Sunday, 10 January 2021

Herstory - Annie May A.

 I've been spending a lot of time Ancestry. I've written up a summary my grandmother's life, scanned some photos I found in a couple of albums and posted these for my cousins and one sibling on FB.  She had an interesting life, but as I'm continuing to do the same research with each of her parents, grandparents and onward, it is her mother's/my great grandmother's story that has touched me the most.  

Annie May A. was born in 1878 in what was then Canada West.  When Annie May was just two years old, her sibling George passed away at the age of 5 weeks; when she was four her mother died.  Harriet Louisa was just 25; her death occurred just 10 weeks after the birth of her youngest child (also) Harriet Louisa. It seems Annie May and her sister were separated as census data indicates she stayed with her maternal grandmother, Emma Susannah in Ontario, while her sister went to live with a paternal aunt in Manitoba.  Their father passed away not long after the move to Manitoba at the age of 31.  Annie May would have been nearly 8 when her father passed away. It's quite probable that she and her sister never saw one another again.

At 22 Annie May married and in the next twelve years she gave birth to eight children, the last one likely stillborn. Just six days later, she passed away too at the young age of 34. 

Around 1902, while her children were young, the family moved from Ontario to southeast Saskatchewan, and then after 1906, they moved further west to the southwest corner of Saskatchewan.  I can only imagine the hardships she endured travelling cross country with two small children, then three more as they moved to the homestead. I do believe she had some help, as her in-laws also moved around the same time, but it must have been a herculean task. 

I wish I had a photo to share with you, but sadly there are none.  My grandmother's photo album has a space where a photo once was inserted with a notation Dad and Mom #1, but it has long since been removed. I've sent a request to another direct descendant of Emma Susannah, with the hopes that she may have a photo of Annie May in her collection of photos of Emma.  

I do have a photo of her mother, Harriet Louisa with her sisters, Mary Anne, and Emma. I assume they are lined up in order of their birth.  Harriet was born in 1857 and passed away in 1882. I would guess this photo was taken shortly before her death based on my guess on the age of her youngest sister.  


  1. This was such an interesting read. I have been going through all the things my mother had saved and came across a letter my great uncle wrote o my grandmother (his sister) The letter itself is tattered and torn but it was the last letter he had form him before he was killed in France during WW1. I also found his diary that was posted every few days while he was in Europe/

  2. What an interesting yet sad account. They died so young but actually left quite a few descendants. We can be grateful we no longer live with those hardships.

  3. Such an interesting story. I know very little about my family on either side really, but our son (Kurt) has been doing a bit of research and I do have a couple of old photos.

    God bless.

  4. It must be fascinating to be learning so much even if some is sad.

  5. My 13 year old grandson has a great interest in family genealogy. He asked for a DNA test kit for Christmas two years ago and has been researching since. He knows more about my grandparents than I ever did already. He's giving me an education!

  6. The hardships they bore in those days are unbelievable! I often think it sad that they continued to have so many children, my parents included. Thank goodness they did in my case, since I was #6 but some families had 8 - 12 babies!
    A sad story but also very cool for you to learn the history. :)

  7. It's amazing what our ancestors went through!

  8. What a lovely photo. That is a great many deaths so tragic that the sisters were not together:(

  9. Family history is always interesting. That's where the real history is, in the 'ordinary' lives and people.


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