Showing posts sorted by relevance for query bandmaster. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query bandmaster. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, September 4, 2017

Military Monday: Ask the Archivist About Ancestors in the Military

Earlier this year, as part of my Genealogy Go-Over, I contacted the Archivist of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders museum in Vancouver, asking for information about the military career of hubby's great uncle, Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942). This strategy--ask a historian or an archivist--is one of my Genealogy, Free or Fee tips that has paid off several times, yielding details and clues to further my family history research.

Bandmaster H.A. Slatter served with the 72nd on and off from 1911 through 1925. By the way, this was after his earlier service with the British military, including the Grenadier Guards. (All three Slatter brothers were military bandmasters and served both in England and in Canada.)

The archivist provided a few details about this bandmaster's career in Vancouver, and he has been keeping his eyes open for photos. Today, he sent me a link to the Vancouver Archives, where the above photo is stored. The caption says that the unnamed military band is playing during a 1918 wartime parade in downtown Vancouver (specifically, the 100 block of East Hastings).

Although neither the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders nor Bandmaster H.A. Slatter are identified or referenced, the eagle-eyed archivist recognized the unit's uniforms and caps right away. He says that the band's conductor (sitting with his back to the camera at the front of the vehicle) could very well be the great uncle we are researching. And I agree, given the physical similarity between the conductor in this photo and other photos I've seen of his bandmaster brothers.

Without the help of the archivist, I never would have found this photo, because the 72nd Seaforth is not mentioned in any of the captioning data.

So go ahead, ask a historian or archivist--these professionals really know their way around the archives and can help us learn more about our ancestors!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #6: The Slatter Brothers, Canadian Military Bandmasters

Hubby's grandma Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925) was the younger sister of three distinguished gentlemen who left their birthplace in England for successful careers as military bandmasters in Canada:
  • Albert William Slatter (1862-1935) moved to Canada in 1906 and became bandmaster and music director of the 7th London Fusiliers in Ontario, Canada. He and his wife Eleanor Marion Wilkinson had 6 children: Maud Victoria, Ada, Albert, Ernest, and twins Glynn Edward and John (Jack). Albert attained the rank of Lieutenant in 1920 and the rank of Captain in 1923. Thanks to the Royal Canadian Regiment, I know more about Capt. Slatter's military career: He served 28 years in the British Army before moving to Canada and joining the 7th London Fusiliers, as shown in the 1914 pay list (above).
  • John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) arrived in Canada in 1884, married Sophie Mary Elizabeth LeGallais in 1887, and had 6 children who survived childhood: Albert Matthew, Frederick William, Edith Sophie, Bessie Louise, Walter John, and Mabel Alice. The photo below shows Captain John Slatter in 1917 at Camp Borden, where he trained buglers during WWI. Capt. Slatter was a world-famous bandmaster, as I've written in earlier posts. In recent months, I also learned that he touched the lives of young men like Thomas Clark McBride.
  • Captain John Daniel Slatter, 1917
  • Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942) arrived in Canada in 1911 and became bandmaster of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders in Vancouver. Henry and his wife, Alice Good, had 3 children who survived infancy: Arthur Albert, John Henry, and Dorothy Florence. Alice died on Christmas Day in 1914, and it looks like Henry remarried to Kathleen, and had a son Jackie, according to the 1921 Canada Census. The brief obituary from the Ottawa Journal of July 18, 1942 reads: "VANCOUVER, July 17, Henry Arthur Slatter, 76, one of Canada's leading bandmasters, and brother of Capt. John Slatter of Toronto, died here Wednesday." The Vancouver Public Library is sending me a 1928 article about this youngest Slatter bandmaster. 
Any Slatter descendants out there?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Saluting Canada, Where Ancestors Landed or Settled

Capt. John Slatter (front and center) with the 48th Highlanders
As Canada approaches its exciting 150th anniversary celebration, I want to highlight ancestors who either settled there or first touched North American soil in Canada.

First, let me mention the illustrious Slatter brothers, my husband's London-born great uncles. They became well-known bandmasters in Canada, putting to good use the musical and military training they had received as children on the Goliath and Exmouth.
  • Albert William Slatter (1862-1935) served as bandmaster with the 7th London Fusiliers in Ontario.
  • John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) achieved fame as the bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders in Toronto, helping to popularize the craze for kiltie bands.
  • Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942) was the distinguished bandmaster for the 72d Seaforth Highlanders in Vancouver.
At least two of my Berk/Birk/Burk/Block/Berg ancestors left Lithuania, stopped in England with family to learn English and polish their woodworking skills, and then continued on to North America.
Henrietta Mahler Burk & Isaac Burk
  • Isaac Burk (1882-1943) was a cabinetmaker who, at age 19, was residing with an aunt and uncle in Manchester (according to the 1901 census), along with his older brother, Abraham. Isaac sailed for Canada in 1903 but stayed only for a short time, moving on to New York City where his older sister Nellie Block (1878-1950) was living. Isaac married Henrietta Mahler in New York, and moved back and forth between Montreal and New York for nearly 10 years before deciding to remain in New York permanently.
  • Abraham Berk (1877-1962), also a cabinetmaker, was residing with the same family in Manchester as his brother Isaac during 1901. After his brother left, Abraham stayed on to marry Anna Horwich, then sailed to Canada and made a home in Montreal, where he and his wife raised their family.
Oh Canada! Happy anniversary and many more.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Military Monday: Band Sergeant of H.M.S. "Goliath" at Age 11

Hubby's great uncle Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) was the renowned bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders of Canada for nearly 50 years. Thanks to the kindness of the head of the Canadian Band Association, which published a biographical sketch of Capt. Slatter in 1943, our family now knows a lot more about his early career.

Slatter must have been one heck of a musician and a dynamic personality to achieve so much, starting at the tender age of 11 (yes, you read that right).
  • At age 11 (in 1875), he was Band Sergeant and solo cornet of the Boy's Band of the H.M. Training Ship Goliath.
  • Before he was 13, Slatter joined the British Army and at 14, he was the chair of Solo Trombone and chair of Euphonium soloist in a regimental band.
  • At 18, he became Euphonium soloist in the H.M. Life Guard's Band.
  • Next, he joined Patrick Gilmore's Band in America, a NY-based wind band famous throughout the world. Gilmore died in 1892.
  • Slatter moved to Canada and became part of the Band of "A" Battery, Canadian Regulars.
  • Next, he moved to Boston for a position with Ellis Brooks' Marine Band (which, if I have the correct article, played engagements at expositions and other big-city events.
  • For three seasons, Slatter served as first trombone of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
  • Despite offers from John Philip Sousa and Victor Herbert, Slatter joined the 48th Highlanders as Bandmaster in 1896.
  • For decades, Slatter and the 48th Highlanders Band toured the world. He even arranged the Royal Tattoo musical program for the Quebec Tercentenary celebration.
  • As Bandmaster, Slatter composed and arranged military music that is still in use today.
  • Slatter was a founder of the Canadian Bandmasters' Association, its first president, and then honorary president. 
  • A portrait of Capt. Slatter, in full Highland regalia, was presented to the Armories in Toronto (a beautiful building that is now, alas, gone). Wonder what happened to that portrait? I'm going to try to find out!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Surname Saturday: Seeking Slatter Descendants

Today I'm back on the genealogy trail of the Slatters of England, Canada, and Ohio. I'd like to connect with the descendants of John Slatter Jr. (b. 1838 in Oxfordshire, England, d. 1901 in Cleveland, OH) and Mary Shehen (b. 1801? in Marylebone, England, d. ?).

Captain John Slatter, 48th Highlanders
John and Mary had 4 sons and 2 daughters. I've found no trace of the adult life of Thomas John Slatter, the oldest child--but I do know where the other 5 children settled down and lived their lives.

Albert William Slatter (1862-1935) moved to London, Ontario, Canada and became bandmaster of the 7th London Fusiliers. He and his wife Eleanor N. Slatter (1866-?) had 6 children: Maud, Ada, Albert, Earnest [sic], Glynn, and John. I'm still looking for these descendants and their descendants, hoping we have Slatter cousins from Ontario.

John Daniel Slatter* (1864-1954) moved to Toronto, Canada and became the celebrated bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders (see photo). John married Sophie Mary Elizabeth LeGallais and they had 6 children who survived infancy: Albert Matthew, Frederick William, Edith Sophie (who, sadly, died in her 20s), Bessie Louise, Walter John, and Mabel Alice. When Captain Jack died in 1954, his obit listed as survivors: Mabel Davidson, Bert Slatter, Walter Slatter, and Fred Slatter. So far, no luck tracing them or their descendants.

Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942), John's younger brother, was in military bands in London, England, and later moved to Vancouver, where he was bandmaster of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders. Henry and wife Alice Good had 3 children who survived infancy: Arthur Albert, John Henry, and Dorothy Florence. What became of these cousins?

Dorothy Baker Nicholas (?) and Edith Baker Wise (?) with Edgar James Wood
Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter (1868-1947) moved to Ohio and married James Sills Baker. They had 2 children, Dorothy Louise and Edith Eleanor. We think the photo above shows cousins Dorothy and Edith, with my late father-in-law Edgar James Wood. We haven't yet reconnected with Dorothy's children (Madelyn Nicholas, Joan Nicholas, and Alfred Nicholas).

The baby sister of the Slatter family was Mary Slatter (1869-1925), hubby's grandma, who married grandpa James Edgar Wood on September 21, 1898 in Toledo, Ohio. And that's what we know about the Slatter family saga!

*Jack Shea recently left a comment on one of my posts about Capt. Jack, saying: "The Dileas, the Regimental history, says that he was as ramrod-straight the day he retired as the day he joined the Regiment." Also he mentioned that Capt. Jack received the Member of the Order of the British Empire, a meritorious service medal, and a King George V Silver Jubilee Medal, all of which are in the Regimental Museum, I believe.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Beyond "Google Your Family Tree"

I was lucky enough to be in the audience yesterday when Dan Lynch talked about the 6 most important search commands needed to "Google Your Family Tree." Having seen Dan speak a number of years ago, and having read his book cover to cover (it's now out of print), it was very educational to hear him update this important topic.

One of the Google "operators" (commands for searching) was new to me, not even mentioned in his book. (BTW, a command he used to advocate using, the tilde, is no longer a Google operator, so he suggested we not bother using it.)

Dan showed how to filter the millions of search results to focus on the most relevant genealogy results by using these key search commands, alone or in combination:
AND
OR
"" (quotation marks)
- (minus sign)
* (wild card)
AROUND(insert number here).

Here's what was new to me: AROUND(#) instructs Google to search for a word or phrase in proximity to another word or phrase by defining the number of words between them. 

To try this kind of search yourself, first do a search for "Google" and go to the Google search home page of your choice. I usually use the US home page, but if you want to search in another country or language, start on that home page (such as Google Canada).

The point is to go fishing in the Google ocean closest to where you would like Google results. Of course, Google often presents results from many countries and in many languages. But by starting on the home page of the nation you particularly want to search, it's more likely that results from that nation will be closer to the top of the list.


Next, choose two phrases (such as names or a name and a place) and choose how many words should separate those names or phrases. Above, my search executed on the Google Canada home page. I'm looking for hubby's great uncle, Captain John Daniel Slatter, who was the long-serving bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders regiment of Toronto.

This search is very restrictive because I'm telling Google to look for highly specific results--only results that have the exact phrase "John D. Slatter" within 4 words (no more than that) of the exact phrase "48th Highlanders." If the words or phrases are 5 words apart, they won't appear in my results. If the words or phrases are 3 or 2 words apart, they will be in my results.

Doing this search, Google tells me I have "around 2,150 results" which sounds more reasonable to check out than, say, 150,000 results or 1,500,000 results. Of course, I already know enough about Capt. Slatter to know he was part of the 48th Highlanders. In this search, I'm trying to locate new material about his role in that regiment.

In reality, Google filtered my actual results even further, omitting results that were very similar to the ones presented on the two pages of results I actually saw. This is typical, and I'm sure you often see that as well. We always have the option to click and repeat with duplicate or similar entries included in the results. Dan hammered home the point that we should always, always click beyond the first page of results. You just never know when an important nugget will be at the bottom of page 2 or even page 5.

In my example, the entire first page of results consisted of entries in my own blog, plus two "we found John Slatter" entries trying to get me to click for his phone number, etc.
However, the second page of results had an entry I'd never seen! It was for the Toronto Conservatory of Music year book of 1914-15, posted for free on the Internet Archive (https://archive.org).

I clicked and then, to save time scrolling and scrolling for the highlighted text, I searched within the book. Capt. Slatter appeared twice. The first appearance was in a listing of lessons being offered to students. Here it is, in the wording and typeface as it appeared in the year book:

         TUBA— John D. Slatter, Bandmaster 48th Highlanders 15.00 

This is how AROUND(#) works. It found me something I hadn't found in the past. I'm going to experiment with different versions of Capt. Slatter's name and different number of words for proximity with his regiment, his wife's name, and other family members.

Have you tried searching the Internet for your ancestors using the AROUND(#) operator? If not, go ahead and give it a try!

PS: Don't forget to look at image results. Maybe you'll get really lucky and find an ancestor's photo.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saluting the Veterans in Our Family Trees

With gratitude for their service, today I'm saluting some of the many veterans from my family tree and my husband's family tree.


Let me begin with my husband's Slatter family in Canada. Above, second from left is Capt. John Daniel Slatter of the 48th Highlanders in Toronto. He was my hubby's great uncle, an older brother to hubby's Grandma Mary Slatter Wood, and he was a world-famous bandmaster in his time.

At far left of the photo is Capt. Slatter's son, Lt. Frederick William Slatter, who fought at the Battle of Vimy Ridge during WWI. Third from left is John Hutson Slatter, grandson of Capt. Slatter, who enlisted in the Canadian military in the spring of 1940 for service in WWII. At far right is another of Capt. Slatter's sons, Lt. Albert Matthew Slatter, who served in Canada's No. 4 Company of 15th Battalion and then in the 48th Highlanders of Toronto. (Albert was the father of John Hutson Slatter.)

Grandma Mary Slatter Wood had two other distinguished bandmaster brothers active in the Canadian military early in the 1900s: Henry Arthur Slatter (who served in the 72d Seaforth Highlanders of Vancouver) and Albert William Slatter (who served in the 7th London Fusiliers of Ontario).


In my family tree, a number of folks served in World War II. Above, 2d from left in front row is my father, Harold D. Burk, who was in the US Army Signal Corps in Europe. His brother, Sidney Burk, also served during WWII, stationed in Hawaii. And I've recently written a lot about my aunt, Dorothy Schwartz, who was a WAC and received the Bronze Star for her service in Europe. My uncle, Dorothy's brother Fred, was in Europe serving with the Army, as well.

Meanwhile, my mother, Daisy Schwartz, was busy selling war bonds in NYC and corresponding with maybe a dozen GIs to keep their spirits up. When Mom wrote the historian's report for the Farkas Family Tree association at the end of 1943, she reflected the entire family's feelings about their relatives fighting for freedom.
For the coming year, the earnest hope of all is that 1944 will find the Axis vanquished and our boys home. All that is unrelated to the war effort must be sublimated to the present struggle to which some in our group have pledged their lives. The rest of us pledge our aid. The Allies will be victorious--God is on our side!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Military Monday: Tom Clark McBride and Capt. John Slatter

Capt. John Slatter
Captain John Slatter, hubby's celebrated great-uncle, taught thousands of buglers and musicians during his five distinguished decades as bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders Regiment in Toronto.

Tom Clark McBride
One was a young teenager named Tom Clark McBride, who first met Capt. Slatter at summer camp on Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1941. Tom served as the captain's batman during the two-week camp period (see photo at right, with Tom in one of his 48th Highlanders uniforms).

When Tom's regular music teacher, James Downie, left for WWII Navy duty, Capt. Slatter took over the musical training until Tom was old enough to join the Navy.

More than 70 years later, Tom's daughter Catherine contacted me for information about Capt. Slatter, part of her research for a scrapbook for her Dad. We've been exchanging e-mails ever since, having fun finding out more about the good captain. She sent me the photo above, showing Capt. Slatter around the time he met Tom.

Catherine has been kind enough to write down a few anecdotes from Tom's time with Capt. Slatter. These first-hand personal insights reveal the captain's personality and his compassion--showing us John Slatter the man, as well as Capt. Slatter the bandmaster. Thank you so much, Tom and Catherine! 
  • When my grandmother [Tom's mother] took Dad to Boddingtons (a music store in their area) to get his cornet, which was his first instrument, the captain went with them to make sure he got the right instrument for him. It was a silver cornet made by Besson of England. My Dad and his Mom thought the Captain was the greatest thing since sliced bread. He certainly didn’t need to do that but was kind enough to do so and I think obviously interested in my Dad.
  • If anyone made a mistake the captain would know who goofed and stopped everything. He’d then walk over to the offending “instrument” and ask for your instrument and physically check it out and test the operation of it. If it was ok, no sticky valves etc. he would hand it back and say it seemed to be fine, go back to where he stood and resume practice. It was done in a nice manner, never crabby or anything. Needless to say nobody goofed if they could avoid doing so. Dad would have been about 15 then.
  • One day they were marching in a parade of some sort, possibly Santa Claus, with a number of military bands such as 48th, Black Watch, Queens own, etc. Dad was marching along as was everyone else when out of the corner of his eye he spotted the captain marching in the middle of the six rows, waiting for the drums to catch up. It seems they had somehow changed tempo and so the captain corrected them, then marched back to the front where he had been and was supposed to be.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Surname Saturday: Slatter (The Musical Slatter Brothers)

Captain John (Jack) Daniel Slatter (1864-1954), my husband Wally's great-uncle, was not only a well-known bandmaster in Toronto, he had two musical brothers.

Above is Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942), who led the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders, 1911-14 and 1919-1925. Here he is circa 1913, standing on the steps of the Vancouver Courthouse, which is today the Vancouver Art Gallery. This photo was posted by "Bold Highlander" on "X Marks the Scot," where he also posted photos of Captain Jack.

The third musical brother was Albert William Slatter, bandmaster of the 7th London Fusiliers. I'm still researching him!

All the brothers were children of John Slatter Sr. and Mary Shehen/Shehan, married in Whitechapel, London, England, in 1859. Their other children were Mary Slatter (hubby's grandma, married to James Edgar Wood) and Adelaide Mary Slatter (married to James S. Baker), of more in later posts. Mary must have passed the family musical tradition down to her son, Edgar James Wood, who played piano and other instruments professionally for many years.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Captain John Slatter was a Bandmaster

Thanks to Stan Milne of the Regimental Museum of the 48th Highlanders of Canada, I found out that Captain Slatter (the gentleman in the kilt in last Wednesday's post) had a long and distinguished career in the military. He served with the 48th Highlanders from 1896 through 1946 and was appointed bandmaster in 1916. He was officer-in-charge of training bands and buglers during WWI!

Among his medals are a Member of the British Empire and the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal (for serving 20 yrs).

Next step: Ordering his records from the Library & Archives Canada. Finally, I hope to learn who John Slatter's parents were--the parents of hubby's grandmother. This will be a big breakthrough!

PS This just in!
  • I just found Captain John Slatter in the Canadian Encyclopedia of Music--he was a well-known military band master and his brother, Henry Arthur Slatter, is mentioned as well. 
  • He was instrumental (pun intended) in establishing the Canadian Band Assn.
  • Capt. Slatter toured the 48th Highlanders band through North America and played at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1934. In 1935 photo above, Capt. Slatter is at center of front row.
  • And he and the band toured all over the world, including at the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, NY in 1901. Below, Capt. Slatter (center, front) and the brass band from the 48th, which toured around the world.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Motivation Monday: Telling the Story of Wood and Slatter

Sample page from my Wood/Slatter family memory booklet
Hubby's family has a reunion planned for this summer. That's motivated me to prepare a new family memory booklet, telling the story of his paternal grandparents, Mary Slatter Wood and James Edgar Wood.

It's quite a story, with the Wood family's generations-old tradition of working in wood and their Mayflower connection, plus the Slatter family's Whitechapel roots and their illustrious bandmaster relatives. The family knew very little of this background when I began researching more than a decade ago.

Now, thanks to century-old photo albums, field trips side-by-side with my husband cranking microfilm readers and pulling courthouse documents, and a Genealogy Go-Over to double-check data and records, we know a lot about these ancestors. There's still a lot we won't ever know (exactly how and when Mary and James met, for example). But it's time to begin the writing process, and include plenty of photos to bring these ancestors alive for the generations to come.

The table of contents for THE STORY OF JAMES EDGAR WOOD AND MARY SLATTER WOOD currently reads:
  1. James Edgar Wood's Family Background
  2. Mary Slatter's Family Background
  3. What Was the World Like When James & Mary Were Born (circa 1870)? (To give younger relatives a sense of daily life before the automobile, electricity, etc.)
  4. James & Mary's Life in Cleveland
  5. James as Carpenter and Home Builder (see sample page, above)
  6. Driving the 1917 Ford to Chicago (documented in a family photo album)
  7. At Home with the Wood Family (with photos and quotes from descendants)
  8. How the Woods and Slatters Stayed in Touch (postcards to/from cousins, border crossings showing visits)
  9. What Happened to Mary and James (moving, later life, remarriage, burial)
  10. What Happened to the Wood Brothers (brief overview of their adult lives)
  11. Where, When, and Sources (timeline and sources used to confirm details)
  12. Photo Captions (names/dates/places or as much is known)

Rather than spend a fortune printing a bound book, I'll have the 20-odd pages of this booklet printed on good paper using the laser color printer at my local office supply store. Then I'll insert them into a clear report cover for presentation. If we want to add or change something later on, it's easy to remove the spine and switch out one or more pages.

As suggested by my good friend Mary, I'm including my sources. But instead of putting them in the main narrative, I'm relegating them to a section in the back of the booklet, to avoid slowing the flow (and to keep younger readers engaged).

My goal is to bring the story of Wood and Slatter alive for future generations with a colorful booklet combining facts and photos into a narrative that flows. It's part of my promise to "share with heirs," as I explain in my book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Surname Saturday: Proof of Mary Slatter and "Melancholia"

During my Gen Go-Over, I've been determined to find out whether my husband's great-great-grandma Mary Shehen Slatter was in two notorious London insane asylums.

Mary's death date was a mystery for years. I proved that her husband John Slatter (1838-1901) had come to America by 1888 (I have him listed in a Cleveland city directory for that year and later years). John remarried in America, his second wife died in 1895, and John himself died at the Cleveland home of his younger daughter, Mary Slatter Wood, in 1901.

But what was the fate of Mary Slatter? Chasing down the many Slatters in UK civil death registers, I found a listing of a Mary Slatter dying at age 52 in April, 1889. Of course I wondered why Mary's husband would be in America while she was dying in the London area, but the age and location was approximately correct to be great-great-grandma Mary.

Have your tissue box handy. Now I have proof of Mary's unfortunate fate. And one reason the proof works is because I can match mother and children's names/dates to the documents, as well as developing a rough timeline of what happened, when, and why. Researching one name (Mary Slatter) is a lot more difficult than researching a few family members! So think in terms of families, not ancestors in isolation.

As I wrote in January, I discovered that Mary's five children had been admitted to a London workhouse. Then I found the registry for a Mary Slatter admitted to Banstead Asylum. My sweet cousin in London visited the London Metropolitan Archives and examined the ledgers in person. She told me that Mary had actually been admitted to Colney Hatch Asylum before being moved to Banstead Asylum--and that both asylums were horrific places to be confined.

Recently, my cousin returned to the archives and gave me more specifics from the Colney Hatch Admission Register, which is available only to in-person visitors. What she learned, plus other documents I've uncovered, proves that my husband's great-great-grandma was the Mary Slatter admitted to these asylums.

Cousin Anna found that Mary Slatter, wife of a laborer and living in Whitechapel, was admitted to Colney Hatch on June 1, 1874, suffering from "melancholia" with a symptom of "imagines she is dead." Oh, dear.

"Time insane" was listed as 3 weeks. Now the timing becomes critical: Mary's children were admitted to the workhouse on May 18, 1874, just weeks before Mary's admission to Colney Hatch. If Mary was incapacitated, where would her children be cared for? Apparently, the workhouse.

More proof: Cousin Anna read the "Whitechapel Union Register of Lunatics and Idiots" and learned that Mary Slatter had, in fact, been admitted to Colney Hatch from a workhouse, "passed from St. Saviours." This is significant (I'll explain in a moment) but also the notation that "Children at Forest Gate Sch"--meaning Forest Gate School.

When the five children were admitted to the workhouse in May, 1874, the matron of Forest Gate School referred them there. Other evidence shows that the children were enrolled at Forest Gate School. And all the children's names from the workhouse register match the names/ages of Mary's children.

Now about St. Saviour. (Get a fresh hanky.) Mary was admitted to workhouses in the parish of St. Saviour multiple times in 1873-4 (the earliest I've so far found is September, 1873). Sometimes with her children! So the notation in Colney Hatch Asylum's register that Mary was coming from a "workhouse, passed from St. Saviours," exactly fits great-great-grandma Mary's situation as I've reconstructed it.

(See bottom of post for final proof, Mary Slater [sic] being discharged from workhouse on June 1, 1874 as "insane." That was the same day Mary was admitted to Colney Hatch Asylum. It's always good to investigate alternative spellings like Slater and Slattery, not just the name as actually known.)

At top of this post is the workhouse admission register from January 17, 1874, showing Mary and her children. This indicates that she was a servant and her "master" admitted her. From my admittedly modern perspective, I wonder whether the point of being admitted was to have food and shelter for a night or more? And where on earth is John Slatter, Mary's husband, during all this time??

Here's the answer and more proof. Mary and her children were again admitted to a workhouse, in April 22, 1874, as shown below. Names/dates match. Residence: "No Home." She is married, wife of John, "deserted." And the children? You can't see in this excerpt, but the children were sent to . . . Forest Gate School. There is no longer any doubt about the sad life and fate of hubby's g-g-grandma, Mary Shehen Slatter. RIP.

One reason I do genealogy is to honor the memory of ancestors, who paved the way for us to live our lives. I had no idea what my husband's Slatter family endured, and even though I am typing through my tears, I am also proud that their descendants had full and productive lives. Mary Shehen Slatter's bandmaster sons were renowned in Canada. Her two daughters made homes in Ohio and raised families of their own. If only g-g-grandma Mary had known what would become of her children and their children, perhaps this would have given her a bit of peace and comfort.

Mary "Slater" discharged from workhouse on June 1 as "insane" - same day as admission to asylum.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Military Monday: It's a Long Way to Tipperary WWI Handkerchief

Hubby's grandma, Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925), kept this handkerchief from World War I. Someone wrote "World War 1914" in pencil at bottom right and then, just in case that wasn't enough, permanently inked "World War 1914" at bottom right. (Mary's Shehen grandparents were born in Ireland but she and her parents were born in England.)

Mary most likely received this from one of her bandmaster brothers in Canada, Captain John Slatter of the 48th Highlanders in Toronto or Henry Arthur Slatter of the 72d Seaforth Highlanders in Vancouver or Albert William Slatter of the 7th London Fusiliers in Ontario.
 It's a Long Way to Tipperary was popular during WWI, and troops were heard singing it all over Europe.

I did a little Web research and discovered this exact handkerchief in the collection of London's Imperial War Museum! And in other museums, including Museum Victoria in Australia and the Canadian War Museum.

The medal is the Victoria Cross.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday - Operation: Picture Me Finds Capt. Slatter's Resting Place

Hubby's great uncle, Capt. John Daniel Slatter, died in Toronto in February, 1954. I have numerous obits of his illustrious life as the beloved bandmaster of Toronto's 48th Highlanders Regiment for 50 years.


But none of the tributes mentioned where the good Captain is buried. So as part of my Genealogy Do-Over/Go-Over, I reached out to my friendly contacts at the 48th Highlanders Museum in Toronto, which hubby and I visited in 2014.

Dave, the wonderful museum volunteer and prolific Find A Grave contributor behind Operation: Picture Me, dedicates himself to locating and posting photos of Canadian military personnel who died during wartime, as a way to honor their memory.


 Not only did Dave immediately search for a funeral notice for Capt. Slatter--stating that the burial would be in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto--he also posted it on Capt. Slatter's Find A Grave page.

Then Dave went to the cemetery and photographed the Slatter family's headstone, front and back.

 Thanks to Dave's kindness and dedication, the family now can see the final resting place of Capt. Slatter and his wife Sophie Marie Le Gallais Slatter, plus two daughters (Edith Sophie Slatter and Bessie Louise Slatter), along with son Albert Matthew Slatter and Albert's wife, Maude Mary Hutson.

To Dave and Operation: Picture Me--please know how much your efforts are appreciated!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: Three Generations of Fighting Slatters

For Memorial Day, I'm honoring the military service of hubby's Slatter family.

Above, a news photo with caption that sums up my tribute: "Three Generations of Fighting Slatters."

At far left is Lt. Frederick William Slatter (1890-?). Lt. F. W. Slatter was wounded during WWI while serving with the Canadian armed forces at the famous Battle of Vimy Ridge in April, 1917.

Second from left is Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954), father of Frederick. "Capt. Jack" gained fame as the long-time Bandmaster of Toronto's 48th Highlanders. In 1944, he was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire as a tribute to his service in training military bands for so many decades.

Third from left is John Hutson Slatter (1920-2012), grandson of Capt. Jack. John enlisted in the Canadian military in the spring of 1940 for service in WWII. At far right is Lt. Albert Matthew Slatter (1887-1970), son of Capt. Jack, brother of Frederick, and father of John Hutson Slatter. Lt. A.M. Slatter served in Canada's No. 4 Company of 15th Battalion and then in the 48th Highlanders during WWI.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sepia Saturday, Photo within a Photo: The 48th Highlanders of Toronto

Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), my late father-in-law, was 14 when he took up photography. He delighted in printing and enlarging his photos on his own.

Scanning the prints in his 1917 album, I came across the above photo of Ed's dad, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939). It was taken in Cleveland, at one of the many homes built by James during his construction career.

I didn't need a magnifying glass to recognize the photo on the wall, top left. Here it is, enlarged.

It shows the 48th Highlanders of Toronto, with Captain John D. Slatter, bandmaster. (There's no mistaking the kilts and boots.)

Capt. Jack (as we in the family like to call him) was the photographer's uncle, brother of his mother, Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925). The families were in touch regularly. Capt. Jack's children crossed the border from Toronto to see their aunt Mary and her family on a number of occasions, we know from postcards (and border crossing documents).

On the eve of Veteran's Day, I want to salute Capt. Jack and all the other veterans in the Wood family.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #20: Capt. John Slatter, "Dileas Gu Brath"

Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) served as bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders in Toronto for 50 years. Although I've written about him many times, today for the first time I saw the three-foot tall photo portrait of him, below, which once graced the officers' mess in the Armory (now long gone).

The 48th Highlanders' museum is located in the basement of St. Andrew's Church on King Street in Toronto. Inside the church is this magnificent stained glass window, testament to the longstanding and close ties between the church and the regiment.

Capt. Slatter most certainly embodied the regiment's motto: "Dileas Gu Brath"--Gaelic for "Faithful Forever." Well into his 80s, he put on his uniform and greeted those of the 48th Highlanders who had served overseas in WWII, upon their return to Toronto.

According to Canadian records, Capt. Slatter's son, Albert Matthew Slatter, also served in the military. During WWI, he was confirmed in the rank of Lieutenant and by 1918, he was a member of No. 4 Company of the 15th battalion. He may have been wounded in the battle for the Canal du Nord (he was reported at a dressing station September 28, 1918)--part of the Hundred Days that led to the war's end.

Today's visit with the wonderful folks of the 48th who staff the museum brought up an intriguing possibility. According to Capt. Slatter's 1954 obit, his daughter Mabel Alice married a man named Davidson.

The first commanding officer of the fabled 48th was John Irvine Davidson, born in Aberdeen, Scotland and a highly successful business man in Toronto. Did Capt. Slatter's daughter marry into this Davidson family? That's a question I'll research as I continue to look for more Slatter cousins.

Here are photos and a brief video snippet of the 48th Highlanders Church Parade, which took place on May 25 this year.

 
22 second video of the 48th Highlanders parading to St. Andrew's Church



Saturday, February 15, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #8: Great Aunt Ada (Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter)

The bandmaster Slatter brothers, hubby's great uncles, had two sisters. The youngest was Mary Slatter (who married James Edgar Wood and became hubby's grandma). Mary's older sister was Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter (1868-1947), called "Aunt Ada" in the family.

This family apparently adored the name Mary, which was passed down from Mary Shehen (Ada's grandma) to Mary Slatter (Ada's mom) and then to both Mary and Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter. That's where the reign of Mary ended, however.

Born in Whitechapel, London, Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter moved to Ohio in the 1890s and married James Sills Baker in 1896 in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland). Ada and James relocated to Toledo for a time, then back to Cleveland. I haven't found James's death date/place. Ada was widowed, later died in Cook County, Illinois--what was she doing there?

Ada and James Baker had 2 children, Dorothy Louise and Edith Eleanor. The photo at left shows my late father-in-law Edgar James Wood, in Cleveland, with these cousins  (we think).

The second marriage of Edith Baker (1901-1989) was in 1948 in Cleveland to Charles C. "Buck" Wise (1895-1963). He had a daughter from his first marriage, Janice Wise (1927-1988). Dorothy Baker (1897-1981) married Alfred Henry Nicholas (1899-1986) and they had three children.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Motivation Monday: Those Brickwalls Are Crumbling

When I began this blog in 2008, I put the following sentence at the top: Adventures in genealogy . . . finding out who my ancestors were and connecting with cousins today!  What adventures I've had, and what joy in finding cousins all over the map. 

Botpalad, hometown of Moritz Farkas
Nothing is as motivating as a breakthrough, right? November is possibly my best-ever month for bringing down brickwalls, which only makes me want to dig deeper. It's been so exciting that it's hard to know where to begin...remember, all of this happened in the past 25 days, and the month isn't over yet :)
  • "Hello Cousin" was the subject line on a much-anticipated e-mail from Israel. After many months of searching, I've finally connected with long-lost Schwartz cousins on my maternal grandfather's side! My 2d cousin confirmed our relationship and sent me wonderful photos of herself and the rest of our family in Israel. Next up: A Skype session! All in the same month that Sis and I met "Philly Cuz" for the first time in person--she's also a 2d cousin on the Schwartz side. And in the same month, I saw my 1st cuz from Queens (Hi, Ira!)
  • "James Elmer Larimer" was the subject line on an e-mail that arrived out of the blue. As I wrote just recently, this gentleman is trying to find the connection between hubby's Larimer line and his family (still working on that). He was kind enough to share the wagon-train journal kept by James Elmer Larimer's widow, Asenath Larimer, who went with her brother John Cornwell and three of his neighbors to join the Gold Rush in 1852. The journal is an incredible first-person account of what it was like to walk day after day through an unknown landscape, battle illness and accidents, and--hardest of all, in some ways--to leave loved ones behind, never knowing if the family would see one another again. Spoiler alert: Asenath is reunited with her young children after all!
  • "I'm the grandson of ... " read the Ancestry message I received from a first cousin, 1x removed of my hubby's! He's just beginning to trace his family tree and I'm delighted to share what I know about Thomas Haskell Wood and Mary Amanda Demarest, our common ancestors. Can't wait to hear from him again.
  • Remember microfilm? Last week I located the handwritten birth entry of my great-grandpa Moritz Farkas in the records of Botpalad, Hungary, contained on a Family History Library microfilm titled "Anyakönyvek Izraelita Hitközseg, Fehérgyarmat." Now I can search the same records for any siblings, knowing I'm in the correct part of the world at the correct time. I'm very motivated to keep cranking through this microfilm, even though part is in Hungarian and part is in German :( 
  • Cousin JW, who was thought to be a family friend but turns out to be a cousin of the Farkas family, sent naturalization records and other documents from her parents and grandparents so I can connect her line to our line. I'm almost there. This is an immense breakthrough because we believe it will show we're actually related to a large group of Farkas descendants in Europe and the U.S.
  • "Captain Slatter" was the subject line from a lady whose father trained under Captain Jack Slatter in 1941. Captain Jack (actually John Daniel Slatter) was hubby's great-uncle and a renowned bandmaster for 50 years. Replying to this inquiry, I sent a photo of Capt. Jack and a request to hear her father's memories of the good Captain. It's a small world after all!
So many ancestors, so many cousins, so little time. I'm motivated! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday (almost): More Canadian badges from WWI

Members recruited from Canadian universities . . . formed in 1918
Based in Toronto, a unit in the Canadian Expeditionary Force
Unit organized in 1866, one of 107 Canadian infantry units in WWI
With Canada Day only a few days away, I wanted to post more of the WWI badges collected by (I believe) Captain John Daniel Slatter, long-time bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders Regiment based in Toronto.