Tag Archives: Perkins Family

Connections Across the Atlantic!

9 Jul

Written during WW1










It has been a very interesting first week of July. We celebrated Canada Day  July 1st. We are officially 145 years old as a country. We are also in the midst of the Open Doors/Historic Week Edmonton Festival. Here we are celebrating about 100 years worth of Historic Buildings in the City of Edmonton and its surrounding areas. Also learned a little about the War of 1812. Guess I heard the name when I was in school, but it didn’t mean anything. After hearing someone speak at my Genealogy Group a couple of weeks ago, and watching some documentaries on TV, I realize that had this war not happened, I could be living in a different country today. British and Indians won, well I’m not sure about the Indians, but that is a debate for another time. Americans lost……..eventually Canada came into being in 1867!

In this same week, after several years of searching, I have finally connected with living Perkins relatives in England. For so long, I have only been digging up dead ancestors, so finding living relatives……well that  is a real treat. With the help of a number of individuals from the Villages of Claybrooke Magna and Claybrooke Parva, I have been able to locate two descendants of Walter Joseph Perkins, my grandfather John Thomas’ brother.

Died at the Battle of Cambrai November 30, 1917 age 20

Several years ago, I came upon a website called The Claybrookes. I discovered that in 1997, a group from the village had done research on the War Memorial situated in the churchyard. Listed on this memorial was the name William Perkins. On the website were transcriptions of letters this young man had written home to his sister Elsie Perkins during WW1. Bill was the younger son of Walter Perkins. Elsie and Bill were my Dad’s cousins. Perhaps someone in Walter’s family had descendants still alive in England.

Subsequent research proved that Bill had died at age 19 on the Battlefields of Cambrai in November 1917. He was not married and left no children. His older brother Thomas, was invalided out of the war and died in 1922 as a result of his war injury. He also was unmarried and left no children. The remainder of Walter’s children were girls and so, once married, would not have carried on the Perkins name.

I continued my research but without hope of finding Perkins relatives. Through other references to the village, I came across the name Thomas Perkins, and on one source, it said Thomas was living with his Grandfather Walter Perkins. So who was this Thomas, if son Thomas had died in 1922. Turns out, Elsie had 2 children both born during WW1 and prior to her marriage in 1924. Thomas was one of these boys. More searching and I discovered this young man had grown to adulthood in the village. Yes…..I found his marriage in 1944. Children possibly, but how to find them?

This was where the various notice boards came in handy. I listed my request to help find Thomas Perkins and his descendants. That was in 2008.

Success takes time…..but it happened this week. I have connected with Tom’s son, who still lives in the area, as well as Tom’s grand daughter, who I found via a Public Tree on Ancestry….people who definitely share my gene pool.

Old World…New World! Finally a TransAtlantic Perkins connection. Can hardly wait for my next visit to England. Thanks to those who helped to make this possible. I am sure the local, The Pig in Muck, was a busy place last weekend as old memories were raised. Cheers!

Women who married into the Perkins Family!

19 May

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day here in Canada. Of course, I was remembering my own mother, Agnes Irvine MacMillan Perkins, who died in 1996. But I was also thinking of those other women who married into the Perkins Family and who I have discovered through my research, Ann Mason, Clara Benford, and Sarah Jane Sleath. I wondered how the lives of these women differed from that of my mother.

Ann Mason Sutton Perkins was my Great Grandmother. She was the farthest I had gone back in my Paternal line. She was born in 1790 in Withybrook, WAR and christened at the Independent Chapel in Stretton Under Fosse in 1791. Her parents were John Mason and Esther  Iliffe. I knew they were Dissenters and that I might not find family records through the regular channels. I would likely need Non Conformist records.

A week ago as I was surfing the net looking for nothing in particular, I discovered that one of the paid sites had posted the Parish Register for Withybrook.  As I was a member, I started searching. Suddenly I had Mason’s back to a Thomas Mason who was buried at Withybrook, January 13, 1691 and listed as “age near 90”. This would mean that he was born circa 1601. I have not yet connected all the dots, but I have discovered a number of Thomas and John Mason’s born at Wolvey and Withybrook that could be likely contenders for Ann’s ancestors. I discovered that in 1745 John Mason married an Ann Spencer and that this name was carried on as a middle name. John Mason and Esther Iliffe, Ann’s parents, were married in 1789 and one of Ann’s brother was called William Spencer Mason. More work needs to be done, but I have just made a 200 year leap backwards in the Mason Family.

Now back to my original thoughts about Ann’s life in comparison to my mother’s…… just as a starter, I have a woman whose family seemed to live in one area forever! Ann, as an older woman widowed for the second time at age 48 when Joseph Perkins died (1838), eventually crossed the border into  Leicestershire, to live  near her son, John Perkins, Blacksmith at Claybrooke Magna and to die at the Frolesworth Alm Houses in 1861 at the age of 70.

My mother lived on 3 continents before the age of 15 years. She was born in Chile, South America, passed through Maidstone/Chatham, Kent, England and ended up in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.

Much more to say, but this is the Victoria Day Holiday Weekend, celebrated here in Canada long before Canada even existed, to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Birthday. Time to go out and enjoy!

Hello world!

12 May

Today would have been my Dad’s  birthday. He was born in Claybrooke Magna, Leicestershire, England on May 12, 1904. How he would have loved this wonderful technology!

He  started his working life here in Canada as a Telegram Delivery Boy and soon progressed to a  telegrapher for Canadian Pacific Telecommunications. He was a fantastic typist. As a child I remember sitting in our basement on cold winter nights and listening to him as he operated his HAM Radio. Nothing was more exciting than to have him make contact with another operator somewhere in the world. VE6 IR was  his call number. Confirmation of contact was made with postcards and I would check the mail everyday to see if any new ones had arrived.

He never lived to see the world of computers and cell phones, but I am sure he would have been amongst the first to have such items. He was a man before his time way back then and today, he would have been on the net with all its instant communication! And Google Earth with all aerial and street views….oh my!  He never flew in a jet plane! and didn’t know what the world looked like from up there.

I became interested in Genealogy about 8 years ago after I retired. Over the years, I had discovered photos of relatives left behind in England when my Dad and Grandparents emigrated to Canada in 1913. Of course, like many others, I never asked who were the people in these pictures….so,  I set out to discover who they were.

I pursued much of my research using online databases. The highlight of my connection with the Alberta Genealogy Society was the London Trippers trip to England in September 2010. There is nothing like spending time in Archives with others who are as passionate about their research as you are and then being able to visit the areas in England where your ancestors once lived and to walk down those same country roads.

Originally I was interested in learning who my ancestors were and where they had come from. I started out creating all those wonderful pedigree charts. Some 8 years on, I have finished, more or less, a few! The names and dates are there for me to look at. In some cases, I have been able to go back to the 1600’s. I guess this is success. What I discovered though was, it wasn’t the names or dates that were really important, it was the stories behind them. These were real people with real and exciting lives They lived in places as far away as  Calcutta, India and Coquimbo, Chile. They were tradespeople and domestic servants. They were farmers and Blacksmiths and they worked on ships as Engineers. They fought and died in the British Army in different wars. They were the true adventurers.

In the past few years, I have learned more history, geography, sociology, rural history, women’s studies, archaeology and computer skills than I did in my entire school years. It is these stories that now keep me engaged! I hope my WANDERINGS will continue to take me to the places where these people lived and died and I will be able to infuse my writings with even greater details of Lives Lived!

NEXT UP:  Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in London June 2 – 5, 2012

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