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

Last week was the anniversary of my 2nd Great Aunt Ethel Augusta Packer who died just short of her 23th birthday in September of 1900. She carried the name of her Grandmother Augusta (Cory) Massy and in turn is the person my Grandmother was named after. This picture might be her. Of the Packer kids she was the second child with Pearl coming next. Evelyn, the eldest died at 9 months. My Great Grand other Cora wasn’t born until 1892—the year they moved to the United States and this was taken in Woodstock, Ontario. So, I suspect that this is either Ethel or Pearl. Though, to confuse matters Photographers of Ontario notes that Alfred Spinks, the photographer, bought his brother out of the Woodstock Studio in 1894 after the family moved to the US. I may never know which Packer girl this is.

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

   

I honestly don’t know what this was for… though the Packers have quite a collection of photographs of people dressing up in some way or another. But this is definitely my 2nd Great Uncle Arthur (James Arthur Packer) who served in World War I, made saxophones and in 1951 walked my Grandmother down the aisle.

Happy Halloween!

Cheers,

Jess

These are two of my 2nd Great Aunts—both younger sisters of my Great Grandparents. Grace Packer the younger sister of Cora (Packer) Shea and Donna Shea, the younger sister of Robert Shea. This picture was probably taken between 1922 and 1925—after or around Cora and Robert’s marriage but before either of the sisters married in 1925.

Happy hunting,

Jess

Since I briefly mentioned her… This is the family of my 2nd Great Aunt, Pearl Elizabeth Packer Jones, my Great-Grandmother Cora’s older sister. Pictured are Pearl, her  first husband Raymond E. Jones and their daughters Alexia, Doris (on Raymond’s lap) and Edith. The photo is likely taken in Grand Rapids, MI around 1915 (based on Doris’s age). Raymond died in 1937 and for a time Cora and her children moved in with them. Eventually, Pearl married Archie McComb and the couple removed to Quebec. Pearl returned to Grand Rapids late in life and died there in 1980.

I was able to take a day last week to do a daytrip to Kent County, Michigan to visit another one of my favorite collections—Grand Rapids Public Library’s History and Special Collections Department at the Main Library. It’s been years since I’ve been there to research and took me a little while to get oriented but I was able to answer some of the questions I’d hoped to. For example—and this is for Denise and Gran… Aunt Pearl (Packer) McComb was buried at Rest Lawn Memorial Park according to her Grand Rapids Press obituary—which for some reason I’d missed looking up before. I was also able to work with the Grand Rapids Directories and a few other resources.

I spent the afternoon at the Kent County Probate Court to look at family probate records. As I had used this courthouse before I had gotten a fair explanation of how things worked form their website. And I was pretty well prepared when I arrived. I didn’t know what they might have so I used their indexes to look up a few family names and picked one to work on for the afternoon.

I spent the remainder of my time looking at the very detailed and long probate packet for my 3rd Great-Grandfather George E. Porter, who died without a will. What followed was a very detailed process in which George’s heirs nominated my 2nd Great-Grandfather Charles E. Porter to act as agent in settling his father’s estate. There were pages of material—I couldn’t afford to print it all at $2 per page. But Idid get a great sampling with lists of surviving heirs, property information and value, and lists of debts—from a line by line of the costs of treatment for George’s illness to the burial. I worked with bits of probate packets before but this was my first experience seeing a large detailed packet without someone choosing bits to show me. It was fascinating!

Happy hunting,

Jess

And for your viewing pleasure on this Wordless Wednesday… This is my Great Grandfather Robert Shea, my 2nd Great Aunt Grace Packer, and my Great Grandmother Cora (Packer) Shea. It was probably taken in the early 1920s before Grace married Harold Elliott in 1925.

Happy Hunting,

Jess

Today is the 165th Anniversary of my 3rd Great Grandparents wedding. On 25 April 1847 Joseph Packer married Harriet Vaughan at St. Margaret’s Church in Rainham, Kent, England witnessed by Joseph’s brother, Charles and sister, Mercy. The couple lived to celebrate 59 years of marriage. They were the parents of at least seven children: William James, Thomas William Horton, Joseph Malcolm Ross, Sara Maria, Charles, Cornelius, and Albert A. The family lived in Kent; Ontario, Canada; and finally in the United States.  The couple completed their lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Happy Hunting,

Jess

I’ve had lots of long conversations with my Gran and Great Aunt about our families but I have this growing list of questions inspired by research done for these posts and new finds. As an example, I spent hours this week flipping through census pages for Grand Rapids, MI trying to track them down in 1940. I had started with my latest directory locations for the family—which placed them living with my 2nd Great Aunt Pearl in 1937. When I couldn’t find any relatives there I called Gran and she told me they lived on Quimby.  I used Morse and Weintraub’s One Step Enumeration District finder from (http://stevemorse.org) which narrowed the list down to 3 EDs. Then Gran called back and said… maybe it was Union St. Either way she wasn’t sure of the number. So, I entered Union in the finder and it narrowed it down to 30 districts. Needless to say, I found them at 306 Union Street… eventually.

In 1940 Great Grandma Cora was the head of household including my Gran and her siblings and Cora’s youngest sibling Grace (Packer) Elliott and her family—including her husband, Harold, and six of their children. Cora was working at a paper box factory and Harold at an auto plant. I was so thrilled that I posted to Twitter as soon as I found Gran, and almost immediately got a phone call from my mother and Gran because Gran wanted to know what I’d found. It all just leads to more interesting questions: about Cora’s job (which I can’t quite decipher), the moving, all the family they lived with at different times, and really just how Cora managed as a widow with 3 young children.

I think it’s past time for a lunch date with Mom, Gran, and my Aunts!

Happy hunting!

Jess

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