Tuesday 29 March 2016

Moving 5 – Ontario & North Dakota – Anderson Family

More in the Moving series! Most of us family historians are basically after trying to learn, understand and explain how we got here ourselves. Among the questions we look for answers to are:
·         Who were our ancestors?
·         What were their lives like?
·         Where did they live?
·         When did some of them move closer to where we were born?
·         Why did they pack up and move?
·         How did all of the lines finally come together to produce us as individuals?

In posts I published last summer about Moving, I showed how and when some of my direct ancestors (the McDaniels, the Keiths and the Mayfields) moved to and across the US.

In another post about Old Homes and Homesteads in 2014, I described when my great-grandparents, Newton Isaac and Margaret Mary (Anderson) Thompson, ended up in Alberta. Both had been born in Ontario or Upper Canada as it was known then. Both had immigrated to North Dakota, the Thompsons in 1879 and the Andersons in 1880.

This piece is about the Anderson family first coming to Canada and the US. In future posts I will describe the routes taken by other ancestors and then try to bring them all together to show how my roots go back, at least in North America. Maps are a great way to show where the ancestors lived and how they moved about. A couple more are attached here.

Robert and Susan Anderson, my 2X great-grandparents, with my great-grandmother, Margaret Mary, and other of her siblings, settled in Eldred Township, Cass County. My great-grandfather, Newton Isaac Thompson had also moved to Cass County with some members of his family. No doubt Newton and Margaret met, as farming couples often do, at a social event, possibly in the town of Mapleton. It was there where they were married in 1884.

Further back in time, Robert Anderson’s parents, Gilbert and Margaret (Maitland) Anderson, had come to Canada around 1832, settling near Hopetown, in Lanark County, Ontario. Seven children of their 13 were born there although two died as infants. By 1851 the family had moved west to Stanley Township in Huron County. Both died there: Gilbert in 1871; and Margaret in 1886. Several of their children remained in Huron County after my 2X great-grandfather, Robert had moved to the US.

Robert met and married his wife, Susan Phillipo in Brantford, Ontario in 1854. The John and Mary (Manson) Phillipo family had come to the area from England around 1836, just after Susan’s birth. Susan and another brother and sister had been born in England; four younger children were all born in Brantford between 1855 and 1873. I am still trying to track down this line in England. Their story about coming to Canada is worth researching more.

All eleven children of Robert and Susan were born in Huron County between 1855 and 1873. My great-grandmother, Margaret Mary Anderson, was born in Goderich in 1857. Robert and Susan and their children, except for one married daughter, moved to the US in 1880. That daughter came in 1889 with her family.

It is possible that the family travelled to North Dakota by railroad, connecting through Detroit, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois, and across Wisconsin and Minnesota, possibly with the Duluth & Winnipeg Railroad although we cannot be sure as we have uncovered no documents to that effect. Rail lines had started to be built into North Dakota in 1871 opening up large tracts of land for farmers. Details about the development of the region can be read on the webpages, North Dakota Studies. The “Great Dakota Boom” took place between 1878 and 1890 when the population of the region increased from around 16,000 to over 191,000. The Andersons were part of that story.

It was not long after the Andersons settled in Dakota Territory that my great-grandparents met and married and began their family there. More to come on them again later!

Wayne Shepheard is a volunteer with the Online Parish Clerk program in England, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He has published a number of articles about various aspects of genealogy and is the Editor of Relatively Speaking, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Genealogical Society. Wayne also provides genealogical consulting services through his business, Family History Facilitated.