Carruthers of Liverpool & Montreal

Here is another query I have received ……

Salvation Army Building Montreal GenealogyMy great grandmother went to Montreal Canada in 1927 and apparently died there while visiting her daughter Grace Carruthers Tomson who belonged to the Salvation Army.

1861 Born in Liverpool England
died in Montreal Canada I think in 1927

Hi Pamela,

Thank you for your query. I have found Grace Carruthers sailing on the Minnedosa from Liverpool in 1927 bound for Canada. The passenger lists tells us that her daughter paid for Grace’s fare and that she intended staying at her son in law’s house. Mr R Thomson, 1475 Blaney Street, Montreal, P.Q. Her next of kin in the UK was her husband Alex Carruthers, 91 Peel Road, Bootle, Liverpool.

Looking at the incoming passenger lists it doesn’t look as if Grace returned to England. The death indexes for Quebec after 1900 are only available in the GRO Office Quebec and do not seem to be online. A Google search for cemetery records for Montreal did not produce any reference to Grace.

Perhaps a letter to the Salvation Army in Montreal might bring to light a record of Grace’s death and burial.



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Hilton family of Wigan & Utah

Here is a query that I received recently ……


Genealogy WW1My mother was Elizabeth Hilton and was born in Wigan, Lancashire in 1900. Her father, John Hilton Sr. was a coal miner and immigrated to Castle Gate, Carbon County, Utah in August 1906. After working and accumulating the necessary funds, His wife Jane and three children joined him in September 1907. At the time John was the Superintendent of the Clear Creek Mine in Carbon County, UT. Family history is that the British Government recalled all her subjects with vitals skills home to help with the Great War (WWI) effort. We do not have a record of when he returned; Jane and 6 children returned in December 1915.

After the War, John returned Castle Gate in November 1920 to become the Boney Boss at the Castle Gate Mine. My mother Elizabeth returned in June 1921 followed by her mother Jane and 6 children (another born in England) in October 1921.

John and Mathew Tyrer (brother to Jane) was killed 08 March 1908 in the Castle Gate Mine Explosion. In total a 174 miners lost their life. To add to our family history, we would like a copy of the documentation that resulted in John and his family returning to England. I have been reading the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) of 1914 but cannot see where it compelled the return of British subjects. I am hoping that you might be able to help or point me in the proper direction.

Going off subject, I am retired now but several years in our aerospace/defense industries. I find interesting that we spell your defence as defense. Although I have a degree with double major in physics and math, I also have an English Literature minor. My wife was the county spelling champion and two of my three daughters participated in our National Spelling Bees. So spelling is very important in our family.

Looking forward to your reply.

Bill Roberts

Hello Bill,

I have never heard of the British Government recalling men from overseas to return to the UK to assist in the WW1 war effort. I can’t see how they would have compelled them to do so and I would tend to think that John Hilton senior went of his own accord rather than at the behest of the UK government. I may be wrong and  perhaps one of the MadAboutGenealogy readers will write in and put me right !

I have undertaken, as I expect you have, a Google search for the recall of miners during WW1 and found nothing. Therefore I rather think that the documentation does not exist for John Hilton’s recall to England.

The British way of spelling certain words does seem to have alter over the centuries as well as when the British moved to other lands. I think we had better agree to disagree on the way to spell defence !

Sorry not to be able to help you further.



White Gloves & Archives

White Gloves GenealogyWhenever someone on the TV programme Who Do You Think You Are? handles a document without wearing white gloves the social media runs hot with complaints from those who think they have been causing damage to the fragile paper or parchment. When I started in genealogy the only time you would wear gloves when handles archives was when they were so filthy dirty that you wanted to protect your skin from several hundred years of dust and mouse droppings! White glove wearing was un-heard of, then a few years ago it suddenly was decided the oil from skin was causing damage to documents and white gloves became the norm.

Now the pendulum has swung the other way and National Archives, London has written an article declaring that white gloves are causing more harm than good and will no longer be issued to those handling old manuscripts.

So if you have shares in a archival white glove manufacturer it might be a good time to sell them !

One Place Studies

One Place Studies GenealogyI am sure that all family historians have experienced the attachment to a particular parish where one’s ancestors lived. You become so engrossed with the people that you have meet in the parish registers and the census that it almost feels like you have lived there!

Some genealogists and local historians take research one step more and undertake a one place study researching the people of a community within the context of the place they live. Of course in this day and age of the internet there is a website and a society to bring together people who are undertaking such research,

The Society for One Place Studies is based at the Devon Heritage Centre and link to their website is below. There is a page explaining about the society, a blog and a list of where studies are being undertaken. The society is still in it’s early days having been established in June this year, but the site is well worth keeping an eye on.


WW1 Soldier Wills online

Some 230,000 WW1 Soldier’s wills have been digitised and put online for the first time. The digitisation is part of the commemorations planned for the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WW1. Some of the wills also contain letters which were to be given to the next of kin if the soldier died whilst in service.

The excellent HistoryExtra website has a good article about the wills and there is a number of short videos already on YouTube, I am sure there will be more within the next few days.

The project has been overseen by Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) and is offered on the probate website. Searching the index is free and wills costs £6 each.