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  1. #1
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    Default A Piece of Wood & The Trent Affair

    My interest in Genealogy stemmed from curiosity.

    Curiosity about a piece of wood on the one hand and a famous relative on the other.

    My Uncle Gilbert Ford (my Father’s eldest Brother) gave me the wooden button protector in 1987, telling me that it had been passed down through the family and it was now my turn to keep it until I found a successor.

    It had been varnished and had names and dates carved on it as follows:

    W. Ford QC IB GG Embarked at Southampton on 19 Dec 61 for B.N. America arrived at Halifax N st Jolois NB Petersville Fredrickton Dumfries Woodstock Florenceville Tobique Grand Falls Little Falls Fort Ingull Riviere du Loup Montreal 2 Feb 1862

    As I live in New Zealand, the opportunity to find out more about this piece of history was denied me until the advent of the Internet and free time to search for more information.

    Two years ago I started to search for battles in Canada that this might refer to, but could find none. Nothing of note seemed to have happened in 1861-62 other than the American Civil War.

    However, once I joined the New Zealand Society of Genealogists and gained access to Papers Past, I discovered a really interesting piece of history called The Trent Affair.

    It was in response to the Trent Affair that William Ford, my Great Grandfather was despatched with the Queen's Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and other regiments to stand by in Canada in case Britain declared war on America.

    The piece of wood showed the date of his departure, the places he passed through as he made his way from Halifax to Montreal and the date of his arrival.

    Since then I have learned a great deal about the Trent Affair, obtained William’s Army Papers and traced him in the various censuses between 1841 and 1911.

    Before he joined the army he was a Gamekeeper in Hampshire although his occupation was given as Sawyer when he joined up. He was invalided out before completing his full term of service, possibly because of the frost bite he would have suffered on the long trip from Halifax to Montreal in the middle of winter.

    He returned to being a Gamekeeper, a position he held for the rest of his working life. He was living with his son John at Berrynarbor in Devon at the time of his death in 1916.

    The famous relative is another story that I will save for another time!

  2. #2
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    What an interesting story - all from a piece of wood!
    My grandfather gave me a small wooden box - divided into 4 parts with some German words written on it. He said it had been made by a prisoner of war who had given it to him.
    I've now had it over 20 years and will treasure it always.
    Looking forward to hearing about your famous relative.....

    Sheila

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    Super Moderator Ladkyis's Avatar
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    What a wonderful story, and what a perfectly normal way to start researching your family history. Mine was because my Aunt used to throw certain phrases into the conversation at the tea table. To find out more look here
    Ladkyis

    “You can’t give her that!” she screamed. “It’s not safe!”
    IT’S A SWORD, said the Hogfather. THEY’RE NOT MEANT TO BE SAFE.

    I am fluent in three languages, English, Sarcasm and Profanity

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    Roan, you must be so pleased that you persevered and uncovered the life behind the wording on a simple family item and what a fantastic story it is. Thank you for sharing it with everyone

    My own started because I looked in an old book given to me by my mother and written in it is "Eli Cotton book 1838" and it stoked my imagination as to why he would have a copy of The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philospher. I still do not know the answer, he was the son of a Yorkshire mill worker who came to London and worked as a coach trimmer - I suspect it was the family's medical guide (although with modern eyes I hope they did not follow it too closely!).

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    Littlespark, what a treasure you have in that little box and what a story must lie behind a prisoner of war giving it to your Grandfather!

    Ladykis, I have read your blog and thoroughly enjoyed finding out about the tea parties, actors and your Spanish Jewess! No doubt there is more to the story that you have yet to tell!

    Pennydog, you too have a little piece of family history in your possession and perhaps one day it will reveal its secrets to you. Certainly a curious book to be in the possession of a mill worker and coach trimmer. Maybe it was a gift.

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