Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Elizabeth Shown Mills - Fan Club concept

Those who have heard Elizabeth Shown Mills speak or read anything she has written knows that she stresses studying not only the family but also the associates and neighbours of those we are researching. She refers to those individuals as the fan club. She reminds us to really look at the documents.

As I work on my soldiers' project, I am only doing a brief introduction to the family of the soldier. Currently, I am looking at the life of Alexander McKay Gunn. Although not digging deeply into all the relations, I did come across where the fan club concept would be helpful to a researcher of his family.

Alexander McKay Gunn, son of John Gunn and Johanna McKay was born in Keppel Township on 13 January 1884.

Alexander’s mother died two weeks after his birth. She died 27 January 1884 of puerperal fever. He went to live with his mother’s sisters. In 1891, at the age of 7, Alexander is shown in the census in the household of William and Isabella Cullen. Alexander is listed as the nephew of the head of the household. Mary McKay and Betsey McKay, also in the same household, are listed as sisters-in-law to William. Ten years later, according to the 1901 census, Alexander is living with his aunts, Mary and Betsy McKay, in Sydenham Township.

Alexander's mother was Johanna McKay, daughter of Alexander McKay and Betsy Gunn. Alexander's father was John Gunn, son of Donald Gunn and Elizabeth McDonald. John Gunn married Johanna McKay 25 January 1882 in Keppel Township by Rev. Scott. The witnessses at the wedding were Angus McDonald and Isabela McKay, both of Sydenham Township.

Who was the informant of the birth of Alexander and the death of his mother Johanna?  == Donald McGregor of Keppel Township. Both events were registered on the same day.

So who was Donald McGregor? Was he a neighbour or was there a family connection? A search on Ancestry.ca, found a Donald McGregor getting married in 1864 in Sydenham Township  to  Elizabeth McKay. Donald was the son of William McGregor and Jane Gunn. Elizabeth was a daughter of William McKay and Catharine Gunn. It certainly looks there is some family connection. If either the Gunns, McKays or McGregors of this area, were my family, I would do some more investigating of these connections through a variety of different sources.

© 2011 Janet Iles Print

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