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FINDING FAMILY (WITH THE HELP OF THE RAWDON HISTORICAL SOCIETY) | Laurentian Heritage WebMagazine
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FINDING FAMILY (WITH THE HELP OF THE RAWDON HISTORICAL SOCIETY)

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October 5, 2004 -- As an amateur genealogist, I felt duly intimidated trying to conquer Canadian genealogy from Texas! When my father, Richard GRAY died in 1999, I found several documents linking him to Rawdon. With a hope and a prayer, I contacted Beverly Prud’homme at the Rawdon Historical Society to see if they had any information on the GRAY family from there. I sent what little information I had. My father was the son of George William GRAY & Alice Elizabeth WARD; George’s parents were John William GRAY, and his wife was Bertha Jane HIGGINS. That didn’t get us very far. If you know anything about the GRAY’s, they were quite fond of particular names and, as many in the area, used them relentlessly. There were too many John Gray’s to know if any one of them was “my” John. But when I mentioned my father’s cousins, Gerry, Carrie, Peggy, and Nellie -- a few of the names I remembered, to my elation, this information proved to be my pot of gold. Nellie and Carrie still lived on the GRAY land in Rawdon on Roberts Road. Through this amazing discovery, I got in contact with Nellie. I have since learned, through a purchased copy of Daniel Parkinson’s Gray Matters that John William’s father was George GRAY, and the family is a tangled web of similar names and dates of births, making factual deciphering next to impossible.

My cousin Nellie confirmed that George GRAY is buried in Rawdon’s Anglican Churchyard. He is buried there with his second wife, Jemima BRIGHT. They are both found on the 1901 Census in Ste Theodore-de-Chertsey, and in 1881 as well. George’s birthday is listed as August 16, 1822 on the 1901 census; Jemima’s is March 27, 1841. Both George and Jemima died in 1909. Their deaths, apparently, brought their son, John William home from Vermont, where he had ventured and visited his brother, Henry Albert GRAY. My great-grandfather, John, married Bertha Jane HIGGINS (daughter of Jonas & Susannah (FARRELL) HIGGINS -- Jonas was born in Missisquoi), and started a family with -- including my grandfather, George GRAY.

Had I never contacted Beverly Prud’homme, I would not have learned stories about my grandparents. I would not have been given pictures of my father as a young man. Nor would I have learned that my father was the only surviving child of nine!! My husband and I are planning a trip to Rawdon next year, and I will meet family members I’ve never met, people that, were it not for the Rawdon Historical Society, I would never have known existed. There is still much to learn about the family, but I hope that this story will bring more GRAY’s out of the “woodwork” (some Rawdon GRAY’s were sawyers).To contact the author, click here: pakuderm@comcast.net