I got into Genealogy a few years back, and started by transcribing a few of the books we had laying around from family reunions into my genealogy program on the computer. These books typically start with a common ancestor and work down to cover all their descendants (it theory, those people that could show up at said family reunion). The downside is I have several thousand people in my database, but many of them are living cousins rather than my ancestors. I have managed to add many ancestors, with the furthest back lines stretching to the 4th century AD Wales. Several lines immigrated to Canada around 1800.
To jump right into my online genealogy, select a link from left, or start with the Surnames list.
Below is an overview of some of my ancestral lines:
The Minchin line is probably my best researched line. The Minchin’s left Ireland about 1802 to settle in Prince Edward Island (PEI) (then a British colony; this is some 60 years before Canada was even a country!). Humphrey Howard Minchin (abt. 1761 - 1849) was the one that made the move from Ireland to Canada. He operated a ferry in New Ross, Co. Wexford, Ireland before he moved to PEI, and operated a ferry across Charlottetown harbour once he got to PEI. The family lived in PEI for several generations. Alex Minchin (1890 - 1963) (my great-grandfather) was born in PEI but eventually settled in Saskatchewan to farm. During the Dirty Thirties (the 1930’s), the drought was so bad in Saskatchewan that Alex took the family back to PEI to live and farm potatoes with his parents. My Grandpa was a kid at the time and he remembers living in PEI.
Reaching back further in time, the Minchin’s came to Ireland from Gloucestershire, in England near the Welsh border. It was Colonel Charles Minchin (abt. 1628-1681) that came to Ireland, with two of his brothers. Charles is my 8th great-grandfather. At the time, the English crown was looking to send Protestants to Ireland to have a stronger Protestant presence there. Basically, if you were Protestant and didn’t mind living in Ireland, you could have an estate there. This was probably pretty enticing as, at the time, if you weren’t the oldest son you inherited next to nothing. On the Minchin coat of arms (above), the three red chevrons are for Gloucestershire. The coat of arms was awarded to the Minchin family within a couple generations of their arrival in Ireland.
Going back further than Gloucestershire, the records get fuzzier. The family likely came over to England with the Anglo-Saxons from Saxony (a region in modern day Germany) in the 6th century AD.
Other Minchin’s around the world:
- The Boer War (South Africa): During the siege of Mafeking, Robert Banden-Powell (who later founded Scouting) established his offices above those of a lawyer by the name of Minchin. I have heard that you can still take tours of the office today.
- Minchinbury Estates: An officer in the British army by the name of Minchin was given an estate in New South Wales, Australia. He was a contemporary of Captain Bligh, and opposed some of Bligh's politics. A few years later, his entire family was lost at sea. The estate was sold, and eventually developed into a winery. Minchinbury champagne is considered quite excellent. In recent years, the winery closed and the area was redeveloped as housing. A fighter jet on a pedestal now sits at the entrance.
- Minchinhampton, England: An former market town in England. I'm told that the last Minchin living there died about 15 years ago.
- Minchin, Texas: close to Dallas/Fort Worth, in Denton County. I actually went looking for this a couple years ago, hoping to get a cool picture with the town sign. I asked at the county historical museum, and they had never heard of it. When I went looking on the ground, I didn't find anything labelled 'Minchin', and the people working at the Roselawn Cemetary (right in the supposed centre of Minchin) had no idea either. I looked in up online, and Minchin was labeled on MapQuest, but not Google Maps (this was 2009). So I'm not convinced this really exists.
- Minchin Lake, New Zealand: Named after a runholder who worked the area.
- Minchin Mason Lodge: There is a Mason Lodge in India, founded by a Minchin.
- Minchin: A geological formation in South America.
- Tim Minchin: A comedian from Australia.
- Nick Minchin: An Australian politician. He is currently serving as the Minister of Finance.
Soon after the Minchin’s arrived in Ireland, they married into the Walcot line. This line can be traced back to kings in Wales to about 325 AD!
I don’t know much about this line. The family seems to come from Ireland.
I don’t know much at all about this line, but that they came from Scotland and came to PEI between 1770 and 1809. I’ll have to look into this more; this well could be our oldest tie to Canada and the New World.
Allan Shaw was born in 1803 en route to Canada. I have lots of old ties to Canada! Allan’s father, Donald Shaw, (1768 - 1836) is from Colonsay Island, Scotland, an island just west of mainland Scotland that measures 2 miles by 10 miles and has a population of 135 today. I’ll have to look more into this…
The Lamont’s are also from Scotland (in this case, the Island of Skye) and seem to have come to PEI in the early 1800’s.
The Seaman line goes back to Robert Seaman (1641-1693) and Alice Shuckforth (1630-1709). The family goes back to Suffolk, England. William Seaman (1792 - 1864) and Hephzebah Chaman Wells (1798 - 1865) came to PEI about 1830 from England.
It thought we had more on the Jewell line. I know my Dad used to have a book on the Jewell family, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to find it for the last couple of years. The Jewell family goes back to Deveonshire, England and immigrated to PEI in about 1830.
We don’t have a long recorded history of the Sinnamon’s, but my Grandma says the family came out of France years and years ago (probably the 16th century). The family were Huguenots (a persecuted group of Protestants) who were forced from France to Scotland. They were illiterate when they left France and so their last name (then ‘Saint Amand’) got written down by the Scottish authorities as ‘Sinnamon’.
The Bunbury’s are an old line. We have it traced back to 1066 when the Baron de Saint Pierre came to England from Normandy with William the Conqueror. The Baron was given a town in northern England (Bunbury) and thus became de Bunbury, and eventually just Bunbury. The Bunbury’s have often been involved in the British or English military. In time, they too ended up in Ireland.
The Bunbury’s first came to Canada with George John Bunbury (1888-1969), my great-grandfather. With his father (George William Bunbury (1835 - 1898)) in the Army in India, he (George, the son) got himself kicked out of boarding school. So at age 15 (about 1903, before Alberta was a province) he was sent to Canada to work as a farmhand. He worked around High River, Alberta. George would eventually homestead near Castor, Alberta, and that land is still in the family. George’s wife, Sarah Whiteside (1897 - 1983) was from a working class family in Belfast and originally came as a nanny to work for George. (George would actually have three wives in his lifetime. Sarah came over to look after the children of George's first wife, Greta Lynes (d. 1920) who died in childbrith.)
Other Bunbury’s around the world:
- Bunbury, Prince Edward Island: I'd need to find it on a map again, but I think it exists...
- Bunbury, Australia: The Bunburys were active in the British military, and they got a city of Australia's west coast named after them. The city is not far from Perth.
- Bunbury Road, Valmont, BC, Canada
- Bunbury Castles, Ireland: Twin castles built in Tipperary county, Ireland, not far from the Balarny stone, for a set of Bunbury brothers in the 18th or 19th century. I have not been able to confirm their exact locations.
The McGowan’s go back to Scotland. My Grandma was telling me some of the story last time she visited. David McGowan Sr. (1873-1956) (my great-great grandfather) worked on the docks in Glasgow, Scotland, and played music (a harmonica?) for various gatherings. Jane McCover (1876 - 1963) met him at one of these gatherings when she had gone to Glasgow to do shopping with her Mom. David and Jane were married in Scotland. The family moved to Alberta (or what would soon be Alberta) about 1904. They first came to Edmonton, one of four families that were friends in Scotland that had come to homestead Canada. The first year, they (the men of the four families) worked on the Hotel MacDonald (pictured above) to earn money. The next year they set off for Galahad, where they homesteaded on four adjacent quarters. That was the farm that my Great Grandma McGowan used to live on when I'd visit her as a kid. My uncle owns and farms that quarter now.
Are we related? Are you a long lost cousin? Spotted an error here? This website remains a work-in-progress and I would love to hear from you. Drop me a line at minchinweb [at] gmail [dot] com.