Mystery Ancestors 2016

2016 M.A.N. (top to bottom, l-r):
Tony Crosgrey-winner for correctly identifying the most authors.
Presenters: Tom Holden,
Peter Sterling, Anne Tryon, Carol Evans,
Tony Crosgrey, Richard Randall, Beverly Smith

“Mystery Ancestor Night”

Our annual presentation and quiz event! At our February meeting this year seven members offered stories, photographs, keepsakes, awards and publications stemming from their chosen ancestor’s life.

As is the custom, the presentations were arranged on display in the screened-off part of the room. After a few minutes we all made our way in to view them and attempt to find associations between the ancestors on display and possible matches with members.

Again this year, Cecilia Nasmith covered the event for Northumberland Today over three insertions on May 4, 9 and 10, which included large colour photographs of the participants along with full recounting of the stories. Summaries of the presentations were previously included in the Minutes of the February 11th meeting (along with the answers to the ‘mysteries’), so here is just a short review.

Tony Crosgrey was fortunate to inherit a book published in 1963 chronicling the family history of his great grandmother, Hilda May Jex (1890-1988). The “Jex Genealogy Family History” is an encyclopedic record tracing the descendants of Richard Jex (1765-) and Sarah Harris (1790-) from Norfolk, England, with a good number of their descendants ending up in Cobourg. More recently he also received a package containing the Jex Family Photo Collection, however, many of the photos are unidentified. (click/tap heading for full story)

This talented painter from London, England is an ancestor of Peter Sterling’s wife. Gush’s first painting was included in the Royal Academy Exhibition of 1833. Many portrait commissions followed and he soon became the chief portrait painter for the Wesleyan Connection, with some 270 of his portraits of leading preachers reproduced as engravings in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine. By the end of his career he had exhibited 53 pictures at the Royal Academy with many in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. Gush came to Canada for a short time during which he painted portraits of many prominent men in the Halifax area. (click/tap heading for full story)

The stories recounted by Carol Evans were of the tragic, accidental deaths of two young boys- John Franklin Adolph Cox, age 11 and Augustin H. Cox, age 12. The first boy met his death when he fell off a roof while attempting to retrieve his toy airplane and the second died of a gunshot wound received while he and his friends were handling a rifle in a basement shooting range. The boys’ were Carol’s 2nd cousins, twice removed. (click/tap heading for full story)

This delightful children’s book with the above title had been a gift to Anne Tryon’s Aunt Jenny. Published by Valentine & Sons 1907 Ltd, this Scottish publisher went on to produce Christmas cards and post cards, later expanding into Canada. Displayed, too, was a selection of post cards produced by a company of the same name showing scenes of Cobourg. (click/tap heading for full story)

Tom Holden told the story of James Franklin Holden, who went from a young man working for his father’s railroad in Whitby to become the Vice President of the Kansas City Southern Railway. In 1933, after his retirement, he wrote an article for the Oklahoma Historical Society in which he told of the expansion of rail lines through the ‘Beautiful Indian Territories’- the self-governing region granted to “The Five Civilized Tribes” by the U.S. government in exchange for their lands in the south. Ultimately, this contributed to the disintegration of the Indian Nations, since, as the rail lines advanced west, it brought more and more white people wanting to explore and reside in the newly opened-up western regions. (click/tap heading for full story)

This was the story I presented involving my grand uncle, Arthur Henry Smith and the tragic death of Marion Gregory. In 1911 Marion arrived in Toronto from England with her two orphaned granddaughters, age 11 and 8, to live with her other daughter and husband, Arthur Henry Smith. Six days after arriving, Marion headed downtown with the two girls, but was fatally struck by a Metropolitan Train. Lillian, the eldest granddaughter, would eventually care for her aunt who died of cancer the next year, and then marry Arthur at the age of 17. Lilly and Arthur were married for 20 years and had 7 children. (click/tap heading for full story)

This ancestor is Richard Randall’s grand uncle who worked for Crossen Car Manufacturing Co. in Cobourg, which built cars, both freight and passenger, for almost every railway in Canada. Richard displayed photographs of Thomas and his family, and many items associated with his work such as his identification card, a letter of recommendation and a personal citation. (click/tap heading for full story)

... Synopses by Beverly Smith from LINKS #77 newsletter.