Friday, November 22, 2013

1921 CANADA CENSUS - Grandparents GILLESPIE House!

The 1921 Census for Canada was recently published online with a searchable index, on Ancestry.

When it first was released a few months ago as browsable images, unindexed, I searched diligently page by page, section by section, ward by ward.  I knew both sets of grandparents were living in Vancouver in 1921, but search as I did, I found nothing.  It was terribly frustrating, but I knew the searchable index would be done "soon", likely in a few months.

My Grandparents GILLESPIE had arrived in Canada in the previous decade: Grandpa in 1911, then he'd borrowed money from the Salvation Army and paid for Grandma and all 5 children (4-15 yrs) to come to Canada in November 1914.  That's right, just after the first World War started.  What a time that must have been, leaving Barrow in Furness, Lancashire, England, to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 3rd class, my grandmother with 5 children, and whatever they had shipped with them. Arriving in Canada, getting on the Canadian Pacific railway and travelling across Canada to the West Coast, to Vancouver BC.  Finally meeting up with Grandpa after 3 long years apart. Courage, eh? Determination, and much more, I'm sure.

If you click on the Census image of Vancouver below, you can read details of  Wm John GILLESPIE (always known as Jack), and Harriet GILLESPIE, plus the children: George, Winifred, John [Dad], and Elizabeth (known as Lil).

In 1921 the family shows up on the Census as living on the east side of Vancouver, at 1512  2nd Avenue East, with 4 of their 5 children. The eldest child, Elsie, had married only the year previous. Reminder, must find Aunt Elsie & Uncle John on the Census as well, see where she and her husband were living!  

My brother is a realtor, so he immediately went looking for the house. We didn't have much hope of finding an old house in that area, but my goodness, we hit pay dirt.

The house, built in 1910, is still standing, looking rather pretty in a simple way, in a narrow long lot.

It is two stories tall with a basement partially underground, a tall box-shape with a front porch, painted happy yellow with white trim, a white lilac bush on the right side by the house, a little white picket fence around the house. It's still there. What a charming find!  You can see the little bit of cake decoration around the tops of the posts of the porch.

Here's another view:

In Vancouver many of these old 1900s clapboard houses have been torn down as waves of redevelopment washed over the city along with waves of new residents and immigrants. Somehow this house is still here, still looking like a home to a family. I'm thrilled, simply thrilled to see this.

Next, I'll be looking for my other Grandparents' home. They arrived in Vancouver around 1913, and lived on the west side of Vancouver.

Any questions or comments are always welcome. You can also email me at calewis at telus dot net

Friday, November 8, 2013


Now here is one of those families where I have an original immigrant, with a daughter, whose marriage registration to Samuel BEEBE shows no surname. But histories of the Orcutt family in America state she was an ORCUTT.  I do wish there was a footnote/document showing the specific proof of that statement.

Those ancestor females  - I usually don't research their parents' lines very far back, since they only show up once or twice in my family tree.  And the records back in the 1600s in the new colonies were not very detailed. Often just the bare bones of individuals were shown.

If she is Hannah ORCUTT, it is known that she was b. 11 Apr 1675, a twin to Mary Orcutt, the 6th & 7th children of William ORCUTT b. 18 Dec 1618 in Warwickshire, England, and his wife - either Mary LANE, and/or Martha Unknown surname. There is confusion in the literature about his wife or wives' names. A group of 11 children are attached to William, with very little spacing between births, so I'd suspect that he had one wife, who had children approximately every 2 years, from 1664 to 1683. And, his wife outlived him by almost 20 years. Good genetics, eh?

However, my tree in this instance is very bare and poorly sourced. It is highly likely that "ORCUTT" is NOT the surname of the Hannah who married Samuel BEEBE/BEEBIE in 1698, in Connecticut.

What we do know is that Samuel BEEBE married a Hannah, surname sometimes omitted, in 1698, in Wethersfield [Littlefield], Connecticut.

Their first child, a daughter named Mary (both grandmothers were named Mary), was born here on 25 Sep 1699.  My line goes through this first child, Mary BEEBE.

The small family then moved to Danbury where 5 more children were born, before they moved to New Milford, where two more sons were born. Samuel and his wife Hannah are listed as original members of the First Church in Milford, CT. (See NEHGS Register, 1854, p.176).  He is listed as a Planter, Hannah as his wife; they had come from the church at Danbury CT.

At least 6 of their 8 children appear to have survived to adulthood.

Samuel apparently died in 1731 in Litchfield, while his wife, Hannah lived on to 1766 (abt 90 years of age). However some of the records can be challenging to attach to the correct person, as the same names are used over and over again in the families. With siblings naming their children the same names, several years apart, cousins doing the same, it is definitely a puzzle.

I have decided to try first to find more information on the ORCUTT families in New England to try to pin down more on the line of William & Mary ORCUTT, with daughter Hannah - who may or may not have been the wife of Samuel BEEBE.  If I can't determine the connection this way, I'll see if I can go through the BEEBE line to follow details there for his wife.

I am unable to travel to search, and funds are highly limited, so online searching is my only research option at the moment.  If you know anything definitive about Samuel BEEBE's wife Hannah's background, I would be thrilled to learn about it.  Or, where to search.  Any clue is a good clue.

Thanks for visiting. Contact me at calewis at telus dot com, or comment below.


Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis