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.

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