Tag Archives: rosa atkins

British Home Children Day

Alice and William James Plested. Is this their wedding day?

Two sisters of Elizabeth Beatrice Letcher (nee Atkins) were also sent to Canada with Dr. Bernardos Homes. Like Beatrice, they were both at Barkingside Village prior to coming to Canada. On October 7, 1905, at the age of 8, Alice Minnie in Quebec, probably on her way to Hazelbrae in Peterborough. Her older sister, Rosa, came to Canada with Dr. Bernardos Homes in March 1907 at the age of 16.

In 1921, Alice was a servant in the household of Alexander Elliot, an optician in the city of Toronto. In 1922, Alice married William James Plested in Toronto. They moved to the District of Cochrane, Ontario. Alice had one son, Doug, who died in December 2010.

In 1911 Rosa was in Port Dover, Ontario working as a domestic in the household of Harry Ansley, who is a druggist. Harry owned a store, so he could have been what we call a pharmacist. The exciting thing is that working with Rosa is Kate, her sister. Kate came to Canada in May 1910.

Rosa then left her employment with Harry Ansley to go back to England. This occurred sometime after the 1911 census. She returned to Canada on March 29, 1912 on board the SS Lake Manitoba, a CPR steamship that went form Liverpool to St John. She crossed into United States at the Niagara Falls, New York border in April of 1912, heading to a domestic position in the household of Mrs A. J. Howell in Syracuse, New York.

Rosa married Frank Thomas Conway in Allegheny, New York on September 30, 1913. She had 3 children, William Thomas, Julia, and Ruth Anne. She died about the 9 February, 1960 in Jordan, New York. She was very active in her church community.

I love Rosa. She was the family historian. It was from her obituary listing her living siblings and exactly where they lived, that I was able to confirm details of lives of many of her brothers and sisters. She knew where her sister, Kate, was and managed to find her domestic work in Canada. She went back to England to visit. Her husband and children even knew the name of the unincorporated community that Alice lived in. Although they were separated, Rosa kept her family close to her.

Genealogy Miracles

I love it when miracles happen in research. The latest one occurred while searching for the children of William and Fanny Atkins. Fanny died in 1902 leaving 7 children ranging in age from 3 to 14 years old. Of course, there were 5 girls who would have changed their names when they married. I had information on one of them, my great grandmother, Kate Atkins Harrison. I asked my cousin Ken if he knew where the children ended up. The story he heard was that Kate ended up in Canada because her sister had lifted her hand up when someone asked “who wants to go to Canada”.

In the 1911 census, William Atkins and his son, Jesse, were enumerated in the Amersham workhouse. Jesse was going to school, most likely run by the workhouse. The workhouse had 119 male and 74 female inmates (yes, that’s what they were called). The workhouse consisted of a new and old infirmary, vagrants ward, porter’s lodge, and the body of the house.

Jesse was in the workhouse but where were Elizabeth Beatrice, Edith Emily, Rosa, Kate, Alice Minnie, and Horace. I checked the 1911 census for these children but found nothing conclusive. That’s when the first miracle happened.

Left to right Bea Atkins, Kate Harrison, Horace Atkins, Jesse Atkins

After playing around for a while trying to find these children, I decided to go back and start with the youngest child, Jesse. An Ancestry Tree had him living in New Jersey so I searched for Jesse Atkins born in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England and living in New Jersey. You know how when you are looking at records on Ancestry, on the right hand side Ancestry gives suggestions for other records. I checked them all and one of them, New York Passenger and Crew lists was my miracle. There was a Jesse Atkins who arrived in New York in 1916. He was asked the name and full address of his relative in the country of origin. His response was Mrs. Edith Sackett of Putney, London, England…could this be the Edith Emily I was looking for? Another question asked the name and address of where he was going. He answered, Mrs. Frank Conway of 432 W 204 Street, New York City. Who was Mrs Frank Conway? I discovered, in 1913 Frank Thomas Conway married Rosa Atkins whose father is William Atkins and mother is Fannie, not Green but some other name. Is this the Rosa Atkins I want?

I was pretty sure this was my family but needed more information, I found Frank and Rosa in census records, and the US Social Security Applications and Claim indexes. Once the death date was found, I was going to stop but something prompted me to look for final closure. To make sure this actually was the Rosa Atkins I was searching for I wanted an obituary for her.

This is when the second miracle happened. I know nothing about newspapers in Elbridge, New York so decided to ask for help. I joined a facebook group called The Genealogy Squad and the people there seemed to be pretty helpful. My post was brief. I gave the name and date of death for Rosa and asked what newspaper an obituary would be in and where could I find the newspaper. Within 5 minutes I had this response,

 I found her here. It’s a newspaper archive for my area – Syracuse Post Standard. It you can’t pull it up, message me. http://www.fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html


The respondent included a copy of the actual obituary. I was so excited. The obituary contained a listing of her husband and children’s names but it also said “She is survived by….a brother, Horace Atkins of Thorton Heath, England and two sisters, Mrs Alice Plested of Brower, Ontario, Canada and Mrs Kate Harrison of Cochrane, Ontario, Canada. Who is my Great Grandmother? Mrs Kate Harrison of Cochrane, Ontario, Canada. This is the right family. Now I know where Alice Minnie, Horace, Rosa, Edith, and Jesse lived. Research flood gates are opening and I’m starting to fill in the blanks of what happened to the children after their mother died.

Two miracles , a passenger list and obituary gave me the the married names of the girls and where each child, except Elizabeth Beatrice, ended up. I never thought I’d find this information. The lessons learned here are never give up, look for every document possible, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Oh, and sometimes miracles do happen.

New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 [database on-line]; Year: 1916; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2504; Line: 1; Page Number: 176; Ancestry.com. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010; Citing: Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

The Post Standard, Syracuse, New York, February 10 1960, page 9; citing Fulton History http://www.fultonhistory.com/Fulton.htmlSources