Monday, January 26, 2015

Canadian Connection: My Ancestors in Ontario

Genealogy and Canadian Ancestors
Most of my ancestors seem to be from Germany and France so, because it's so different than the rest, one of the family branches that stands out for me is my Baker line. John Baker was born in England and Elizabeth Arthur was Irish. They both made their way to Canada and settled in Seneca, Haldimand County, Ontario. (I still don't know if they were already married and arrived together, or met in Canada.)

Six of their nine children, including my 2nd great-grandmother Mary Baker, were born in Canada:

Sushannah Baker, b. 1853
Mary Baker, b. 1855
Thomas Baker, b. 1857
George Baker, b. 1859
James Baker, b. 1861
Elizabeth Baker, b. 1864

From the 1861 Census, I learned that John belonged to the Church of England and his wife Elizabeth and the children were Catholic. Seneca Township is missing from the 1851 Census, so I was unable to use that source to find out if the couple was living there before their children were born.

Around 1866, they arrived in the U.S. and made their way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the other three children were born. I can't be sure why they left Canada, but I found a short blurb that said families began to move away after one of the largest employers in Seneca Township, Grand River Navigation Company, went bankrupt in the 1860s.

I must say that having Canadian-born relatives has made my U.S. research much easier. Baker is such a common name but, when you can specify that the person was born in Canada, it certainly helps you find the Baker you're searching for. I still have a lot of research to do on John & Elizabeth since I don't know their parents' names and need more specifics on where they lived in England and Ireland, but it's fun to know I have a connection to Canada!

Note: You can see a photograph of two of the Bakers in my post about the mystery that was solved with James Baker's death certificate.

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