As much as I tried over the years, I have never reached the point in my family history research where I am so well organized that each research item is numbered and filed for easy immediate retrieval. Instead I tend to collect and store by family member. One of my files may contain information about a family member, his or her children, and their spouses if I have not processed it for recording purposes. Perhaps this is not an efficient way to maintain my information but I find that it does provide rewards for me.
When I decide to process and record an individual’s family I open up the file and lay it all out on my living room table. I do some sorting and comparing. The bonus to this process is the chance to compare information found early in my search to information found later on. Often information that I passed over earlier because I did not see its value at the time, “leaps out” at me as valuable in the context of my later research material.
Recently I began to build the family of Edward Campbell a resident of Bosanquet Township, Lambton County, Ontario who is a “maybe ancestor”. He leased land side by side with my great grandfather in Bosanquet Township in 1850 on the exact same day. That coincidence among others suggests the possibility of familial connection. One of Edward’s sons, Robert, went west to Manitoba to homestead. He settled in the vicinity of Minnedosa, Manitoba. In trying to “kill him off” I searched the digitized issues of the Minnedosa Tribune on the Manitobia website. I was fortunate in finding not only an obituary for him1 but also an article about a 50th wedding anniversary celebration for he and his wife apparently organized by their children.2 This latter article named all of his children and listed the names of all of the grandchildren and great grandchildren who attended the event. I found the anniversary presents interesting; their children gave them a purse of gold and the grandchildren/great grandchildren gave them a matched set of chairs.
I posted on my Facebook account about my finding of the two articles and a fellow Campbell line researcher asked if I would share them with him. In return he sent me a photo of the family along with a name key. I was thrilled to find that it was a photo taken of the participants in the 1913 wedding anniversary celebration. The addition of this photo and its name key made my building of this family much easier especially considering that one of Robert’s daughters had already been married twice by the time of the 1913 celebration. I was able to use the photo name key in conjunction with the birth, marriage and death index on the Manitoba Vital Statistics website , Canadian censuses3 and the various cemetery image sites like Canadian Headstones and Find-a-grave in order to construct the families.
I will be moving back to research in Ontario as some of Edward and Ann’s children remained there. Future posts may reflect this research.
1. Obituary for Robert Campbell, Minnedosa Tribune, Thursday, 7 February 1918, p.3.
2. Golden Wedding, Minnedosa Tribune, 29 March 1913, p. 1.
3. Because the searches in census databases on the Library and Archives website return exact matches on name searches, I often use ancestry.ca to find records with its capability of returning non exact matches.