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Off on a Tangent with British Home Children
Posted August 13, 2014
By Alan Campbell
Going off on a tangent is a common occurrence in my research endeavours. I enjoy exploring new types of records so finding adopted children living with James Atkey Jr., my great grandfather John's brother, in the 1901 Canada Census for Keppel Township, Grey County, started me off on one of those tangents1. Could the George, born April 30, 1880, and Mary Singleton, born May 2, 1882, listed with James and his wife Ann Jane (Cross), be British Home Children?
A search of the Home Children database on the Library and Archives website, produced two hits, a George Singleton age 8 and a Polly Singleton age 6 who arrived in Quebec City on the ship the Vancouver on July 7, 18882. They appear to be part of a party of 48 children in the charge of Mrs. Evans, Matron, who represented Rev. Dr. Stephenson. Rev. Dr. Stephenson was associated with the National Children's Home in England. The party was bound for Hamilton, Ontario.
National Children's Home, Canadian Branch, Hamilton, Ontario
The name, Polly, set me back until a fellow researcher noted that Polly is a nickname for Mary derived from another nickname for Mary, Molly. Back tracking to the 1891 Canada Census brought more questions as I found a Frank and Cora Atkey listed with James and Ann Jane Atkey3. The ages, 10 and 7, were appropriate to be those of George and Mary. Deciding that potential marriages might answer my questions I searched for them.
Mary Singleton married Thomas Davidson, son of Joseph Davidson and Alice Brown at the home of James and Ann Jane Atkey, Oxenden, 18 April 19014. The section of the marriage registration that requested the names of her parents was filled in with the following statement, "not known, adopted by James Atkey." The newspaper report of the wedding noted her name as Cora Atkey and her brother as Frank Atkey5. So Polly was Mary Cora Singleton or Mary Cora Atkey.
Thomas was a blacksmith in Oxenden and Wiarton, and then took over his father's farm in 1916.
Thomas and Mary Cora Singleton (Atkey) Davidson were the parents of the following children:
George [Frank] farmed lot 11, Jones Range, and operated a cement block and tile business. He served as a Sunday School Superintendent for Oxenden Methodist Church and as a member of the school board for SS# 5 Keppel, at Oxenden. He moved to Wiarton after he retired.
George [Frank] and Phoebe (Porter) Atkey were the parents of the following children:
My preliminary research has taken me this far. Information that does not have a citation is raw data with limited provenance. I would be interested in making contact with other researchers who can help me fill in the gaps.
About Alan Campbell
1044 Guthrie Drive, Sarnia ON N7S 1Y2
2George and Polly Singleton database printouts, Library and Archives Home Children 1869-1930 database, downloaded from www.collectionscanada.gc..ca/databases/home-children/001015..., 5 May 2011. Passenger list for the Vancouver, arrival 3 July 1888 at Quebec, Canadian Passenger Lists 1865-1935, downloaded from www.Ancestry.com, 5 May 2011.
3James Atkey family entries, 1891 Canada Census, Ontario, Grey North, District 68, Keppel Township, Sub-District Oxenden, 10, lines 5-8. Library and Archives microfilm reel T-6338, downloaded from www.ancestry.com, 3 May 2011.
4Marriage registration for Thomas Davidson and Mary Singleton, Ontario Vital Statistics microfilm, series MS 932, reel 104, registration no. 7472, downloaded from www.Ancestry.com 3 May 2011.
5Marriage notice for Thomas Davidson and Cora Atkey, Wiarton Echo, 25 April 1901.
6Birth registration for Norval Francis Davidson, Ontario Vital Statistics microfilm, series MS 929, reel 158, registration no.16063, downloaded from www.Ancestry.com, 1 July 2011.
7Birth registration for Wilfrid Roy Davidson, Ontario Vital Statistics microfilm, series MS 929, reel 167, registration no.9794 [registered in 1904] , downloaded from www.Ancestry.com, 22 June 2011.
8Marriage registration for Wilfred Roy Davidson and Fanny Pauline Loney, Ontario Vital Statistics microfilm, series MS 932, reel 649, registration no. 11992, downloaded from www.Ancestry.com, 1 July 2011.
9Birth registration for Anna May Davidson, Ontario Vital Statistics microfilm, series MS 929, reel 178, registration no. 13389, downloaded from www.Ancestry.com, 22 June 2011.
10Obituary for Annie May Davidson, Wiarton Echo, 19 January 2005.
11Birth registration for Thomas Earl Davidson, Ontario Vital Statistics microfilm, series MS 929, reel 3, registration no. 11818, downloaded from www.Ancestry.com, 22 June 2011.
12Obituary for Thomas Davidson, The Observer [Sarnia], 1 May 1982, 16.
13Wedding announcement, Davidson-Hurst, The Sarnia Canadian Observer, 6 October 1932, 5.
14Death notice for Lily Davidson, Sarnia Observer, 26 July 1976, 2.
15Marriage registration for George Singleton and Phoebe Jane Porter, Ontario Vital Statistics microfilm, series MS 932, reel 134, registration no. 9494, downloaded from www.Ancestry.com, 3 May 2011.
16Birth registration for Gordon Francis Atkey, Ontario Vital Statistics microfilm, series MS 929, reel 8, registration no. 18719, downloaded from www.Ancestry.com, 3 May 2011.
17Birth registration for Albert Leslie Atkey, Ontario Vital Statistics microfilm, series MS 929, reel 218, registration no. 20930, downloaded from www.Ancestry.com, 3 May 2011.
18Marriage notice for Albert Leslie Atkey and Harriet Norine McMillan, Wiarton Echo, 11 July 1935.
19Thank you notice from the family of the late Elgin Atkey, Wiarton Echo, 19 December 2001.
20Death registration for stillborn Atkey child, Ontario Vital Statistics microfilm, series MS 935, reel 322, registration no. 8715, downloaded from www.Ancestry.com , 3 May 2011.
21Death noticed for female Atkey child, Wiarton Echo, 26 November 1925.
22William G. Cheshire, Wiarton to Big Bay, Colpoy's Range, As remembered by William G. Cheshire, (Wiarton, Ontario: Wiarton Indexing and Mapping, 1974), 6. The copy that I accessed is held at the Owen Sound Library.
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