The Purvis Family of Manitoulin Island – Achievement, Tragedy and the Worst Disaster in Great Lakes Maritime History
Jamey Burr will tell the story of his mother’s family, who came from the east coast of Scotland to start a significant family fishing business on Lake Huron. The story includes tales of international travel on the jute trade route, early political activity in Upper Canada, lighthouse keepers, the Klondike, family losses, and a sad role related to the enormous loss of life on the S.S. Eastland in 1915.
About the Speaker
Jamey Burr was formerly a federal public servant involved in funding programs for affordable housing and infrastructure. He gave a December Great Moments talk in 2018 about breaking through a brick wall to find his Quaker roots in colonial America and Canada.
Ellen Murray and the Lady Sherbrooke
Various family accounts tell us that Ellen Murray survived a shipwreck in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on her way to Canada from Ireland sometime between 1830 and 1833, after which she married Michael MacNeil’s great great grandfather, James Tompkins in Margaree, Cape Breton. A search of shipwreck databases indicates that she was most likely on the Lady Sherbrooke, sailing from Derry, Ireland in June 1831. It ran aground near Cape Ray, Newfoundland on the night of July 19th, with as many as three hundred persons drowning. While researching the various accounts of the shipwreck in contemporary and later newspapers, Michael discovered that false news is not a recent phenomenon, but can be enduring.
About the speaker
Michael MacNeil is a retired academic, born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Most of his Canadian family roots were in place in Cape Breton by 1830, primarily as a result of Irish and Scottish immigration. In the past few years he has become fascinated with family history, both his own and that of other settlers in the community in which he grew up. He is always on the lookout for good stories, preferably true, but he also takes pleasure in good yarns.
Ballinasloe after the potato famine
After the Irish famine, Hugh Reekie's forebear William Maxwell, a civil engineer and architect, was very involved in designing houses, farms and factories. Hugh will take us on a grand tour of Ballinasloe, telling us the history of the town and area, finishing up with a family gravestone - in a very interesting location!
About the Speaker
Hugh Reekie has been expanding his grandfather's family research for many years. He has produced results with presentations (one in Aberystwyth, Wales), web pages with innovative family trees and small paper documents of segments of his tree. One such document was used as an example when he gave a full-day workshop to BIFHSGO members on "family tree history publication, my way" a few years ago.
Open to the public.