I have been sick this past week! Hopefully, I will be able to get back on here and write some posts in the near future.

Clifton Chapin
Clifton Bainbridge Chapin 1925


Clifton B. Chapin is Pearl’s first cousin on her mother’s side of the family. Clifton died in 1928 of Hodgkin’s Disease. I am so glad to have found this earlier this week.

Pearl as a child

I feel like I have made some major progress in regards to my great-grandmother, Pearl Wanda Marie Smith; however, I feel like I am missing some part of her. Most of what I know is about her life after her marriage to Alexander Wynoski: her children’s names, the places she lived, the jobs she held, the organizations she worked with.

It is the details about her childhood that I am missing. I am really struggling with this. I haven’t exactly figured out how to get this information.  I find the facts in various records, but am having a difficulty in getting the family history. The following is what I know from the records.

According to Pearl’s birth certificate, Pearl was born on April 17, 1897 to Edward Blake Smith and Minnie Chapin in Northumberland County, Ontario, Canada (near Brighton). As I have been told by several different people, both families were well off and came to Canada as Umpire Loyalists. In the 1901 census, Pearl was 3 years old. She was had a sister and a brother, Mona and Glen. Her parents were Irish. In the 1911 census, Pearl and her family had moved to 65 Grant Street, Toronto, Ontario.  Pearl was 14 years old. During the years between the censuses, Minnie and Edward had another girl, Madolyn.  The Snyders were a small family of three who lived with them. No other information was available.  In 5 years, Pearl would be married to Alex and start her adult life.

Edward Blake Smith, Minnie Beatrice Chapin, Mona, Glen, Pearl and Madolyn Smith

Smith Family about 1910 Toronto, Ontario, Canada

When I started using Ancestry, I found some distant and not so distant cousins. Some have been a great help while others have brushed me off.  One great help has been Pearl’s sister, Mona, great-granddaughter. She has been working on the family tree for some time. Although we have never met, she has been a great help to me. She has made sure that I have dotted my “i’s” and crossed my “t’s.” She has been right there with me every step of the way. She has been my unofficial guide to genealogy and without her I am not sure how far I would have gotten. She has sent me some photos from Pearl’s childhood and that is about all I have to add some color to her childhood. I am hoping that she will be able to give me some information about her great-grandmother’s childhood that will show some light on my great-grandmother’s life.


Does anyone have any ideas of where I can find additional details about Pearl’s childhood?

Field Trip

I loved field trips as a I child. The best part was getting away from school and most times experiencing and learning something new. This morning, I took a field trip.

I am very fortunate to live about 30 minutes from Toronto. I had a few addresses that I wanted to visit.  Lucky for you, I brought my camera.

Pearl Wanda Marie Smith and Alexander Wynoski lived in Toronto. In particular, they lived in the Riverdale area.

65 Grant Street, Toronto, Ontario

65 Grant Street, Toronto, Ontario

This is the house that Pearl Marie Smith lived in when they collected the 1911 Canadian Census. She was 14 years old. This is also the house that she lived in with her mother, father and siblings. I think this picture shows some of the original work (take a look at the gable) and some restoration work. The sides seems to be painted or something else other than brick.

72 Wardell Street, Toronto, Ontario

72 Wardell Street, Toronto, Ontario

I am not exactly sure if Alexander lived here before he was married to Pearl. What I can tell you about this house is that his brother listed this address as his place of residence on his Attestation Papers dated September 1915.  One can assume that perhaps this is where the Wynoski family lived. I still have yet to have found them in the 1911 census. This is a search that will be exhausting I am sure. If you take a close look, you can see that they have added a basement apartment to this home. You can also see where they have replaced the bricks.

7 McGee Street, Toronto Ontario

7 McGee Street, Toronto Ontario


According to Alexander Wynoski’s death certificate date 1933, this is the house that Pearl listed as her address. Unfortunately, this appears to be a reproduction and is a duplex. I was still very happy to visit the area and see what is there now and what my ancestors neighborhood looked like.

Has anyone else visited your ancestors houses in present times to see what is there?

13 kids and 4 sets of twins

Over the last few weeks, I have searched, emailed, and talked to many of Pearl’s 14 grandchildren. Pearl and her husband Alexander Wynoski married on February 2, 1916. They had thirteen children which consisted of four sets of fraternal twins. Only eight children survived past childhood: Mary, Donald, Dora, Nora Pearl, Mona, Wanda, Charles and Frederick(my grandfather). Dora and Nora as well as Mona and Wanda were twins. Charles had a twin but unfortunately he died a couple of days later. For some of these children I have birth dates, while others I am waiting for the release of information.

The other day I had what I want to call a mini-break through. I found four of the deceased children’s records. Three of the four records helped to decide that Pearl did in fact have four sets of twins.  The first set of twins was born on April 23, 1920 – one of these twins was a still-born and did not list a name or gender. The second child was a boy who they named Alexander Jr and he died 23 days after his birth. As I mentioned above Charles had a twin, it was a boy with no name.  They were born on July 10, 1923. It is very important to note that Charles had to change his birthday to enroll in the army. In his military records, he only changed his year to 1923. There was a fourth still-born who was born on July 30, 1926 and died on August 15, 1926. It is hard to think about how Pearl and Alex continued to try to have children. Pearl must have been a very strong woman.

It appears that these children were buried at Prospect Cemetery in Toronto. My guess is that the fifth child as well as Alexander was  buried at Prospect as well. I hope to make a trip there soon to view the files.

When I started to seriously restart my family tree and do a better job of getting sources, I searched for how to articles. I came across a few sites, but nothing that I really followed. I had also been a regular blog reader and never thought to look for genealogy blogs. One of the first blogs that I found was Elyse’s Genealogy Blog. I read the blog from start to finish in about the matter of a few days. I also watched her youtube videos and made notes.  It was really refreshing to see someone so young interested in genealogy like me(she is much younger than I).  She has been actively pursuing genealogy since she was 13 and has now graduated from University. She inspired me to start my blog. She inspired me to do better genealogy. I believe that she will have this effect on many budding genealogists. Thanks Elyse for inspiring me!

A snowstorm

This post was scheduled to be posted on Thursday, March 9th, 2011. I will have to look into why this never happened.

Of course, the first OGS  York Region Branch meeting I was planning to attend and we had a snow and rain storm. This made the roads really slippery. I stayed home.  Hopefully next month, I’ll be able to go.


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