my cousins is under the impression that her married name could possibly be Strickland. He has a photograph of two Strickland children with a note on the back that says "Fred C and Maltie C. Strickland, cousins of the Spallin family. Ida Strickland corresponded with Mother Ida Spallin Moore for years" (written by Ruth Campbell Moore). C. W. Thomas Photography, Electric Block, Oxford, Pennsylvania took the photograph.
Another mystery concerns the whereabouts of Joseph Spallin between 1856 when he came to Canada and 1868 when he married Catherine Stanley. Did he arrive in a Canadian port or a US port? When did he arrive in Wakefield? What brought him there? Did he have friends from home in the area (large Irish population) or was it for land? When did he take possession of his land?
These are only some of the mysteries that plague my research. Hopefully someone might be able to offer some advice.
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September 13, 1999