Thursday, 6 August 2009

St Andrew's Complete--with a Surprise

As forecast, I did complete the last session of picture taking of St Andrew's Ward schedules on Tuesday, but I only finished transcribing from the photographs ten minutes ago. Yippee! Only one more ward to go and the collection will be complete.

This last lot of schedules was pretty messy--there were 3 houses where all we will ever know about the inhabitants were the size of the family and their sexes. However, the third last schedule was that of a merchant, John Robertson. His eldest son was a student, aged 20, named John R.

Bells rang in my head. John R Robertson, like in John Ross Robertson, a 19th century newspaper journalist who wrote like a 20th century one, and the original publisher of Toronto's Evening Telegram? I went over to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography to check. Yes!

As I've mentioned before, one of the things that has kept me going on this transcription is the discovery of people who reach the history books. Usually they are people well known by the time of the census, like Bishop John Strachan and Rev Egerton Ryerson, William Lyon MacKenzie and George Brown, Theodore Heintzmann and James Christie, Sandford Fleming and William Gooderham, but here was someone yet to make his mark, a student son of a dry goods merchant living on John Street.

It's made my day. Even more than finishing St Andrew's as the last worthwhile accomplishment of my seventh decade (which ends before midnight).

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