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Gordon Watts Reports
Column published: 11 June 2008
By: Gordon A. Watts   Biography & Archived Articles

Gordon A. Watts
Topics in this column include:
  • In Memoriam - Muriel M. Davidson
  • Books of Remembrance - Halifax Public Library
  • Bible returned to Lunenburg's St. John's Anglican Church

Scroll down this page to read the complete articles...

In Memoriam - Muriel M. Davidson

It is with sadness and a personal sense of loss that I advise of the passing of Muriel M. Davidson, my Co-chair on the Canada Census Committee. I never met Muriel face-to-face, however during the course of our eight-year campaign to regain public access to historic Census records we had grown close through frequent telephone calls and email messages. Muriel was a tireless worker on our Census campaign but even in the busiest periods of that effort she still found time to assist others in their search for their personal ancestry.

Following our successful campaign Muriel continued working to coordinate efforts to index the newly released Census records through In addition to working on the Census campaign and indexing projects, throughout her lifetime Muriel volunteered her services to others in various ways, some of which are detailed in her obituary below.

Muriel died peacefully, with family members at her bedside, at 12:30 am Tuesday 10 June 2008. Those wishing to send cards to express their personal condolences may send them to
    Family of Muriel M. Davidson
    25 Crestview Avenue
    Brampton, Ontario, L6W 2R8
Emails may be sent to her daughter, Lynden Cowan at

Rest in Peace Muriel. You will not be forgotten.


October 22, 1924 - June 10, 2008
Davidson. Muriel Marguerite (nee Farquhar)

It is with great sadness that the family announces the peaceful passing of Muriel, on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at the Brampton Civic Hospital at the age of 83 years. Born on October 22, 1924, daughter of the late Gordon and Helen (Adams) Farquhar, of Summerville Beach, Nova Scotia. Beloved wife of the late William "Bill" Davidson of 60 years. Muriel's memory will be cherished by her children Don, Lynden (Michael) Cowan and Randy (Charlene) Davidson. Stepmother of Laurie (Lorna), Geneva Dean, Marie (Jack) Malloy and Dennis Davidson. Grand-mother to Diane Davidson, Amy (Thomas) Ransom, Michelle Cowan, Robert Cowan. She is survived by brothers Eugene (Geraldine) Farquhar, Ron ( late Joan) Farquhar and numerous relatives in Nova Scotia and Ontario. Predeceased by brothers Clyde (surviving wife Ruth) Farquhar and Don (surviving wife Alma) Farquhar.

Muriel was a member of Floral Rebekah Lodge #369 (I.O.O.F.) and also a member of Beaux-Art Brampton. Over the years, she was involved in Boy Scouts, contributor to numerous newspapers, coordinator of the Obstetrical knitting program at Peel Memorial. Muriel was very involved in genealogy research, first for family and then worldwide assistance, including publications. She was instrumental as the head of the Canadian Census Committee in getting the Canadian Government to release the 1911 Census (allowing the release of family information for future generations). This earned her an awarding of an Order of Canada - Year of Volunteers award presented by Senator Lorna Milne.

Visitation for family and friends will be at the Scott Funeral Home "Brampton Chapel", 289 Main Street North, Brampton (905-451-1100) on Thursday, June 12, 2008 from 2 - 4 & 7 - 9 p.m. with a Rebekah Lodge #369 Service at 6:30 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held in the Scott Funeral Home Chapel on Friday, June 13, 2008 at 11 a.m. Interment Brampton Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Muriel's charity of choice is Multiple Sclerosis and also Beaux-Art Brampton (Brampton Art Council). An online book of condolences can be signed on

Books of Remembrance - Halifax Public Library

Joanne McCarthy, Local History and Genealogy Reference Librarian for Halifax Public Libraries suggests that if you are searching for family members from Halifax County who died in World War I, World War II or the Korean War, you may wish to look at the Halifax Public Libraries online Books of Remembrance.

Two commemorative books containing the names of people whose lives were lost at War are on display at the Spring Garden Road Memorial Library. Each November, a new page is turned in each book. The first Book of Remembrance commemorates the 1,360 men and women from Halifax County who gave their lives in the Great War. The second Book of Remembrance commemorates the 705 men and women from Halifax County who gave their lives in World War II and the Korean War. Both books are searchable online.

Scroll down to Digital Collections and click on the link "Books of Remembrance". You can search by surname, rank, regiment or (cause of death, for WW1). You can also browse by surname, and print out a colour copy (if you have a colour printer) by clicking on the "print page" icon underneath the page display. The search engine has a unique (at least to me) feature in the form of a moveable magnifier that can be switched on or off.

Bible returned to Lunenburg's St. John's Anglican Church

Many of us, including myself, are able to trace our ancestry to the founding of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia in the spring of 1753. Many of our ancestors there worshipped, were christened, got married, and had their funeral services conducted at St. John's Anglican Church, Sunday 9 June 2008 marked the 255th anniversary of this historic church. You may remember that it was almost destroyed by fire a few years ago. Thanks in part to the genealogical and historical communities restoration work allowed the church to resume services.

On this anniversary the Rev. Michael Mitchell marked the occasion by reading scripture from a bible that was first used in St. John's some 242 years ago. The Francklin Bible, originally printed in 1717, had been typeset by hand and contained a mistake in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 20 that earned it the nickname of the "Vinegar Bible". Instead of Jesus sending his disciples into the "vineyard," this typesetting error had him sending them into the "vinegar".

Between its first use at St. John's 242 years ago, and today, the bible changed hands several times. You can read more about how the bible was returned home to St. John's in this Halifax Herald article by Renee Stevens.

Until next time.

Gordon A. Watts

Your comments regarding this newsletter, and suggestions for future articles are welcome. Click here to send me a message with a subject line of "Gordon Watts Reports".

To view back issues of Gordon Watt's columns, visit Gordon's biography page where all of his archives articles are available.

Canadian Genealogy & History Resources from Global Genealogy:

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Norway Bay United & Anglican Cemetery
(Pontiac County, Quebec)

The Merivale Cemeteries
(Protestant - Ottawa area)