Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hi from London (repost from Hi! board)

Hi everyone in Verdun!

I wonder if you can help me with a query?

It goes like this: my name's Niall, I'm 26, I'm originally from the North of England (but have moved to East London) and I'm trying to track down any family links I might have in Verdun.

My grandparents are from Verdun, but I never met them - my grandmother I think died when I was 2, in 1984, and my grandfather died as a relatively young man (I think he was 50) in 1950.

My grandfather's name was Hugh Cyril Harvey, known as Cyril. His parents were David Harvey (died pre-1928) and Catherine McAlear.

My grandmother's name was Mary Elizabeth Wynne Drysdale, known as Wynne. Her parents were William Drysdale and Mary Matzen.

They got married on 25th May 1928.

The next known record I have of my grandad is in some legal review of 1947/48 that's Googlable and in French. I can speak French, so I was able to ascertain that he was petitioning for a divorce in 1948 because Wynne had left him 15 years previously.

My father, a Cyril William John Harvey (John) died in 1993. From what my mother tells me he was born in Liverpool, moved over to Canada and then when Wynne left my grandad, moved over to Liverpool to be brought up by his grandma Mary Matzen.

These are some other facts I have...

1) My grandad was last known to reside at 1027 Willibrord Ave, Verdun.

2) My father's aunt (thus my great-aunt) lived at 457 Moffat Ave, Verdun, and her married name was Mrs George Leonard Buck. The letter I have regarding this isn't dated, and could be from anywhere between 1963 and 1984.

And the rest is speculation...

1) My mother tells me I have/had an uncle called Duncan Harvey in the area. He also had a daughter, my cousin, possibly a Jacqueline or a Kathryn, I can't remember the name properly.

2) My grandfather was apparently a local musician in the 20s/30s, and may have been in or led a Charleston band.

3) My grandmother's side of the family was apparently pretty well-connected and well-off in the area. No idea why, though.

4) I've got good reason to believe that Mary Matzen was Jewish, although I'm not 100% sure of this because Wynne was a baptised Protestant. Cyril wasn't, and they had to get special dispensation from the Archbishop of Montreal to marry.

That info-splurge is all! I'm aware that I share family names with two local historians in the Verdun area, Kathryn Harvey and Laurel Buck, but I've corresponded with both and there doesn't appear to be any immediate link with my family there. And I still need to buy a copy of Laurel's book on the area.

Apologies for the length of the post and if you have any relevant information you can email me at - sorry for this e-mail address - (please remove the 'fake', it's to discourage spambots from getting my address).

Many thanks! If you can help me piece together my family's history I'll be very very grateful to you all.



les__f MSN said...

Hi Nial  ( maddogsandenglishmen)....  good luck in your search,there are some great people here who can usually find good information for you,  Again Good Luck in your search & Welcome to the Verdun Connections site:                                                         hf&rv

Anonymous said...

I have a bit more info now.

My grandfather Hugh Cyril Harvey emigrated to Verdun from Liverpool in 1922, when he was 19. He listed his occupation as 'Musician', and stayed in Verdun for the rest of his life. He was buried at Notre Dame des Neiges in June 1951. He must have been only 47 or 48 when he died.

My grandmother Wynne didn't actually join Hugh in Canada until years afterward - in May 1928. The Canadian record of their marriage is dated the same month. A few months later, by this time pregnant with my father, she sailed straight back to Liverpool... and then came back to Canada in October 1929, with my 7-month old father, who had been born in Liverpool, in tow. She spent almost two years in Canada, during which time my uncle Duncan was born in October 1930, before going back to Liverpool for good in September 1931. It must have been then that she and my grandfather separated, as noted in Canadian legal proceedings relating to their divorce 16 or 17 years later.

When my grandfather emigrated to Canada in 1921, he did so to join his sister, Margaret Anne Harvey, and his brother-in-law, George Leonard Buck, who had emigrated a few years before. Margaret was buried in Notre Dame Des Neiges in December 1979, and George in February 1956.

I am told that Duncan moved back to Canada in adulthood, but can find no information on him other than the passenger list that has him departing Canada in September 1931. He could have moved to Verdun, or anywhere else in Canada.

No-one in my family was Jewish (I was wrong about that)... my grandfather is listed as R/C, while my grandmother was Protestant.

If anyone has any information on any of these people who lived in Verdun, I would love to know!

Thank you very much.