Space Aliens & other Mystery People
Space Aliens. Every family has them. You know
the ones I mean. They appear out of nowhere, marry one of your cousins in the
dead of night, and disappear. They have no ancestors, no records, no
fingerprints. They were not baptised or married, not recorded in any civil
register, and were buried in the back yard when they died. If
they were around when the census taker came, they gave no useful information
about themselves; anything they did say was either incomplete, misleading, or,
sometimes, just plain false. They must have lived somewhere, sometime, because
they left descendants (us!), but they left precious few clues to their lives.
Not surprisingly, many of the hardest to find were women.
Take my great-great-grandmother, Annie MacDonald. Over the years, she told Canadian census takers that she was 35 (1861); 47 (1871); 55 (1881); 65 (1891); and 73 (1901). Her death certificate, dated August 9, 1902, gave her age as 82! She said she had been born in Scotland, which was true, but, for people born outside Canada, the census recorded only the name of the country. Thus, I have Annie MacDonald, born somewhere in Scotland, sometime between 1820 and 1826. She might as well have come from outer space: she would have been almost as easy to find.
It is my hope that someone will recognise some of my strays, aliens, and other mystery people, and tell me who they are. Some of these folks were found in the statutory registers of births, marriages, and deaths, and some are from the 1891 and 1901 census (Canadian and British). The links below connect to lists of names I found in each type of record. Please take a look. One of them might be yours.