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Celtic Radio Community > Genealogy & Family History > Trying To Find Out About A Soldier/navalman In GB

Posted by: oldraven 17-Oct-2008, 08:34 AM
I couple of years ago I helped my parents during blueberry season. Dad had just had surgery, (Gallblader), and was unable to do any of the lifting. He looked almost angry, for much of the harvest, because he was mad at himself for not doing everything he always had to. Anyway, to repay me, they took me along with them on a trip up to the Valley to New Ross, where my grandfather came from. The Ross Farms, (historical family farm, completely operational, using only wood, animals, and water found on the property), site's main office had the records for the town of New Ross in their basement, and was open to anyone.

New Ross was a farming town, founded by Captain William Ross and and 172 disbanded soldiers from the Napoleonic Wars, and was the first settlement of it's kind in the province for GB. This is where Clarence Reeves, (father of James Reeves, my dad), was born, into a very large family. I won't bore you with the entire family tree, but the important part is that I found out where my family came from, tracing back to 1749, when John Reeves and wife arrived in Chebucto. I haven't found out a single thing before that since.

Chebucto was the french settlement where Halifax now is. I don't know if it was down in the harbour, or if it was farther inland or town near Bedford, but the whole harbour was known as Chebucto in Acadian times. Britain had just negotiated Louisbourgh back to France, and the Crown felt it was time to build their first Colony in what they Called Nova Scotia.

When I was reading up on the history of Halifax a couple of weeks ago I noticed that the date for the founding of Halifax was 1749. Then I saw that it was one group of people who arrived at the same time on the King's dime, led by Governor Edward Cornwallis.

British General Edward Cornwallis was dispatched by the Lords of Trade and Plantations to establish a city at Chebucto, on behalf of and at the expense of the Crown. Cornwallis sailed in command of 13 transports, a sloop of war, 1,176 settlers and their families.

I did some better google searches after that and found the list of ships that arrived in Chebucto/Halifax all on the same day on the 24th of July, 1749, a number of weeks after Cornwallis himself and his Phoenix. The passengers were all there, listed by the names of the men, which is why his wife is only known to be 'and wife'. I also found a transcript of the original advertisement from Cornwallis to recently disbanded soldiers and sailors under his Majesty's service. Land was given out according to rank and the number of family members you brought with you (women or children).

He's listed as.. 862, John Reeves & wife, Mariner, 2, Royal Oak .. and was on the Everley from Liverpool. Knowing he was a sailor in his Majesty's Navy, there must be record of him somewhere, but I can't find out where.

Though I did just find something whilst I was writing this. Someone else has made a pretty good list of their relatives, and it just so happens that one of mine are in it. laugh.gif Funny how trying to verify all of the dates and names I was typing for this post caused me to stumble upon the answer.

John Williamson Reeves, born 1843 in New Ross, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada; died  1921 in New Ross, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada; married Elizabeth Keddy  1866 in New Ross, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada; born  1846 in New Ross, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada; died 1908 in New Ross, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Looking back through, it looks like the John Reeves who arrived in Halifax in 1749 was known to his familly as William Reeves, born before 1732 in England (darn, how vague), and even less about William Reeves, his father, who is listed as born before 1713, I assume in England.

Is there any way to find out more about these men online? I've finally reached the other shore with my family tree and I'm hungry for more detail. wink.gif

Posted by: Camac 17-Oct-2008, 08:43 AM

I don't know if this will help but all British Military Archives are kept at Haye-Middlesex England. Whether that includes the Royal Navy I'm not sure. There might also be a record of him in the Archives of the Lords of Trade and Plantations. Again not sure if it will help. Also Google Royal Navy Archives.


Posted by: oldraven 17-Oct-2008, 08:51 AM
Oh yes, a nice little thing I noticed about John Williamson Reeves' name was the 'son' part. His mother was an Anderson, and Scandinavian names are traditionally their parent's names with 'son' or in Iceland as 'dotir'. So it seems she insisted that he have what was likely to be William as Williamson, for his middle name. smile.gif

Posted by: oldraven 17-Oct-2008, 08:52 AM
Thank you Camac! biggrin.gif That was a lot quicker than I expected.

Posted by: flora 17-Oct-2008, 09:03 AM
oldraven, I can not stress enough what the internet has done for geneology. Just by google I have traced back to year 954 Wales for a line of my ancestors. So many people have put a lot of hard work online.

Yes it takes time, but without it, there are some facts that I would have never know about my family. Just keep reading!!!!


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