Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fearless Females – My Favourite Female Ancestor

March 1st – Do you have a favourite female ancestor?  One you are drawn to or want to learn more about?  Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

Although I have many female ancestors that I love researching (my mother being my all time favourite), I would have to say that the one that I have been drawn to most over the past year, is my paternal grandmother, Helen “Nellie” (Devlin) Farrell.  I was 18 yrs. old when my grandmother passed away, but maybe about 13 or 14 yrs. old the last time I saw her (she lived in Balcarres, Saskatchewan and I lived in Montreal, Quebec.)  After my father passed away and my mother re-married and we moved to Quebec, we didn’t get to see my grandparents that often while growing up.

Because we lived so far away, I didn’t know my grandmother very well (and of course, when I was younger, I really wasn’t into knowing “where I came from”).  A couple of years ago, I started researching my father’s side of the family.  I have a book about the history of Balcarres called "Furrows in Time, A History of Balcarres and District", which includes a brief write up of all the families that lived there, that was produced in 1987.  My Aunt Cathy (now deceased) provided a few details, but no dates or anything.  I contacted my last living Aunt on my father’s side (my father’s sister) for a bit of help.  She told me a few things about my grandmother, one in particular that quite surprised me and was kept secret from all the family until a good 10 years after my grandmother’s passing – she had a couple of children out of wedlock before immigrating to Canada, leaving these children behind (you can read about this conversation here).  I guess because I have a child and have never married, I felt I could somehow relate to her.

I’m not going to go into too much detail on my grandmother in this post as I want to eventually write a mini bio on her in another post.  However, some of the things that I have learned so far are:
  • Her correct birth date and where she was born
  • Her parents names
  • I learned that she had 3 illegitimate children before she immigrated to Canada (one died at 4 months old)
  • When she immigrated to Canada
Things that I still need to research are:
  • The exact date of her marriage to my grandfather (Robert Farrell).  I have a fair idea based on when she immigrated and when their first child was born.
  • Where exactly they were married (I have been told it was in Govan, Saskatchewan but I need to find proof of this)
  • Name and birth/death dates on one of the children born in Scotland
@2013, copyright Alana Farrell

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