Sunday, March 20, 2011

Halls in Peterborough, Ontario

A mystery was solved last week when I discovered, quite by chance, the whereabouts of Mary Halls.

Mary was one of the children of Philip Halls and Jenny Smith, and sister to my ggg Thomas. Mary married John Heard in England on April 3, 1842, in Devon. Then they vanished from the English records. I could not find any people that matched who they were, anywhere, that I was comfortable saying "This must be them". I resigned myself to never solving that mystery, and got on with what I could do.

Some time later I was doing a random search for a Halls family member, and a hint came up in Ancestry family trees that the mother of John Heard (junior) was surnamed Halls. based on the family tree, this set me on the trail for census records for family members in the Peterborough, Ontario area. I found that John junior had three siblings, Charlotte, Margaret, and Philip. Philip's death certificate also show that his father was John Heard, and his mother was Mary Halls. The 1851/52 Census of Ontario indicates that John came from England, and that his wife died of fever at age 35, so the birth date was right, too!

Happily portions of the Peterborough Archives are online, and they indicated that Mary Heard was buried in Wesleyan Methodist Cemetery aka Pioneer Park. The burial place makes sense because the Halls family was Bible Christian, an offshoot of Methodism. In addition there was a Charlotte Heard buried in the same place, daughter of John and Mary. Best of all, they both have tombstones. Sometime this spring I will be taking a road trip to Peterborough.

With this find I now know what happened to all of the children of Philip and Jenny Halls. All but two came to Canada. I wonder why?

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