Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Canadian County Altas Project

If your ancestor was a farmer and you want to find out where he lived the Canadian County Atlas project is a resource that can’t be beaten. It has been around on line since 1999, and has been updated and approved.

There is a section that explains the what and why of the county atlas’s. In total 40 counties are covered by these atlas’s which were published between 1874 and 1881.

My own ancestor John Hillman can be found. In the search option I put in his name, in Elgin County, township of Aldborough. The search record looks like this:

Full record for Hillman, John
Last Name Hillman
First Name John
Post Office Clachan
Township Aldborough
County Elgin
Atlas Date 1877

Concession and Lot Lot size
II, 2 125

Hit locate on map and you get the result as shown above. A larger map of Aldborough appears to the right of the screen showing the farm’s location relative to the township , and to the left the farm itself(as shown above). A handy site indeed!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Esau Hillman(1831-1906)

From “Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Essex Ontario" 1906(1996)

Esau Hillman was only a year old when brought by his parents to Canada, and he passed his boyhood in Zone township, County of Kent. His opportunities for obtaining an education were very limited, as the schools in those early days were “few and far between”, in fact, all the helps which the boy of to-day meets at every turn were totally lacking. It was hard to obtain even the barest necessities of life. Things that the pioneers could not provide with the meager resources at their command were conveyed by water from Detroit or Windsor to Stoney Point, and thence carried on horseback or on the men’s shoulders through the woods. Deer, wolves, wild turkeys, and other game abounded. Civilization made slow progress at first, for the settlers during the first few years.

He remained at home until twenty-three years old, when he bought 100 acres in Mersea township, County of Essex, erected a log house thereon, and commenced farming on his own account. In 1860 he sold out and removed to his present home in the township of Tilbury West, where he purchased another 100-acre tract on Lot 8, Concession 8, and began all over again, erecting a log house and taking up the work of clearing.

Mr. Hillman was married in Mosa township, Dec. 4, 1853, to Nancy Bright, who was born in Hamilton, Ont., and who has roved a most devoted and efficient helpmate. They became parents of thirteen children, George Allen died when fifteen years old, Laura Ann married Conrad Simons, of Rochester township, County of Essex. Hannah Jane is the widow of Jesse Ford , of Comber. Nancy married John Coatby, of Comber. Fannie is the wife of Henry Jury, of Detroit. Phebe married Edward Jury, and resides in Michigan. Esau, a farmer, married Almina Thorne. Edward, who cultivates the homestead place, married Sophia May, daughter of John May, and they have one child, Maude Pearl. Bertha is the widow of Ransom Thorne. William is a farmer in the township of Tilbury West. Three died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Hillman are members of the Methodist Church. In political faith he is a Conservative, but has never cared for public position.

Monday, November 23, 2009

James Hillman 1800-1860

From “Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Essex, Ontario (1906)(1996).(I know it's 19th Century technology; but there is a great deal that you can find out by digging through books.)

James Hillman was a brick maker by occupation. He married in his native land(Westbury. Wiltshire) Mary Smith, and they had a family of four children when they left their native home for the New World in 1831. After a seven weeks’ ocean voyage on a sailing vessel the family landed at Quebec, coming thence to Ontario and locating in the wilderness, the father drawing a 100-acre tract of bush land, a Talbot grant, in Zone township, County of Kent. A log house was erected, and Mr. Hillman set about clearing the place. He was quite successful in his work, and made considerable improvement during his residence thereon. Selling out, he removed his family to the County of Essex, and again began the life of a pioneer, locating on a bush farm of 100 acres in the 8th Concession, township of Tilbury West. He built a log house, and commenced the work of clearing and improving, which he continued until his death, for he passed the remainder of his life on this place. Mr. Hillman passed away at the age of sixty years, his wife, who survived him, reaching the age of sixty-eight; she also died on the old farm. They are buried in St. George’s cemetery. Both were members of the Methodist Church, and lived most Christian lives. In politics James Hillman was a stanch Conservative, and he was a volunteer in the Rebellion of 1837-38, being one of the British soldiers stationed at Sandwich. Mr. and Mrs. Hillman were the parents of seven children, the first four born in England, viz. Mary, who died young; Elizabeth, who died young; John; Esau; Samuel, deceased; Nathaniel, a farmer residing in the township of Tilbury West; and Mary Ann who married William Brown, and resides in Alberta, Northwest Territory.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stars Of The Towns

Well worth watching are a series of DVD’s entitled Stars of the Towns-Scenes from around Southwestern Ontario. They are available at the J.J. Talman Regional Collection at the University of Western Ontario or at the Regional Room in the London Public Library.

Rev. Leroy(Roy) Massecar(1918-1986) was a camera buff who went around to some of the small towns in Southwestern Ontario between 1946 and 1949 capturing people on film. He then would return to the town and screen the film in the town hall or community center. The “Stars” of the film would be invited to attend the evening event where copies of the films were sold.

I screened the Dutton film at the public library and was delighted at what I saw. There is no sound and the film is black and white. It really captured post war Dutton of January 1949. Mind you some of the enjoyment for me was that I am of that age(we won’t say what that is!) that I recognized some of the people.
I can certainly say that as far as the buildings are concerned Dutton has not changed all that much. Interestingly, I did not see the McIntyre in the film. Go figure!

To check which towns or villages are included in the series go to , and search ‘Stars of the Towns’ under “series title”.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

65th. Spitfire Squadron(1944 or 45); Lancaster crew of the 426th. Squadron(1944 or 45)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lt. Col. Daniel Hillman

Daniel Hillman was born to William James Hillman and Margaret Patterson on November 6, 1877 in Aldborough Township, Elgin County, Ontario. He was a civil engineer who spent most of the years before 1915 working for the railroads in Northern Ontario.

In 1914 the French were responsible for all railway construction in Belgium and France. By 1915 the French realized that they needed help. In the spring of 1915 Canada responded to the call from Britain for a Corps of skilled railway construction workers. The Corps of Canadian Railway Troops would lay 1880km(1169 miles) of broad gauge rail and 2275km. (1414 miles) of light track. They played important roles in the battles of Vimy , Passchendaele, Amiens, and the 100 Days battles.

Daniel Hillman joined in January, 1915. I have always found attestation papers interesting for more than just dates. Daniel’s attestation papers show him to be 5’4” tall with grey eyes, and dark brown hair. He was commissioned a Lieutenant and left for England in June, 1915. Before the battle of the Somme he was lent out to the Royal Engineers. He was made a Lt. Col. In 1918. After the Armistice he was involved in work to salvage railway equipment from the Western Front. He returned to Canada in July 1919.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Veterans Week (Nov 5th to Nov 11th

It’s Veterans Week and I will try to keep to this theme this week. The National Archives have a virtual exhibit online at called Faces of War. It is well worth the visit, and you would be surprised at the information that is there.