On the Needles

powered by ravelry.com

Thursday, 5 January 2017

On This Day In History...

Since I started researching my family history I've struggled with how to share it with family.
I always figured that one day I would make a book; when my tree is complete. As I've gotten older and my experience with genealogical research has grown I realized that my family tree will never be complete. Even if I limit the number of generations to 10 I would still have more things to learn about each person.
Some day I might still make the book. With slightly lower expectations for its' content. Until then I thought I would share something here on my blog. My post about my great-grandfather was my first attempt and I had hoped the first of many in 2016 but that didn't work out.
For 2017 I have decided to try again. Using my family tree program I have printed out a calendar of births and marriages for my direct ancestors going back to my 4th great-grandparents. I have decided not to do posts on my parents and grandparents for privacy reasons.
I will also be excluding any events that I don't have a reliable source. These are dates that I got from forum posts or another researchers online tree that didn't contain proper citations. I'm going to blame their existence in my tree on my younger, less experienced, but equally excited and eager self. I don't have any reason to think that they are incorrect other then the general concept that we are human and we make mistakes. And if they do turn out to be wrong, I don't want to be one of the people that have perpetuated the error.
I have made up basic pedigree charts for each of my grandparents (with their first names hidden). These charts contain only names with no other information. They are a way for those interested to understand where in my tree these people fit. You can find the pedigree charts here.
I will tag each post with the corresponding surname and include a link to that pedigree.
Some post will have more information. And what is included  might not be everything I have on those individuals.
If you come across one of these posts and think you might be connected to someone mentioned please feel free to email me at jodi.familytree@gmail.com.

Friday, 8 April 2016

On This Day In History… April 8, 1889

Douglas Stewart Robertson, who just so happens to be my great-grandfather, was born on this day in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1889. Douglas was probably the driving force behind my desire to research my family tree. He is also my biggest brick wall. He was an orphan who came to Canada in 1900 as a Barnardo Boy as part of the child emigration movement.[1]

Photo of Douglas S. Robertson taken upon admission to the Barnardo's Home.
If I could accomplish one thing with my genealogy research it would be to discover where he came from and who his parents were. Most of what I do know about him is from family stories shared by his 3 children and his life after he came to Canada. And even that’s a bit thin.

The following information is from what my grandfather told me.

Douglas Stewart was born on April 8th, 1889 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His mother was possibly of Welsh origin and was named either Helen, Ellen, or something similar. His father was a military officer and was killed during the Second Boer War (1899-1902). Name and rank unknown. Family story goes that upon hearing of her husband’s death Mrs. Robertson fell ill, dying a short time later.

On June 12, 1900 Douglas arrived at Barnardo's Leopold House in East London from Penzance Union, Cornwall, England. He left England on July 19th, 1900 on the SS Tunisian from Liverpool. Arriving in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada on July 29th, 1900. How he got from Edinburgh to Penzance is unknown. Although there is a possibility that at some point his father was transferred to Cornwall. My brother tells me that he remembers some mention of the Fish Wars that Douglas’s father may have fought in.  The Fish Wars are probably the Newlyn Riots that took place in over a few days in May 1896.

I’ve tried many avenues of research to try and find something about Douglas or his parents pre-Barnardo’s but have had very little luck.

I’ve checked birth records, no luck. Death records for Douglas’s mother, again no luck. The 1891 Scotland Census, nothing. But I keep looking. Knowing someday I will find something that I can say definitively that yes this is my family.

Last year I took advantage of a free offer with Find My Past. A UK based genealogy website. Its collection contains the standard fare of birth, marriage, and death records, census, burials, etc. But it also has a newspaper archive. A searchable newspaper archive. The software used to transcribe is very literal and if part of a letter or word had faded (common when you are dealing with 100+ year old documents) it only puts in the lines that it can ‘see’. This means that the search isn’t foolproof. If you do a search you won’t necessarily get a hit for every instance the search term appears. I’m sure there are articles that I haven’t seen yet because of it but I was able to see enough that I can now partially answer the question; how long was Douglas in Cornwall?

The first thing I found was in the Cornishman, Thursday, October 14, 1897.

LONDON WEATHER COMPARED WITH THAT OF PENZANCE – A letter, dated Oct. 7, 1897, and bearing the address “Palace-mansions, Buckingham–gate, London, S.W.) to Master Douglas Stewart Robertson, pupil at the Penzance collegiate school, says:-“We had a dense fog again this morning and I breakfasted at eleven with the electric light – could not have seen otherwise”. In Penzance the weather was crisp and exhilarating and the sun a picture of splendour.
So I know he was there as early as October 1897. I found an advertisement for the Penzance Collegiate School placed in the same newspaper on the same day.
I’ve tried to see if I could figure out who it was that sent Douglas the letter. Without knowing if it was one of his parents, other family member, or a friend, it is difficult to determine.
Further searching came up with 3 more mentions of Douglas in that same newspaper, 3 years later. These were articles reporting on the local Board of Guardians meetings. 

Cornishman: Thursday, May 3rd, 1900

APPLICATION FOR LAD. – Mr. Henry Nicholle, of Newmill, sent a letter to Thursday’s meeting of the Penzance guardians asking to take the lad, Douglas Robertson, out of the workhouse. Mrs. Bolitho said she was corresponding with Dr. Barnardo’s home in the hope of getting the lad sent there. (Hear, hear). It was decided to inform Mr. Nicholle to this affect.
From what I can find it was common for businessmen or farmers to apply to the Board of Guardians to take a lad on as an apprentice or worker.
Out of curiosity I search for this Mr. Nicholle and found him listed as  John Henry Nicholle is 1891 Census of England and Wales in Lanwyn, Truro, Cornwall, England. He is 39 years old, born Chacewater, Cornwall. His occupation is listed as Boot Manufacturer. He is living with his wife Susan Jane (age 37 years, born Scorrier, Cornwall), and daughter, Annie (age 9 years, born in Chacewater, Cornwall).
The next instance was about a month-and-a-half later.

Cornishman: Thursday June 14, 1900

Before the commencement of the ordinary business of the board the CLERK wished to call attention toe case of the lad Douglas Robertson, an orphan now in the workhouse, and who it is proposed to send to Canada. The cost of the lad’s emigration had turned out to be considerably more than was first anticipated. The Rev. J. T. Inskip was prepared to tell the board that the extra charges would come from private individuals and not out the pockets of the ratepayers. After being in communication with Dr. Barnardo he (the clerk) had ascertained that the sum of £9, which was first mentioned as the necessary expenses was made up of £3 for the lad’s outfit, £5 for his passage money, and £1 for other expenses. Dr. Barnardo also required 5s. a week until the lad is sent away, making in all £11. He would also require 7s. for two years for the visitation of the board in Canada, and the Local Government Board would also require £4 10s. for the lad’s visitation until he is 15 years of age. Then they (the board) had allowed £1 for the lad’s railway fare from Penzance to the home in London. That made a total of £18 14s. 6d. of which amount the board had undertaken to pay £11, leaving £7 14s. 6d. to be found.
The Rev. J. T. INSKIP said when he heard of the extra charges he did not think it would be fair to ask the board for more than the sum he had previously mentioned, because he was under the impression the charges would be inclusive. He had been to one or two friends and had secured a guarantee for the extra amount. He hoped the board would not place any obstacle in the lad’s way, seeing they would not be any more out of pocket. (Hear, hear.)
It was decided to accept Mr. Inskip’s offer, and the lad will be sent to Dr. Barnardo’s home as soon as the necessary arrangement have been completed.
And then 2 weeks later.

Cornishman: Thursday, June 28, 1900

With reference to the emigration of the orphan lad Douglas Robertson to Canada, the clerk present a formal resolution which was carried on the motion of the Rev. J. T. INSKIP,who remarked that he should like to publicly express his thanks to Mr. J.D. Mackenzie, one of the Newlyn artists, for having seen the lad safely to London and thence to Dr. Barnardo’s homes.
clip_image002[11]And several years later…

Cornishman: Thursday, June 18, 1908

A letter was received from the Rev. J. T. Inskip, formerly vicar of St. Paul’s, Penzance, enclosing a photograph of Douglas Robertson, a boy sent to Canada by the Board. The vicar said, “The boy thoroughly well justifies the money the guardians laid out” –It was decided that the clerk should write Robertson acquainting him of the Board’s pleasure at his success in life.

I’ve looked into getting the Board of Guardian records but they are not digitized yet and the only way for me to view them would be in person. Which means a trip to London, a little out of my budget, at least for now. I’m hoping they will contain the date Douglas entered the Workhouse and some mention of his parents. Hopefully their names, but even a mention of his father’s occupation or where they died, could be helpful.

[1] Between 1869 and the late 1930s, over 100,000 juvenile migrants were sent to Canada from the British Isles during the child emigration movement. Motivated by social and economic forces, churches and philanthropic organizations sent orphaned, abandoned and pauper children to Canada. Many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada, where families welcomed them as a source of cheap farm labour and domestic help. Source: Library and Archives Canada, Immigration, Home Children.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Everyone needs a Big Hug…


& Kiss!


I love hugs, and am constantly asking for hugs from my family. I’m less so with my friends and acquaintances but if any of them were to offer a hug I wouldn’t turn it down. 

Children’s entertainer Charlotte Diamond, has a song called, 4 Hugs a Day. I remember hearing it as a kid and loved it. When I was 18, I received a community cookbook from my ‘Connections Canada’ 4-H twin and her family. Like most community cookbooks it has inspirational quotes placed throughout the pages. While flipping through it I discovered this one:


We need 4 hugs a day for survival

We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance

We need 12 hugs a day for growth.


I’ve quoted it to my family on more then one occasion. And joke with them that the reason I’m short is because I didn’t get enough hugs while growing up.

Knowing this about me it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn I fell in love with, A Big Hug & Kiss by Jeanne C Abel, as soon as I saw it. Unfortunately, it was in an ad in a knitting magazine for a retailer in the States. They did have an online store but shipping was going to cost more then the pattern so I put it off. I joined Jeanne’s group on Ravelry and asked if there was any place in Canada I could buy it but no luck. It was probably about a year before Jeanne created a Patternfish account and offered it for sale there. Even more time passed before I had  a way of buying it.

Then came the hunt for the right yarn. It’s made with a bulky weight 100% cotton yarn. That’s not a yarn that is readable available at any of the LYS. I searched online for something that would work but money was a factor and although spending the $50 to $60 on the yarn was justifiably. Spending another 20 on shipping wasn’t. So again I waited.

In March 2010,  the local fibre festival, FibresWest, was held. I wandered into one vendors booth,  Jane Stafford Textiles, and was so glad I did. I discovered some extremely soft, bulky weight cotton. Labelled simply Island Cotton V. And unlike other fibre festivals I actually had money on me. It took me less than a minute to decide that it would work and that I would buy it.

The combination of this yarn and pattern were wonderful. It resulted in a heavenly soft fabric that engulfs you in a cozy hug. Oh, did I mention that it’s a Moebius.

 P1000370 P1000365 P1000366 P1000368

Just realized that these pictures make me look incredibly short. Their self portraits so I had to kneel to be level with the camera, that was sitting on the table.

Friday, 17 August 2012

A now for some actual knitting content


I apologize. I disappear for 2 years and then my first post back has nothing to do with my hobbies.  But I’m going to make up for it with a rundown of some of the things I’ve knit over the last 2 year.  I’ll split it up into different posts.

First, I didn’t finish my Knitting Olympic project. I did get all the knitting done but I have sewn it together yet. Partly because I hate sewing. Also because I misread the instructions and knit it 4 inches longer then it is suppose to be. I can’t make up my mind if I should leave it or rip it back and try again. I am leaning heavily towards the latter but I’m not sure I’m up for it. I should do it in the next couple of months and try and get it done for this fall/winter.

I didn’t realize my mistake until after I washed and blocked it. The schematics weren’t making any sense because of it. As far as I can figure, when I read the directions for how long to make it I interpreted them as being the length from the ribbing to the end instead of the whole length, including the ribbing. 


The back of the Central Park Hoodie.


The fronts.


And the sleeves.

cphsleeve2 cphsleeve1 

Thankfully the sleeves don’t have to be changed. Although I think I might block them again to get some of the kinks out.

Friday, 29 June 2012

100-year-old Forest in Jeopardy

About a mile from where I live there is a stand of trees that are estimated to be between 80 to 100 years old. The Township of Langley has owned the land since the 1930 and has left it untouched. Until recently. In September of last year the previous council voted to sell the land to pay for a land purchase in Aldergrove to build a recreation centre for that community. In late May of this year, a notice was placed in the Township Page of the three local newspapers. The sale was to take place on the BC Bid website, the sale ending Friday, June 29th. Many local residents were not aware of the Townships intentions to sell. No signage was placed on the property until Wednesday afternoon.

There are 3 properties up for sale, for a total of 21 acres. A fourth property is not for sale but brings the total forested area to roughly 26 acres. For years this land has been used as a nature park by local residents. Many walk or ride horses through it. From what we can tell it has never been logged or at least not in the last 100 years. It is named after a local pioneer family the McLellan's who homesteaded much of the land in the area.

Just  a few blocks down the road there are another 5 properties the Township is looking to sell. These 25 acres are located just north of an old gravel pit, know as Gray's Pit. Although it's been closed for several years, a little over 10 years ago the council looked into reopening it to obtain gravel for raising the West Langley dyke. My father, then a member of the Langley Field Naturalist, petitioned to prevent this as it would mean several century old trees would need to cut down. Although, the extraction of gravel was not stopped, the environmental impact was reduced dramatically. Unfortunately, this will not be the case if the 5 acres are allowed to be sold.

The two sections of land are designated RU-2 and RU-3 under the Townships Zoning By-law. Unfortunately, this means that the land can be cleared of trees and be used for greenhouses, stables, pig farms, feed lots and other agricultural uses. I am a strong supporter of preserving our land for farm use but I also believe in protecting our forests and other natural treasures. The removal of even a few trees could have a devastating effect on the local ecosystem.

A Facebook page has been created to help spread the word. We are asking anybody in the Langley area to contact the Mayor and Councillors to let them know their objections to the sale. There are petitions available to sign at the Fort Pharmasave and Wendel's Books. An online petition is also available here.

Let's work together to "Save McLellan Park"

Friday, 12 February 2010

Prep Day

Tonight at 6pm the Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony begins. At the same time the Knitting Olympics' (Click the link to learn more) will begin. I, some what impulsively, have decided to take part. And to add to the insanity I have chosen the Central Park Hoodie as my project. It will most certainly be a challenge for me to complete it in 17 days. I plan on spending today going over the pattern and making sure I have everything I need to cast on.  I’ll be using the yarn I won from the Old Mill Knitting Company, Naturally’s  Merino et Soie in the #104 color way. I hope to post here on a regular bases with my progress and with any luck I’ll be able to get a few pictures.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

I'm a winner!

Every month the Old Mill Knitting Company gives away a knitting kit to three lucky Canadians. All you have to do to win is to be one the the first three people to submit an entry form when they open the contest. The catch is that they don't tell you when the contest will open. The only way to know that is opened is to keep checking their website.

I just so happened to be one of the three winners for June. I am really excited about it. Each kit consists of a pattern and the yarn required to knit it. Every winner gets a choice of pattern and yarn colour. Of the choicest available I decided on this one. As for colour I went with #104 (the light blue) as my first choice and #105 (the light green)as my second.

From what I've heard from past winners Old Mill Knitting Company is really good at mailing the kit out and most people have received them within a few days of winning. So hopefully by this time next week I'll be fondling some gorgeous new yarn.