Packer FamilyI don’t know who all is in this photograph but I know for sure that the standing girl in pigtails is my Great Grandmother Cora Packer, the woman with the boy in her lap is her mother Flora (Massy) Packer, the boy is her brother James Arthur Packer, and the girl sitting down in front is Cora’s sister, Pearl Packer.

Any Packer, Garbutt, Massy, or Cory researchers recognize anyone else?

From my great aunt’s photo collection.

Happy hunting,

Jess

George Garbutt and Flora (Massey) Packer

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and I plan to celebrate the season on the blog.

So, my photo of the week goes back to a beach with my Great Great Grandmother, Flora Jane Packer, and her pseudo-older brother–George William Garbutt. I have yet to figure out if she was fostered, adopted, or mysteriously related to the Garbutts but there’s no ignoring the ties between her, the Garbutts and the Packer family.

I am not sure whether this one is taken in Ontario or Michigan… but don’t they look all comfy lounging on the beach?

Happy hunting,

Jess

P.s. I’m always looking to hear from relatives but if there are any Garbutt researchers in particular, drop me a line!

In my pleasure reading I’ve recently picked up a number of books** that explore the idea that one decision or act can change the course of a life or lives and as a genealogist it sparks my imagination… what choices and decisions lead to my existence? I’ll never know most of them but every time I can find a little more information it’s a little victory.

Martha Ward Garbutt had some hand in raising my 2nd Great Grandmother Flora Jane Massy. I would dearly love to know how Flora ended up in Canada. As I’ve mentioned before, the gap in my research on her life spans from the 1870 Census when she lived in Detroit, Michigan with her mother, Augusta (Cory) Massy, and 1881 when she was enumerated as the youngest Garbutt child. Whatever the story, the Garbutt family made a home for Flora. And it’s through this connection that she met and married into the Packer family—Martha’s 5th child, Mary, married Cornelius’s older brother, Thomas, in 1875. And there’s more than enough photographic evidence that the families all remained in touch long after my 2nd Great Grandparents came to Grand Rapids in 1891.

Martha Ward Garbutt, c. late 1912So, on this 195th anniversary of the birth of Martha (Ward) Garbutt, I’d like to say thank you for whatever role she had in my existence. Martha was born in England to John and Jane (Spenceley) Ward in 1818 and married William Garbutt on 30 Nov 1839. They started their family in Pickering, in North Yorkshire (per the 1851 England Census) but the family immigrated to Woodstock, Ontario, Canada prior to 1855 when Mary was born. They were the parents of eight children. Martha outlived her husband by about 18 years and lived out her last years with Mary and Thomas Packer. She died at home, just over a month shy of her 95th birthday, on 12 Mar 1913.

This photo-postcard was sent to my 2nd Great Grandparents at Christmas in 1911 or 1912. One of my cousins shared it with me and it was one of those great finds that makes the rest of the pieces fall into place. It’s inscribed to “Curly and Flo” (Cornelius and Flora Packer) from Mary with the note, “don’t you think Grandma looks real nice for one nearly 94 years.”

Happy hunting,

Jess

** Ex. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, Strange Attractors by Charles Soule

PackerTWH_frontThis is the headstone of Thomas William Horton Packer and his wives Mary Garbutt and Isobel Black. Thomas was the brother of my 2nd Great Grandfather, Cornelius and the 2nd son of Joseph of and Harriett (Vaughan) Packer. He was born in Gillingham, Kent, England in 1851 and named for one of Joseph’s older brothers. The family then moved 8 miles east to Sittingbourne.

When the family immigrated to Canada around 1870 he was already almost 20 and was only listed on the 1871 Census in Canada with his family in Hamilton, Ontario. Not too long after that the family moved to Woodstock, Ontario where on 01 December 1875 Thomas married Mary Garbutt, the 4th daughter of William and Martha (Ward) Garbutt.

On the 1881 Census Thomas reported working as a Sawyer and 1891 he was a Glass fitter and Mary’s nephew, William Rennick, was living with the couple and working as a photographer. In 1914 Mary died of Bright Disease.

PackerTWH_back

In the summer of 1916 Thomas married Isobel Black, the daughter of John and Charlotte (Roberts) Black. Thomas died right around the new year of 1835-1836—a newspaper dated 31 Dec 1935 noted his death but the headstone reads 1936.

All three are buried at Hillview Cemetery on 5th Street, on the southeast side of Woodstock, Ontario.

Happy hunting,

Jess

This week’s photo is one for from our Ontario roadtrip. This is a memorial for William and Martha (Ward) Garbutt. While I haven’t figured out the details of how or when, my 2nd Great Grandmother Flora Massey lived with the Garbutt family for a number of years before she married. She was a witness at the wedding of their 5th child Sarah Garbutt to William Buckburrough. She was enumerated with them in the 1881 Canadian Census as Flora Garbutt. And in 1885 she married Mary (Garbutt) Packer’s brother-in-law, Cornelius.

There is a lovely photo postcard that many of my cousins have posted to their Ancestry.com trees of “Grandma Garbutt” at the age of 94, addressed to “Curly and Flo”—my Cornelius and Flora.

The monument is located in section F, Row C, number 4 at Hillview Cemetery on 5th Street, on the southeast side of Woodstock, Ontario. The other two sides have inscriptions for John Garbutt, their son, and their son-in-law Robert Porter.

Happy hunting,

Jess

   

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