Monday, 31 October 2011

Sorry for the delay....

Hi, I just wanted to let everyone know that I am sorry for the delay in updating my posts. I am waiting for confirmation of information from a public library in the UK. I'll be back with more information shortly. Cheers, K.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Thomas and Annie in Leeds 1906

According to Thomas' plumbers registration card for 1906, Thomas and Annie lived at 9 Renfield Grove, Leeds. The street no longer exists in Leeds, but I have found references to it online as being a residence up to 1938. I'll keep looking and will post when the mystery is solved.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Thomas and Annie on the 1901 England Census

In the 1901 England census, Thomas and Annie were living at 12 Sultan Place, Wortley, Leeds. Thomas' occupation is given as "plumber & gas fitter". He was 28 years old. His place of birth is given as Swansea, which is incorrect, but an understandable error. Swansea was close to Gower, where Thomas was born. Annie has no occupation given. She was 23 years old and listed with a birthplace of Tintern, Monmouthshire.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Thomas.... continued

Now back to Thomas..... just to recap, he had just been apprenticed to Joseph Samuel Shepton in late 1891. I believe that Joseph and his father Samuel Shepton were builders in Penarth in the firm, Samuel Shepton & Son (Owens & Co Cardiff Directory 1891 on Historical website).

While I do not know much about Thomas during the 1890's, he appears in Armley, a district in the west of Leeds in 1899.

View Larger Map

On 13 October 1899, at age 24, Thomas married Annie Amelia Turner, domestic servant, age 21 in the Baptist Chapel Carr Crofts, Armley. William James Ball, milk dealer is noted as Thomas' father, but this was actually his eldest brother. Annie's father is given as Henry Turner, road labourer. The witnesses to the marriage were Annie Steed and Charlotte Elizabeth Steed. I've looked for the church, but it is no longer exists.

Why Thomas and Annie, both from Wales, moved to Leeds is still a mystery to me. Perhaps, they went in search of work, each following a different path to Leeds. Did they know each other before leaving Wales? Perhaps, they met at the Baptist Chapel in Armley. What kind of relationship did they have with the two young women who signed as witnesses to their marriage? As always, more questions in need of answers.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Mystery Nephew

In the 1891 Wales census, Thomas Huxtable Ball is living with his older brother, John, and sister, Charlotte in Little Hill, St. Andews & Dinas Powys. Included in the household is Robert Jno Edwards, age 3, who is shown as 'nephew'. The presence of the this young nephew in the household has always perplexed me. Where did he come from? Who were his parents? I knew from my great-aunt Gwen's note that Thomas' sister,Charlotte, had a child out of wedlock. Was Robert her child?

For many years, I thought so and struggled to find a birth registration for a Robert Edwards with a mother named Charlotte Ball. When I discovered the existence of Elizabeth Ann Ball and her subsequent marriage to a Robert Edwards, I thought the mystery had been solved. Little Robert was theirs and was staying or visiting on the day of the census.

However, in recent days, I have found an 'E' and husband Robert Edwards in the 1891 Wales census, living at 124 Treharris Road, Roath, Cardiff. They are shown with 3 children, Robert J , b. 1888, Leonard, b. 1889, and Ernest, b. 1891. Which makes me think that little Robert Jno shown with Thomas, John and Charlotte may not be the same Robert J living with their sister, Elizabeth....After all, he can't be in the same two places, can he? Perhaps, I have the wrong E Edwards?

Another mystery to solve....

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Thomas Huxtable Ball (1875-1941)

Thomas Huxtable Ball was the youngest of six children born to William Huxtable Ball (1837-1927) and Charlotte Balment (1835-1896). He was born 5 July 1875 in Scurlage Castle, Llanddewi, County of Glamorgan. His siblings were: William James (1858-1922), John (1860-1928), Henry (1864-1931), Elizabeth Ann (1865-?), and Charlotte (1869-1947).

He first appears in the 1881 Wales census, living in Scurlage Castle with his parents and his two older siblings, Henry and Charlotte. William, his father, is listed as a blacksmith.

According to the 1891 census, Thomas is living with his older brother, John, sister Charlotte, and 3 yr old nephew, Robert Jno Edwards in Little Hill, St.Andrews & Dinas Powys, Glamorgan. John is shown as head of household and a farmer, while Thomas has an occupation of engine cleaner and Charlotte is a house keeper.

On 2 Dec 1891, Thomas was apprenticed to Joseph Samuel Shepton (possibly of Penarth) to learn the trades of plumber, bellhanger, gasfitter, painter and glazier. The apprenticeship was undertaken with the consent of his older brother, John. The signing of the agreement was witnessed by James Moore.

The story continues.....

Cheers, K.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Thomas Huxtable Ball (1875-1941) and Annie Amelia Turner (1878-1947)

Thomas and Annie Ball were my great-grandparents. They were Welsh, but immigrated from New Wortley, (Leeds),Yorkshire, where Granddad was born. I remember Dad telling me that they were very short, 5', and 4' 10" respectively. However, Granddad was nearly 6 feet tall. Annie and Thomas were Baptists and teetotallers. Annie's nickname was 'Budgie' among our family. Dad remembers that their 'English' accents were different - likely because of their Welsh heritage. Many of the records for them name them as English, but Thomas lived in Wales up to age 24, while Annie came from Monmouthshire, a Welsh county which borders England.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Evelyn Edith Ball (1913-1987) and Margery Ball (192?-199?)

Granddad's younger sisters were Evelyn and Margery. Evelyn's middle name, Edith, was probably inherited from her mother's younger sister, Edith Turner, who immigrated to BC from the UK, and married Richard Edward Steed, another British compatriot. Evelyn married Art Nursery and lived in the lower Mainland area of BC, where they raised a family. Evelyn died 4 April 1987 at age 74. Art outlived her, but I do not know his death date.

Margery married Hugh Phillip Sigismund and also raised a family in the lower Mainland. Hugh passed away on 24 June 1975 at age 63. I don't have Margery's death date, but will post once discovered.

This is a photo of Granddad and his sisters, likely taken in the 1950's:

From left to right: Evelyn, Granddad, Gwen and Margery.

Cheers, K.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Bowell Funeral Home Records

As I mentioned in my last post, I found a wonderful database of Bowell Funeral Home Records on the local history section of the New Westminster Public Library website. It is easily searchable by surname or date and contains a wealth of information on deaths, burials and funeral services in New Westminster, BC. Kudos go to the staff of the Library for putting together this great set of records and for always being very helpful. They have a great information/reference service , which I have used often and would recommend to anyone looking for genealogical data from New Westminster.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Gwendolyn Muriel Ball (1909-1989)

Gwendolyn Muriel Ball was born in 1909, according to the 1911 Census of Canada. She married John (Jack) Hynds in New Westminster, BC on 23 June 1928. Jack was a baker by trade. Jack served as a White Rock, BC city alderman for the following terms: 1959-1961, 1963-1964, 1966-1969. He served as mayor from 1970-1971. Gwen and Jack had two children, Robert Gordon (born 1 January 1932) and another son (living). I never knew about Robert, but stumbled across a reference to him in Gwen's obituary and later found his funeral home record . Bobby died on 9 December 1933 from toxemia and shock resulting from accidental scalding. He was almost two years old. He is buried in the New Fraser Cemetery. Gwen had a keen interest in family history and was the author of the note that set me off on this journey. Jack died on 11 October 1973. Tragically, Gwen was hit by a bicyclist on a White Rock sidewalk and later died of her injuries on 6 July 1989. She was 80 years old.

I don't have many memories of Gwen, as I was quite young when I met her, but do remember her kind face and gentle touch.

Granddad's sisters

Granddad had 3 younger sisters, all born in Canada. The eldest was Gwendolyn Muriel, who was born in 1909.
The next eldest was Evelyn Edith, whose birth date has not yet been found, and the youngest was Margery. This photo shows Granddad and his sisters in his new car, along with 2 young children. I would estimate this photograph dates from the late 1920's.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Vital event data for British Columbia

If you are looking for vital event information for British Columbians, check out the vital (birth, marriage and death) event indexes at the BC Archives . These indexes will provide vital event dates for specified time frames (according to privacy legislation guidelines). Copies of registrations can be ordered for a fee. However, you can also use the dates to track down newspaper announcements and obituaries at the public library.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Memories of Mary Meade McPhee

How to describe Mary Meade McPhee? She was simply "Nana". She lovingly nursed my Dad and Granddad through asthma and cancer. Nana had a very quick wit and loved to socialize. She was a classy dresser and always 'belle of the ball". Dad called her the "Grand Dame of the Ball Family" - elegant, regal and adored by many. I remember how she and sister Naomi would start a Scottish highland fling in anyone's front room, living room, kitchen or basement. Nana loved to laugh and always had a hug for you. She loved to sew, knit and create and patiently spent many hours teaching me (although I never mastered the knitting thing.....) She made you feel like you could do anything if you put your mind to it. She'd fly out to visit with us and would charm all of our friends and family. It was always an event when Mary was in town. I remember "Buttercup" her Toyota Corolla, and the long drive up to 100 Mile House to visit with her friend, Ollie. We laughed, sang songs and gabbed all the way up there and back - a perfect adventure for a 14 year old away from home.

If you want to share your memories of Nana, please feel free to post.

Cheers, K.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Mary Meade McPhee (1910-1997) - The Grand Dame of the Ball Family

Mary Meade McPhee was my paternal grandmother, also known as the "Grand Dame of the Ball Family", as my Dad used to call her. She was born in Abbotsford, British Columbia on 20 February 1910. Her parents were Alexander Magnus McPhee and Naomi Baynes. Mary was the third of 5 chlildren born to Alex and Naomi. Her siblings were Elsie, Naomi, Borden and James.

She trained as a nurse at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminister BC and graduated around 1929. She met my Granddad at the Royal Columbian when she helped nursed my great-grandfather, Thomas Huxtable Ball. Bill and Mary were married on 4 June 1932 in New Westminster. Together, they raised two sons. Mary was active in the Royal Victorian of Nurses of British Columbia. She preferred to be called 'Nana' rather than Grandma and was a doting grandmother of 6 grandchildren. Following Bill's death in 1971, she returned to the BC mainland to live closer to her sister, Naomi and her other siblings. She also liked to travel - visiting her son and his family in Ontario and travelling with her sisters on holiday in the US. She died on 1 May 1997 in Langley (?), BC.

McPhee is variably spelled "MacPhee", but Nana always used McPhee when writing about her family.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Memories of Granddad (William Huxtable Ball, 1903-1971)

These are my memories of Granddad and stories told to us by Dad.

Dad always spoke of Granddad's sharp sense of humour, love of laughter, and his love of the sea. Granddad loved to tell stories, especially funny ones. I remember the telescope in the big picture window in my grandparent's house on Nanoose Bay. Granddad could tell you the kind of ship was sailing by, what it was carrying and its registration. He would point out all the mountains and tell you about how he used to travel up and down the coast to small communities, making sure that everyone had enough gasoline and oil to keep houses warm and boats moving. He could spot the movements of whales in the bay and tell you to wait and watch for the spout of water to appear. He was faithful viewer of Coronation Street - my first memories of the show were watching it with him.

However, he never could remember my name or my sister's (our given names both begin with K, as did one of our cousins) - so we were invariably called "Miss Milligicuddy". In fact, Granddad was, by Dad's recollection, not any good at remembering names and dates. He had many friends and acquaintances named 'Joe' as he could never remember their names. Granddad messed up Dad's birth registration by giving the wrong month (later corrected) and forgetting to include "McPhee" as a middle name on the first and second trips to the registry office, which was bit of a sore point between my grandparents for a while. I suppose that he could be forgiven as Dad was quite ill at birth and very sick for the first few years of his life with asthma. Granddad was a Freemason and, like many people of his day, viewed Catholicism with distrust. When Dad attended Gonzaga University, a Jesuit college in Spokane, Washington, on a sports scholarship, Granddad was not particularly amused. I don't think that he would have like to have known that Dad often attended Mass out of respect to Father Murray, a mentor and educator.

My few memories of Granddad are from the last years of his life, when he was ill was cancer. On our visits, I can remember a frail man, who always had a smile, loved to tousle your hair, and tell you funny stories about your father growing up. Despite the state of his health, he always was a dapper man, hat jauntily perched on his head. He would insist that Dad take him, my sister and me up to the landfill in the evening so we could watch the bears rummaging around the garbage. I thought it was pretty neat to have a grandfather who had his own 'zoo' down the road. He loved it when you brought him little creatures from the beach. He would explain where and how they lived and how the tides affected all sea life. I apparently called crabs "craps" as a young child and Dad said that Granddad would ask me about my crab hunting on the beach, trying not to laugh too hard when I said "craps" (of course, he never corrected my pronunciation....). He was the director of the clam digs on the beach, showing my sister and I where to dig with our little plastic shovels. We never seemed to find many, but had a wonderful time with a grandfather that we lost too soon.

Please feel free to add your own memories or to correct any errors in my has been quite a while since Granddad and Dad passed, so my memories may have faded. It's great getting old isn't it?

Cheers, K.