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.
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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.)