Tuesday, June 10, 2014

52 ANCESTORS in 52 WEEKS, #24: Alma Jane AIKEN, Ontario Canada

Following the challenge of writing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, issued by Amy Johnson Crow, here is my 24th installment, Alma Jane AIKEN, my ex-husband's paternal grandmother, our children's great-grandmother.

Alma Jane was born 28 May 1858 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada (date on 1891 Census). Unfortunately the only thing I know about her parents - from her first marriage registration - is that her father was John - or possibly Robert John AIKEN; her mother was listed as Eliza Jane [other research shows possible surname of BAKER].  So far I have not been able to verify either of her parents, nor find them on the 1851/52 Census. Much more work to do here, but there are certainly clues.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Alma Jane married for the first time to Melancton Odell (or Odella) Andrews, 24 Nov 1881, aged 23 years old, son of John and Ellen Andrews.  Witnesses were Frances Aiken of Collinsby, and Robert E. Aiken, Collinsby; likely they are both relatives, possibly siblings.  [This place is Collins Bay, part of Kingston, Ontario.]  

Her first husband's name is very unusual. There is one other "Walter Odell Andrews" individual I have seen in my searches; that person was b. in Michigan of an English-born father, but I'm not certain of the connection - if any. Still, it's an interesting coincidence, particularly as I've found a Walter Andrews with a sibling "Odle M. Andrews", father John. Doesn't that seem like a possible series of crumbs to research?

Her first marriage seems not to have lasted past the birth of their first child, Cora May Odella Andrews on 31 Aug 1882.  Cora May was born in Oxford, Ontario.  Cora apparently suffered from epilepsy during her lifetime, and may have been mildly mentally handicapped. From the Census records, and city directories, she lived with her Lewis family all her life, dying the year before her widowed mother, Alma. 

I did not find a divorce record, but apparently Alma Jane AIKEN Andrews moved with her daughter, Cora, to Winnipeg after 1882. Possibly she moved with her family members, but I have not completed searching for more information as yet. 

We do know that on 3 Dec 1885 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, she married Isaac Charles LEWIS, the eldest son of Charles LEWIS and Eliza/Elizabeth CAMPION. The Lewis family was originally from Bath Ontario (possibly United Empire Loyalists), but moved to Manitoba after 1870.  Isaac opened a butcher store there.

Alma Jane and Isaac had seven children that I have been able to find, all surname Lewis of course:
  1. Arthur Aiken , b. 16 Apr 1887, Winnipeg, MB; d. 8 May 1917, [WW1] Vimy Ridge battle, France
  2. Edwin C(harles?), b. 2 Jun 1889, Ontario or MB; m. Anna K., d. 30 Sep 1975 Sacramento CA USA; at least one daughter
  3. Frederick L., b. 8 Jan 1892, Selkirk, MB; apparently married in California, lived in Redondo Beach region; d. 2 Jul 1965, Los Angeles CA USA; at least 3 children
  4. Alma Elizabeth, b. 29 Jul 1894, Selkirk, MB; m. Dr. Otto DeMuth; d. after 1967, Vancouver BC; apparently 3 children
  5. Evelyn Eliza, b. 11 May 1896, Selkirk, MB; m. Herbert Lloyd Phillips before 1930; d. 30 Oct 1950, Sacramento, CA USA; children
  6. Mona Ann, b. 17 Oct 1898, Selkirk, MB; d. before 1906, Brandon, MB. No information.
  7. Charles William* [ancestor], 19 Feb 1901, Brandon, MB; liaison Ada Rice, 1 or 2 children; 2nd liaison or m. Reba Kathryn RICE, about 1933 in California; d. 8 Feb 1952 (complications of surgery), Vancouver BC; two children.
The parents, Isaac and Alma Jane, moved with their children to Vancouver before 1911. Eventually most of the children moved down to California.  Alma Jane's husband, Isaac, died 17 Apr 1937 in Vancouver BC.  She died 11 Dec 1954, in Vancouver BC.  Her last address was apparently 1056 Richelieu Street in Vancouver BC, near Queen Elizabeth Park area (see house on Street view of Google).  Both sons were living in California at time of her death, and her surviving daughter Alma E. DeMuth was living in Vancouver BC.  Cora, her eldest daughter (from first marriage), had died the previous year, having lived with her mother her entire life. Alma Jane is interred in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, but not in the same plot as her husband, nor is there a gravestone that could be found. 

I have no photographs of Alma Jane AIKEN Andrews(1) Lewis(2), nor of her husband, Isaac, which surprises me. Surely, someone in the family has a few photographs -?  Hopefully a relative (or several cousins) reading this post will dig through their old family photograph albums and find photos of either Isaac and/or Alma Jane and their family, which they would be willing to share with me.  I'd love to be able to provide copies of photos to my children. Treasure. They would be definite treasure.  I don't want to take your originals, of course, but any copies would be lovely.

If you have any questions about Alma Jane AIKEN, or have information to share or to correct some of the above details - or photos! - please do not hesitate to contact me via calewis at telus dot net, or in the Comments below.  I would be so pleased to add more details (Evelyn Lewis Phillips' children, for instance), any stories, any tiny clues.  Any detail would be much appreciated! 

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Welcome!

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