Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Our visit to Florence May Palmer's grave in Humboldt SK.

To date, this is the crowning achievement of all my genealogy research!
This past June I began to consider, "What if I asked family members to contribute to purchasing a grave marker for my great grandmother?" This is Florence May (Bellamy) PALMER, who is buried in Humboldt Public Cemetery in Saskatchewan. I had asked Robert if he would drive to SK on our upcoming trip in July to Calgary, AB. Florence is my great grandmother; my Dad's grandmother.
I'd joined a FaceBook SK group which was very helpful, and Gord Neish who works at the Naicam Museum had posted a price list and a contact for Forever Memorials for those of us who wished to have our loved ones remembered in this way.

Florence had died 85 years ago, on June 20, 1931.
I felt it would be fitting, provided others helped pay the cost.
I'm not sure why Florence's children didn't rally together and do this years ago; it would have been much cheaper. I know to begin with they had a rough life, but in later years some of them were well off. I guess she was out of sight and so out of mind, although I know that my great Uncle Syd Palmer and his wife Joan visited the cemetery in the 1980's.

Here are a list of the donators: 

My parents, Jack & Susie Williams
My uncle Harry & aunt Lil Williams
Denise Surowski (Harry & Lil's daughter)
My uncle Bob & aunt Marilyn Williams
Heidi Wallace (Bob & Marilyn's daughter)
Jacqueline Vesterinen (great uncle Syd Palmer's daughter)
My aunt Audrey & Fred Town (John & Alma May Williams daughter)
Robert & Loretta Houben (Florence Palmer's great granddaughter)

It's thrilling what a group of people can accomplish!
Thanks to Jennifer Flasko of Forever Memorials, I arranged everything by email!
First I had to find out if Florence's grave could be found, so I contacted the city of Humboldt to see who was in charge of the cemetery. It turns out the city is. They sent me a form by email for me to sign, so that Jennifer would be able to install the marker. I sent it back by email after signing it and scanning the form. Next everyone very quickly sent me paper cheques, which Robert scanned into his cell phone and deposited to our account. I had already mailed the amount owing to Jennifer, as I was very anxious to have the marker installed before I reached Humboldt at the beginning of August!
I trusted everyone to send in their cheques and they promptly did so. 

Just before I left on our trip to Calgary AB on July 22, I emailed Jennifer one last time.
Unfortunately, Saskatchewan had so much rain this summer, she hadn't been able to install the marker because of 7" of rain! But she promised she would have it done in time, and she did.
On August 1 we traveled from Calgary to Humboldt. That's one long drive!
After checking into our hotel, we hurried to the cemetery before supper.
I was so anxious to see it!
(In the photo above, I'm talking with my Dad, Jack Williams, and describing his grandmother's grave to him.)

Alas. I didn't even know where it was.
My heart fell. I told Robert to start at the back, and I'd start looking at the front.
Before long the awful brutes of mosquitoes had found me. Ack! I tried looking for a new marker, but was being eaten alive. I waved to Robert, and he came running as he thought I'd found it.
He didn't say a word, but I told him we'd have to come back in the morning as I was being bitten too much. He said "Well, I didn't find Nellie's grave, but I did spot a new one that said Florence May Palmer." 
I just stared at him, and then I shrieked. 
For some reason he thought I was looking for Nellie Williams grave. (buried in Spalding)
So the whole point of this story is this:
When your spouse helps you on a long trip like this, please make sure you understand the full NAME of the person you are seeking, and much time will be saved!
Anyhow, all's well that ends well.
Florence Palmer's grave marker is in a plot of un-marked graves, so Jennifer made sure her stone was elevated so the grass mower wouldn't run over it. 
This was a very thrilling moment for me.

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Visiting your ancestors in cemeteries.

There are a few graves I haven't visited yet, and hope to remedy it soon.
One is the un-marked grave of my great grandmother, FLORENCE MAY (BELLAMY) PALMER.
She is buried in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, many miles from here.
Recently I had asked my Williams/Palmer Facebook group members if they would consider making a money contribution towards getting a grave marker installed on Florence's grave.
Many agreed, and so they sent me generous cheques for $50 each and I quickly had enough to send to  Forever Memorials in St. Front, SK, who have made a monument and will be installing it later in July. I think it's thrilling that Florence will have a name and date at last!
The marker will be black granite and state:
Nov 20, 1883 - Jun 20, 1931
When I visit her grave I will put the vase and roses on it, along with her framed photo, and take many pictures. She is the only one of our family in Humboldt Cemetery.

Another grave I haven't yet seen is in Bigstone Cemetery in Spalding SK.
That belongs to my paternal grandpa's first wife, ELLEN (EGERTON) WILLIAMS, known as Nellie. She was buried with many other people with one large grave stone.
Her name is "Mrs. John Williams" with the date 1926 on the grave.
I blogged about discovering her grave online, HERE. I've learned so much more about here since that time! I'd love to write a book about her and her adventures in Canada.
Although it's sad she died, I'm so glad she did, as I wouldn't be here if she had lived.
Just think about it....

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Friday, June 17, 2016

Florence Bellamy Palmer, my great grandmother.

My great grandmother, Florence Bellamy, born on November 20, 1883, in Roath, Cardiff, South Wales, to William and Elizabeth Bellamy. Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Vesterinen.

Here is the register of birth, so that I could order her birth certificate.

Here is the first census on which Florence appears, living at #396 Zinc Street in the parish of Roath, Cardiff, South Wales. Her father, William, works in coal but I can't make out his profession. She has 3 brothers; Joseph, William and Edward, and 2 sisters; Deborah and Elizabeth.

In 1901, Florence is 17 and a servant at #10 Preswyfla Street in Cardiff, South Wales.
Her employer is George B Newton and his wife Kate. The census has the family split on two pages, which is something you have to watch for when searching for your family!

The 1911 Welsh census which shows Florence married to Herbert Palmer, with three children; Herbert, May and Norman. (May is my grandma) Here she is age 25, but it should read age 27. Maybe she didn't wish to appear as two years older than her husband, who was born August 11, 1885 and was age 25.

Yesterday, June 16, 2016, I had the delightful thrill of discovering my first family member in the newspapers! The Naicam Progress newspapers are online at this link.
Some of the years have been digitized. I knew Florence had died on June 20, 1931 which was 85 years ago, so I looked at the newspaper closest to her date of death and her obituary was on the first page! I was quite thrilled to find her.
By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 31, 1916.....100 years ago: The Battle of Jutland

The Battle of Jutland happened 100 years ago on this day.
6,097 British lives were lost. Over 2,000 Germans died.
I had never given much thought to this battle until I recently discovered that an ancestor perished on board one of those ships. I've blogged about Alfred George Palmer before, so I won't repeat all the details here. Please CLICK HERE to read that story.

If I ever return to England I'll try to look up this memorial.
I think it would be thrilling to visit it and pay my respects.
I found a battle fleet chart online, and you can see the Broke ship in the 4th Flotilla:

Here is a LIST of men killed on board HMS Broke.

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Monday, May 16, 2016

Childhood Memories

I finally scanned in the old black and white photos in my parent's small brown photo album.
I've been meaning to do this for a while. 
I tweaked the photos and added photo corners and a description.
These were taken 50 years ago, at our home at 3382 Monmouth Avenue in Vancouver BC.
I loved playing in the living room with our toys. My Mom didn't mind as long as we cleaned the room up by supper time. Sometimes that didn't happen, and if company knocked on the door, we would rush to throw all our toys behind the couch!

My aunt Frieda, Mom's older sister, made my dress and I believe she also made Leona's too. She was an excellent seamstress. I loved all the things she made me. My dress had a red yoke, and purple and red plaid and was very comfortable. Leona's dress is a very stylish 1960's type Mondrian (designed originally by Yves St. Laurent which were inspired by the paintings of Mondrian).

I believe the dolls were given to us by aunt Frieda but I'm not positive. We received them as gifts when we were in Oregon in the summer. An online friend suggested that the dolls look like Madame Alexander "Little Shaver" dolls. I haven't located mine yet (in storage) to see if there's a mark on the back or not. Leona and I loved these dolls. I named mine Flossie and she named hers Nan, after the famous Bobbsey Twin characters.

This is a photo by Eric Koch from Wikipedia, showing an original Mondrian painting, and dresses by Yves St. Laurent. For some reason, I just love this style. To me it embodies the glorious 1960 decade.

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Monday, May 9, 2016

Alma May Palmer/Williams Memoirs

I'm re-reading my Grandma Alma May's memoirs which she wrote in a lined notebook in 1977. 
I remember her telling me she was working on them, a little each day. I was 17 at that time, and hoped to read them soon. I wasn't able to get my hands on them until she passed away in 2004! Then my Dad gave the notebook to me.
In 2007, thirty years after they were written, I edited them and typed them into my computer. I printed the pages and had them bound at Staples and gave them to my Dad.

Now I'm going through them again. They are very interesting and well written.
They give a glimpse into my Grandma's life so long ago.
Here is a portion about Alma's life in Saskatchewan, near Spalding:
(see excerpt below)

I looked up Fred and found him on the 1921 Canadian Census, which you can see at the top of this post. Someone has added the correct spelling of his surname. So my Grandma remembered his name very well! I wonder what Fred looked like. If Alma had married him, I wouldn't be here!

"I went to work for Mrs. Collop, 14 miles from home. It was hard work so different from what I did in London. I learned to cook, wash clothes on a wash board for five people; Mr. and Mrs. Collop and Lorraine, Bill the hired man and myself for fifteen dollars a month. While there I met Fred Shlondorff, a young German. He was nice, he took me to a box social party. That is, I had to take a shoe box dressed up outside and put sandwiches and cookies, so we put the pretty boxes all together. Nobody knows whose they are. Then a man puts them up for bidding. Fred didn’t know my box. So an older man bid on mine and got it and then we both ate out of my box. (poor Fred) It’s very exciting, though. We did enjoy ourselves. Fred wanted to marry me, but I met Jack Williams, he being a Welsh man, I wanted him instead, so Jack and I got married August 11th, 1928." (page torn in half, bottom is missing)

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

This is one of my favourite photos of the Williams family, taken in Spalding, Saskatchewan in the 1930's. Date unknown. My Dad was born in 1929 so I guess this could be around 1935.
My Dad is wearing a tie, so I guess they are going to church.
My grandparents had both died before I ever saw this photo in my Dad's collection.
When you are growing up and raising your own family you just don't clue in to the past generation until it's too late to ask questions.
So if your grandparents are alive, speak to them today!

I'm glad that I have these photos though, and this one was very scratched so I used my handy PicMonkey photo program to erase all the scratches and it looks so much better.

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful hard working moms!

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ellen Williams maiden name is EGERTON!

Today, May 5, 2016, the most exciting thing happened to me.
I recently joined the Saskatchewan Genealogy Network on Facebook in order to ask kind people for help in my ongoing research for my Williams family.
Someone said I should also join the Naicam Homecoming Facebook group so I did.
Today, Gord Neish sent me the above copy of Ellen Williams death certificate, which he found at the Naicam Museum today. Apparently these things are on file!
This document solves the mystery of Ellen's maiden name. Her father is listed:

I immediately went to Findmypast and searched for his name on the censuses, and found the above on the 1891 Welsh census. His wife's name was Hannah, and little Ellen was 3 years old. She was born in Bettws-y-coed, Caernarvonshire, Wales.
They lived at #91 Station Cottage in Bryneglwys, Bettws-y-Coed in Denbighshire, Wales.

Here they are on the 1901 Welsh census, but Ellen's mother died between 1891 and 1901. She now has a little sister named Hannah.
This is the most exciting day in my genealogy research yet!

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Monday, April 25, 2016

#10 Bryn Street, Talsarnau Wales (1901 Welsh Census)

This is a closeup of the 1901 Welsh census showing Robert David Williams age 11, and his brother Willie age 8. For years I didn’t think this was really them as I believed Willie was born in 1898 and should have been age 3! But after discovering Willie on the 1911 census age 18, I then knew this was indeed the little brothers, boarding with Mary Parry, a single mother age 32, working as a laundress. She had a young daughter age 2. 

They lived in the parish of Talsarnau in the rural district of Deudraeth in Merioneth. I can’t read the name of the ecclesiastical parish. They lived at #10 Bryn Street. It’s a complete mystery as of this date, April 25, 2016, as to why they were boarding out. Talsarnau is fairly close to Blaenau Ffestiniog, but I don’t know what happened to their parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Williams as I can find no trace of them on the census. John Griffith, their older brother age 13, appears on page 14 of this census, also living in Talsarnau but at Plasuehaf Farm as a cattle man with Ellis Jones Edmunds, a 47 year old farmer.

According to Google maps, this is #10 Bryn Street in Talsarnau Wales.

This shows how far away Bryn Street in Talsarnau Wales is from Blaenau Ffestiniog. It's 19 minutes, or 10 miles by car. So I guess by horse and cart it may have been one hour. 

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Every man remembered

A really lovely memorial website to remember the fallen soldiers in WWI:
Tonight I remembered my first cousin 2xs removed, Alfred George Palmer.

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Every man remembered...

I found a lovely website:
If you click on the link, it should take you to a lovely video.
I found this link in a book I'm currently reading by Nathan Dylan Goodwin.
"The Orange Lilies" A Genealogical Crime Mystery
It's very well written.

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Friday, April 15, 2016

I've found William Williams on the 1911 Welsh Census!!!!

I just had to add this to my blog tonight!
I was browsing Findmypast records.
They sent me a Hint for Ellen Roberts, so I checked it out.
While staring at the 1911 Welsh census, trying to figure out if the word "nai" meant "nephew" in English, and what did "pentelue" mean in English, I decided to check them out in a Welsh English dictionary online. My heart nearly stopped beating as it dawned on me that this was indeed, my great uncle William, THE William; and his aunt, Ellen Roberts, the same aunt which the RWF wrote to in the newspaper to inform her of her nephew's death!
(penteulu means head of household)

What helped to clinch it was the fact that Ellen Roberts was living at Dolgarregddu Street in Ffestiniog; the same place the ROBERTS lived at in the 1871 census, and the same place which Ellen lived at when the RWF sent her the letter about William.
The address isn't shown on the handwritten form, but shows on the transcribed form.
The original forms before and after Ellen's form are all listed as living at Dolgarregddu Street.

I was so excited when I realized this that I nearly fell off my chair.
I stared at William's age (18) and realized that he wasn't born in 1898 after all; he was born in 1893.
And he wasn't 19 when he died in 1917; he was 24.
For some reason I was so happy he was 5 years older!
Then I thought; why did I assume he was 19?
It was because my Grandma always said he was 19 when he died, but he wasn't!

And so this 1901 Welsh census I had found a few years ago is correct!
It shows Robert David (age 11) and little Willie (age 8) living as boarders on a farm in Talsarnau, the same area which John Griffith (my grandpa) was also living age 13 as a cattle hand.
(see below)
I also just realized that this 1901 census was filled out by the same person, and the above info on Robert and Willie is on page 4, while the info on John below is on page 14!

This is thrilling so I just had to add it here tonight.
What a day for research!

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Genealogy Tips: blank census forms

It took me a while, but I finally tracked down BLANK census forms!
Most of the time I can't decipher the real ones.
I especially cannot figure out the Welsh forms!
The above shows the England and Wales census form for 1911.

This is the blank census form for Canada in 1911.

This is the 1910 US Census blank form.

Have fun!

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Findmypast 1871 Transcription for ROBERTS family

I am enjoying using Findmypast subscription, however it isn't as easy to use as Ancestry UK!
They have millions of records but when trying to find the ROBERTS family yesterday and add the 1871 census details to their family tree, I couldn't locate John Roberts and his wife Mary in Ffestiniog, until I looked page by page in St. David's Parish, and then lo and behold I couldn't add the census to my tree! I had to start all over again, so I tried looking up Mary Jane and found the family that way! Yikes. It sure took a lot of time.
But here they are, and this is what the transcription looks like.
It's very nice, and if you click on each name, you get that person's transcription.

So I printed a page for each of the ROBERTS family as family names are few and far between for me, and so I treat them like gold! I'm so happy I found them, as I'd never thought to look for them before. Elizabeth ROBERTS married JOSEPH WILLIAMS and so began the WILLIAMS clan, and therefore she is very special indeed.

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ellen Roberts, aunt to William Joseph Williams.

Here is the copy of William William's death notice sent to Miss Ellen Roberts, living at 9 Dolgaregddu Street in Ffestiniog, North Wales.
I'm not sure what happened to William's parents. His mother Elizabeth was Ellen's older sister.
I'm still working on the clues.
However yesterday I noticed that Ellen Roberts appears on the 1871 Welsh Census, so I thought I'd put the newspaper clippings together with the census to confirm that yes, this is the correct Ellen Roberts. I assume she remained single and didn't get married as in 1917 when she was 58 years old, based upon her year of birth being 1859 according to the 1871 census and her age of 12 years, she was still addressed as Miss Roberts:

This is the piece of paper which came to light recently in my Dad's collection.
I love the words which C of E Chaplain, Henry Hargreaves wrote to Ellen.

Here is Ellen's name listed in a closeup of the 1871 census.

Here is the 1871 census full page, showing the Roberts family living at Dolgarregddu Street in Ffestiniog, North Wales.

By Loretta (Williams) Houben

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

1871 Welsh Census showing Roberts Family in Ffestiniog North Wales

Here is a copy of the 1871 Welsh census showing the Robert's Family living in Ffestiniog North Wales, still on Dolgarregddu Street.

However, the family has two more daughters. 
They are not on the 1881 Welsh census so they may have got married.
They match in all other ways, except the age of the mother, Mary, is the same as her husband, while in the 1881 census she is listed as being two years older.

This is where you have to have really good eyes!
This is the snip from Ancestry, but it states that John Roberts is born in Ireland!
This is utterly false so I left a comment.
The transcriber read the country above John's, and put that down for him.
Oh woe is me!
But I'm thrilled to have found the Robert's family on two different censuses.
By Loretta Williams Houben