Monday, April 25, 2011

Too Late Now

One of the great frustrations with trying to re-construct your family history is the lack of information about various individuals that arises out the assumption that there is no need to write things down because someone will remember. Well, what happens when no one remembers, or when there is no one around to remember?
This is a picture of my father Bill Campbell taken around 1930. Beside him is his sister Jess, and in front of them are Jack and Mary, their two younger half-siblings (same mother, different father).
I do not know when Jess was born and I have no idea whether she is still alive. I know that both Jack and Mary have died, but I do not know exactly when, and I can only guess at when they were born, based on the age they appear to be in this photograph.
Beyond staying in touch with his mother, my father had very little to do with his family and so my exposure to his siblings was minimal. Jack married, but had no children. Mary remained a spinster. Jess married and had one son, but I only remember seeing him on a few occasions when I was still in public school. Of course, it never occurred to me when I was in my teens to ask the sort of questions that would prove helpful in later genealogical research. Too late now.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Paternal Grandparents

My paternal grandfather, Robert Campbell, was born in Toberhead, a farming community near the town of Magherafelt, Londonderry County, Northern Ireland, on January 29, 1864. He arrived in Canada on May 22, 1881 with his parents and siblings, aboard the SS Moravian. He married Sarah McTavish on December 23, 1891, and they had two sons, Robert (born February 19, 1893) and Peter (born April 16, 1898). Sarah had been born and raised near Arthur, Ontario, northwest of Toronto, and both sons were born in Claremont, Ontario, northeast of Toronto, where my grandfather was working as a carpenter and farmhand. Sarah died sometime before 1909, by which time Robert and his sons were living in the Parkdale area of Toronto.
My paternal grandmother, Mary Jane 'Minnie' Bailie, was born in Ballynahinch, County Down, Northern Ireland, in May 1885. She arrived in Canada on April 25, 1909, aboard the SS Lake Erie, and was employed as my grandfather's housekeeper. They would marry on July 25, 1912. Robert and Minnie had two children, my father William (born August 17, 1913) and Jess (born c. 1915). Robert would be killed in a railway accident at the Parkdale Station on January 31, 1917.
Minnie would go on to marry Thomas Hamilton Cannon on February 28, 1922, and they would have two children, Mary and Jack.