Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Searching for our great uncle Roger ................ and a thank you to a heap of people

Now I am fully aware that one person’s family history is another’s long yawn, so this is less about our great uncle Roger and more about the international co-operation that has taken his story just a little further forward.

Places he knew ...... St John River, 2008 NB
He was migrated to Canada in 1914 by the Middlemore organization on behalf of the Derby Union of Guardians and later persuaded his sister to follow him across in 1925, leaving my grandfather and great uncle Jack here in Britain.

He ran away from his last placement in NS and joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force changing his name and lying about his age.

He survived the Great War and returned to Canada in 1919 giving his forwarding address as the B & B Department, Canadian Pacific Railway, Revelstoke, British Columbia.

.............. the Patteson Farm 2008  NB
And that is where we lose him.

The family history was that he had settled in British Columbia but it is a big place and the leads just went cold.

But it was our Marisa who uncovered the Revelstoke address and the search resumed.

The Wikipedia entry for Revelstoke threw up the  Museum and Archives*

And given that he worked for the Canadian Pacific I asked for their help along with Exporail, The Canadian Railway Museum.

Both were very helpful sand in the case of Ms English, the Curator of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives did a search of  “our tax records, municipal phone books and other records without success” and suggested some links.

.............. Revelstoke railway station, 1915 BC
Nor was that all, because she also provided the answer to my confusion with the B & B Department which “stood for Bridge and Building department, and they were responsible for general construction and maintenance of snowsheds, buildings and bridges.”

And by one of those nice twists Marlene from Melbourne in Australia offered up the same information on the B & B Department which is a powerful confirmation of the value of social media.

I had first got to know Marlene over some stories I had written on a 16th century Elizabethan Hall just round the corner from us and which featured a 1915 wedding photograph  taken of Marlene’s grandmother who had been born in the Hall and went on to live in Canada.**

......... Revelstoke, 2003, BC
Now that is how I like my history and it just got better when Barb Torres from one the British Home Child sites sent me some more links.

All of which brings me back to our own family and the bits of the story which are parked away in the collective history.

Marisa had spotted that address in Revelstoke and Heather remembered her grandmother talking about great uncle Roger.

It is all a bit like looking through a dirty window .............. you can see some of the detail but much is just a blur.

That said we are getting there so it really is hands across the oceans.

Location; pretty much all over Canada

Pictures; St John River, NB, from the collection of Tammy Wood, and Railway station in Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada - 1915 from  Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Milton McFarland in the Public Domain and MacKenzie Avenue, Revelstoke,2003, Author waferboard, this file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

*Revelstoke Museum & Archives,

**The Lomax Family of Hough End Hall,

No comments:

Post a Comment