Thursday, January 22, 2009

Whack Your Birthday

This is something I thought would exercise some basic research skills using vital registration records and census records. These records for Ontario, are online at Ancestry.  My idea is a variation of whacking the census.  In England, whacking the census is where you find someone in the census and then research about them.  In the USA, whacking the census, is finding famous people.  I thought it would be interesting to find and research someone who shared the same birthday as me.  The person had to be of the same gender, born in the same county and on the same day.

Bertha Isabelle Wintemute was born 21 January 1888 in Maidstone Township, Essex County, Ontario.  She was the daughter of George Wintemute and Melinda Sherk.  The Wintemute and Sherk families are quite well known in Essex County.  George Wintermute was a farmer.  He and his wife had nine children:
Ada, Geoge, Anna, Albert, Walter, Mantha - called Minnie, Bertha, and John.

In 1891, the family is in Maidstone Township. Residing in the Wintermute household is George, age 52 years; his wife, Melinda, age 46 years and their children:
Adda A, age 21
George H, age 18
Anna H S, age 15
Albert B, age 11
Walter B, age 8
Mantha A, age 5
Bertha I, age 3.

Ten years later, in 1901, the family is still in Maidstone.  Bertha is 14 years old.  All of her brothers and sisters are living at home with parents, George and Malinda.  There is a new addition to the family.  Little brother, John, has been born since the last census.

In the 1911 census, I could not find Bertha living at home with her parents.  George and Malinda have moved and are now living in Sandwich Towne (which is now a part of Windsor).  My next step was to search the marriage indexes, thinking perhaps, Bertha was now a married woman.  No luck.

A feeling of dread came over me.  The next logical place to search was the vital registration death indexes.  It was there I found her.  Bertha Isabelle Wintemute died at 5:00 a.m. on 27 March 1911.  She was 23 years, 2 months and 4 days old.  She died at home on Bedford Street in Sandwich. Her cause of death of was Pulmonary Tuberculosis.

The 1911 Canada Census was taken 1 June 1911, just a few months after Bertha's death.  How difficult it must have been for her family not listing Bertha's name in their household at census time.

Bertha is laid to rest at the North Ridge Cemetery in Cottam, Ontario.

Although I never knew her, I know each year when I celebrate my birthday, I will fondly think of Bertha; a young woman who shared the same birthday as me.