Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hi from London!

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.


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