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Off to Australia – A Mystery of a Different Kind – Part 4

Another piece of history has found a home.
This week I received an e-mail that said:

Hi Elisabeth,

I am interested in the book How To Be Always Well on your webpage
I am the great-grandson of Neil Simpson. My mother’s mother, Evelyn (Simpson) MacKechnie was the daughter of Neil. The family had moved to Vancouver, BC before she was born and they made several trips back to PEI. My grandmother was born in Cavendish in PEI on one of the return trips.
My grandmother married Dr Hugh Alexander MacKechnie in Vancouver, where my mother, Margaret and her brother (my uncle) were born. My mother immigrated to Sydney, Australia and married my father, Leonhard , who had immigrated from Germany. My father passed away in August. My mother and I still live in Sydney, Australia.
Note that my Mum is Anne with an e. She feels very connected with “Anne of Green Gables” as Neil and Lucy Maud Montgomery used to sit close together in school. They were cousins.
My grandmother made several contributions to the archives in Charlottetown.
I visited PEI in 2010, I went to the archives. I tried to find a porcupine box that my grandmother had left there but the archivists could not find it. I also tried to find the location of William Simpson’s original log cabin near Cavendish. I have many relatives still living in PEI and across Canada.
If you still have the book and are willing to part with it I would love to have a piece of family history. My brother is also very interested in our family history.

Kind Regards,
So I packed up the book, and it is now on a journey across the continent – where I hope Neil Simpson’s family will be enriched by the wisdom he left behind.

Wightman Point or St. Andrew’s Point Pioneer Cemetery

St. Andrew’s Point Pioneer Cemetery
Wightman Point Pioneer Cemetery

One of the quaintest and peaceful cemeteries I have ever visited was the Wightman Point Pioneer Cemetery. It is located on a point of land in Lower Montague, King’s County, PEI, just off the St. Andrew’s Point Day Park – across the bay from Panmure Island. It has an entrance gate and is located near the shore in a treed area. There are only five remaining headstones as well as several worn sandstone markers. The site has endured coastal erosion and a section of it has disappeared. Many of the gravestone remnants were of a red sandstone and have become totally illegible over the past 200 years.

A section of this 213-years old cemetery has already disappeared due to erosion Bones exposed in historic cemetery investigated

John Wightman and Margaret Ray Armstrong

In 1821, John Wightman and his wife, Margaret and their family emigrated from Hoddam in Dumfries, Scotland. Their son, the Hon. Joseph Wightman (1806-1887) would be a major business and political figure in the area, serving as High Sheriff of Kings County. Two of his sons were killed in action in the American Civil War – one lies next to his grandparents, James Wightman.
The Grave stone describes John as a Loving husband , a kind parent who leaves a wife, son and a daughter to mourn the sad loss of one esteemed by all who knew him.
Margaret’s Grave stone describes her; “During her sojourn here she was exemplary in her charity to the poor and bore the character of a good Christian virtuous wife and loving mother and leaves her relatives to mourn their bereavement”.

Dr. James Wightman

Graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1862. He was the assistant surgeon to the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry during the U.S. Civil War – part of the Union army – fought against slavery. According to (The record of the Second Massachusetts Infantry, 1861-65) a faithful man, assistant surgeon to work himself to death in a few weeks. He contracted typhoid and died on June 16, 1863 in the Armoury Hospital in Washington, D.C. His remains were sent back to the Island.

Neil Mackinnon

Neil MacKinnon (1829-1858), the son of

Angus and Mary MacKinnon

of Sturgeon PEI was drowned at sea

Drowned at sea t age of 28





James Young

James was born January 23, 1790 Prince Edward Island to David Young
and Elizabeth Rae Young.
His father David was born in Scotland, moved to PEI in 1785 and received 200 acres of wilderness. He served in the Revolutionary War in New York. James, who was a Constable and a Three Rivers Farmer died September 1876. He. Among other crops he also grew 500 bushels of potatoes. He married Bridget O’Brien, a Catholic whom came from Ireland in 1809. He belonged to the Church of Scotland. So she converted to the Church of Scotland (Source: Steve Young), so they cold get married.

Job Creed

The story of Job Creed, the son of William Creed and Elizabeth Prince, a direct descendent of William Brewster, the leader of the Mayflower Expedition; an Anglican who wanted to get married to Mary Thistle, a Catholic born in Ireland, much to his father’s dislike.
His father, a wealthy man, threatened to cut off his son’s inheritance “without a shillin'” if he married a Catholic.
That did not seem deter Job Creed, because he married her anyway and they lived very happily together and raised a large family.
Job was a very talented man, he was a lay preacher in the English Church at Georgetown, and performed many funerals. He is buried near his mother’s grave and it cannot be found today.
Mary is buried across the bay in the Panmure Island cemetery, and Job is buried in the cemetery at Wightmans Point. Since being of different religions, they could not be buried in the same cemetery. They requested to be facing each other in their different cemeteries., a bay separating them.

The earliest known grave in this cemetery is that of John Aitken (1729-1799). His stone is legible and enclosed by a fence.
His name should really have been Job.
He came to Canada aboard the “Lovely Nelly” which departed Dumfries, Scotland in 1775. With him were his wife, Margaret (Lowden) Aitken and their two sons and two daughters. He was listed on the ship’s register as a “labourer” who was leaving “to provide for his family a better livelihood.” They decided to settle near Three Rivers, where John bought his first 100 acres. “He bought a quantity of supplies which would have seen them through the first winter . . .
But in this year occurred an invasion of mice which destroyed everything in the houses as well as in the fields, even the potatoes planted in the ground.” (Wellwood Waugh).
A second catastrophe followed in the fall of 1775. American fishermen broke into the building where Aiken’s supplies were kept and made off with everything. The ship that was to bring additional supplies was lost at sea and they were forced to dig through four feet of ice for clams to keep from starving.
Since their cattle kept wondering off and getting lost in the woods, they then moved to Panmure Island (adjacent to Cardigan Bay) only to find that at low tide the cattle still strayed, so they eventually returned to their first location. His daughter Agnes died crossing the ice to Lower Montague and froze to death during a storm, coming home from visiting friends. She was the first to be buried in the Panmure Island cemetery.
John himself died in 1799 (the year in which St. Johns Island was renamed Prince Edward Island) and was buried at St. Andrew’s Point where his grave was marked by a rudely cut slab of Island sandstone. It has been told that a well cut stone was prepared in Scotland, UK in his memory but the ship bringing it over was lost at sea.              (http/


My DNA Test

I was always a bit hesitant to take a DNA test, because then my information would be somewhere in the system.
My children gifted me with an Ancestry DNA kit for Christmas and I told my family, that they better behave and abstain from criminal activity – because my DNA is somewhere.
The box contained the test tube, a preservative vial, plastic envelope and a postage paid box to return the test.
An instruction booklet was also included.

  • Don’t eat or drink 30 minutes before providing the sample.
  • Register the code on the tube online at Ancestry and you can link it up to your online family tree – or wait with that until later.
  • Spit into the test tube up to the mark on the test tube. (This sounded easy enough but it took quite a bit of spit to fill the test tube to the mark)
  • The vial that contains the preservative screws into the top of the test tube and you can see that it is water tight because the blue preservative releases and mixes in with the sample when you shake it for 5 seconds.
  • Place the test tube into the provided plastic bag, place it into the provided box, seal and post.

And then you wait for the emailed results which can take anywhere between 8 – 10 weeks.
I have been researching my ancestry for a long time, and all my ancestors originated in Friesland, a province of the Netherlands.
So, my expectations from a DNA test, are all European.


The Acadians

Acadians at Annapolis Royal by Samuel Scott, 1751, earliest image of Acadians; the only pre-deportation image of Acadians

A very sad chapter in Canadian History is the story of the Acadians –
a story similar to that of the Jews in the Second World War.
I was unaware of this whole story, until I researched the ancestors of one of my friends.
The Acadians, descendants of French colonists who in settled Acadia during the 17th and 18th centuries, were a hard working people who came to Canada (before it was Canada) to search for a new home. They carved out a living for themselves,farming land reclaimed from the sea through diking. The colony was located in what is now Eastern Canada’s Maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island), as well as part of Quebec, and present-day Maine to the Kennebec River. Although today most of the Acadians and Québécois are French-speaking (francophone) Canadians, Acadia was a distinctly separate colony of New France. It was geographically and administratively separate from the French colony of Canada (modern-day Quebec). As a result, the Acadians and Québécois developed two distinct histories and cultures.
The settlers whose descendants became Acadians came from many areas in France, but especially regions such as
Île-de France, Normandy, Brittany, Poitou and Aquitaine.
During the French and Indian War (the North American theater of the Seven Years’ War), British colonial officers suspected Acadians were aligned with France after finding some Acadians fighting alongside French troops at Fort Beausejour. Though most Acadians remained neutral during the French and Indian War, the British, together with New England legislators and militia, carried out the Great Expulsion (Le Grand Dérangement) of the Acadians during the 1755–1764 period.
They deported approximately 11,500 Acadians from the maritime region. They were expelled, their lands and property confiscated, and in some cases their homes burned. Families were separated, Approximately one-third perished from disease and drowning (overcrowded, sinking ships) The result was what one historian described as an ethnic cleansing of the Acadians from Maritime Canada. Other historians indicate that it was a deportation similar to other deportations of the time period.
Most Acadians were deported to various American colonies, where many were forced into servitude, or marginal lifestyles. Some Acadians were deported to England, sent to the Caribbean, and some were deported to France. After being expelled to France, many Acadians were eventually recruited by the Spanish government to migrate to present day Louisiana state where they developed what became known as Cajun culture.
In time, some Acadians returned to the Maritime provinces of Canada, mainly to New Brunswick because they were barred by the British from resettling their lands and villages in what became Nova Scotia.
Before the US Revolutionary War, the Crown settled New England Planters in former Acadian communities and farmland as well as Loyalists after the war (including nearly 3,000 Black Loyalists, who were freed slaves). British policy was to assimilate Acadians with the local populations where they resettled.

In 1847, American writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published Evangeline, an epic poem loosely based on the events surrounding the 1755 deportation. The poem became an American classic, and contributed to a rebirth of Acadian identity in both Maritime Canada and in Louisiana.

Some helpful links for you research:
Acadians & French-Canadians Ancestral Home which includes the Acadian Census Records

Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History So many links to information about Acadian Life, surnames and a special section on the Hebert family.

I followed one family through the Acadian Census from 1671 – 1714.

It is interesting what kind of information if given in each. Several are mentioned how many guns were owned by a family, others how many armor bearers in the house. How many acres and how many of each animal; one even mentions how many fruit trees. I created a few charts to take all that information into an overseeable 3-page chart.

Deportation and New Settlement 1755–1810

A Crusader on the Family Tree

Sprengler CrestFrom the Bavarian region of Germany, Spangler (Spengler) was an occupational name for a maker of buckles, a derivative of a diminutive form of Middle High German spange, meaning clasp or buckle. Jordan’s family spans back to the 12th century to George, the earliest known Spangler (Spengler).
George was born in the year 1150. He served as the cupbearer to the Prince Bishop of Wurtzburg, Godfrey of Piesenburg, of the ecclesiastical principality of Wurtzburg. Godfrey of Piesenburg was also chancellor to German Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa.
Godfrey of Piesenburg and George Spengler joined the Third Crusades that started in 1189. The purpose of this crusade was to recapture Jerusalem from Saladin, the Saracen conqueror. The call to crusade was answered by Frederick I Barbarossa, French King Philip Augustus, and English King Richard the Lionheart.
However, on June 10, 1190, after two successful battlChurch of St. Peter, Antioch (in Turkey)es in Asia Minor, Frederick I Barbarossa drowned while crossing the Syrian river Calycadmus near Pisidia on horseback.  The emperor’s camp was then removed to Antioch, where he was temporarily buried.
Not long after, Godfrey of Piesenburg and George Spengler died in 1190 in Antioch, Turkey, succumbing to the black plague. They were buried in The Church of St. Peter. (The church, composed of a cave carved into the side Mount Starius, is one of Christianity’s oldest churches, built sometime in the 4th or 5th Centuries.)
History records that less than one in ten of those who crossed the Bosphorus  with Frederick I Barbarossa lived to reach Antioch.
from: The Spangler Progenitor

From George descends my son-in-law’s  paternal grandfather, 24 generations later:

George Spengler (1150 – 1190)
George Spengler, son of George
Killian Spengler (1270 – ), son of George
Killian Spengler (1320 – ), son of Killian
Peter Spengler, son of Killian
Hans Spengler (1390 – 1435), son of Peter
Hans Urban Spengler ( – 1527), son of Hans
George Spengler (1443 – 1496), son of Hans Urban
George Spengler (1480 – 1529), son of George
Franz Spengler (1517 – 1565), son of George
Lazarus Spengler (1552 – 1618), son of Franz
Hans Georg Spengler (1594 – 1685), son of Lazarus
Jacob Spengler (1618 – 1664), son of Hans Georg
Hans Rudolf Spengler (1657 – 1712), son of Jacob
Hans Casper Spangler (1684 – 1759), son of Hans Rudolf
and one of four Spangler brothers to emigrate to the New World

Jonas Spangler (1715 – 1762), son of Hans Casper
Rudolph Spangler (1750 – 1830), son of Jonas Caspar
Jacob Spangler (1776– 1847 ), son of Rudolph
Jacob Spangler (1812 – 1890), son of Jacob
Elijah Spangler (1844 – 1899), son of Jacob
Thomas Elbert Spangler (1883– 1965), son of Elijah
Lester Laverne Spangler (1918-2004), son of Thomas
Richard Laverne Spangler (1939-1989), son of Lester
Kelly, son of Richard
Jordan, son of Kelly

Spengler and the German immigrants settled in York Co. PA in the early to mid 1700s. In the 3rd generation the spelling was changed. Spengler means one who worked with lead and tin or a tinker.
Most of the information came from:

The annals of the families of Caspar, Henry, Baltzer and George Spengler

Read it online

Lazarus Ratschriber Spengler

Lazarus Ratschriber Spengler was the brother of Jordan’s 15th great-grandfather (which makes him the 15th great uncle) He played a somewhat a small role during the time of the Reformation.
Born: March 13, 1479, Nürn­berg, Ger­ma­ny.
Died: Sep­tem­ber 7, 1534, Nürn­berg, Ger­ma­ny.

Lazarus Spengler

Lazarus Spengler

Lazarus was the 9th of 21 child­ren of Georg and Ag­nes Spengler; his fa­ther was a clerk in the Im­per­ial Court of Jus­tice. La­za­rus en­tered the Un­i­ver­sity of Leip­zig in 1491, but on the death of his father in De­cem­ber 1496, re­turned to Nürn­berg, ob­tained a po­si­tion in the town clerk’s of­fice, and in 1507 him­self be­came the town clerk (Raths Syn­di­kus).
He met Martin Luther in 1518, when Luther passed through Nuremberg. Spengler became an ardent supporter, publishing Schutzred supporting Luther in 1519. He was active in reforming the church in Nuremberg, which drew unfavorable attention from religious conservatives. Spengler was one of Luther’s supporters mentioned by name in Pope Leo X target=”blank”‘s bull Exsurge Domine target=”blank”, issued on June 15, 1520, threatening to excommunicate target=”blank” Luther and his followers if they did not submit to the pope. With the support of the Nuremberg town council, Spengler refused to submit to the pope, and was subsequently excommunicated along with Luther by the pope on January 3, 1521, by the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem. In April 1521, Nuremberg sent Spengler as a delegate to the Diet of Worms.

He was largely responsible for the design of the Luther rose ( The Luther seal or Luther rose is a widely recognized symbol for Lutheranism. It was the seal that was designed for Martin Luther at the bequest of John Frederick of Saxony in 1530, while Luther was staying at the Coburg Fortress during the Diet of Augsburg.)

The Luther Rose

Letter from Martin Luther to Lazarus Spengler, Coburg, July 8, 1530

Grace and peace in Christ!

Honorable, kind, dear Sir and Friend! Since you ask whether my seal has come out correctly, I shall answer most amiably and tell you of those thoughts which (now) come to my mind about my seal as a symbol of my theology.There is first to be a cross, black (and placed) in a heart, which should be of its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For if one

believes from the heart he will be justified. Even though it is a black cross, (which) also should hurt us, yet it leaves the heart in its (natural) color (and) does not ruin nature; that is, (the cross) does not kill but keeps (man) alive. For the just man lives by faith,

but by faith in the Crucified One. Such a heart is to be in the midst of a white rose, to symbolize that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace; in a word it places the believer into a white joyful rose; for (this faith) does not give peace and joy as the world gives and, therefore, the rose is to be in a sky – blue field, (symbolizing) that such joy in the Spirit

and in faith is a beginning of the future heavenly joy; it is already a part (of faith), and is grasped through hope, even though not yet manifested. And around this field is a golden ring, (symbolizing) that in heaven such blessedness lasts forever and has no end, and in addition is precious beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most
valuable and precious metal.
May Christ, our dear Lord, be with your spirit until the life to come.

Lazarus Spengler is also remembered as the author of several hymns, some of which remain in Lutheran hymn books to this day.
One of these, “Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt” (All Mankind Fell In Adam’s Fall), is quoted in the Book of Concord, the official Lutheran confession

Words: La­za­rus Speng­ler, 1524, cen­to (Durch Ad­ams Fall ist ganz ver­derbt); trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Mat­thi­as Loy, 1880, alt


All mankind fell in Adam’s fall,
One common sin infects us all;
From sire to son the bane descends,
And over all the curse impends.

Thro’ all man’s powers corruption creeps
And him in dreadful bondage keeps;
In guilt he draws his infant breath
And reaps its fruits of woe and death.

From hearts depraved, to evil prone,
Flow thoughts and deeds of sin alone;
God’s image lost, the darkened soul
Nor seeks nor finds its heav’nly goal.

But Christ, the second Adam, came
To bear our sin and woe and shame,
To be our Life, our Light, our Way,
Our only Hope, our only Stay.

As by one man all mankind fell
And, born in sin, was doomed to hell,
So by one Man, who took our place,
We all received the gift of grace.

We thank Thee, Christ; new life is ours,
New light, new hope, new strength, new powers:
This grace our every way attend
Until we reach our journey’s end!

How he is related: Lazarus was a brother to #2 – Georg Spengler


A Family Reunion

We traveled to Friesland (a province of the Netherlands for the Van Der Zwaag Family reunion. To re-aquaint and meet new family members.  Family memberes traveled from Canada, United States, Belgium, Germany and of course all the corners of the Netherlands. The last time I had seen most of my cousins was about 35 years ago, before we moved to Canada. We all have gotten much older, had married, had children, are now grandparents, and many already empty-nesters. My aunts and uncles that were still living are now in their eighties. I had seen most of them during the years as they would visit Canada. We had a great time of laughter, food, gebakjes, games (we played boeren golf and some even tried fierjleppen) Pictures were taken, memories were shared and relived.

The family members that came from "away" - US, Canada, Germany, Belgium

The family members that came from “away” – US, Canada, Germany, Belgium


First cousins

First cousins

aunts and uncles still living

aunts and uncles still living

 Some of my cousins made a book about the life of my grandparents, their geneaology and decendants ( of the 11 of their children 8 are still living, 55 grandchildren, 143 great-grandchildren and around 70 great-great grandchildren and counting … )

A legacy for sure.

Social Media and My Family Tree

This is a picture that was taken at my grandparent’ 45th wedding anniversary in 1976. My grandparents had 11 children, 55 grandchildren and by last count 148 great-grandchildren. When this picture was taken, we lived in Germany and a few years later moved with our family to Canada. It was a large celebration. That was probably the last time I have seen many of my aunts, uncles and cousins. They have spread across the globe, from the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, USA, China, …….
Through the presence of Facebook I have connected with many of them, and a special group was created with all the cousins. It is great! People share stories of their parents; aunts and uncles, that are still alive have appeared on social media to be part of the group. Pictures are shared, pictures of my father I had never seen before.
Now there is a planned reunion in June. I am excited to travel back to Friesland (Netherlands) and reconnect with family.

My Van Der Zwaag great-grandparents

A Mystery of a Different Kind – Part 3

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I found Neil Simpson in the 1881 and the 1891 Canadian Census as one of the children of William and Helen Simpson. I was unable to find him in the 1901 so far. His mother is by now a widow, and listed as the head of the household, and she is left with the 3 youngest children at home.

Canadian Census - Neil Simpson 1To get an easy overview of all the Canada Census information, I added all the data in Canada Census Overview Charts

I did find Neil in the Public Archives in the Marriage Records.

Marriage Record
Groom’s Name Neil Simpson
Groom’s Residence Cavendish, Lot 23
Groom’s Status Bachelor
Bride’s Name Sarah Margaret McLeod
Bride’s Residence Brookfield
Bride’s Status Spinster
Date of Marriage License or Bond 11 February 1903
Date of Marriage Ceremony 16 March 1903
Officiant’s Name George Millar
Source RG19, Series3, Subseries4: Marriage Licenses, 1903

Strangely I did find him and his family twice in the 1911 Canadian Census in British Columbia, not sure the reason for it yet.
Canadian Census - Neil Simpson 2
There also happens to be family photo at the PEI Archives.

Public Archives and Records Office

Media Type Photograph
Item Number Acc2775/Series3/1
Host Collection Photo Index
Caption Group – Family – Simpson (William John)
Original Format 1 b&w 35 mm negative
Description ca. 1890; oversize; copy print in binder, Reading Room [44]
Notes identified are: John Clark Simpson, Winchester Simpson, Mary Ellen Clark Simpson, Lincoln Simpson, Jeannie Simpson, Neil Simpson, Charlotte Elizabeth Simpson, Ella Simpson

If any of the descendants of Neil Simpson want the book, with your great.,.,.grand father’s inscription, you are welcome to have it. It comes with handwritten notes for his diet..

to order  Canada Census Overview Charts
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