I have been working on my brick wall ancestor, Daniel George McKinnon (abt. 1858-1925) for many years now with not much success. The question of who his parents were has been like an unrelenting itch that I just can't reach, and my goal for 2019 is to finally solve this mystery. Since January, I have been retracing my research, searching for things I’ve missed, doing DNA analysis and tracing cousin’s trees all in the hopes of providing a new lead.
Daniel and John A. McKinnon, brothers, show up in Whitewood, Saskatchewan in the early 1890s. They were born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, but all census records from Saskatchewan have variations on their dates of births and even their place of birth, one record suggesting it was not Cape Breton but Prince Edward Island. Civil registration in Nova Scotia did not start until after they were born, and finding marriage records has been difficult in Saskatchewan. Everything up to this point has made it seem like they just showed up, out of thin air, with no past. Obviously, this isn’t the case and I was going to find out where, or rather who they came from.
Through my online family tree, a close (but unknown to me) cousin reached out to me. She was kind enough to send me this photo with John McKinnon (right). I hypothesized that the man second from the left was my great-grandfather, Daniel, but only seeing one other photo of him, I was not sure and I certainly didn’t know who the woman in the middle was.
Long, John William (presumably), Daniel McKinnon, Isabella Long (nee McKinnon), John McKinnon. Photograph. n.d.. Digital image.
Photo courtesy of Anna McKinnon. 2019.
With Saskatchewan being one of the most difficult provinces to research from afar, I decided to take a 4 hour ride to the small town in hopes to make progress. While preparing for this trip, I had the opportunity to look through a family photo album again after 10 years. After extensive research on the families and with help from other distant cousins, people in photos that were once unknown to my family, I now recognized. One photo in particular caught me eye, it was the same (but different) photo that my cousin had shared with me! It was obviously taken at the same time and I could tell there was another person standing to the right, out of frame. Thankfully, this photo had the inscription “Dadie [sic] with his sister Mrs. Long”. "Dadie [sic]", I knew from the owner of this album, meant it was in fact Daniel McKinnon. He had a sister AND we have a married surname! Fellow genealogists realize how instrumental this discovery was.
McKinnon, Daniel and Isabella Long (nee McKinnon). Photograph. n.d.. Digital image. Personal collection. 2019.
Now having another person to track and hopefully connect to Daniel and John, I reviewed census records looking for Mrs. Long in Whitewood and surrounding area. BOOM! There she was, right above her brother John McKinnon and I never knew her significance. This along with an article giving a first name, Isabella, along with her husband, confirmed her relationship to her brother, John Alexander McKinnon, I now had yet another sibling to research to hopefully aid me in identifying their parents.
Canada. Saskatchewan. Assiniboia East. 1906 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Digital Image.
Ancestry.ca. http://www.ancestry.ca : 2019.
Bonus: Isabella is also the name of one sibling of my potential DNA match family, born approximately at the right time. The photo of the siblings, supporting newspapers articles and census records have added to my growing circumstantial case of these McKinnon siblings’ parentage.
What did I learn?