Monday, 27 August 2012

Obituary - William Huxtable Ball, 1971

I've been on bit of mission lately to track down details about my grandfather, William Huxtable Ball, and his siblings. One of the things that I realized is that I didn't have his obituary. Having grown up on the other side of the continent, we did not have a copy of his obit - so, I tracked down the microfilm and had a look.

This is a transcription of his obituary from the Victoria Times Colonist, 7 April 1971:

BALL - William Huxtable, a resident of Seacrest, R.R.#1, Nanoose Bay, passed away in the Nanaimo General Hospital, Tuesday April 6, at the age of 67 years. Born in Leeds, England. He came to Canada in 1906 and was district manager for the Shell Oil in many places in BC, including Victoria. He is survived by his loving wife, Mary, 2 sons - [name omitted] Kamloops, [name omitted] Toronto, 3 sisters, Mrs. John (Gwen) Hynds, White Rock, Mrs. A. (Evelyn) Nursey, Surrey and Mrs. Marjorie Sigismund, Coquitlam, 6 grandchildren also survive.

Funeral services on Thursday April 8, at 1 pm, from the Westwood Chapel of Flowers [illegible], Rev. W. Dormer officiating, cremation to follow. Kindly omit floral memorials. Donations in memory of Mr. Ball may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society, P.O. 292, Victoria, BC.

In rediscovering the obituary, I was reminded of several things - that my grandparents had named their home "Seacrest" and the house was situated on Nanoose Bay. I remember the large balcony and picture window that over looked the backyard and waterfront.

This is a photo of their house from the back:

I am also reminded of the all to familiar mention of the Canadian Cancer Society in the obituary notices for my family - Granddad, Nana, Dad and my dear uncle - all has similar notations in their notices.

Cheers, K.

Monday, 20 August 2012

My mystery man - William Henry Ball

In going back over some research notes, I came across William Henry Ball, son of Henry Ball and Anne Evans. Given the propensity to hand down names in the Ball family (especially, the name 'William'), I was particularly flummoxed in my early days of research with sorting out which William was who. (I should be honest and say that the legacy of repeating names is not purely a Ball tradition. I am named after my mother's sister, who named one her daughters after my mother - my poor Grandma never got my name right on the first try - I learned to answer to both names - it just made life easier for her...)

William Henry Ball was born on 7 November 1892 in Newton, Brigend, Wales, in the area near Porthcawl:

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His father, Henry, was a dairyman. His mother was Ann Evans. Henry's address was given as 52 Windsor Road, Penarth and it is noted "as per Declaration dated 21 December 1892". William Henry's birth was registered on 28 December 1892, almost 2 months after his arrival in Newton.

Sorting out his identity from of his cousin, William Spickett Ball, was bit of a tangle as they both often appeared in the census as "William Ball". They appear to have worked together in the Evans (a relation to William Henry's mother, Ann, I suspect) bakery in Whitchurch, Cardiff in the 1911 census.

Family lore had it that William Henry had died in the Great War or by tragic circumstances, at a young age. He turned up as the informant of the death of his father, Henry, on 8 December 1931. There's a William Henry Ball listed in the 1937 Western Mail Directory for Cardiff, living at 8 Bridgend Street, Splott, one of the four inner city suburbs of Cardiff, born of the industrial revolution.

Recently, I came across a marriage registration for William Henry Ball, of 96 Plassey Street, Penarth, dated 26 Dec 1921. He was married to Matilda Kate Bowcher, who lived at 34 Plymouth Road, Penarth. The marriage took place in the Parish Church in Penarth. Interestlingly, the witnesses to the marriage were William Spickett Ball, Henry's cousin and Arthur William Bowcher, Matilda's older brother.

I have not yet been able to find a death for William Henry Ball - but now know that he had been married. My next steps are to trace down any possible children and Matilda's death or second marriage. I will be sure to let everyone know if anything turns up.

Cheers, K.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Rethinking next steps

It's been a while since I last posted (and I do feel guilty about not getting back into the blogging groove). Family, holidays and work seem to have taken over my time over the last while - and with the appearance of August on the calendar, I keep thinking about fall and the rush that it will bring with the start of another school year, sports, etc. I shouldn't be wishing away summer. It is altogether too short and fleeting. I do plan to spend more evenings on the deck, enjoying the sunset.

I've been rethinking how to best approach my next set of research tasks. I've realized that I have been darting off in all directions - chasing elusive Ball clan members without much focus and being tempted by the Turner side, which is another maze.

To get back on track, I think that I'll need to focus on a select group of 'problem' relatives and develop some plans on how to best fill the missing pieces. Organizing my files, notes to self, downloads, and printouts, etc., along with updating my family history program are my goals for the remainder of the year.

With these new goals, it does not mean that I won't be blogging - I fully intend to keep everyone updated on my finds and progress to date. Hopefully, on a much more frequent basis.

Cheers, K.

P.S. I should note that the tombstone photograph is not of a Ball gravesite - rather a photograph taken during a family reunion trip to Manitou, Manitoba with my Mom and Aunt Barb in July 2010. We were exploring the LaRiviere Cemetery, which sits alongside the Pembina River, when I came across this headstone and found it particularly appealing.