I love learning family members’ middle names. Sometimes they are unusual or passed down in the family. But sometimes they are the mother’s or grandmother’s maiden names. So if a relative has a middle name that sounds an awful lot like a surname, you may have hit on a female relative’s maiden name.
My grandfather and two of his siblings have the maiden names of their mother and both grandmothers as middle names:
Charles Thompson Wilson, born May 1907 – Thompson was his mother Mary’s maiden name
William Gibson Wilson, born September 1908 – Gibson was his paternal grandmother Mary Ann’s maiden name
Theresa Dunning Wilson, born December 1909 – Dunning was her maternal grandmother Elizabeth’s maiden name
Yikes, I’m really behind on my 52 ancestors. Now to play catch-up.
Robert Gibson, my 3rd Great-Grandfather, was born about 1805 in Ireland. His family was from the Ards Peninsula (shown on map above) in County Down, Northern Ireland. They likely moved to Ireland from Scotland. According to Catharine Anne Wilson, Scotch-Irish families “emigrated from 1820 to 1860 from the United Parish of St. Andrews in Northern Ireland to Amherst Island, Ontario, Canada.” (Wilson, C. A. (1997). The Scotch-Irish and Immigrant Culture on Amherst Island, Ontario. In H. T. Blethen & C. Wood (Eds.), Ulster and North America: Transatlantic Perspectives on the Scotch-Irish (134-145). Tuscaloosa, Ala.: University of Alabama Press.) St. Andrews was six miles north of Portaferry, from which many ships departed.
Robert married Mary McCormick in Ireland in the 1830s. They had at least five children between 1837 and 1850, including my great-great grandmother Mary Ann. According to her 1911 Canada Census entry, Mary Ann arrived on Amherst Island in 1857, which is when, I assume, the rest of the family came. This also fits the emigration time frame put forth by Wilson. She was married with a daughter by 1859 on the island. In the 1861 and 1871 censuses, Robert and Mary were living on Amherst Island. He was listed as Presbyterian and she was listed as Roman Catholic. In April 1881, they were living with their son Hugh (1848-1881) and his wife Elizabeth and their two children, William and Mary Ellen. Hugh died in June 1881 and a son, also named Hugh, was born in February 1882.
Robert died on May 5, 1882 of dyspepsia. He might be buried in St. Bartholomew’s Cemetery on Amherst Island. His wife Mary died on January 13, 1886 of dropsy of the heart.
John Alfred Wilson was born March 25, 1905 in Pittsburg Township, Ontario in Frontenac County. He was the fourth child and third son of John and Mary (Thompson) Wilson. In 1911, Jack was aged 6 and living with his parents John (37) and Mary (38), his brothers Hugh (9), Cecil (8), Charles (4 – my grandpa), William (3), his sisters Marjorie (5), Theresa (1), and his grandmother Mary (Gibson) Wilson (74). He is listed as Swedish because his grandfather, John Wilson, came to Canada from Sweden.
In 1921, Jack was 16 and living with his parents John (47) and Mary (49), his brothers Cecil (18), Charles (14), William (12), his sisters Marjorie (15), Theresa (11), and his grandmother Mary Wilson (84).
At age 24, in April 1929, Jack passed through Detroit on his way to Dearborn to join his brother Hugh who was living on Park Street. In the 1930 census, Hugh was rooming on Park Street and was a salesman at a creamery. My grandfather Charles had arrived in 1928 and in 1930 was living on Columbia Street in Dearborn and was a truck driver at a creamery. Jack, in the 1930 census, was employed as a crane operator at a foundry. He was living with Fred and Mary Curtis on W. Lafayette in Detroit.
On September 2, 1930, Jack married Bessie Winnifred Eastwood (her mother’s maiden name was Curtis). In the 1940 census taken on April 11th, Jack and Winnie were living on Military Street in Detroit and he was a crane operator at a brass factory. According to this census, Jack had completed 8th grade while Winnie had completed 2 years of high school. In 1935, they had been living in the same place.
On April 29, 1940, Jack’s mother died at the farm in Pittsburg Township. On May 16, 1940, Winnie gave birth to a son in Detroit. The family moved back to Canada soon after to run the farm. On September 23, 1945, they had a daughter. According to William J. Patterson’s Lilacs and Limestone: An Illustrated History of Pittsburgh Township, 1787-1987, Jack won Farmer of the Year in 1963 from the Frontenac Soil and Crop Improvement Association. Jack died June 11, 1987 and Winnie died in February 2001.
John Andrew Wilson, the son of John Wilson and Mary Ann Gibson, married Mary Thompson on November 1, 1898. They lived on Howe Island where their first two children, Annie Maud and Hugh, were born. They then moved to the mainland – to Pittsburg Township, Ontario – in 1903. Annie Maud died in July 1904. John and Mary had eight more children. John died in 1930 and Mary died in 1940. Their son John (Jack) ran the farm after 1940.
More about the Wilson homestead at Pittsburg in the next post.
Mary Ann Gibson of Portaferry, County Down, Ireland was born to Robert Gibson (birthplace: Scotland) and Mary McCormick (birthplace: Ireland) on April 11, 1837. In A New Lease on Life: Landlords, Tenants, and Immigrants in Ireland and Canada by Catharine Ann Wilson, my relatives – my relatives! – are mentioned on page 231. Mary Gibson married John Wilson sometime in the 1850s on Amherst Island, presumably. They had 4 daughters and 3 sons. One son, a twin named Robert, died in December 1871 at the age of 4 months and 10 days (see picture at right; the stone was broken off at the base when we found it. I swear!). He is buried in Pentland Cemetery on Amherst Island. Mary Ann died September 7, 1923 and is buried on Amherst Island in Glenwood Cemetery.
Next time: John Andrew Wilson, my great-grandfather.
Now that I think I’ve figured out how to add pictures on here, I’m going to try to make some posts pertaining to the Wells’, Wilson’s, Belknap’s, Oakes’, Moore’s, and anyone else I can “dig up.” Speaking of digging up, here is the tombstone for our lone Swedish ancestor: John Alford Wilson. Born April 9, 1833. Died January 6, 1889. He emigrated to Canada, maybe in the early 1850s and lived on Amherst Island and Howe Island, Ontario. I visited there in 2004 and took this picture. On the base of the stone, it says “Meet Me in Heaven.” This grave is located in Glenwood cemetery on Amherst Island. It is next to my Uncle Hugh and Aunt Grace. Uncle Hugh died in February 1979 and they had to wait until the Spring thaw to bury him because the lake was frozen over.