Showing posts with label T.S. Goliath. Show all posts
Showing posts with label T.S. Goliath. Show all posts

Monday, July 1, 2019

Remembering Great Uncles on Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!

Both my husband and I have immigrant ancestors who settled in Canada . . . and by coincidence, these men were our great uncles.

About Great Uncle Abraham Berk (Burk/Burke)

Above, a snippet from the 1945 publication of Canadian citizenship for my great uncle Abraham Berk (1877-1962) and his wife, Annie Hurwitch Berk (1880-1948). A native of Gargzdai, Lithuania, Abraham was my paternal grandfather Isaac's older brother.

Abraham and Isaac left Lithuania in 1900 or 1901 and stopped in Manchester, England, presumably to learn the language and make some money. I found the Burk/Berk brothers in the 1901 UK Census in Manchester with "Uncle" Isaac Chazan (1863-1921) and his wife, Anna Hinda Hannah Mitav Chazan (1865-1940). After consulting with my Chazan cousins, we've come to the conclusion that Anna (not Isaac) was actually the relative.

Abraham got married in Manchester in 1903 and in 1904, he continued on to Montreal, Canada, his final destination, establishing his business in cabinetmaking. Wife Annie followed in 1905, bringing their baby Rose.

According to the Canadian Census, Abraham was originally naturalized in 1910. Still, he and Annie went through another naturalization process during 1944, results published in 1945, in accordance with the Canadian "Naturalization Act." When my father and mother married, his uncle Abraham served as patriarch of the Burk family and had pride of place in the wedding photos.

About the Slatter Brothers, Hubby's Great Uncles 

Three of the four sons of John Slatter and Mary Shehen Slatter grew up and left London, where they were born and raised, to become well-known military bandmasters in Canada. They were the brothers of my husband's maternal grandma, Mary Slatter Wood.

Albert William Slatter (1862-1935) was the older of the three sons who came to Canada. After a career in the Army, he married, came to Canada, and became part of the Ontario Band in 1906. By 1911, he was living in London, Ontario, with his family and listed his occupation as "bandmaster." By 1921, he was the bandmaster of the Western Ontario Regiment. After a long career in music, Albert retired in 1932 and passed away in November, 1935. Researching Albert again today, I found that he was a member of the United Grand Lodge of England Freemason from 1905 to 1907. Also found a document saying he was with the Shropshire Light Infantry, serving as "Color Sergt & Acting Sergt Major of Volrs" in 1906.

John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) - at left - was the most famous of the Slatter brothers. At the age of 11, he served as "band sergeant" of the Boy's Band on the Training Ship Goliath, anchored in the Thames River in London. John left London for Toronto in 1884, married in 1887, and was appointed as the first-ever bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders of Toronto in 1896. Captain Slatter toured North America early in the 20th century with his renowned "Kiltie Band" and trained 1,000 buglers for WWI while at Camp Borden in Ontario. Capt. Slatter died in December, 1954.

Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942) enlisted at age 11
as a musician in the British Army! At top, a copy of his attestation, joining the Army in Dublin in 1877. He lied and said he was 14 years, 2 months." Later, he became part of the Grenadier Guards. By 1912, he had gone to Canada to become bandmaster of the 72d Highlanders of Vancouver. After his wife died, he remarried, and then went back to Vancouver as reappointed bandmaster of the reorganized 72nd Highlanders in 1920. Henry died in Vancouver on July 15, 1942. I'm still searching for "Jackie Slatter," born in England about 1915 to Henry and his second wife, Kathleen. Come out, come out, wherever you are, Jackie!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Road Trip: At the London Metro Archives

Checking the catalog at the London Metropolitan Archives
In search of more info about hubby's great-great grandma Mary [maiden name unknown] Shehen (b. abt 1801-d. ?) my husband and I took a road trip to the London Metropolitan Archives two weeks ago.

We preregistered online and when we presented personnel with our two pieces of identification, we were each issued on-site IDs. Then we proceeded to the computers, where we entered requests for relevant materials.

In Search of Physical Documents 

Many of the poorhouse and workhouse books have been digitized and are available on Ancestry, including this ledger of admissions and discharges from the Northumberland Street Workhouse.

"Mary Shehan" is the fourth name down on this page from March, 1871. This is unquestionably the right Mary, because on the facing page is her street address--which exactly matches her residence in previous UK census records. She was in the medical ward, due to chronic rheumatism, where she remained for 30 days.

With limited time for on-site research, we concentrated on printed materials only available in person at the archives. We requested a Visitors Book for the Northumberland Street Workhouse, not sure whether Mary would have have visitors during her monthlong stay. This was a physical book from the period that we would be allowed to page through on our own!

Visitors = Oversight

Well, I have to admit that I didn't understood the terminology. "Visitors" were actually committee people responsible for oversight of these institutions for the poor. They would visit the institutions periodically and look at conditions, also indicating whether the diet was good, etc. They weren't actually individually visiting the poor people, only writing reports about the care being provided.

But the good news is that the Visitors Book listed every person kept in the insane asylum areas during each visit. Most pages showed 8-20 inmates, although there were sometimes no inmates present during a visit.

Mary Shehen was not listed in the book, most likely because she was in the medical ward, not in the asylum itself.

Still, we found it a bit amazing to hold in our hands a workhouse ledger from way back in the 1870s. It made a big impression on both of us.

Records of the T.S. Goliath

Having struck out on Mary, we next huddled with the research staff about records of the Training Ship Goliath, where three of hubby's teenaged great uncles, born poor in London, learned maritime skills and were taught to play musical instruments during the 1870s. These three boys, sons of hubby's great-grandpa John Slatter and great-grandma Mary Shehen Slatter, grew up to be well-known military bandmasters in Canada.

We were given a microfilm showing the names of recruits on the Goliath, arranged by date (not indexed). Cranking through, we found some promising leads on one of the Slatter boys to follow up later, but ran out of time to do more in-person research. Guess that means another visit?!
Thanks, as always, to Amy Johnson Crow for the #52Ancestors prompts. This is my post for "Road Trip."