It’s a funny thing about family stories – many times they turn out to be true.
One particularly striking one I remember being told by Grandma Ellerby many years ago, where she recalled, as a child, receiving a gold coin from from an uncle John Booth every Christmas. John Rudolphus Booth, as history relates, was one of Canada’s wealthiest men who was a dominating force in Ottawa, but how was he connected to my grandmother, who was born in Bury, Quebec?
The information that is available now in Google searches is truly outstanding, and it was quite easy to work out the connections.
Grandma’s maiden name was Linnie Maxine Webster, and her father’s name was Samuel Harold Webster. According to the 1911 Census, her family lived with her grandparents Walter and Gertrude Webster in Bury. The Bury Cemetery records identify W. Walter Webster as being the husband of A. Gertrude Booth. The census page shows that Gertrude was 50 years old at the time.
A quick check at Family Search – a good site run by the Mormons – shows an extract from the 1871 Census stating that Alice Gertrude Booth (then aged 10) was living in Shefford, Quebec at that time, but it did not list the complete family. However, a search of the actual census records for that year reveals that Alice Gertrude’s father was Elijah Booth, aged 36 at the time.
It turns out that Elijah Booth, born in 1835, was a half-brother of John Rudolphus Booth. Another person interested in the Booth family history was able to dig up Elijah’s baptismal certificate, which proves the connection.
Which leaves one final mystery: whatever happened to Grandma’s gold coins? She was always vague as to that point in relating the story to anyone in the family.