Confused by many men centuries ago named Samuel, Adam, John and James Burwell in my database, I gave up trying to sort them out. I picked up my mother’s family history binder. It pays to do that occasionally. Here is a letter from the late Lloyd Burwell to my mother about their mutual great-great-grandfather James Burwell UEL, his brothers and father and possible connection to the Virginia Burwells. I removed only small parts not relevant to family history in my transcription.
Dear Ruby, …
I am sending you a copy of the obituary of James Burwell as you requested. I am also sending you copies of several other items…
Below is the lineage of the Earls of Grantham. The family name is Crawley, and their home is Downton Abbey in Yorkshire.
It is a fictional family in a television series I have never watched. I found family trees online, read summaries of the show and characters, and mapped out connections. I wanted to see if I could use only the internet to figure out a family history.
“Minnie and Charlie’s daughter must be visiting. I saw that strange girl of hers, and the dog’s gone.” Now, over forty years later, that’s what I imagine people on Pine Street said when I went with my parents to my grandparents’ house.
As soon as I’d said hello to grandma and grandpa, I’d be out the door and heading down toward the woods at the end of the street. Along the way, from three doors past their house, I’d start collecting dogs. I didn’t steal them or let them out of fenced yards. No one had fenced yards then and dogs just laid around their front steps or in the yard.
There is a Burwell family in southwestern Ontario and one in Virginia. No one is sure if they’re related. I wonder if the link might be through Burwells in Connecticut.
The Ontario Burwells are United Empire Loyalists. Fighting for the losing side in the American Revolution, they fled New Jersey north to still-British Canada. The Virginia Burwells fought on the American side. In the War of 1812, the two again fought on opposite sides. In the American Civil War, the Virginia Burwells, plantation owners, fought on the Confederate side.
May 8th 1945, Victory in Europe Day, marked the end of one part of World War II. War with Japan continued until two atomic bombs were dropped in July and Japan’s formal surrender was signed September 2nd.
My mother was on Dundas Street East in London Ont. on VE Day. She said when the news spread, everyone ran into the street screaming, laughing, hugging anyone at hand. They stayed outside for hours, revelling in the knowledge that the war was over. Bluebirds were flying over the white cliffs of Dover, the boys were coming home.
Coming home took time. My dad’s official discharge papers are stamped November 28th 1945, Wolseley Barracks, London Ontario.
The Bible would have been in Hercules and Ada Ann Burwell’s house, beside Otter Creek west of Eden in East Elgin County. It was the farm where Ada Ann lived with her parents, Joseph and Mary (Younglove) Norton. (click title to read more)
Phamily Photos (Jan. 7, 2015)
I was looking through old albums and envelopes of photos and came across very old ones of my Grandpa Burwell and his family. There are enough now scanned and posted, along with photos of members of my other families, that I divided them into separate pages. If members of two families are in the same photo, I have put them on both pages. On the side menu, you will see them listed together with the family tree links. Or use these links:
Andrea’s Ridgeway Vlog (Aug. 6, 2014)
My cousin’s daughter visited Ridgeway and the ancestral Anger homes. She posted a video on Youtube about what she found out.
The one I knew best was Charles Scanlon, husband of my mother’s older sister Ada. He was 20 years older than she. Uncle Charlie told wonderful stories, but I don’t remember any being about the war. I knew only that he was a veteran of the war before the one in which my father had been.
Looking through my aunt’s photos and papers recently, I found out Uncle Charlie had been wounded at the Second Battle of Ypres, in April 1915. more…
Today marks a bizarre incident in Canadian history. Irish-Americans invaded Canada, planning to hold it hostage as leverage to end British rule in Ireland. My family’s farmhouse was smack-dab in the middle of what became known as the Battle of Ridgeway. Reading about it, the threads I picked up led far into North American and Anglo-British political and cultural history.
June 2, 1866, soldiers of the US-based Fenian Brotherhood met Canadian militia at a limestone ridge near Ridgeway west of Fort Erie, Ontario. It was a kind of “who’s on first?” fight. more…
In colonial times [Georg] Frederick Anger, a native of Germany, lived on the Susquehannah River in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. During the American Revolution he joined Butler’s Rangers at Fort Niagara. Following the war, Frederick Anger settled in Bertie Township, Welland County. The following is his Claim for Revolutionary War Losses heard by the Commissioners of Claims at Niagara on 23 Aug 1787. (AO 12 Vol. 40 P. 335-338)* more…
My cousin Lynda Sykes wrote this story about our grandfather Austin Anger. She and her mother had dug out some old family pictures, including the one here of Grandpa giving her a “whisker rub” that she describes in her story. The photo was taken July 13, 1963 on Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th wedding anniversary.
All of us grandkids remember Grandpa as he is described here – his unique use of language, his sense of humour and his affection for us. Fortunately, we also have Lynda and her ability to capture our memories in words. Thanks, Lynda, for allowing me to reprint this here. click to read the story…
I have always loved Dylan Thomas’ exhortation to his dying father: Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Yes, I thought, “old age should burn and rage at close of day.” But Dylan Thomas knew something I didn’t, I think, even when he wrote those words. He was still a young man, but he knew something that becomes apparent with age: sometimes it’s time to hang up your hat and say goodbye… Four weeks ago my mother, my remaining parent, died. I know in my sensible brain that it’s good that her death was quick and peaceful. more…
It took a year but I have my grandfather’s poetry book in pdf format. If you would like to print it out, clickhere and download the file links on the page.
I don’t know when he began writing poetry but the 1st edition of his booklet was printed January 1946. The 2nd was printed in June 1958 and the 3rd, nine years after his death, in 1974. It is the 3rd one that I have scanned. There are some different poems in the first two and I will add those later.
He used poetry in two ways: one as a way to witness for his faith and the other to comment on life around him. The subtitle is “Poems concerning the things of today and poems confirming the Heavenward way” and that pretty much sums them up. more…
These are the gravestones of Nancy Mabee Ostrander and her family at Jackson Cemetery near Courtland. Len Fluhrer, a London local history writer, sent me the photos. He took them while at the cemetery with Kate Ford who is part of the Canada GenWeb Cemetery Project.
Jackson Cemetery is just outside Courtland. Nearby, on the Otter River, is the site of the Middleton Hotel. It was owned by James Clark(e) Ostrander with his first wife Nancy Mabee and then his second wife Louisa Maria Haney. more…
Years ago, I was in a public library in Los Angeles and found reference books on family names. I looked up mine, Anger. It said the name came from France, from the region of Anjou, with its main city being Angers. I was thrilled with the idea of being French.
When I came home, I told my father. He said “French! No! We’re German.” He had always said when asked that he didn’t know the family origins – “a little bit of everything” was his answer. So I remained convinced that we were French.
Much later, when I started delving into family history and found other family members doing the same, I discovered that Dad and I were both right. more…
Charles H. Burwell poems (Aug. 12th, 2011)
After having a few people ask about my grandfather Burwell’s poem books, I have started scanning them and hope to reproduce them as closely as I can to the original format. I will then put them here probably as pdfs so that they can be easily downloaded and printed if you wish to. I believe he would like that. He had them printed and never charged anyone for them. It will take me a while, and I will update the site when they are ready.
A couple weeks ago, I posted the family tree of the Mabees, my paternal grandmother’s family. It’s the family I knew least about, other than there are a lot of them in the Tillsonburg-Courtland area. And I claim the fabulous figure skater Christopher Mabee, from Tillsonburg, as kin. Don’t know how he’s related, but I believe he must be, so I call him “Cousin Chris”. Anyway, the internet allowed me to connect my limited knowledge of the Mabees with sources of a lot of information about them. The thing that I was delighted to discover is that the Mabees came to Canada from the US as United Empire Loyalists. more…
My cousin Lynda Sykes wrote this about her visit to Mabee’s Corners, after reading about my ‘sighting’ of the road sign for it. She graciously gave me permission to post it (also in Seeing the World).
Ever since I can remember anything, I remember Grandma telling me many times with great pride how her family came to found Mabee’s Corners, which I vaguely knew was somewhere down around near Tillsonburg. more…
I think of my father every Remembrance Day. He was a WWII veteran. He went overseas in December of 1942 and returned home in October 1945. He was a mechanic in the RCEME, a Lance Corporal. He was not a willing soldier, he didn’t leap up to volunteer as soon as Britain, and Canada, declared war on Germany in 1939. He was old enough, 22 in that year. But soldiering had not been a part of his family for many years. They were farmers and they, and the government, thought they could do the best for their country by feeding it.
The Second World War became one of conscription, and in 1942 Dad was drafted. more…
The family trees posted here are far from complete. I haven’t worked on them for long. But, looking around the internet, I haven’t found many sites specifically dedicated to these family branches. I know each one has members who have been researching its history for many years. Thanks to them, I have what information I have here. I hope I can return the favour by presenting the information here in a consolidated form. (click for links to sites related to Newfoundland Mi’kmaq genealogy)
I have done kinship research for many years in my employment. I developed extensive family trees first with index cards and sheets of paper and later with computer databases. But it was always other people’s families on which I worked.
People I asked about their family histories would ask, “What about your people? Where do you come from?” I realized I knew nothing about my own family. My grandparents’ names, a few names of great grandparents, a few places where they had lived – that was it. This was despite having a grandmother who kept orderly records and random notes of family names, birthdates, places of birth and death.
My mother would give photographs to me with her full name written on the back. When I laughed, saying “Mom, I know who you are”, she’d say “Yes, but will someone who looks at this thirty years from now know?” My mother, grandmother and aunts would have made great archivists. They certainly made the work of archivists and genealogists easier.
My mother-in-law also kept documents about her forebears and her husband’s. When genealogy programmes and online ancestry sites became available, she transcribed data into computerized form and continued her research through the internet. She connected with relatives she had never met and shared material. She wrote of her and her husband’s lives, their parents and grandparents. It’s an entertaining tale, covering many decades and most of the United States.
Despite the interest that questions like “Where do you come from?” created, I didn’t find the time to research my own background. I did ask more questions. But I’d left my efforts too late to gain the more first-hand knowledge my grandparents had. But I have many of Grandma Burwell’s hand-written pages. (Grandma liked lists. In her papers, there’s one entitled “Names of Neighbourhood Dogs”.) I have information, photographs and newspaper clippings my mother and aunts kept. I have two cousins who have traced the Anger family. And I have my mother- and father-in-law’s collection of family papers.
The information here will be added to as I can. I welcome additions and corrections that you can provide. You will see that information on living people is “privatized” so no dates are shown. If you need more information on someone, please let me know. If I can help, I will.
The families are (I’ve put links to other genealogy sites on each of them):
Anger family (South West Ontario & North East USA)
Burwell family (South West Ontario & North East USA)
Lymburner family (South West Ontario and North East USA)
Mabee family (South West Ontario and North East USA
McConkey family (South West Ontario – partial)
Stewart family (Kentucky)
Smock & McDonald families (Kentucky and Southern USA)
I use Family Tree Maker 2012. Its emphasis is on connecting with the online ‘community’ of family trees on Ancestry, making albums, and adding photographs and documents. Family Tree Maker 2012 Essentials adds an interactive function so that you can work on one computer or device and have the changes also made on your other ones. You can also collaborate with others in building a mutual family tree. If you subscribe to Ancestry, you can use the ‘leaves’ that pop up for your own database, even if you don’t post your tree on Ancestry’s website. The leaves show you what other members have posted on particular people. It’s helpful, but you still want to be cautious. Sometimes errors just get passed from one tree to another.