It's been an interesting week for bibles. I happened upon a paperback-sized bible from roughly 1885 earlier in the week at a local thrift store that contained a few handwritten notations of births and deaths in the Oke family. I was ready to pick it up when, alas, I saw the price tag. It was way beyond my usual limit for such items.
I asked the clerk if there was something that made this bible special, and they told me it was priced that way because it was old. Of course, age doesn't automatically make something valuable, as anyone who has dabbled in collecting knows. So, sadly I had to abandon the idea of reuniting that item. However, later in the week on my travels down island, I found a similar bible in an antique store.
This one, thankfully, was priced more reasonably. The inscription on the front free endpaper of the Bible reads:
Master E. L. McEwen
from Miss E. J. Prouty
It is followed by a handwritten bible verse, probably in E. L. McEwen's hand.
Then on the next page, three deaths are recorded:
James Roy McEwen died Feb 25, 1898 aged one year and eight months with scarlet feaver [sic] at Knowlesville.
Edith May Gardiner died at Brandon Sept 26, 1900 aged 19 years and 16 days of typhoid feaver [sic].
George Roy Gardiner died December 23, 1903, at Prince Albert, N.W.T. at Victoria Hospital ([hip?] disease) age 24 years, 8 months.
A James Roy McEwan, with the same death date and age, was buried in Argyle Cemetery, Carleton County, New Brunswick, Canada1. Knowlesville is just nine kilometres from Argyle. James Roy was the son of William and Minnie McEwen.
As I was searching through the Vital Statistics portion of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick database, I found an interesting late birth registration for Ernest Lambly McEwen, born 7 June 1892 in Windsor, Carleton, New Brunswick, son of William and Mary (Gardiner) McEwen2. Mary's maiden name in particular caught my eye, as did Ernest's initials. This late registration was applied for in 1950, when Mary Annabelle McEwen was living in Cloverdale, BC.
William, Mary and Ernest McEwan appear in the the 1901 Census of Canada, living in Prince Albert, Northwest Territories (now Saskatchewan)3. William was a mill labourer, born the 5th of March 1859 in New Brunswick.
My next objective was to see if I could find a connection between Mary (Minnie) Gardiner McEwen and the two Gardiners mentioned in the bible inscription: Edith May, born about 10 Sept 1881 and George Roy, born about 23 Apr 1879, the dates calculated from the death date and age at death information in the bible.
From the 1891 Census for Aberdeen, Carleton County, New Brunswick4:
Thomas Gardiner, 61, born PEI, farmer
Freelove Gardiner, 43, wife, born NB
John Gardiner, 19, son, born NB, farm labourer
Earnest Gardiner, 17,son, born NB, farm labourer
James Gardiner, 15, son, born NB
George Gardiner, 12, son, born NB
Edith Gardiner, 9, daughter, born NB
Minnie Gardiner, 23, daughter born NB
A nice thing about the 1901 Canada Census is that full birth dates are recorded. A quick check confirms we have the matching birth date for George R. Gardiner5. The family has moved from New Brunswick to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, which matches our information as well.
We can conclude that Edith May Gardiner was probably Ernest's aunt; that George Roy Gardiner was his uncle and James Roy McEwen, his younger brother. The only other person mentioned in the bible is Miss E. J. Prouty, who is probably Ernest's Sunday School Teacher, but we'll leave that one for another day.
There is a lot more information one could follow pertaining to Ernest Lambly McEwen and his family, but I think we've done enough here today to help someone recognize if this bible belongs to their family. If you'd like to add any information, feel free to leave a comment below.
UPDATE November 7, 2012: REUNION! The bible is now on its way to the grandson of Ernest McEwen. Yay!
1 New Brunswick Genealogical Society, compiler, "New Brunswick Cemeteries Index," database, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (http://archives.gnb.ca/Search/Cemeteries/:accessed 24 Oct 2012), database entry for James Roy McEwen (?-1898)↩
2 Registrar of Vital Statistics, "Index to Late Registration of Births," database, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (http://archives.gnb.ca/ :accessed 24 Oct 2012), database entry for Ernest Lambly McEwen (7 June 1892)↩
3 1901 census of Canada, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, The Territories, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 205, subdistrict # 11, p.2 (penned), dwelling 12, family 12, William McEwan family; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 24 Oct 2012); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-6428 through T-6556.↩
4 1891 census of Canada, Aberdeen, Carleton, New Brunswick, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 12, subdistrict # 2, p. 14 (penned), dwelling 61, family 61, Thomas Gardiner family; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 24 Oct 2012); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-6297.↩
5 1901 census of Canada, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, The Territories, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 205, subdistrict # 11, p.1 (penned), dwelling 8, family 8, Thomas Gardiner family; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 24 Oct 2012); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-6428 through T-6556.↩