Saturday, November 28, 2009

Surname Saturday - Is it Johnson or Johnston?

George Albert JOHNSTON
Aged 20
Born: 2nd November 1875 ~ Lot 10, Concession 2,
Proton Station, Proton Township, Grey County, Ontario

George Albert JOHNSON was the eldest of the ten children of 
Christopher JOHNSTON and Mary Jane ACHESON.

This first photograph was taken at George's parents homestead, which was his birthplace. It was found in a suitcase with other photos and personal papers. He had given this suitcase to one of his sons sometime in the late 1950's before his death in 1964.

George Albert JOHNSON
Aged 85
This photograph was taken in Saskatoon where George was living with one of his daughters and son-in-laws. Although he had retired from farming in 1959, he still lived at his farm when the weather permitted. Saskatoon was only a short distance from his farm in Milden, Saskatchewan.
~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~    ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~
My mother's name was Eva Carlotta JOHNSON. However, she knew that at some time her father, George Albert JOHNSON, had spelled his surname as JOHNSTON.

Why George changed his name is unclear. My Mother and other members of the family thought that it had to do with how George's Homestead Records were registered between 1905 and 1908 in Saskatchewan.

I recently (August 2009) found George's Homestead Record on the Government of Saskatchewan, Canada website. That record shows both George JOHNSON and one of his younger brothers, Joseph JOHNSON, listed without the "T."

George claimed the Northeast quarter Section 34, Township 29, Range 11, West 3rd Meridian; and Joseph claimed the Southeast quarter Section 34, Township 29, Range 11, West 3rd Meridian, Rural Municipality of Milden, Saskatchewan, #286, incorporated 1911.
Here the JOHNSON brothers farmed as neighbours all their lives.  Both brothers were actively involved in the building of this rural community.

George and his wife, Emma CLARK, had settled their homestead in 1905, living in a sod house for the first 3 years. The home that they lived in for the rest of their lives was built in 1908.
Joseph and his wife, Jenny MORTIMER, settled their homestead in about 1910. Joseph died in about 1954.

Also, correspondence from his father, Christopher JOHNSTON,  in December 1921, shows George being addressed as "Mr. George JOHNSTON."

To: Mr. George A. Johnston
Milden, Sask
Dec 1921
Christmas Greeting to my Dear son George i send you and love and good wishes
i hope you will be good and happy all your life.
from your Dad
In 1921, Christopher Senior was 80 years old, and his son George was 46 years old.
Christopher lived to be 83 years and 7 months old. George lived to be 89 years and 2 months.
SOURCE:  © private collection.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Enniskillen Castle, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland

The Watergate at Enniskillen Castle
Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Image © Copyright Raymond Millar and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
"Built in 1611 by Sir William Cole. Described at the time as a ‘fair and strong wall’ twenty-six feet high, ‘newly erected’ with flankers, parapet and wall walk. An impressive building with twin cor belled turrets projecting so as to give protection to the wall on two sides."
My maternal grandfather, George Albert JOHNSON/JOHNSTON, was Irish. Both his mother's and his father's families emigrated from Ireland in the mid 1800's.

The 1851/1852 Census Canada record shows that George's paternal grandparents, John JOHNSTON and Catherine RUTLEDGE, emigrated between the birth of two children, born 1836 and 1838.

A small family book written and self-published in 1951, indicated that his mother's parents sailed from Ireland in the Spring of 1850, a 28 day voyage.
"It was on a day in Spring, April 14th, 1850, that William ACHESON, accompanied by his brother-in-law John RUTHERFORD, bid a last farewell to old Ireland, and set forth to seek his fortune in Canada, the great new land of promise."
Later in 1850, Christina (FALLIS) ACHESON and her sister, Mary (FALLIS) RUTHERFORD, sailed from Ireland to Canada to join their husbands in Canada.

According to this family book, George's grandparents, William ACHESON  and Christina FALLIS, were born near Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

A family committee was struck to begin the research in 1940, after an uncle's death bed request for someone in the family to begin their history while it was still possible to gather information from the elder members of the family.

Although it took ten years to complete, the book was published in 1951, just shortly after the 100th anniversary of the arrival of one of two brothers who left Ireland for the land of promise ~ Canada. (The elder brother, George ACHESON, had arrived a year or so earlier, in about 1849.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

RAGAN & MUNN, Photographers, Atchison, Kansas

Pink image:
"RAGAN & MUNN, Photographers, 317 Com. Street, Atchison, Kan. Negatives preserved. Copies can be had at any time."

White image:  
"J. M. MUNN, Photographer, Atchison, Kansas."
Very small lettering at lower left: "Riches Co." 
This is probably the name of the printer.
Images ©   Personal collection.

These are the reverse side of two more carte de visite photos from my Grandmother's little olde album.
The pink one is fancier that the first one that I posted on October 25th.  Note the camera with the painter's palette and the cloak. Two little angels are holding the banner.I have found a record that puts Ragan and Munn in business in Atchison, Kansas in 1880.
The logo on the black and white one, is much larger, taking up almost the whole back of the photo and even more artistic. Note the camera is a bit smaller and the artist's palette now is larger and  has brushes.
From what I have read, the photographer's logos became larger and more artistic as the years pasted. Knowing this, helps to date these little keepsake photographs.

An excellent site for information on how to date these vintage photographs is Roger Vaughan's site.
This extensive site is a great resource.
It also shows pictures of the clothing during the late 1800's and early 1900's another helpful technique.
Roger Vaughan is from the UK and appears to have been collecting and researching vintage photographs for a number of  years.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

J. M. MUNN ~ An Olde Business Card

Carte de Visite, "J. M. MUNN PHOTOGRAPHER, Atchison, Kansas."
Image © My personal collection.

This back of an carte de visite  photo,  from an album of my Grandmother's. It is the back of the photo of the woman standing that I posted a little earlier.
Although the photos were know as 'carte de visite' they were not actually a visiting card for the person in the photo, but they were an inexpensive way for family and friends to exchange photos. A close look at the upper left corner shows - $1.00 Per Dozen.
Gradually, the photographer's logo became more and more prominent and gives a clue to dating these little 2 1/2" x 4" photos. The larger the logo, the closer to 1900. Free advertising for the photographers of the day!

Boogie Jack ~ Web Design & Free Graphics

It's hard to compare with other sites. Created by a published book author on web design, his web design tutorials are written with humor and ease, the free graphics archive has some beautiful works of art, and his writings about life are always enlightening. My unique "marblized" header is one of many available at

A Touch of Elegance with 24K Gold Graphics

Browsing today for a little something to add to my site. Here's a sampling of a touch of elegance with 24K GOLD GRAPHICS

Friday, October 23, 2009

Treasure Chest Tuesday ~ My Unknown Ancestors

                  Carte de Visite photographs: unknown c. 1895.
                  J. M. MUNN, Photographer, Atchison, Kansas. 
                                  Images  ©  Personal Collection.

I see that the chair used is exactly the same in both photos. I think that rather than a couple, these two people may be brother and sister, or related in some other way.

These two vintage carte de visite  photographs  were in a small family album of my paternal grandmother, Ada May (MILLER) GATES.
My father, his parents and siblings emigrated from Kansas to Canada in February 1923, crossing at North Portal, Saskatchewan.

In the late  1800's  tintype and carte de visite photos were hugely popular. So much so that it was dubbed "Cartemania." Every family had one of these small albums, similar in size to a bible, about 1 1/2" x 4" x 5 1/2". It reminds me of a diary, it has a metal clasp to close it.

I've also read that only the very poorest of families did not have a carte de visite album.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Other

While I was on the web today, I followed a few links and came to The Other Pages. A beautiful site.

I was actually looking for quotations, which brought me to their quotations page QUOTATIONS There's more: PHOTO ESSAYS

The owner of this intriguing site is Stephen Spanoudis.
Thanks Steve. Enjoy.

Vintage Marriage Certificate

I found this olde Marriage Certificate at an Antique shoppe just a few days ago.
On the left side are the "Requirements of the Husband"; on the right side are the "Requirements for the Wife." These are listed according to verses in the Bible.
Provides a glimpse into the past - probably some 100 years ago.

"I Love Typography" and "Typedia"

I remind myself at times to visit my own "Interesting Links."

I just checked out I Love Typography. Johno, the owner (I presume) has a new post about Typedia
Typedia - "The Shared Encyclopedia of Typeface." This is a community website with a team of over 12 people involved in creating it.

Both sites look great. Well worth a visit. Extensive and educational.
I have a new appreciation for fonts and typefaces.

The Jeanie Johnston ~ Replica of 1847 Ship

PLEASE NOTE: This image is NOT the Jeanie Johnston. Just a nice little olde sailing ship.

A coincident that the ship's name is the same as my Mother's family name!

My Mother's ancestors came from Ireland. Her father was George Albert JOHNSTON/JOHNSON. George's father was Christopher JOHNSTON. Christopher's parents arrived from Ireland between 1836 and 1838, according to the 1851/1852 Canada Census.

George's mother was Mary Jane ACHESON. Mary Jane's parents came from Ireland too. They arrived in Canada in 1850. Both sides of her Father's family sailed from Ireland in the mid 1800's. Both paternal grandfathers, John JOHNSTON in about 1837 and George ACHESON, in April 1850, a 28 day voyage.

We don't know what ships they sailed on. Could they have been a ships like the The Jeanie Johnston?

The Jeannie Johnston was built in 1847 and was one of the last of the wooden tall ships of her kind.

At the time of the Great Famine during the late 1840's and early 1850's, The Jeannie Johnston brought Irish emigrants to North America. Their website states that the Ship is now (2009) docked in Dublin and plans for 2010 voyages will soon be made. Ready for an adventure!

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT and image of The Jeanie Johnston ship. Just a nice little olde sailing ship.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A new look!

Well, I continue to research my ancestors - lots of new finds! Actually, got totally sidetracked.
In my web travels I came across PaisleyCatScraps
Fabulous designs and ideas to "dress up your blog."
PaisleyCat is where I got my new background. I love it!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Grandma's Photo Album ~One of My Mystery Ladies!

Carte de Visite ~ Unknown woman, late 1890's.
Photographer:  J. M. WINN, Photographer, Ottumwa, Iowa.
SOURCE: Image copyright  ©  Personal collection.

She could be a GATES or HULL; a MILLER or BEEGHLY.

Many years ago my paternal Grandmother, Ada May GATES, gave my parents a very old photo album.
From what I can determine now, it was from sometime between 1860 and 1900. The album has a metal clasp to keep it closed and looks somewhat like a small bible.

There are 19 tinypes and 9 carte de visite. Not a single one has the name of the person on it!

Let's identify our photos for our descendants!


Here's a place to do a search for your "dead freds" - great site - fun and informative.

Dig Up Your Relatives at - The Original Genealogy Photo Archive

I'm not an expert!

I'm not an expert genealogist. However, I've found some useful links that have helped me researching my ancestors. Here are a couple - Canada Census Records

The Canada 1851/1852 Census Records which is where I found my Mother's great grandparents: John JOHNSTON born 1799 in Ireland and his wife Catherine RUTLEDGE born in 1803 Ireland.

One article I found on the net indicated that a large portion of the 1851/1852 Census was lost and/or destroyed. Considering that I consider this a special find.

This is a fun one! DeadFred Tin type and vintage photos; search for last names; etc.


Thought I'd start with one of my favorite sites - Such a great way to lend a hand fun for all ages. OK Go fill up a bowl.
Fight World Hunger