Walter Frederick Dicks . . .

was the 4th child and first son of Walter Dicks and Caroline Beach, my GG Grandparents making him my 2nd Great Uncle. He was born on 22 FEB 1884 • Ottawa, Carleton, Ontario, Canada. At first, it was hard to find his birth record as it is transcribed as Wieser Frederick Dicks, father Walser Dicks, birth date 2 Feb 1884.

These errors are just some of the things I have found makes me that say that Walter was a bit of a man of mystery.

I don’t know much about his childhood, but there was sadness. There were 8 children born into the family but 3 died as small children — his older sister, Ester died in Dec 1894 of consumption at the age of 5; before her death his youngest brother, Gordon Milton was born in April of 1894 and passed away in July of 1894 of Canadian Cholera and then a younger brother, Silas George died of diphtheria in 1896. at the age of 6.

In one of the articles listed below it is said that he attended Kent Street School, which was apparently around for over 100 years before it was taken down. It has apparently been listed as one of Ottawa’s Lost Buildings by the Ottawa Archives.

At some point, Walter followed in his Grandfather, Thos Dicks, and became a bricklayer. And this is where some of the mystery about him comes into play. He signed up in Montreal to join the service but one of the articles says he was a Bricklayer for the last 8 years (before he joined) with the Plasters and Bricklayers of Winnipeg. Was he working with his Grandfather (who lived in Teulon, Manitoba) and travel to Montreal to join? I tried to find him in the 1911 Canada Census but was unsucessful.

Walter was older than most when he joined. The back of his papers list him as 31 yrs and 4mths. He was 5ft 5″ tall, 140 lbs, blue eyes and brown hair.

He joined the 60th Battalion and was part of the following:

Canadian Mounted Rifles

He joined on the 9th of June in 1915 but his Military records say he did not go overseas until 20th of Feb 1916. And it seems he was a little bit of a bad boy as on Jan 1, 1917 per his miltary records:

After this, it looks like he worked hard and finally became a Lance Corporal. Sadly at this time, his father passed away in Ottawa. Looking at the records, it does not seem that he was able to go home. This also brings up a question on one of his records. It is written in red. Who is this person — a member of the miltary or was he a member of the Ottawa Police Department where his father had worked for all those years.

Sadly, Walter was “Killed in Action”

He was instantly killed by an enemy bomb on the night of 4th of October 1918, during and enemy air raid near Bourlen.

As per his will, he left everything to his Mom.

Walter was not shipped home for burial but is buried in Bourlon Wood Cemetery in Bourlon, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France

This is his memorial Walter Frederick Dicks

He is also listed on his parents’ headstone in Beechwood Cemetery,Ottawa, Ottawa Municipality, Ontario, Canada Cenotaph for Walter Frederick Dicks

Articles & Memorial

From the Ottawa Citizen Paper in Ottawa – One Obituary

From the Ottawa Journal October 17th – Article on Walter

Memorial – St. Matthew’s Anglican Church 217 First Avenue Ottawa, Ontario – Church Memorial

And lastly, a distant relative, C Ryan sent me this photo of him — a handsome young man

William Kirby Dicks . .

was my 3rd Great Uncle through my GGG-Grandparents, Thomas Dicks and Mary Ann Kirby.

As per records, William started out as William Kirby, the son of single mother, Mary Kirby. From the site, his baptism is recorded as:

Page 110 no 873
19 July 1846
William son of Mary KIRBY
Single woman

The marriage record shows that Thomas Dicks and Mary Ann Kirby were married in August 1849 and she is listed as a spinster on the record. It was from that day forward William seems to be listed as Dicks not Kirby. So was it an adoption, legal name change or did he just assume his new father’s last name? An example is the 1861 England Census, as he is listed as a Dicks

Household Members
Name Age
Thomas Dicks
Maryann Dicks
William Dicks
Thomas J Dicks
Walter Dicks
Emma Dicks
Maryann Dicks

There is nothing about his childhood except they continued to live in Portchester. At one point, William fell in love and married a Sarah Jane Wardle on 18 Jul 1872 in Hartford, Cheshire, England. They seemed to settle down in the area and William was working at the Hartford Train Station as a porter.

On 1 Jun 1874 in Northwich, Cheshire, their son George was born. But sadly by February, William was dead after an accident at work at end of January 1875. He was only 28 years old, leaving his young wife a widow and his son fatherless. It was around that time I believe that Thomas and Mary with their other children may have already left for Canada. In the inquest, his Aunt Ester (sister of Thomas) is mentioned.

The Death

Thanks to a lovely group of people in a facebook group called 1841 – 1939 & Beyond Genealogy Group Discussion, I was able to find out how William died at such a young age. He was killed in an accident at the Train Station he worked at. There is a newspaper that carried an account of the inquest into his accident.

The British Newspaper Archives
Crewe Guardian
20 Feb 1875

Fatal Accident At Hartford Station

It is hard to read, I guess since it is from 1875, so I will try to translated it.

Fatal Accident At Hartford Station

William Dicks who met an accident at the Hartford Station on Monday evening on 30 January necessitating in the amputation of his right leg under the circumstances reported in the Guardian on the 6th left a widow and one child to mourn his loss. An inquest was held by Mr Dunstan at Mr Morgan’s Railway Hotel in Hartford Hotel. The first witness examined was Mr Arthur Sycon, Station Master at Hartford, who said: The deceased, Mr William Dicks, was a railway porter at the Hartford Station. It was at six-o’clock on Saturday evening 30th of January, after I had given the signal for the 3:40 train from Liverpool to start, I saw the deceased in the act of lifting a box onto his shoulder. He overbalanced himself and started staggering towards the train. He let go of the box, and fell on the footboard of the last carriage but one of the train that was now in motion. He was spun around and in a few seconds he was drawn under the train between the platform and the footboard, and before any assistance could be rendered he was drawn about 25 yards by the train.

The Coroner: Could you tell if the wheels went over him?

Witness: I cannot say positively but what I heard and saw at the time, I am under the impression that his right leg was caught in the spokes of the wheel, the train left him lying between the “fourfeet” and the platform. I went to him immediately. He was quite sensible. I observed that his right leg was broken. Dr Dixson was at once sent for, and after his arrival, the deceased was removed to his own house which was near the station. On the following morning, blood was found on the horsebox which was the last vehicle of the train, and I have no doubt the wound on the deceased’s thigh was caused by that wheel.

Dr Dixson said he examined the deceased before he was removed from the station the night of the accident, and found that his right leg was smashed above the ankle. The bones were considerably broken, and he believed that there were some pieces found on the platform the following morning. He ordered the deceased removed to his house where he attended him daily. Besides the broken leg, there was a large wound on the anterior surface of the right thigh; and various bruises on the body, but they were of no importance. Amputation was performed below the right knee on the same evening. He went on pretty well the first day, but after that the delirium set in.

The Coroner: Was there any hope for his recovery from that time?

Witness: There was hope, in fact last Tuesday he was some much relieved that I had great hope for his recovery; his wounds were beginning to heal and all was going well. On Wednesday night however, there was a change for the worst. At five o’clock on Saturday morning I was sent for, and found him vomiting blood, which was the absolute cause of death.

The Coroner: Supposing you had to give a certificate for death for registration, how would you word it?

Witness: He died from a shock to the system which undoubtedly due to the accident. A vessel gave way and exhausted him.

Ester Dicks said that the deceased was her nephew and was 28 years of age as of last July. He died at half past eleven o’clock on Saturday morning last.

The Coroner summed up, the jury found a verdict of “Accidental Death”

This is his Death Registration:

Death Registration

In the fall of 1875, Sarah remarried a Samuel Jackson. George grew up, married and had 6 children, he died on 31 December 1951 in Speke, Lancashire, England.

Still Need to find/get:

Marriage license (ordered)
Burial locations of William and George.

Hope you found this as interesting as I did — please comment below.

The Compton Mystery

This is one of the reasons that I have finally gotten my dna done.

My 5th Great Grandfather is William Compton

He was born about 1730 and died in 1817 in Petersfield, Hampshire, England. He was married to Elizabeth Scut and together they had 5 children with their son, John being the line that I will eventually be born into.

My mystery is that I do not know who his parents are. This means I could be from one of two Compton trees — a regular family with a regular life or I could come from the family that has / had a castle, an adopted Royal bastard child, a brother that married his adopted sister, several children that might or might not be a Compton or maybe the Stable boy. Then there is the wife that ran away to France and lived there. Now which branch would you want?

Now there are people that list his father as a Thomas Compton and ties us in with the wilder family but there is no paper proof that I have ever seen. To me, without paper record you really aren’t sure.

This is where I hope that dna will be able to help me. If I can find someone who connects me with their Compton line back around 1730, then maybe just maybe it will solve this little mystery.

Wesleyan Methodist Church

is one of the many religions in my family. This comes from my English side — The Beach & McCargar Branchs. Many of these 2 branchs were inter-married.

For those that do not know, The Wesleyan Methodist Church was founded in 1884 when it was formed from the merger of four smaller Methodist denominations with ties to British and U.S. Methodist denominations. It existed until it merged again with two other denominations to form the United Church of Canada in 1925.

Between the years of about 1842 – 1900, there are several records of Beach family members that were baptized in the faith.

They are very good at having records available on line for information that is available to family. An example that shows the hand-written records is at a page done here: Westlyn Baptism Lists If you scroll down you will find the Beach Family.

The picture below is the oldest building on the Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology campus, Leahurst began as a farmhouse belonging to the McCargar’s, a Wesleyan Methodist family.

Titanic Survivor buried in Mountain View . . .

Who would have thought that a survivor of the Titanic is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, BC

Robertha Josephine Watt was born on September 7, 1899 was born in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She was the only child and daughter of James Reid Watt and Elizabeth Inglis Milne. James was an architect and it was in regards to his job that the family made the decision to move to Portland, Oregon.

While James went ahead of his wife and daughter, who were travelling on the Maiden Voyage of the SS Titanic as second Class Passengers. On the ship they shared their cabin with 2 other passengers.

Bertha and her Mother were on Life Boat Number 9 after the sinking of the Titanic. She is said to have survived with nightie tucked into a pair of panties, and house slippers. She is also to have said that she was lucky to have squirrel lined coat, as that is what the did back in those days.

Eventually, they were reunited with her Father and settle into life in Portland, Oregon. She went onto High School and eventually she became a bookkeeper.

It was in 1923 that she married a Canadian Dentist, Dr. Leslie Frederick Marshall and settle into life in Vancouver, BC. Together, Leslie & Bertha went on to have 4 children, including 2 sons who also followed in their father’s footsteps and became dentist.

Sadly, shortly after he retired, Leslie passed away in 1971. Then a short 7 years later, her daughter and grandson were killed by a drunk driver.

Although she did on the occasion, talk about her experiences on the Titanic, she was often known to shun the publicity associated with being a Titanic survivor.

She is buried in Mountain View, in HORNE2/*/08/025/0002 (354) with a headstone, that if you didn’t stop to read, you would not know that she was there or who she was except for the line “Survivor of the Titanic”

To see her memorial, click on the following link:

Roberta Josephine Marshall

The need to organize

all my paper docs which include — photos, newspaper articles, stories , military records, burial records and many many more things.

When i started I had just everything in either English / Irish side vs Swedish / Finnish side along with binders of paper copies of Family tree information sent to me.

I figure that I will put them as per last name with the ones with most info in larger binders then names which I have smaller amounts of info in smaller ones. Hopefully there will be enough room.

The black binders would be (these are my England / Canada / Ireland / Scotland lines):

  • Rutledge
  • Elliott
  • Dicks
  • Beach
  • Mccargar
  • Kirby
  • The blue binders would be(these are my Sweden and Finland lines):

  • Snabb
  • Backman
  • Rusén
  • Forsman
  • These are just some of the names as there are a lot of names, but these would be the main lines.

    But getting organized is really, really taking a bit because i dont have the space to take it out and leave it out because the cats will mess it up or it messes up our tiny dining room.

    These are just some of the stuff needing to be organized

    Top shelves:


    Bottom shelves:


    To help, I have ordered more, smaller binders, dividers and plastic sheet covers. Hopefully it will start to look better organized in the next few weeks.

    Anyone think of a better way to do this, let me know.



    Update to Lost Cemeteries

    Back in 2014, I wrote about the Lost Cemeteries in New Westminister —

    Lost Cemeteries

    Well after a number of years of fighting, they have finally set a date for the reconstruction of the High School in 2017.

    And while they say that the school will not be built on any of the cemeteries, there are still people that are opposed to the new building on the land. The New Westminster Indian Band and Chinese Benevolent Society of Vancouver seem to support the project, there are other groups like the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs and Reconciliation for Canadians say they’re opposed.

    The spokesman for the Reconciliation for Canada has stated “The public needs to understand that what they’re talking about is the desecration of a commissioned cemetery” There are apparently at least 33 families that have a stake in the cemetery and they have not been spoken with.

    These were cemeteries for people of colour, that that these were commissioned cemeteries in the late 19th century.

    There are no records that these cemeteries were ever decommissioned, but there is an application in 2009 to have the New Westminster School site deemed a Heritage Designation but as of this date, there has been nothing done.

    The Government announcement stated:

    The existing school was built on land formerly used as a burial ground, public works yard and staging area for the military during the Second World War. The new school building will be located on portions of the site outside the burial areas. All work within the designated heritage areas will be monitored by an archeologist to ensure the heritage requirements are met and any historic artifacts are appropriately recorded.

    It will be interesting to watch as going forward this rich history that, for lack of a better word, has been buried since the school was originally built in 1949.

    Hopefully soon, all those buried there will finally get to rest in peace.


    The Search for

    a Great-Grandfather’s burial/headstone in Finland.

    For me, a life in my Family Tree really isn’t complete if I don’t have the complete life — from birth til death and all the things in between.

    And so, the search to confirm where my Great Grandfather, Johannes Johansson Snabb was buried began many, many years ago.

    I had several things: a couple of photos, a few stories but what I did not have was confirmation of death and burial. My Aunt had said that they had never left his home town of Björköby, Finland, so I had hoped to find the information somewhere on a Finland Historical Site, but while there were only photos of my Great-Grandmother and other family members, including his parents and others in the Snabb/Forsman Line that are buried in the Björkö Cemetery, but no photo for him or his 2nd wife.

    I had a complete records of my Great-Grandmother and all of their children, including my Grandma, Edit Amanda Snabb, here in Canada along with her sisters in the USA and her brother, who died in Australia. Their memorials had a photo of their final resting place.

    I decided to try a facebook group I belong to and ask there if anyone was located near or knew of anyone that would be able to see if he was truly buried there and if he had a headstone.

    The facebook group is part of Swedish-Finn Historical Society in Seattle, Washington. I had learned about them years and years ago. In fact, it was a member of the group, Hasse Nygård who originally got me in touch with my family still in Finland. He lives in Finland and runs a wonderful site with a huge database called TALKO.

    On September 30th, I posted asking if there was anyone that knew where I could find a burial list or anything that would confirm his burial, and possibly get me a photo of his headstone. Well, there were many suggestions given and finally, one of the women, Syrene Forsman (sadly no relation) asked me to send his name and information to her at the SFHS office and she would see what she could find. She said she was stubborn and like to find things out.

    First, a Per-Erik Berglund answered an inquiry that Syrene had left on a message board, but after emailing him, he sadly could not help, but gave me links to a website. Unfortunately, I had tried this website before and it was there that my Great-Grandmother as well as my Great-Great Grandmother had been photographed and posted.

    I was then given an email for Torbjörn Nikus, who was actually the photographer of the other headstone photos. He lived about 250 kms away from the cemetery and would not be able to go back to see if it was possible that the headstone had been missed. He also said that there was a possibility that if he had only had a wooden cross or there was no one looking after his plot, that there might not be anything there to be photographed. That was a sad thought.

    But what I didn’t know at the time, Per-Erik had forwarded my email to another person, someone that was living in the the town of Björköby, and her email would contain several surprises.

    On October 21, I received an email that started out:

    My name is Mona Britwin and I live i Björköby in Finland. I heard from Per-Erik Berglund in Bergö that you would like to know more about your ancester Johannes Johansson Snabb from Björkö.

    It seems that her Mom kept track of people from the “village” over the years, and while the first part I knew she had a lot of information that I didn’t know, like my Great-Grandfather was a “Garvaren” which means ” garvare means tanner, he was tanning skins when he wasn´t fishing”. She was also wondering which of his children I was related to, and how.

    She also sent me this:

    It is my Great Grandfather’s house still standing although vacant. What I wouldn’t do to have the money to buy it and move there.

    So, I emailed her back, explaining my relationship to him, along with a link to my website (see link on side). And then I waited. I was hoping that it would not be like many other times, I email, they email me, ask questions that I answer and then I never hear from them again. But then it came!!

    She apologized for not getting back to me sooner but she works all week and she apologized for her poor English but I understood everything and it just makes me want to learn more how to speak the language (on bucket list for 2015). She explained how they had different names than what I had listed or at least they were called different names than the names I had for them.

    She also told me how we are distantly related. If I have it right, it is through my 5th Great Uncle, Anders Mickelsson Snabb. This is wonderful as I do not have anything on this line for him. Or at least, I don’t have anything on my site, but must check my papers.

    And right after this email came her 2nd email and IT WAS A PHOTO OF THE HEADSTONE!!!! For both my Great-Grandfather and his 2nd Wife!!!. And it isn’t a little cross but a very large headstone. I got to complete his memorial!!!

    Great Grandfather Memorial

    As Syrene said “One simply has to ask!”

    Oh and Mona has asked me for help with a relative of hers, and if all goes as planned, I will be able to give her information in a week or so.

    I love Genealogy and finding family!!!

    Religion in the Family Tree . .

    Now anyone that knows me knows that I am not a religious person. I was not brought up with any type of religion, in fact the only times I have been in Church is for weddings and funerals.

    There was a time, around Grade 5 when I joined a Church group with a friend of mine. It was at, I believe a small Anglican Church. The group was called the Explorers and we wore white shirts, with a red ribbon tie with a little pin and a skirt. I only went for about 6 month or so because I did not attend the Church and therefore couldn’t go any further. I know that my friends’ parents would have taken me with them (they had 5 kids so what would be 1 more) but my parents wouldn’t let me. Said that it would cost too much. So, the only memory I have of my one time with a Church is this little pin:

    Small Pin

    Small Pin

    And that was the end of my religious interests as a child. I knew that other family members (cousins) went to Church, friends went and many others but just not us. So, it really wasn’t anything that I thought about, even after having a child. It was not something that seemed to be a part of my life.

    But then I started doing the family tree and the more I researched, the more that I found out that I had family on both sides (Paternal and Maternal) that were involved, sometimes quite heavily, in various religions.

    One of the first people that I learned about was my GG-Uncle Gustaf Vilhelm Rusén

    Great Great Uncle

    He was a Minister of a Church in Umas, Sweden which he helped to build and is buried in the cemetery next to the church.

    This is a picture of him and his wife. You can see his outfit better in this picture.

    Great Great Uncle2

    And the Church:


    I one day hope to go there and attended a service and visit his memorial to place flowers.

    End of Part One . . .

    Sad deaths of Two Young Ladies

    while working on the McCargar Branch of my family line, I found the burial location of some distant relatives, a 2nd cousin 4 times removed that are buried in an old Cemetery in New York — Groton Rural Cemetery. I entered the memorials, on, for the father, mother and several possible children from the burial index listed for the cemetery. Luckily, the list proved the plot numbers which gives a better chance of getting the photo requests filled for the pictures. Now photo requests can take awhile but luckily, these only took a few days.

    Now the surprise was that on the top of the 2 daughters, Hester A “Hettie” McCargar and Mary E McCargar was that they died on the same day and it said “Killed at Tariffville on Jan 15, 1878”.

    Now, I have seen were family members have died on the same date or within a week or so, but never listed as killed on the same day. I knew the chances of finding out how they were killed was small, but I thought I would give it a try. I googled “Tariffville 1878”. There were several links to the story, and a sad story it is.

    The Story

    On January 15th, 1878, 2 sisters, Mary and Hettie McCargar attended a revival meeting in Hartford, Connecticut to hear the popular Protestant evangelist Dwight Moody and singer and organist David Sankey. It is said that people would travel miles to hear his sermons and listen to the music.

    When the meeting was over, the sisters, along with many other faithful, boarded the train at the Union Station heading home to northwest Hartford County, upper Litchfield County and New York state. The train left the station around 9:20pm and it was just a short time later around 10:15pm as the train was crossing Howe truss bridge that carried the railroad across the Farmington River that the accident happened.

    The bridge reached the middle span and suddenly the bridge collapsed, sending the first part of the train down twenty feet to the dark, icy river below. I cannot imagine the terror of the people as the train fell on that cold January evening. Even though help arrived within the hour, 13 people including the McCargar sisters, died and 70 people were injured.

    There was an inquiry about the wreck with the bridge builder blaming the railroad and the railroad blaming the bridge maker. In the end, Four jurors believed that the bridge was safe and that a derailment caused the accident.

    In the end, the Railway company paid the families of those that died between $300 -$600 per person.


    For those that don’t know the McCargar family is part of the Beach Line. Many of the Beach Line married into the McCargar line. The Beach Family line then goes into the Dicks Line which marries into the Rutledge Line.