View Full Version : Lost in Canada...
I hope you're sitting comfortably - this could turn out to be quite a long story. |help|
Albert Edward Jones Dunn (b. 1863 Shoreditch, Middx) was my great grandfather.
He was decribed as a fireman on a locomotive and/or as a general labourer.
According to my grandmother, he 'went to the Yukon to search for gold' some time after 1901. She told me (I was but a little lad at the time) that he sent the money for his wife and eldest daughter to join him, with the intention of sending for the others as finances permitted, but was in fact never heard of again.
This story always confused me, since Nan's mother and eldest sister never did go to join him.
Last year I visited a cousin in Kent who produced a couple of boxes overflowing with old family photographs - a regular treasure trove! I was able to identify many of the relatives portrayed and who had baffled her for years, but one figure stood out.
He is dressed in a long grey(?) calf-length topcoat, with a row of brass (or silver) buttons down the front and badges on the collar of his coat which is fastened to up to the neck. He's wearing a black hat or helmet (rather similar to a London Bobby's helmet but flattened at the top) with a large badge on the front. He wears leather gloves, ankle boots and gaiters. He holds a small baton (or drumstick?) in his hand.
A close examination of the photo shows the name of the studio: WD McVey, Toronto.
Nobody knew who this cossack-looking character was, until my cousin's son dropped by and remarked casually: "That's Nan's (my aunt's) father - he was killed in a train crash in Canada!" (I was staggered to think that he was the only one in the family who had this information, which could so easily have been lost forever.)
I have a copy of the photo on disc, but unfortunately it's in a very large format and I don't have a facility to reduce it.
I wrote to the Toronto Museum and to the Toronto Police Museum (in case it was a police uniform) but didn't hear back from either.
Can anyone suggest a next step?
Thanks for your attention. |wave|
30-08-2008, 1:18 AM
Can you load the photo to photobucket and then link to it?
See here (http://www.british-genealogy.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30819) for steps.
If that doesn't work google for photo resizing. Microsoft have a free piece of software for Windows XP that I found very easy to use.
30-08-2008, 4:09 AM
Intrigued...and ready to muster Canadian resources...PLEASE let us see the photo...
AND... more info on name and whatever dates you have, pls!;)
We will do our CANJUN best!!!! (eh?!)
By George - I think I've got it!
Now to see if Our Albert's picture comes out...
The only information I've been able to glean from Census and Certs:
Born Shoreditch 4 March 1863
Occupation on Marriage Cert (1887): Engine Cleaner
Census 1891 - Occupation: Loco Fireman
Census 1901 - Occupation: General Labourer
Occupation on daughters' Marriage Certs (1906): Farmer (but no indication of whether he was present)
It would be great to discover his job in Canada (could that be a plume of some sort coming out of his hat badge?), when and where he died, and if in fact he did perish in a train crash, whether there was a newspaper report of the incident.
One can dream - innit marvellous to have friends to help out? |hug|
Quivering in anticipation
30-08-2008, 6:13 PM
Fascinating story and photo.
Interesting, the photographer, W.D. McVey seems to have been in operation between 1893 and 1913 in Toronto, according to "Photographers in Ontario".
The uniform is fascinating, but I haven't any idea off hand what it could be. Certainly the greatcoat and warm gloves would be needed in winter, even in Toronto (which we here in Ottawa, some miles north, tend to refer to as "Lotusland" for its milder winters), although they might be a tad cool for the Yukon. Possibly police, given the badge on the hat, and the hat being oddly Bobby-like. Possibly transit police, although I am not sure they had them that early. Possibly harbour police, since the thingies on the collar look remotely anchor-like.
In the 1901 census (see www.automatedgenealogy.com) for the Territories, there is an Albert E. Dunn, age 30, Rancher, living in Muskeg Lake, Saskatchewan with his wife Catherine (age 20) and daughter Elena (age 10). But Albert's birthplace is given as Quebec and origin as Irish...his wife (could be a *new* wife?) is listed as Cree... Maybe not *your* Albert?
There's no corresponding Dunn in the 1911 census in Yukon Territory.
I would contact the City of Toronto Archives http://www.toronto.ca/archives/index.htm and also post a query to the Ontario Genealogical Society - Toronto Branch, here http://www.torontofamilyhistory.org/enquiries.html. Give them all the info and a copy of the photo and see if they can identify the uniform and the person beign in Toronto, and when. The latter has volunteers who will try and answer queries, and they could do lookups for you in the Toronto City Directories to see if your man Dunn lived there about the time this photo was taken...the directories often state their occupation. They could also look him up in the 1891 census...
Hope this helps a bit.
30-08-2008, 6:35 PM
Is the father Robert Dunn? I have found several Albert Dunn's on the Canadian Border Crossings: Albert Dunn b 1888 Motor mechanic from Bedlington arrival 1922, Albert Dunn arrival 1914 mechanic Burton on Trent.
30-08-2008, 11:31 PM
Thanks to you both for your help.
Mary Anne - I'll certainly follow the addresses you provide, will keep you informed of developments.
Vanessa - good point: I should have mentioned Albert's parents.
His father was John Dunn, born 1820 in Dungarvon, Ireland, served in the army as a private for 12 years, discharged as unfit for duty in 1861 as the result of receiving a musket ball in the shoulder at the Siege of Kotah in 1858.
Upon return to civilian life, he took up residence in Islington and worked as a Public Carriage Attendant before becoming deranged and committing suicide in 1876.
Albert's mother, Sarah (Youl), b. 1826 at Ecton, Northants, took in washing.
It would be nice to think that Albert took up with a Cree maiden - but I think that must be someone else. Thank heavens for the 'Jones' in his name (perhaps Mr Jones was the milkman) which sets him apart from all the other Albert Dunns.
31-08-2008, 2:15 AM
|wave|Should have said Welcome to B-G before!:D
The only reason I asked about mother's name was one of the Albert Dunn's listed his mother Mrs. Robert Dunn of Bedlington.
The Yukon Gold Rush as it was called started in 1893 but didn't last long and I can't remember when it eventually faded out. But the NorthWest Mounted Police was called into to maintain law and order in the gold rush towns. And I think this photo is of a NWMP but I am no expert. Have lived in Canada 50 years and don't remember a lot of history. Lots of fascinating stuff if you google it though.
Albert Edward Jones Dunn - a lot of names to switch to become obscure if he was that sort of person or he could have gone by Dunne. Have you tried the outward bound passenger ships on findmypast? I don't have any credits left or I'd look. But I will try again on a*.ca It is difficult I know here, as only a couple of provinces are online. Thank goodness I don't have any Canadian's to search for - just the odd hit and miss trip.
31-08-2008, 3:28 AM
Ah, Vanessa, the Northwest Mounted Police!!! But I don't think this is their uniform in the photo...
They had pillbox hats - see here http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/history/nwmp_uniform_e.htm (not helmets like the one in the photo), early on, although they later wore pith helmets, and fur hats...here are some more photos http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/calgary/nwmp.html
What bothers me is the star-shaped badge on the helmet, 'coz it seems pseudo-military-police/Victorian-medal sort of thing (understand all of that, do you?! then you can explain it to ME! :confused:)
John -- try writing to these folks, and see what they say... http://www.nwmpmuseum.com/historyofthenwmp.html and also these folks, the commemorative association.. http://www.nwmpca.org/ Here's some stuff about the NWMP and the Yukon Gold Rush... http://www.mta.ca/about_canada/study_guide/nwmp/
I am still leaning towards the uniform in the photo relating to duties of some kind of *constabulary* far south of the Yukon -- in the Toronto area... (follow the photo, I think, rather than the *myth* of the Gold Rush;))
Thanks - I'll give them all a try.
It's great to think that after all these years I'm actually on the old chap's trail...
And the description 'myth' might be just right. It's a small step from 'seeking his fortune' to 'looking for gold' to 'joining the goldrush'. Time will tell...
31-08-2008, 4:14 AM
I have found pictures of prison guard uniforms of the time .
Kingston Penitentiary staff in winter, c. 1900
This photo of Kingston Penitentiary officers, posing in their winter uniforms outside the North Gate, was used as a postcard. Some officers are wearing service tunics, while others are wearing long greatcoats.
google canada uniforms penitentiary 1900
31-08-2008, 4:21 AM
Better and better!
There is a distinct similarity in the uniforms and in the shape of the cap badge.
I've sent off a feeler to the CSC Headquarters to ascertain if it's possible to get in touch with the museum direct, since they don't have an email address quoted on their website.
I can see this coming week is going to be busy!
31-08-2008, 2:28 PM
good luck with that john let us know how you got on :)
31-08-2008, 4:16 PM
I agree with Bashford after seeing the Kingston Pen photos. Good luck John - I'm sorry I got sidetracked with the lure of the Yukon Gold Rush:D
So if he never made it out of Ontario then perhaps he can still be found. I will try to have another look.
ET in the USA
31-08-2008, 4:53 PM
Does anyone know why he is holding a short stick in his left hand ? It looks much too small to be a truncheon, yet must have some significance as part of this very formal photo in uniform.
Riding Crop ?
Drum Stick ?
31-08-2008, 5:50 PM
Good point Elaine
Riding crops were longer, drum stick - maybe he was in a band of sorts but then where's the drum. A pointer as for teaching seems too short as well. Hmmm..
I got in touch with a kind gentleman at the Toronto Penitentiary Museum who advised that the uniform is not that of a prison officer since they didn't wear badges on their collars.
He referred my enquiry to two military museums who confirmed that Albert was dressed as a soldier, probably from the Royal Canadian Regiment, but that the collar insignia were too indistinct to be certain. The eight-pointed star in the cap badge was used by many regiments.
"The cap is a standard Canadian style winter fur wedge type cap and the greatcoat is the dark grey type worn up until WWI".
Dave of the Penitentiary Museum added that Albert is holding an officer's swagger stick - so he must have done quite well for himself.
Thanks for all your help and support - now I have to search for details of his passage to Canada, find out when he died and look up details of some train crashes.
Did someone say that this is an absorbing hobby? :)
07-09-2008, 12:50 AM
Aha! JohnN - what good contact that was!
I don't know why I didn't htink of this before, but you could try this group's forum - although this chappy's photo was clealry taken before WW1, it may well be that the insignia were the same and did not change much.
Try the Canadian Expeditonary Force Study Group Forum - http://www.cefresearch.com/phpBB2/index.php
Their main interest is WW1, but as I say, if you explain the theories, they may be able to help you with the insignia. Loads of very knowledgeable folks on there about Canadian military STUFF!
08-09-2008, 3:12 AM
Found 3train wrecks in Ontario.
Feb. 9 1904 Sand Point, Ontario - 15 killed
Sept 21, 1906 Napanee, Ontario - engineer killed Grand Trunk Railway passenger train - collision
Jan 21, 1910 Spanich River, Northern Ontario - Derailment Canadian Pacific Railway - 44 killed
Hopes this helps narrow things down a little.:)
Thanks for that - the pile of information grows!
I'm currently waiting for approval of my membership in the CEF Study Group Forum.
They certainly seem to take their interests seriously!
30-10-2008, 7:58 AM
Please check back with the C.E.F. Study Group as I hope to have made a breakthrough and am eager to know if this helps:
I did actually post a reply on the CEF Study Group site in response to your PM - but looking back, it seems to have disappeared. Perhaps I pressed the wrong button or I'm looking in the wrong place.
If I can't find it, I'll have another try, hoping that I don't contradict myself...
01-11-2008, 8:35 PM
Charles Dunn b c1780 of Ireland and Mary Hibbard of New England
Timothy Hibbard Dunn
Constable #846 Albert Edward Ernest Dunn NWMP 1860-1947
My best guess re: photo is that it's the winter wear of 'C' Company, Toronto Brigade, Infantry School Corps of the fledgling Royal Canadian Regiment (1883). This unit travelled west and spun off the North West, Alberta (1885) and Yukon (1898) Field Forces.
The full 239 page service file of Constable #846 Albert Edward Ernest Dunn of the NWMP is online through this link NWMP-Personnel Records, 1873-1904 (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/nwmp-pcno/001032-119.02-e.php?&person_id_nbr=28668&page_sequence_nbr=1&&PHPSESSID=o94rqr0itcnfiun0jrg7kfinq2)
Western Land Grants (1870-1930) (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/western-land-grants/001007-110.01-e.php?q1=&q2=&q3=&q4=&q5=dunn&q6=&interval=50&sk=151&&&&PHPSESSID=3liq1shtaepsntonj2vpi9cso3) Legal Land Description. Cross-Reference RG: 68 Volume: 100 Folio: 396 Dated: 1883/03/07
Part Section Township Range Meridian
E 4 12 19 W1
ALBERT EDWARD DUNN Remarks: (TP12R19W) 320 acres sale by the Secretary of State & adjoining 320 acres granted to Stuart Hunter Dunn.
Saskatchewan Herald Apr 23 1885 (http://www.sasksettlement.com/assets/archive_document/C43_Apr23_1885.pdf) mention of Albert
History of Battle Lodge (http://www.ioniclodge31.ca/battlehist.htm)
Our Volunteers in the Northwest (http://books.google.ca/books?id=1ToOAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA50&lpg=PA50&dq=%22a.e.+dunn%22+police&source=bl&ots=h3bmiaenae&sig=msIdh_XtWu33QDMNJpSClFngbsU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result#PPP1,M1)
Saskatchewn Herald 1885 (http://www.ourroots.ca/e/page.aspx?id=3606105)
The History of the North-West Rebellion of 1885 (http://books.google.ca/books?ct=result&id=_0-Rd0Y1Q8oC&dq=%22north+west+field+force%22+dunn&ots=epRsyJCwqi&pg=PA135&lpg=PA135&q=dunn#PPA134,M1)
Rebellion, 1885 - Diary of N.W. Expedition, Toronto Brigade, C Company I.S.C. (http://scaa.sk.ca/ourlegacy/solr?query=Subject%3A%22Infantry%20School%20Corps% 22&start=0&rows=&mode=view&pos=0)
Rebellion, 1885 - Order Book "C" Company I.S.C. (http://scaa.sk.ca/ourlegacy/solr?query=Subject%3A%22Infantry%20School%20Corps% 22&start=0&rows=&mode=view&pos=1) 10 July-8 October 1885
Diary of Lieutenant R. Lyndhurst Wadmore, Infantry School Corps (http://scaa.sk.ca/ourlegacy/solr?query=DocumentType%3A%22Archival%22%7CPlace%3 A%22Canada%21%21Ontario%21%21Toronto%22&start=0&rows=10&mode=view&pos=3), April 8, 1885 to July 20, 1885, N.W. Campaign.
Batoche Dinner - Royal Regiment of Canada (http://scaa.sk.ca/ourlegacy/solr?query=DocumentType%3A%22Archival%22%7CPlace%3 A%22Canada%21%21Ontario%21%21Toronto%22&start=0&rows=10&mode=view&pos=1)- Toronto, ON
Reminiscences of the North-West Rebellions, Major Charles A. Boulton (http://wsb.datapro.net/rebellions/), Toronto, 1886.
Dunns of the TORONTO EXPEDITIONARY FORCE:
Private Robert Henry Dunn 'C' Company School of Infantry wounded "poor Bob Dunn got shot three times in the arm."
Major Orlando Dunn, Acting Adjutant of the Governor-General's Body Guard of 80 Officers and Men and 74 Horse.
During the North West Rebellion of 1885 Albert fought alongside the North West Field Force 'C' Company, Toronto Infantry School, Royal Canadian Regiment who were issued winter wear of a grey greatcoat, black wedge-shaped fur cap and buckskin-covered woolen mitts.
In Search of Geraldine Moodie, Donny White, Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, 1998. This book contains multiple photos of Albert and his police work among Canada's First Nations peoples at the turn of the century. He had brothers Stuart and Logie a Cree wife and a son Bert. Albert is a cousin of Geraldine Moodie.
1911 Census of Canada (http://www.automatedgenealogy.com)
Surname Givens Age Province District Subdistrict Enumeration District # Page Line
Dunn Albert E 51 Alberta Calgary Townships 23 11 37 21
Albert died in 1917.
Jack F. Dunn wrote and published a book in Winnipeg in 1987 (republished Calgary 1994) 'Alberta Field Force of 1885' and you may be interested in a fictional account of one Robert Dunn and his elder brother Captain Dunn: Corporal Cameron of the North West Mounted Police, A Tale of the MacLeod Trail (http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/3/2/4/3241/3241.htm), Ralph Connor [pseudonym].
Parents were English
John Henry Dunn surgeon (possibly of East India Co.) b 1792 Saint Helena Island d Apr 21 1854
Alexander Roberts Dunn 1833 York, Ontario
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