It’s a bit of a convoluted story but it’s one that could have an impact on a family for years to come if the community can help.
A fellow by the name of Clive Harry wrote to the Citizen from the UK after his research into his friend Marion’s family history led him to Duncan.
“My friend is the mum of someone who went to school with my son (now 41),” Harry explained. “She lives nearby and in conversation it came up that I was interested in family history. My interest was awakened when she said she knew nothing about her mother’s family, hence my search.”
Harry began to dig. Here’s what he came up with:
Marion’s grandmother was unmarried and had a child in 1906. The child’s name was Winnifred Annie Madge.
“Marion had also remembered that she had been told that Winnie’s mother was Patience Madge. When I looked at the census for 1911, it showed that, in fact, Patience was Winnie’s grandmother,” Harry explained. “I obtained a copy of Winnie’s birth certificate which showed that her mother was Ada Madge, the eldest daughter of Patience. No father was named so, Ada had not been married at the time.”
The amateur researcher said a great deal more research into that 1901 census showed “Ada had been working as a servant, aged 17, on a farm at Collumpton near Tiverton. Also employed there was one William Eveleigh, aged 15 at the time.
“When Winnie was born in 1906, William would have been almost 20. He emigrated from England to London, Ontario in that year, getting work as a carpenter. Ada joined him in London, Ontario in 1909 and they were married the same year in the district of London City. Meanwhile, their daughter Winnie had remained with her grandmother back in Devonshire, England.
The 1911 Canada census shows that a daughter, Florence, was born in 1909 and had died. Hilda Violet was then aged 5 months.
By 1921, the family was living in the Cowichan region. By that time they had three more children, Edna, 9, William, 6, and Gerald, 4.
Harry has been in touch with the grandson of William (whose full name was William John Russell Eveleigh). The grandson lives in Chilliwack and knows of other relatives but is not in contact with them.
“Marion, who lives near us in Bristol, UK, previously knew nothing of this story. It is likely she has close relatives in your area who have never had contact.”
Both Ada and William Eveleigh are buried in a graveyard here in the Cowichan region but it’s not clear where.
So, Harry hopes the paper can put the word out and spread it around to see if he can find those relatives for his friend.
“We wondered if you might be willing to help locate any relatives or people who had close knowledge of the family,” he said. “Marion lives near us in Oldland Common, Bristol with her husband Richard. She is in her mid 70s,” he added. “She is very excited about the prospect of finding an extended family in Canada.”
The Citizen’s cursory digging has yielded limited results.