Category Archives: 1900’s

Suzanne Humphrey’s story of Marion

April 16th, 2015

06 - Marion and BillMom was born in Peterborough, Ontario, in 1909, second child to Michael and Margaret, and sister to older brother Emmett. Eleven more siblings would arrive in this wholesome Irish Catholic family, five sisters and six more brothers, but not until they moved to Vancouver in 1912. Michael provided a comfortable living for his large family with his lifelong career as a respected agent for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company or, as the family teasingly called it, Mother Met.

In Vancouver Mom was enrolled in the local school, Tecumseh Elementary, at 41st and Joyce. She enjoyed school. In reading, writing and arithmetic Mom fared well. Art was the challenge for her. One day, after handing in her assignment, a drawing of a book, the teacher looked at it quizzically and asked, “What is that supposed to be?” Blushing, Mom took back her picture and from then on seldom tried the art of drawing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1900's, Canada

Joan Cregan’s story of Ruth

April 16th, 2015

05 - Ruth grad Joan2My mother, Ruth Sarjeant, was born in 1908 in Barrie, Ontario, the youngest of three girls. Her father was the second youngest of thirteen children who came to Canada from England after Confederation in 1867, attracted by the offer of large tracts of Crown land. Her father’s older siblings and male cousins began a very successful lumber business in town, and my grandfather devoted his life to that business.

Mom’s mother had been born in Montreal, but her parents died when she was very young, so she was raised by an uncle who was a United Church minister in Barrie. He was also part of a large extended family. My mother grew up with the security and happiness of a large family network, and she maintained that spirit towards her own family all her life. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1900's, Canada

Heidi Tadey’s story of Hildegard

April 16th, 2015

04 - Hildegard Heidi Tadey001That I’m even here to tell this story is a fluke, since both my mother and my grandmother before her never really intended to be mothers at all. And I’m here to challenge the well accepted belief that all women are wired genetically to want to be mothers, since the history of the women in my family seems to ascribe more credit to the environment – read “dashing young men”.

In the early 1900’s, my maternal grandmother was one of three spinster sisters who lived in Berlin, Germany, at the time of Kaiser Wilhelm. They all eschewed being married, and therefore of wanting to be mothers, in favour of becoming successful businesswomen. They were the women’s libbers of their time, running a lucrative haberdashery, fashioning military uniforms complete with gold filigree epaulets and all manner of gold braid trimmings. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1900's, Europe

Connie Flett’s story of Lola

April 16th, 2015

02 - Lola and ConnieHer name was Karolina, but her close friends, those who knew her in “the old country” called her Lola. She was the second youngest of five children born to Anton and Mary (Baker) Schnurer on November 26th, 1903, in a small Polish town called Rownia. Part of the house that Lola grew up in was leased to the local police. Her father, a carpenter, died of pneumonia when Lola was only three years old. Her mother was a nurse and midwife. Sadly, when Lola was about fourteen, her beloved mother died of typhoid fever, which she contracted while nursing the sick during an epidemic. I have a picture of Lola with her mother and sisters, but she didn’t speak of them, so I don’t know what my mother did at this time. A family friend told me my mother delivered him, so maybe she took on her mother’s job as midwife.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1900's, Europe

Kathy Hill’s story of Olive

April 16th, 2015

01 - Olive at BanffMy mother, Olive May Smallwood, was born in Nottingham, England, on May 10, 1903. She was the youngest of seven daughters and one of twelve children born to John and Mary Smallwood. She began school at age four at what was called the Infant’s School. She stayed in school until she was fourteen, since to advance would have meant travelling to another village, which she could not have done. So she repeated her last grade, rather than leave school altogether, and became the most literate of her family. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1900's, Britain

Florence Nicholson’s story of Pauline

October 10th, 2011

Pauline Olivia Verigin was born on Dec. 11, 1904 on a homestead in south eastern Saskatchewan, near Tisdale and Star City. She was the first child of newly immigrated Russian peasants Anna and Peter Verigan. Her father was truly disappointed she was not a boy to help with the harsh farm existence they were facing. So five years later when her brother John arrived on the scene , followed in 2 more years by brother Peter, she was virtually relegated to the dictates of the three men in her world. Pauline was the maid, chief kitchen and household servant for the family from an extremely young age. She also worked in the garden and looked after the animals, including cleaning out barns and coops and milking cows. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1900's, Canada

Jean Norry’s story of Dorothy ⓜ §

November 13th, 2010

Dorothy Merritt was born on the 16th of May, 1904 in a suburb of Southampton, in Hampshire, England. Her birth record in the English web site, Free BMD, and RBS Worldpay provides the information that her birth was at South Stonegate, Hampshire.   This may have been a little village in 1904 that is now a part of   Southampton.  She was named after one of her father’s old girlfriends in Market Lavington, Wiltshire. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1900's, Britain

Lois O’Hara’s story of Dorothy §

September 8th, 2010

Mother was born in Hampshire, England May 16, 1904.  Her name was Dorothy May Merritt, the only daughter of Bob and Ada Merritt.  Bob and Ada brought Percy, Dorothy’s brother and Dorothy, a baby just a few months old, across the Atlantic by ship in the fall of 1904.  Percy sat on the trunk and Dorothy was held in her parents’ arms. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1900's, Britain

Dodie’s story of Wanda

April 22nd, 2008

Wanda Woodham, a charming, gifted and gregarious, Brazilian woman, died on Mother’s Day, May 13, 2007, just one month less a day before her 93rd birthday.

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Posted in 1900's, Featured, South America

Ann Warn Pegg’s story of Phyllis

October 14th, 2004

When she was a young girl, my mother, Phyllis Kathleen Vine dreamed of becoming a dancer. In rare moments my normally reserved mother would extend her arms and pose in the most graceful of ways. Whenever she did this, I couldn’t help but smile, picturing her as a young girl in the exact same pose. Being one of a large family, this never happened for her. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1900's, Canada