Wednesday, 28 March 2012


William Faulkner was born about 1815 in Ireland, possibly in Dublin.  He married his wife, Annie Jane Crosby in Ireland before 1844.  William was a tailor and they settled in Simcoe County in Ontario.

According to the book Governor Simcoe Slept Here , published by the Bradford West Gwillimbury Local Historical Association, William was the first tailor in the village of Newton Robinson.   Newton Robinson was a village in the township of Tecumseh, County Simcoe about 20 miles south of Barrie and 50 miles north of Toronto.  I believe the village is now part of Bradford.  In 1852,  he occupied a  building as a tailor shop and a dwelling  in the village.  He sold his tailor business in 1868 to John Merrick.

Before emigrating to Canada, William and Annie Jane or Hannah as she is sometimes recorded, had at least 2 children:

  •  John Crosby Faulkner born about 1844 in Dublin, Ireland
  • George Lewis Faulkner born about 1845 in Ireland
After they arrived in Ontario, they had at least 5 more children:

  • Ford Faulkner born 1847-1849  in Ontario, possibly Toronto
  • William Joseph Faulkner born in 1850 in Tecumseh, Simcoe, Ontario
  • Mary Jane Faulkner born about 1852 in Simcoe, Ontario
  • Henrietta Faulkner born about 1853 in Simcoe, Ontario
  • Annie Margaret Faulkner born about 1855 in Simcoe, Ontario

The forenames of Crosby, Ford and Lewis are used quite a bit in this Faulkner family.  I know that Annie Jane's maiden name was Crosby and so that is often used as a second name.  I've been wondering if Ford was also a family name.  There was a Jane Crosby born in Dublin, Ireland around 1829.  She came to Ontario and married a John Southeran/Southern/Sotheran.  According to some research on the Southeran family, Jane Crosby lived in Simcoe County and then moved to Huron County with her husband John.  On her death certificate her father is listed as Ford Crosby.  This branch of the Southeran family also uses Crosby and Ford as surnames.  I have no proof, but I think this Jane Crosby is somehow related to Annie Jane/Hannah Crosby.

Annie Jane died in 1876 and after that William Faulkner lived with his children.  On the 1881 Canada Census he was living with his daughter in Howick, Huron County.  By 1891, he was living in Muskoka, Parry Sound, living next door to his son William.  I don't know when he died.  I have not found him on the 1901 census.  So I have been assuming that he died between 1891 and 1901.

However, another researcher who is a descendant of William Faulkner, has his  eye glasses and glass case.  I'm wondering if William went to live with his daughter Annie Margaret in North Dakota.  Is a pair of glasses something you would leave in a will?  Or possibly it is just a family memento to remember a father?

Saturday, 17 March 2012


 Happy St. Patrick's Day to all my friends and family. We're all Irish today.  We can forget that Patrick was really a Roman, born in Scotland.  Details often ruin a good story, don't they?

Thursday, 15 March 2012


My great great grandfather Patrick Meehan was born in Ireland about 1806.  He died Belleville Ontario, Canada  in 1886, and his place of birth was listed as Donegal, Ireland. 

The first confirmed date for Patrick Meehan and his wife Elizabeth “Bessie” Magee is for the baptismal of their daughter Ellen.  Ellen Meehan was baptised at St. Mary’s Church in Kingston, Ontario on 8 June 1845.  Then a son George, my great grandfather was baptized on 19 May 1850, also in Kingston.

Patrick’s wife Bessie is also listed as Irish.  I don’t know whether she was from Donegal as well or where the couple married.

By 1861 the family had moved to Belleville Ontario.  According to this census there was also another son named James who was born in Upper Canada about 1843.  To date, I haven’t found his baptism record in Kingston Ontario.  The 1861 census is the one and only recording of James on the Census records.

 According to a letter from a family member James Meehan went to the USA and joined the US army around 1863 for the Civil War.  He was wounded in the line of duty and lived in Green Bay Wisconsin.  Her letter goes on to indicate that James Meehan had 9 children and they all had red hair.

 On the 1900 US census for Wisconsin there is a James Meehan, born November 1846 in Canada.  His family is listed as Mary J., wife born in Illinois and children George T. , Willie, Nellie all born in Ohio.  James, John, Bessie, Frank and Charley are born in Wisconsin.  This  James Meehan's father was Patrick Meehan from Ireland.  This family lived in Marinette, and Florence Wisconsin and they had 9 children.  James Meehan of  Florence, Wisconsin, died in 1921 in Wisconsin. 

Ellen Meehan married Thomas Bolger in 1872 in Belleville Ontario and then she and her husband moved to Carleton Place, Lanark, Ontario.  Ellen and Thomas were “in service” and worked at hotels  as a servant and a porter.  Ellen died in 1901 at Carleton Place.

George Meehan married Emma Howson in 1874 in Belleville, Ontario.  Emma was the daughter of George Howson, born in England and Bridget O’Neill born in Ireland.  George and Emma had 7 children all born in Belleville, Ontario.  The family moved to Toronto, Ontario about 1900.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Why am I a budding genealogist?

When my mother died in 1999, I inherited a small red suitcase filled with old black and white photos, along with her family photo album.  I knew who most of the people were by rote.  They were my grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles and cousins etc.  There was even a picture of “Sparky” the terrier dog.  He didn’t really belong to my mom, but to a lodger.  Sparky didn’t know, my mom was not his owner and he adopted her.  As a child, sometimes I would drag out the photo album and my mom would tell me the stories behind the photos.    Of course, there were far more pictures that were a mystery to me.  I started to wonder how these people were related to me and wished I had asked more questions at the time.
In 2004, we were travelling in England to visit my husband’s family.  Over a family lunch in a restaurant, his cousin told me she was researching her family.  She started asking me questions about when I was born, who my parents were and so on.  She said she would add me to her database and suggested I join Genes Reunited so she could share her information with me.

In the next month or so, I had lunch with my cousin, on my dad’s side of the family. We hadn’t seen each other for a while so we chatted endlessly.  Out of the blue, she asked me if I knew our grandmother’s maiden name.  Somewhere from my memory bank came the name Faulkner, but I couldn’t remember her first name.   Elizabeth was my guess, but my cousin said her first name was Isabel.   We discovered between the two of us we knew very little about our family.  We knew our grandfather was George Meehan and now, we both knew our grandmother was Isabel Faulkner.  I think George and Isabel separated before I was born and I don’t remember ever meeting my grandfather Meehan.

When I got home from our lunch, I suddenly remembered a family bible that my mother had insisted I take years before her death.  It was in her basement and it was very musty.  At the time, I didn’t really want the Bible; it’s very large and quite frankly it smelled.  I aired it out and stuck in on my book shelf and promptly forgot about it.  This was a Bible from the Meehan side of the family. 
When I opened up the Bible, I was confused.  The names in the Bible were Sarah Ann Newton and Ford Faulkner.  Who are these people?  I was looking for Meehan and Faulkner.  Then it donned on me, this Bible was dated 1884.  Could this be Isabel Faulkner’s parents?  With beginner’s luck I had just gone back a generation.  Further investigation showed me the Bible had been presented to Sarah Ann Newton and Ford Faulkner by her father R. Newton.  Now I also knew Sarah Ann’s father was R. Newton.
In the next few weeks I happened to go to the North York Central Library (NYCL) in Toronto.    The NYCL has a floor dedicated to Genealogy specializing in Ontario Genealogy.  I wandered up to the 6th floor just to see what was there.  A very friendly librarian asked if I needed some help.  I explained that I was interested in researching my grandparents George Meehan and Isabel Faulkner.  He introduced me to the Ancestry Library Genealogy Program and suggested I try the Census as a starting point.

I entered  my information and was rewarded immediately with some information that I could verify through my own limited knowledge and some new information as well.  Beginner’s luck once again, I now know.

From that point on, I was hooked.  I joined and became a regular visitor to the NYCL.  I have met many wonderful people on the internet who are also searching their families.  More importantly, I have also been in touch with some of my cousins who I haven’t seen for years.  We have also shared some of those family photos.  In some cases, we have been able to put the faces and names together.