Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

Marian’s Roots and Rambles had a post called “Data Overload: How to Create a Better System.” Marian realizes that the organizational system she had in place isn’t working as well as it used to so she is looking for advice to help her create a new system.

Help Me With My Family Tree has a post called “Searching for Militia Records.” Nick is sharing some of the things he has learned researching British militia records.

Genea-Musings has a post called “File Sharing and Brick Walls – Russ Examines My Database.” Randy is receiving help from a fellow blogger with one of his brick walls. Russ is sharing the process of using Family Tree Maker 2012 to help solve some of Randy’s brick walls.

Irish Genealogy News provides us with some good news in a post called “1926 census possible online in 2016.” The title says it all but go in and read the post to get further details.

It’s that time of year again and Geneabloggers is having their Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2011. A different blog topic relating to Christmas will be posted by participating blogger’s everyday from the first of December through to Christmas Eve.

Are there any postings in the last week that you think need to be on this list? Let me know in the comments below.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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The Irish Archives Resource: A Portal for Genealogists Researching Irish Ancestors

The Irish Archives Resource says their site will help researchers “to search for publicly accessible archival collections that are located in Ireland.” There are five tabs to choose for information on the site: Search, About Us, Advice, Family History/Genealogy, Feedback and Links.

The Advice page helps you to get the best results from your searches in the Irish Archives Resource. You can search by keyword, dates, geographical area, collection type or name of repository and collection reference number.

If you click the “Search Results” button at the bottom of the search page then you get a complete listing of the resources catalogued on the site. When I did this I got 214 results and there were twenty results per page. Some of the results referred to a specific item and some to a collection.

There is one reference to a will for Annie Barnacle the mother of Nora Barnacle. Nora was the wife of James Joyce. Annie died in1940 and the will was lost. As the family tried to solve the problem letters were sent back and forth. These letters are the heart of the collection.

There are some collections relating to estates in Ireland. The date range of the collections starts in the 1700s and goes to the current day.

This does not cover all the collections to be found in repositories in Ireland but it does provide a good starting point when your research takes you to Ireland. There are links to the original repository at the end of each collection description.

The Irish Archives Resource catalogue is small at the moment. There are eighteen contributing repositories. When more information is added it will be a wonderful resource. Do not wait until more repositories are added to the Irish Archives Resource, go in now and see what you can find. You might be surprised.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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A Treasure for Those with Leeds West Yorkshire Ancestors

The West Yorkshire Archive Service has a website called “The Leeds Tithe Map Project.” They have digitized and made searchable the tithe maps of what is now the Leeds Metropolitan District. These maps cover the rural and urban townships from 1838 to 1861. They provide a look at land ownership, land occupancy and land use.

These maps were used by the diocesan and parish officials. Several do have a little damage but they are generally in good condition.

The website says you can compare the tithe maps to other historic maps as well as modern and aerial maps. You can search the database by a persons name and examine the land and its uses. There is an option to download maps using customized search options and print full colour selections from the datasets.

There is a guide to using the “Tithe Map Digital Resource” that you can download as a PDF.

The “Leeds Tithe Map Digital Resource” can be searched by specific township, personal name and postcode. You can browse the maps or search by other options. The last one takes you to a search page where you can search for a particular owner or occupier, use a soundex code search or browse by first letter of the last name.

Other search options include advanced search, plot name search and place search.

When you search by last name you get a transcription of the data that includes: township, parish, plot, landowner(s), occupier(s), plot name, land use, acres, roods, and perches. Then there is a link to the map.

You can save as a spreadsheet, show all on the map or clear the search results and try again.

When you click on the map link you get a digital copy of the map with the plot of land outlined in yellow. The tithe map I looked at was from 1836-51. I had the option to look at the Ordnance Survey (OS) c1890, OS c1910 and a large map. Each time the land in question is outlined in yellow.

On the right hand side you have the details of the plot of land that were found in the search. You can access a modern map, aerial map from 2006 and 1999, OS c1800, OS c1910 and plot details which includes the vicars name to whom the tithes are payable.

Under show more you can show owners on map, show land use on map, township boundaries and plot outlines. The last option is highlighted and this takes you back to your highlighted plot of land. There is the ability to print the view of the map you have found.

I enjoy the ability to view a modern aerial view of the plot of land you are researching. This puts it into a more modern perspective with the historic perspective right next to it.

Other resources on the site include the Tithe to 2009 Trails. These contrast the 19th century area with the modern day area. They are downloadable PDF files with the trail marked on a map and there are pictures and descriptions of the area to learn more as you walk the trail.

They have made the tools on the website available as an outreach program to the community so that everyone from school children to seniors can go out and learn more about the area in which they live.

They went out into the community to run Memory Workshops where they talked to the seniors about their memories of the area to as they say “ensure that the hidden histories of communities across Leeds were uncovered and recorded.” This is something that every community should do to preserve their own community histories and memories.

There is a glossary and FAQ page, copyright guidance and useful links and feedback.

This website is a treasure and it is not only useful to family historians with connections to Leeds but is a wonderful piece of history to hand down to future generations.

If you have ancestors in Leeds then this is an excellent free resource to help you place your ancestors in the area.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The blog had an interesting post called “Traditional Irish naming patterns” written by Fiona Fitzsimons of Eneclann. If you have Irish ancestry this is something you definitely have to keep in mind. She uses a case study as an example.

The Ancestry Insider had a post called “’s Vital-ity” where they share some interesting finds in a new release of databases.

Marian Pierre-Louis of Marian’s Roots and Rambles had a post called “The Mystery Heirloom has Arrived!” Don’t we all wish we had an heirloom like that arrive at our door!

Amy Coffin of The We Tree Genealogy Blog has shared her experiences in self publishing The Big Genealogy Blog Book with a post called “Self Publishing Your Genealogy Work: My Experience.”

The Untold Lives blog of the British Library had a post this past week called “Indian princess in suffragette march” Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was a member of the Women’s Social and Political Union and was a well-known suffragette. This is part of her story.

This week is Thanksgiving for my US readers so here is “A History of the Humble Pumpkin Pie” from Christina Morin at Pue’s Occurrences The Irish History Blog.

Are there any postings in the last week that you think need to be on this list? Let me know in the comments below.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Interview with Randy Seaver

While I was attending the FGS conference in Springfield Illinois Randy Seaver graciously allowed me to interview him. I asked ten questions relating to his family history research.

Randy Seaver writes the Genea-Musings Blog and was an official blogger for the FGS conference.

FGS 2011 Interview with Randy Seaver

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Richard Shaw Wood: His Journey from Bermuda to Ontario Canada

I have a great interest in the local history of Oakville. Sometimes I am researching one thing and come across a person or event that intrigues me and I keep researching until know more. Richard Shaw Wood was one of those intriguing stories.

There is a house in Oakville called Kerosene Castle that Richard Shaw Wood was supposed to have built but he was not found on the land records or on the census records with those who would have been his neighbours.

The Wood family arrived in Bermuda around 1628. They were seafarers and traders. Captain Thomas Wood purchased “Bosco Manor” at Spanish Point in Bermuda. The family prospered and owned land from Newfoundland to South America.[1]

Thomas’ great grandsons, Richard, Joseph and Stowe, formed the “Patriotic Company” circa 1800 and had offices in Quebec City, Montreal, St. John’s, Philadelphia, Grenada, the Turks Island, Trinidad and Guiana.[2]

Richard Shaw Wood was born on 27 December 1827[3] in Bermuda.  His parents were Benjamin Burch Wood and Frances Nusum Shaw who were married on 10 June 1819 in Southampton Parish, Bermuda.[4]

As a young man Richard Shaw Wood travelled many times between Bermuda and New York on his way to the United States, Canada and Great Britain.[5] He his found in New York’s Fifth Ward on the census that was taken on 23 September 1850. Richard was 24, born in the West Indies and listed as an engineer.

Richard Shaw Wood married Sarah Isabella Shaw some time prior to 1857. Their first child Frances was born circa 1857. Then Sarah was born circa 1860 and Elizabeth was born circa 1861. All the daughters were born in Bermuda. Frances seems to have died in New York around 1858.[6] The rest of their children were all born in Ontario. Benjamin was born circa 1863, Mary McCulloch was born circa 1865, Robert O.S. was born circa 1867and Anna Burch was born circa 1870.[7] They had a son called Thomas Burch Wood who was born circa 1874 and died 9 December 1874.[8]

The first time Richard is found in Ontario is in the 1862-63 city directory for Toronto where he is noted as living at 241 Carlton Street.[9] The first time he is found in records relating to Oakville is in 1863 on land records but he is noted as being from Toronto.[10] The first time he is listed as living in Oakville is on land records in 1868.[11] Richard Shaw Wood and his wife Isabella were found on many land records in Oakville.

Richard Shaw Wood built an oil refinery in Oakville along the Sixteen Mile Creek and Dundas Street North which is now known as Trafalgar Road. The refinery blew up in July of 1866. It was known as the Great Fire of Oakville.  It was reported in the Hamilton Spectator as an amazing sight because the creek was on fire.[12]

In the 1871[13] Canada census the family are living in Oakville. The head of the household is listed as Nusum F. Wood aged 71, born in Bermuda and he is a gentleman. The enumerator crossed out F and put M under gender and crossed out independent and added gentleman under occupation. The person is a widow. This is actually Frances Nusum Wood Richard’s mother.

Richard Shaw is listed as a merchant and manufacturer. In the house are his wife Isabella and their children: Sarah Shaw, Elizabeth, Benjamin S., Mary McCulloch, Robert O.S. and Anna B.

Also in the household is Charles E Wood aged 20 and born in Jamaica West Indies. His occupation is general manager. Charles Edward Wood is Richard’s cousin.

Richard Shaw Wood and family are found in London, Middlesex County, Ontario in the 1881[14] Canada census. In the household is Sarah Hooker Shaw, aged 81 and born in the United States. Sarah is Isabella’s mother. Richard moved to London and built a large family home called Woodholme.[15]

Mrs. Frances N. Wood died on 7 December 1888 in Philadelphia. Her obituary was in the Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda. She was the daughter of Thomas Shaw and Frances Russell Wood and the widow of Benjamin Burch Wood all of whom were from Bermuda. She was born in Bermuda on 14 June 1800 at the home of her grandparents Joseph and Rebecca Wood. The home was called “Boss Cove”.[16]

In the 1891[17] Canada census Richard and his family are in London Ontario. Sarah S. Ogden, their married daughter, Elizabeth S., Robert O.S. and Anna B are all living at home.  Richard lost his wife Isabella on 14 November 1897.[18]

Richard Shaw Wood died on 10 March 1903[19] in London. He was 76 years and 4 months old. His will lists properties in London and Oakville Ontario, Bermuda, New York and Newfoundland.[20]

Richard Shaw Wood was in Oakville for less than ten years but his legacy lives on. His legacy reaches from Canada, the United States and Bermuda. It was rumoured that he would wear a warm beaver hat during the summer in Oakville as he found the temperatures cold.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved


[1]A History of the Wood Family” by Fairwood Island Forest Management Plan, digital image viewed June 2011 (, page 2

[2]A History of the Wood Family” by Fairwood Island Forest Management Plan, digital image viewed June 2011 (, page 2

[3] RS Wood household, 1901 census, Canada, Ontario, Middlesex County, London Township, page 8, family number 86, digital image ( viewed June 2011

[4] Benjamin Burch Wood marriage notice, 12 June 1819, Royal Bermuda Gazette Hamilton & St. George Weekly Advertiser, digital image Bermuda National Library Digital Collection (   ) viewed June 2011

[5] Arrivals New York United States Passenger Lists, digital images ( viewed June 2011

[6] Frances Hook Wood died Coldspring New York on 25 August 1858, digital information ( viewed June 2011

[7] RS Wood, 1871 census, Canada, Ontario, Halton, Oakville, page 21, family 79, digital image ( viewed June 2011

[8] Thomas Burch Wood, Ontario death registration, 9 Dec 1874, registration number 001836, registration year 1875, digital image ( viewed June 2011

[9] 1862-3 Toronto City Directory, page 133, Toronto Reference Library

[10] Ontario Land Records, Halton, Town of Oakville, Northerly half Lot 13 Con 3,  Instrument 937, Volume A, 1-1000, Archives of Ontario, microfilm GSU 179044

[11] Ontario Land Records, Halton, Town of Oakville, N1/2 Lot F NE1/2 Lot C, Block 33, Instrument 164, Volume A, 1—1000, Archives of Ontario, microfilm GSU 179044

[12] Mathews, Hazel C., “Oakville and the Sixteen A History of an Ontario Port” page 350 University of Toronto Press 1994; Oakville Public Library

[13] Richard Shaw Wood, 1871 census, Canada, Ontario, Halton, Oakville, page 21, line 7, family 79, digital image ( viewed June 2011

[14]Richard Shaw Wood, 1881 census, Canada, Ontario, Middlesex, London, page 29/30, line 21/1, family 147, digital image ( viewed June 2011

[15] Cunningham, Dianne E., “Orchard Park Through the Ages”, London Board of Education 1983,  page 90-92, Toronto Reference Library, call number 971.326 O67

[16] Mrs. Frances N. Wood, obituary, Royal Gazette Bermuda Commercial Advertiser and Recorder newspaper, Bermuda, 19 Feb 1889, page 2, digital image ( viewed June 2011, Bermuda National Library

[17] R Shaw Wood, 1891 census, Canada, Ontario, Middlesex, London Township, page 8/9, line 20/1, family 39, digital image ( viewed June 2011

[18] Sarah Isabella Shaw Wood, Ontario death registration, 14 Nov 1897, registration number 016457, registration year 1897, digital image ( viewed June 2011

[19] Richard Shaw Wood, Ontario death registration, 10 Mar 1903, registration number 017427, registration year 1903, digital image ( viewed June 2011

[20] Richard S Wood, Middlesex Probate Records, 1903, estate file 7619, Archives of Ontario, microfilm MS887 Reel 1296

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Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The Professional Descendant had a post this week called “A Question of Religion” where she uses Poor Law records in the Paisley Local Studies Library. She looks at the question of “Religious Persuasion” in the records and the many different responses that were found.

Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog has launched her new EBook called “The Big Genealogy Blog Book.” Congratulations Amy!

The National Library of Ireland blog had an interesting post called “The Right Honourable John Philpot Curran” who was an Irish MP and barrister. During the library’s clean sweep they came across a book entitled “The speeches of the Right Honourable John Philpot Curran.” The book was published in London in 1847 and edited by Thomas Davis.

The Ancestry Insider had an interesting post called “Tree Decorators and Tree Growers” Which one are you? Or are you both?

Shauna Hicks of the Shauna Hicks Enterprises blog had a post for Remembrance Day entitled “Remembrance Day & My Two Grandfathers.” She looks at the contributions of her two grandfathers Henry Price and John Martin Gunderson.

Are there any postings in the last week that you think need to be on this list? Let me know in the comments below.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Richard Fenton Toomey – Lest We Forget

Remembrance Day is a very important day here in Canada. Last year I remembered my Great Grand Uncle Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell who lost his life in the First World War fighting with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. This year I will look at the accomplishments of my Great Grand Uncle Richard Fenton Toomey who was an ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps).

Richard Fenton Toomey is on the maternal side of my family. He was born in Dublin in April of 1880 to Mark Anthony Toomey and Julia Adelaide Bourne. He was the last of six children, four boys and two girls. My Great Grandmother Jane Toomey was his sister. The other siblings were Mark (who died in infancy), Louisa Alice, Mark Anthony and Walter Bourne.

How the Toomey family got to Australia is a long story and I will elaborate on that in another post. Needless to say Richard Fenton Toomey was in New South Wales to sign up for the First World War on 1 March 1915.

There are no attestation papers in his military file. The first record is an Application for a Commission in the 12th Light Horse Regiment. This states that Richard was 35 years of age, a British subject, an accountant and that he is single. Richard was six feet tall and 11 stone (154 lbs/70 kg). His next of kin is his brother Mark Toomey and their postal address was Elbana Annandale St. Annandale NSW.

Listed under military qualifications and past military service are: 5th Lancers, Assam Valley Light Horse, Chittagong [unreadable word] Rifles, Lieut. [unreadable two words] and Lieut. Army Service Corps.

The Assam Valley Light Horse was part of the Cavalry Reserve in the British Indian Army and was formed in 1891. Chittagong was in Pakistan but is now in Bangladesh. To date no British military records have been found for Richard Fenton Toomey.

Richard was made a Honourary Lieutenant and Quarter Master on 29 June 1915. On 9 August 1915 he was transferred to the 1st Australian Division, 3rd Light Horse Brigade. On 3 January 1916 he was transferred to the Army Service Corps. He was made Quarter Master and Honourary Captain on 30 April 1916 and on 1 August 1918 he was made Quarter Master and Honourary Major.

He set sail on 12 June 1915 on board the “Suevic”. On 5 September 1915 Richard was sent to Gallipoli this was the battle that defined the ANZACS and a nation.

Richard was frequently in the hospital during his time at the front. On 3 September 1916 he was sent to hospital in Port Said Egypt with Pyorhea which is an infection of the gums. He was sent on to the hospital in Serapium and then Cairo. He was sent back to his unit on 20 September 1916.

Richard was back in hospital on 20 July 1917 with septic sores. He was sent to the hospital in Alexandria. He returned to the 4th Light Horse Regiment on 27 September 1917. He was transferred back to the 12th Light Horse Regiment in November of 1917. He was sent back to hospital with dysentery in August of 1918 and invalided in September of 1918. He left Egypt on the Morvada on 29 September 1919.

According to Richard’s military file his appointment was terminated with the A.I.F. in Sydney on 31 October 1919.

There are letters found in his military file addressed to Base Records Canberra. One is dated 20 February 1939 and Richard is requesting: “For the purpose of receiving employment in N.S.W. a discharge or Certificate of Service is required. I shall be obliged if you will kindly let me have either as soon as possible.” A copy of the form he was requested to fill out is in the file. It is stamped dated 27 February 1939. Richard’s address is Lisarow NSW.

Richard writes requesting a duplicate Returned Soldiers Badge of the one he had received “around 29 August 1919 on his return to Australia.” It appears the one he was given was lost in “thick bush country” and it has not been returned or found. This letter is dated 19 February 1943 and he is a public servant and the address given is 110 Phillip Street in Sydney.

In 1919 Richard Fenton Toomey married Ellie Maud Stewart in Sydney Australia. They had no children.

I have a friend who lives in the same area as Richard Fenton Toomey. There was a family story that said he had surveyed and built a road to one of the highest points between Sydney and Brisbane and that there was a park named after him. She helped me discover that there was a place called Toomey’s Walk which we believe was named after Richard Toomey. The government body responsible for this area does not know how the name came about.

There is also Toomeys Road and these are both located in the Mount Elliot area. He might have lost his Returned Soldiers Badge while surveying this area.

She contacted the local history librarian at Gosford City Library and he sent some pictures of Richard Fenton Toomey and his wife having tea in the garden.

They also forwarded a newspaper article which talks about Richard nearly loosing his life because he had taken poison instead of medicine. Thankfully his wife was a nurse and she knew what to do.

Some Australian newspapers are online and searchable at Trove. Advertisements were found relating to a chicken farm owned by Richard and Ellie Toomey. In 1929 Ellie was selling White Longhorn chicks and the farm was called Phoenix Poultry Farm. In 1933 she was selling Khaki Campbell’s ducklings.

In 1927 Phoenix Farm was dealing with floods.

Bush fires are a common happening in Australia. It seems that in 1928 a fire wiped out the poultry farm, residence, stock and plant owned by Richard Toomey. The name of the farm seems appropriate since it rose from the ashes to start again.

Richard Fenton Toomey died in 1968 in Gosford, New South Wales and is buried in Macquarie Park Cemetery.

Lest We Forget

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Amanuensis Monday – A Mother’s Remembrance

This was originally posted in November 2010.

The Campbell’s were poets at heart and when Janet Waddell Ross Campbell heard of the death of her son she started writing. This is a transcription of the poem written by Janet.

In Memoriam

Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell

(Written by his Mother – 1916)

Hearts are breaking, tears are falling;
High hopes withered in the dust.
Our dear Land’s in sorrow shrouded
Thro’ oppression, hate and lust.
Raise we then our Holy Standard
“Peace on earth, Goodwill to men!”
As at the Holy Infants birth
Angels sang in concert then.
Christ, the Man, our Valiant Captain
Shall this righteous Peace secure
End the din and strife of warfare
Making holiness endure!

Great Consoler, let us trust thee
Who is our sorrow comfort gives,
In the loss of our dear loved one
May we feel that he still lives!
Bravely he marched back to duty
But – – four days after leaving home,
Struck by shell! He in an instant
Was by cruel death o’ercome
O’erpassing death, his soul soared upward
Through deathless tracts straight to his God
Now we look above and see him
Though his body’s ‘neath the sod.

Laid to rest by dear, brave comrades,
Who twined a wreath of wild-flowers fair,
Emblem of his Captain’s sufferings – –
A wooden Cross they too placed there.
In a cemet’ry in Flanders,
Loving hands these graves attend.
To all those noble, gentle, kind hearts,
Gratefully our thanks we send.
Comfort Lord, our dear, brave soldiers,
Striving, fighting for the right;
Heal the wounded, soothe the dying,
To all bereaved ones send Thy Light.

Calmly then we trust thee Saviour
Who can make glad thoughts arise
As we each on God’s great altar
Lay our precious sacrifice.
Memories dear around us hover
Like Holy incense’ sweet perfume
Pleasant, happy acts of kindness
Which he lives but to resume
Beloved by all, dear son and Brother
A great glad meeting is in store
Each in God’s good time shall greet thee
Where partings cease for ever more.
Lovingly we leave thee dear one
Knowing well thou’rt safe from harm
Lasting peace is now thy portion
No more thou hearest war’s alarm.

Janet Waddell Ross Campbell wrote this poem in honour of her son. She used the first line and every other line to spell out his name, Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell.

After spending his leave from wartime France with his family, Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell left the home of his parents on the night of 4 June 1916. It was the eighth birthday of his niece, Norah Margaret Campbell. He was killed four days later on 8 June 1916.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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