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The Sad Story a Stone Can Tell – Ella Nelson

As I was doing some research, I came upon this grave marker at the Riverside Cemetery, Wallace RiverCumberland CountyNova Scotia, Canada.
The story of Ella Morton Nelson(Purdy), read from a stone – a marker to remind us that there was life.
This stone, like all other stones in every cemetery, tells a story.
A baby, unnamed, was born and died in 1895.
Son Carlson G. dies in 1904, at the age of 11 – cause unknown.

Son Richard died on November 29, 1912 at the age of 27 from acute nephritis. He was sick for 10 weeks, developed an edema of the lungs and died.
Son Walter R. died February 29,1918 at the age of 17. It states that he was Highland Hospital in Amherst N.S and died there, from Paralysis.
Husband and father Arthur Nelson, a farmer, died November 14, 1918 in Hartford, Cumberland County, NS. He suffered from acute rheumatism with toxaemia, and after 6 days in the hospital he passed away at the age of 56.
Daughter Mona A. died November 12,1921 at the age of 34. She was single, lived at home and died of bowel obstruction.
Surviving son Noel B. continued to farm, staid unmarried and died at the age of 52, on March 16th, 1951, being struck down by Influenza A, after 3 days developed Broncho-Pneumonia and 2 days later passed away.
Wife and mother Ella Morton Nelson survived them all, living to a ripe old age of 96. She died January 6th,1956 from cerebral haemorrhage and arteriosclerosis.
These are just the facts I gathered. My mind can not even imagine the untold stories surrounding this family, the pain, the loss, ….
At the same time, this stone does not tell about the good times these men and women may have had.
There was a glimmer of hope, as I searched this family in the Canadian Census(1891,1901, 1911 and 1921),I realized there were 3 more children (Sadie-1890, Ernest-1896 and Eva, born in 1904).
I did find them, in close proximity in the same cemetery.It was good to know,that when Ella Nelson died at the age of 96, she was not alone – that she still was surrounded by some of her living children. A comforting thought.

All this information was found online, from the comfort of my couch. 🙂
Canadian Census  1891,1901, 1911 and 1921
Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics

Find A Grave

My Genealogy Wall

My Genealogy Wall

Many years ago I created a genealogy wall, with the images of ancestors, that I have a photographs of. I do not use the original photos 
that I have , since they would be damaged by the sun, but have scanned them into the computer and printed copies of the photos.
I used the smaller size clipboards and painted them with chalkboard paint.
I created labels so the pictures can be easily identified by others and
hung them in family tree formation.
My genealogy wall is often a conversation piece to those that visit our home. 
I do not have all the photos, but I have added over the years, by connecting with family through the internet, and family tree websites.
Maybe in future years I can fill in some of the gaps.

Wightman Point or St. Andrew’s Point Pioneer Cemetery

St. Andrew’s Point Pioneer Cemetery
or
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.
(http://www.islandregister.com/young1.html)

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/www.islandregister.com/aitken.html)

 

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.

 


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.

Military Lottery

From the Hiemstra Pictures ( Pake Jacob top left)Another picture has found a place. I had this picture in my “unknown” box, I did recognize my Pake Jacob Hiemstra (top left), but I often wondered what the circumstances of this picture were. I send it to my new-found cousin Anneke, who not only knows a lot about genealogy, but she also volunteers at Tresoar, a great resource for my genealogy research of all our Frisian ancestors.
A few days later she sent me this response:
“I found out what this picture is and when it was taken. The sign says “Nederlands hoop in bange dagen – July 1922” . It means they will have to defend the country in times of trouble.This is a group of 18 year old boys/men who had been to the military lottery. On their hats they have the number they were assigned to. Once a year there was the military lottery in Dokkum and other places. Every 18 year old boy had to come there. He was assigned a number and with that number he could be called to the army, when necessary. Not every boy went into the army. Some where to small or had other physical deficiencies. Another was the only son in the house or his brother had already been in the army. So this is a gathering of boys, 18 year old, that went to the lottery. It was a tradition that afterwards they went to a photographer. The pipes belong to this tradition.
The picture is an example of a paper of the Nationale Militie. The number this person got is in red.”
So thanks again, Anneke – it makes sense, my grandfather was born in July 1904, which would make him just 18 when that picture was taken. I don’t think he would have been accepted in the militia, because he was a rather short man.
I also googled “lotelingen”, and found quite a few of the same kind of images, young men wearing numbers on their hats and smoking a pipe.

My Mother’s Dishes

DSC03074When my mother was still alive, she handed me her set of “good dishes”.
They were moving across the country, and she did not want to pack them all up.
Her reasoning:” Since you are going to
inherit them anyway, you might as well
keep them now.”
I placed all those dishes in a top kitchen cupboard, where they collected dust and grime (like all things do in top kitchen cupboards). I barely used them, either
I forgot I had them, or when the
opportunity arose to use them,
I did not feel like washing them first.
DSC03077These dishes were not a family heirloom, passed down from a previous generation. My mother started collecting these dishes when I was young, not expensive like “Royal Dalton”, but simply bought at the local department store while we were living in Germany. The design is not of hand painted roses, but a lovely country scene depicting a castle on a high cliff, overlooking a river or valley. The color is difficult to describe, not sure if it is grey, green, or something in between.
For us kids it was great, because we always knew what to buy for birthdays, Mother’s Days and anniversaries, . We were all able to afford a cup and saucer, for the bigger items we pooled our money together to buy the soup tureen, the tea pot, coffee pot, and the large serving platter.
This set even includes the shallow German tea cups. We lived in Ostfriesland, so we drank Friesian Tea, which was a piece of art in itself. First you placed a Kluntje (crystallized sugar rocks) in the cup with special tongs. You then poured over the strong brewed tea enjoying the crackling you heard as the tea hit the Kluntje.
When the cup was half full, using a special spoon, you poured double (heavy) cream around the inside edge of the cup creating clouds in the tea.
Even though you have a small spoon on the side of your saucer, you do not stir the tea.
Then you began to drink. The idea is that with your first mouthful you experience the creaminess at the top of the cup; then you have a bitter, refreshing mouthful; and you finish with a sweet hit from the tea containing the sugar crystal which has by now largely dissolved. Then you start all over again. It’s considered bad form to have anything less than three cups . Your host will continue to fill your cup until you place that little spoon from your saucer into to your teacup to signify you’ve had enough.
Back to my dishes.
DSC03073When many years later I purchased a china cabinet with our new dining set, these dishes were washed and proudly displayed for everyone to see. Once a year I would put them through a china cycle in the dishwasher, so they were clean and shiny.
Did I use them more often? Not really, I don’t really know why. Maybe the fear of breaking them? Maybe I was not comfortable using them?
Since Julie and I started “Seasoned Saturdays” together, my mother’s dishes have become a tool to bless others, to make others feel special. How does it make you feel, when your host brings out the best for you?
Some cups have aquired a few chips, however, that certainly does not prevent me from using them.
I will pass these dishes down to my kids (if there are any left, that is), and I hope they will use them to bless others.
Use the tools you have been given – talents, gifts and even material things to bless others. Don’t hide them away in a cupboard where they collect dust, use them.

Another Mystery Solved

I have my whole family tree uploaded at Ancestry.com. It is a great place to do research, find family stories, but also to get into contact with family members.
I was recently contacted by a fellow researcher who had information about my maternal grandmother and her family.
She turned out to be my second cousin (our mothers were first cousins) – what a great find.She send me a picture of my great-grandparents. It is always great to put some faces with the names, and I definitely recognized my grandmother in one the pictures. So thank you Anneke Westerhuis-Jager.

	Betovergrootouders Sjoukje Halbertsma en Jan Hoekstra tijdens hun 45 jarig huwelijk zie achterkant moet in 1939

In my box of “Unknowns” I had another picture in which I only recognized my Beppe, but all other people in the picture were unknown to me. So I send Anneke a picture, and she told me that she had the same picture, and she knew the names of mostly everyone in the picture.

Huwelijk Gabe Postma en Jitske Heins in 1943

1. Baukje Hoekstra, your grandmother
2. Jantje Bakker married to Martinus Hoekstra
3. Martinus Hoekstra (Youngest brother of your grandmother)
4. Froukje Hoekstra (sister of your grandmother
5. Jan Heins
6. Griet van der Woud(e) married to Taeke Hoekstra
7. Teake Hoekstra (brother of your grandmother)
8. Jitske Heins
9. Gabe Postma

Start your own family tree !

A Family of Silversmiths

  While doing research on the branches of my family tree, some times I come across a little bit of “treasure”. Not a real treasure, but some interesting information or sometimes even a picture. Recently I was doing some searching on a Klaas Jansen Heixan (my mothers great – great- great – great – great -great grandfather) and came upon the following:

This particular branch of the family tree were Silversmiths. Klaas Jansen Heixan was born on August 11, 1678 in Dokkum, Friesland, and like his father also became a silversmith. Every silversmith in those days had his own sign, or seal, to mark his work. (I found his sign, the KH monogram, at Meestertekens van Friese goud- en zilversmeden, werkzaam in de periode van ca. 1700 tot 1812 (Masterseals from Friesian gold- and silversmiths that were working between 1700 to1812 – but this link is no longer active) Not only did I find his ‘signature’, a sign that he placed on every piece of silverware he created, I also found a picture of a piece he made. At the following site, Botma Genealogy I found the family crest of a family Botma, at the bottom of a seal, which is part of a pipe stamper and other helpful tools. The initials G.G.B, are that of the owner. Upon closer inspection you can see the silver mark of the maker. On this website you can read the following: “Gezien het zilvermerk is het werktuig gemaakt door de Dokkumer Klaas Heixan. Deze stond ingeschreven in het gildeboek van 1704 tot 1738′. So, to think that one of my ancestors (even though it was long ago), created this piece from silver, somewhere in the 1700’s. It is like finding a little piece of my history. When looking for my ancestors, sometimes I rely on the research some others have done on that same branch. Just ‘google’ the name you are looking for and add a bit of information while you are surfing, like; ‘Heixan, Klaas ,silversmith ‘ that is how I found this picture and some more information to help me on my search. Do not forget to credit the site where you got your information.
To read that this family of silversmiths are part of my family tree is really cool,
but to actually find a picture of something they created is even cooler.
The world wide web is an amazing source of information – after “googling” some more I found another piece of
piece of Klaas Heixan’s workmanship –
silverspoon-klaas-heixan1A DUTCH SILVER SPOON, KLAAS HEIXAN, (DOKKUM), BETWEEN 1704-1738
Description – oval rat-tail bowl, engraved with monogram LR/MS within a shield suspending from a log of wood, lobed moulded handle terminating in a figure, maker´s mark only

Klaas Heixan was my 7th great-grandfather

————————————————————————————————–

kranslepel

Sierlepel met De Wijsheid – by Klaas Justus KraSierlepel met De Wijsheid Top – by Klaas Justus Krants ca. 1750. Silversmith Mark of Klaas Justus Krantznts ca. 1750

Sierlepel met De Wijsheid - by Klaas Justus Krants ca. 1750Klaas Heixan’s son in law, Claas Justus Krantz (my 6th great-grandfather)
who married Dieuwke Klases Heixan in Dokkum on Jan 4th, 1739, was also a silversmith. He was born Feb. 25th, 1712 in Dokkum, and later worked from there.
Below is an example of his work, a spoon created in abt. 1750.
Klaas and Dieuwke had 5 children, son Joost (1744), who died before the of age 2, another son Joost (1746) who also died in infancy, a daughter Dirkje (1748), daughter Janke(1750) and another son Joost (Justus) in 1753, who was my 5th great-grandfather.

Images taken from Meestertekens van Friese goud- en zilversmeden, werkzaam in de periode van ca. 1700 tot 1812 (link no longer active)
Their main site is Zilverstudie

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