Monday, 28 March 2016

Small Town Manitoba Curling

My family history is connected to the sport of curling as some rediscovered photos clearly show. There are not many pictures of weddings, birthdays or other special occasions but curling teams - oh yes! The old photos help me reflect on the leisure pastime of my ancestors and how the game has evolved.  
This picture was labelled Hargrave Ladies Curling 1926.  The women are noted to be: back left - Florence Stinson and Evelyn Odell, front - Coral Wilson and my Grandma Frances Milne in the light coloured coat on top of her dress!  This would have been taken before she was married in March of 1927.  The local history book called Binding Our Districts,  complied in 1989, says the curling rink had been discussed since November 1905 but was built in 1926 and used until around 1973.  My great grandfather, Alexander Milne, was a keen participant as well.  Being a Scottish immigrant, he likely played the game back in the "old country".  

1926 at Hargrave -from left Mrs. Edwards, William Reid, Sandy Johnson and Alex Milne

The wide household corn brooms were widely used until narrower brooms and later ones with coverings that were called "Rink Rats" became popular.  Brushes made with horse hair and hog hair came along in the 80's and then synthetic fabrics took over.  Handles are now fibreglass or carbon fibre instead of the wooden dowel.  Famous curler John Morris has a video on YouTube here that shows the history of brooms. 

Left to right - Alex Milne, Tom Phillips, Amos Odell, William Reid

Amos Odell donated the land for the rink to be built in the summer and all of 1926 and a horse barn and well were also important to have on site.  Windows helped with lighting during the day but gas lamps and later electricity kept the games going into the night. An open air skating rink was flooded on the south side of the building as well for hockey and skating.

Hargrave 'Spiel 1958 - left - Stella Tapp, Frances Kinnaird, Joyce Braybrook, Inez Heaman

I recall the scoreboard sponsored by McDonald's Export A Tobacco like the one above were in every rink and were a challenge to decipher for the non-curler!  
Along with playing the game, my family was involved with the many volunteer duties to keep the rink going.  Repairs and upgrades to the building, serving meals and lunches of donated food, sawing wood for heat, serving on boards and as draw masters were all vital to the continued success of the Hargrave Curling Rink.  

Elkhorn 'Spiel 1960 - Irene Bender, Frances Kinnaird, Bessie Armstrong, Janet Sawyer

The curling sweaters being worn by Bessie and Janet were popular in the 50's and 60's.  Mary Maxim or Cowichan is another name as talked about in this blog with many designs and patterns.  A Google search of "Vintage Mary Maxim" give lots of examples

My Dad (above with his twin sister Dorothy and Skipper the dog) remembers when the prizes at bonspiels were huge. There was one at Nipawin, SK where the winners took home brand new Hudson automobiles! Listen to a radio broadcast clip here from January 1948 from the event that drew top teams from across the prairies to the Autospiels held from 1947-1954. Electric prizes were popular in the 40's and 50's and Rivers had one of these. Fancy trophies and prizes gave way to Cash Bonspiels and "Pick a Prize" affairs.  

My Grandpa, Frank Kinnaird, also enjoyed curling and the Pyrex dish pictured below was one of his prizes, my Mom recalls. The Pyrex Love Website shows the set in red and more about it here.  It was advertised in the September 19, 1949 Life magazine and was found online at Google Books for the going price of $2.95!

 As to the future of rural curling, a March 2013 free press article tells of the struggles of curling and rinks in rural Manitoba. One of the many ways life has changed since the days of my ancestors.  I am glad the pictures remain to remind us how it was.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Today's Mystery - James Jamieson

The postcard style photo above and the two men in uniform below are part of the Jamieson mystery in my family tree. The were recently found on the same page in a family photo album, making me think someone placed them together for a reason.   The above one has Uncle Jimmy written on it, I wonder if it's Grandma's writing?

That would make him the brother of her mother, Jeannie Jamieson Milne.  The only sure information have about James is from the 1894 Scotland census where it says he was age 7 (born around 1884) and his birthplace was Banff, Banffshire, Scotland.  At the time, he was living with his 36 year old mother Margaret (nee Duncan) at 18 St Catherine Street, with brother William Duncan Jamieson age 8 and 11 year old sister Susan A. Jamieson. The only other fact I know is that James was mentioned in Jeannie's obituary in 1948 still living in Banff along with his sisters Mrs. McKenzie and Mrs. Greenlaw.   Some recall it being said James and perhaps his brother served in WW1 but with such a common name, it is hard to trace. The two military pictures seem to support this theory.

The unidentified photos posted below were found in Grandma's trunk and we wonder if it is James on the left and W.D. on the right as in comparison to the soldiers above? Please do contact me if you have any further information on my Jamiesons.  I'd love to know more about them!

P.S. - An online source called Worrall's Directory of the north-eastern counties of Scotland from 1877  indicates a James Jamison farmed at Crannabog near  Aberchirder and a Jas Jamieson at Ribrae in the same area.  I wonder if they are ancestors?  

A New Portrait of my Great Grandparents

The picture above on the left of George William Kinnaird and Margaret Carruthers was discovered in Grandma's trunk but it was a brown tin type and rather hard to make out.  We wonder if it is their wedding portrait from August 8, 1888.  The record of this event is below.

The photo at the right said "Uncle George" on the back and is of the same style.  Tin Type photos were popular in the mid 1800's but they were dark and tarnished quickly.  The one of George alone was is in a paper frame that has survived remarkably well.

Another picture recently turned up in a look through a cousin's album and what a find!  The details are so much easier to see and Margaret seems to be wearing the same dress.  George is wearing a tie and the setting seems the same as in the picture above of him alone.  The background of this one is so sharp and the pleats in her dress even show so well!

This picture also showed the photographers name and Google helped with that too.  Norris M. Trickey worked as a photographer in Winchester, Ontario from 1888-1904 according to this website . This photo is called a Cabinet Card type and this 4 X 6 size dates from the mid 19th century and onward.

Margaret died in 1894 at age 29 of tuberculosis, not long after this portrait was taken I assume.  It would have been a cherished remembrance for her family and her two young sons, Stephen and Francis. She has a familiar look to me, so I know her genes have been passed down and remain in the faces of my family today.