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


Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana said...

How wonderful you found them! And, I certainly think you all deserved the added bonus of finding the house they settled in after their time apart and arduous journey to a safer place to call home. I find it interesting; my own grandfather's family made their way to Montreal, although they did wait until after the war to bring the rest of the family (1922, which means no Canadian Census for them). They, too, were from Lancashire, but off the sea in Burnley. So, I can appreciate your moment, and the pleasure of finding a physical reminder that they made a home in Canada. What's more, you proved their own fate: patience pays off!

Celia Lewis said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Laura. My Grandpa was actually born in Northern Ireland - in Augher, County Tyrone - which I hadn't known as I grew up. It was lovely to find them on the Census, and then to see the house - a bonus! Nice to have my brother add to the records too.

Anonymous said...

way to go Celia

Tom Zawila

Celia Lewis said...

Hey Tom! Thanks for finding my post here, and commenting! I'm really thrilled when family find my stuff. Send me an email so I have yours, eh? calewis at telus dot net
Cheers - your first cousin-once-removed.


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