Who are we? – Researching Our Past to Understand Who We Are Today by Kathy Coffey – Dec 28, 2011

Blank Family Tree

CFN – For whatever reason, many of us have become interested in who our ancestors were. I became interested a few years ago so I purchased a copy of the “Family Tree Maker” and began filling in the blanks. I also registered with Ancestry.ca and started a notebook with information and pictures I got from our family historian (every family has one!). Along the way I found I was interested in not only my own family but others as well.

During my web surfing for information I discovered the CanadaGenweb Project sites. This project was started in 1996 to help people just like me research their family tree. The project enlisted the aid of volunteers to transcribe census records, gather information from cemeteries and transcribe information from family bibles. As a result there is a wealth of information now available online. So if you are looking for family information or want to volunteer to help gather or transcribe information go to:


I volunteered to transcribe the 1851 census records from Charlottenburgh Township to motivate myself to dedicate time to my own genealogical research. The information in the records opens a window to peer through and imagine what everyday life was like 160 years ago. The records contain not only the names of the family members, but their ages, where they were born, occupation, religion, and marital status. There are interesting historical facts and evidence of sociological values in these pages.

I thought the readers of the CFN would be interested in some of my findings from the village of Martintown. If there is any interest I will look at Williamstown and any other villages I come across.


Some of the family names are still prevalent in the area and some are names that I have not been able to find in the phone books in the three united counties. What happened to these people; did they move away? Or did the name simply die out because there were no male progeny to carry on the name for 160 years?

I think it is fairly well known that the Mc Martin family were influential in the growth and development of the village of Martintown. A notation was made that ….“Alin McMartin Esq. owns a grist Mill going by water. 2 pieces of stones.” (?) “Cash £500.Annual Produce £250 – A saw Mill of one saw – Cash of £150 – Annual Produce of £50 – A carding and fullery mill– Cash £335 – Annual Produce £120. Situated within the limits of Martintown Village.”

Note: Wonder what the “fullery mill” is? I did too, also stumped my parents… But my New Twentieth Century Webster’s dictionary solved the mystery. It is a mill that “fulls” cloth … hmm … that is “to thicken, as cloth in a mill”. Huh!

Although it is no surprise that Physicians and members of the clergy were held in high regard. I found it interesting that the first names of their wives are usually recorded simply as “Mrs.”

Note below the resident occupations of the 270 “inmates” of Martintown In 1851.

If you are interested in knowing the names associated with these occupations you can find the information on the Library and Archives Canada Web site or you can email the CFN and I will look it up for you.


Coffey's Coffee


  1. I have also used the Family Tree Maker software program extensively for more than 9 years dating back to 1993. The 2005 version of the software seemed to be the best for my purposes.

    The program was originally designed for documenting people, but I approached the company with suggested changes to be adaptable for animals as well (in my case “horses”), and they were willing to accomodate.

    One must be aware of the copyright laws with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/Home), and the USA Library of Congress (www.copyright.gov).

    Have fun tracing ancestries.

    Calvin Hanson
    Published Author & Historian

  2. Ancestry.ca has a free 14 day trial available right now, also RC Legion members can get a half price membership for a year to their worldwide service.

    Please continue providing info from the area and thank you for volunteering on something so worthwhile.

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