Sunday, July 11, 2010

Showing Honor

Yesterday, I was invited to give a short presentation at the local Family History Center's training session. Although I'm not a member of the church, the members have always made me feel like part of the community.

The director of the program asked me to talk a bit about this blog site, which I did, but not from a techinical perspective. The LDS church members are compelled to "seal" family members, be that in this lifetime, or by researching deceased family members and then sealing them as a family in heaven. I'm not sure how to address that concept as I tend to be more pragmatic about the afterlife, but I do think it a wonderful concept and simply the act of researching one's ancestors with that in mind is born out of love and respect.

Each time I uncover another family member, I'm humbled by the lives they've lead. In my search for Ellen, I turned toward her husband Alfred's family for clues. Alfred's father, Abner Barrie, married Elizabeth Joiner (or Joyner)from Panbride, Forfarshire (Angus) Scotland in 1878. She and Abner immigrated to Ontario, and later to Paterson, New Jersey. My guess is that Ellen's step-brother, John Gordon, who is listed in the 1900 census as a machinist...and Alfred worked together. Interestingly enough, they only lived about 2.5 miles from one another. Alfred was a machinist at the time, working at the Magnus Metal Company. More about Alfred and Ellen later.

By the way, thanks to my first cousin Barry Howard and to my first cousin 4 times removed Lou Smith for sharing their research. Today, I thought I'd write about our common ancestor, Abner Joiner.

Abner was born the 24th of July 1783 in Pennyculk, Midlothian, Scotland; I don't yet know who his parents were. Abner married Isobel Aitchinson the 30th of September 1803. At the time, he was a Private in the 51st Edinburgh Militia. What makes Abner so interesting is that he was a career soldier:

25 July 1794 -- 24 July 1802 Private, Clan Alpine Fencibles
28 January 1803 -- 25 February 1813, Private, Corporal, Sergeant, 51st Edinburgh Militia
26 December 1813 -- 9 January 1816, Private Corporal, Sergeant, 93rd Regiment of Foot
1 April 1817 -- 21 December 1826, Private, Corporal, 51st Edinburgh Militia

He was retired at age 45 at Blinking, North of Aylesbury, Norfolk with a good conduct record due to ill health, ague, dropsy, rheumatism and asthma. The notes state that his health issues originated in camp at Sutton Coldfield in 1812 after exposure to cold and damp, and that he'd been recommended to Chelsea Hospital for Pension. Abner was 5' 5.2" tall, with brown hair, grey eyes, and a pale complextion.

This evening, I've changed both the color and the black print cartridges and have had to reload my printer's paper supply twice. There's so much that I don't know about early European history. So much to read. But as I close for the evening, I'm reminded that at some point during the spring of 1812, two of my ancestors may have been standing on opposite ends of a field in Ontario. My mother's ancestor: Joseph Roi--a French Canadian fur trader, and my father's ancestor: Abner Joiner. Both men of honor.

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