The House That William Built

3 December 2014, Chriss Coleman

William was a man that liked things just so and was very hands-on, at least according to his daughter Rosemary. It was not surprising then, that William took on the task of building a house himself.

William Chappell and his wife Elizabeth Emma Farthing
William Christopher Chappell with his wife Elizabeth Emma Farthing in front of their house at 2566 Lundy’s Lane in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Photographer unknown.

Whilst scanning through piles of papers this past autumn, I came across a large pile of receipts from a lumber company in William’s old writing desk. Curious, I queried my husband’s grandmother about the mysterious pile, to which she explained they were the receipts from the house that William Chappell built.

Stamford Lumber Company receipt 1934
One of the dozens of receipts from the Stamford Lumber Company, dated 1934.

The house in question was their residence at 2566 Lundy’s Lane in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. It was the house he built for he and his wife to live out their days. It was the house he shared with his daughter’s family after they moved in to care for William’s wife Emma. It was the house to which many letters and postcards were addressed. It was the house in which William died.

The house was a two story house of wood construction, with a large front veranda, and a fire place in the lounge. The upstairs featured 3 bedrooms, the master bedroom with a large walk-in closet.

Downstairs floor plan
Downstairs Plan

Upstairs floor plan
Upstairs Floor Plan

The house remained in the family until 1965 when Rosemary and her husband Herbert Laurence Walsh moved to Orillia.

George Laurence Slinn and Rosemary Chappell Walsh at home in Niagara Falls Ontario
Their Lundy’s Lane home, photo taken in the 1950s, Mrs. Rosemary (Chappell) Walsh with her grandson Larry Slinn.

Timeline for William Chappell

23 November 2014, Chriss Coleman

Over on Randy Seaver’s blog he does a weekly event entitled Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, which of course I get on Sunday morning due to the time difference. These little challenges are great for fine tuning your genealogy – you often find things that you didn’t realise you had or items you didn’t realise you are missing.

This week’s task:

  1. Create a timeline in your genealogy software program.
  2. Otherwise, create a timeline using a program/website of your choice.
  3. Show your Timeline and tell us how you did it.
  4. Share your timeline.

As this is a new blog and I’ve primarily focused my efforts on a small group of people thus far, the obvious choice was William Christopher Chappell, my husband’s 2xgreat-grandfather. I have a fair amount of information about him and he had an interesting life which makes for a much more interesting timeline.

I couldn’t figure out how to create a timeline in Reunion (my genealogy program), even though I do list facts and events. This may simply be inexperience as I don’t play with the built in charts often since we don’t own a printer. Instead, I decided to use to create a spreadsheet. I choose the ‘Schedule’ pre-built spreadsheet and customised it to my purposes.

Timeline for William C Chappell 1869-1941

I’ve omitted most of his Navy information except for promotions, etc., as the list of dates and ships would have been overwhelming in compared to the other information of his life. However, it will be a great way to share his Navy career on the blog in a future post.

I found this process very useful and insightful and it has shown me a few holes where I need to do some further research (mostly on-site research) that I didn’t already have marked in my logs, as well as a few little nuances that I had in documents I already had but haven’t transcribed.

Thanks for the task, Randy! It’s been most valuable. I plan to do similar timelines for other folks up our tree in the future.

For more information and previous posts on William Christopher Chappell, click here, or click on his name under the People tags at the end of this post or on the side bar.

Destination: Canada

18 November 2014, Chriss Coleman

William Christopher Chappell had served with the Royal Navy his entire adult life, having joined up on his 18th birthday, 29 November 1887. Although he had originally signed on for 12 years, he continued his service by re-enlisting in November of 1898.

William served on many ships and sailed to many far-off lands, details of which I plan to write about in the future, and over the years he climbed the ranks (or ratings, as per the Navy) from a B2C – Boy 2nd Class – in the year and a half prior to his Navy enlistment to Chief Petty Officer in 1906.

I’m not sure what the impetus to leave the navy was, though I do have my theories based on family stories. Throughout his career he’d always received a VG – Very Good – conduct rating. However, the navy was hard work and kept him away from his family.

William Christopher Chappell and family, Devonport
William C Chappell, with his wife Emma and daughter Rosemary. Photo taken in Devonport, Devon, England.

His last voyage with the Navy was aboard the Defiance, a boat he had served aboard several times previously, as a Chief Petty Officer. This voyage lasted from 2 June 1909 until 23 November 1909. He was shore pensioned on the 23 of October 1909,1 though I have a feeling that this date was supposed to read 23/11/09 to correspond to his return to shore. In another document, his daughter recorded William’s pension date as 24 November 1909.2 I hope that further research will help firm up the exact date, but you can see the dates written on his service record in the following image:

William C Chappell Navy Service Excerpt
Clipping from the Navy service record of William C. Chappell. The dates show start and end dates aboard the Defiance, followed by date he was shore pensioned.

After being shore pensioned he joined the Royal Fleet Reserve on 28 November 1909, receiving a full discharge on the 27 April 1910.

One month later, William, along with his wife Elizabeth Emma (née Farthing) and their daughter Rosemary, set sail for Canada on 27 May 1910, boarding the “Virginian” that departed Liverpool for Quebec, Canada and arrived in Canada on 3 Jun 1910.3

The Virginian
The Virginian, an Allan Line steamship that carried William and his family to their new country. Image courtesty of Norway Hertiage,

Passenger List for William Chappell and family
Clipping from the passenger list for the Virginian, departing Liverpool 27 May 1910, arriving 3 Jun 1910 in Quebec, Canada, entry for William C Chappell and family. Image from

The passenger list shows William Chappell as age 40, married. Eliz Chappell was listed as 39, married. Their daughter Rosemary is listed as 8 years old.

What caught my attention was that William also stated as having previously been to Canada. The final column in the clipping shows that he declared he’d previously been in Canada in 1903, in Esquimalt, for 3 years. William was still serving in the Royal Navy at this time, and a little bit of research showed that Esquimalt, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, was used by the British Royal Navy as the headquarters of their Pacific Fleet during this period.4 Since William had previously been in Canada, he was marked as a returned Canadian.

Their destination listed on the passenger list is marked as Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Whilst my research has been unable to uncover a census entry for William and his family in the 1911 Canadian Census, the family does show up on the 1921 Census for Niagara Falls, Ontario.

1921 Canada Census, Niagara Falls, Ontario, entry for William C Chappell
1921 Census of Canada for Niagara Falls, Ontario. Clipping of entry for William Chappell and family. Image from

William is listed William Chappell, head of house, 51 years old, born in Somerset, England, with both parents born in Somerset. He is listed as being occupied as a Lineman for Ontario Hydro.

Emma is listed as E. Emma Chappell, wife, 49 [still fibbing about her age], born in Wiltshire, England, father born in Zeals, England, mother born in Wiltshire, England. She was occupied at home.

Their daughter Rosemary is listed as Rose Chappell, born in Devon, England, father born in Somerset, and mother born in Wiltshire. She is employed as a clerk.

The family was enumerated as living at 29 Gladstone Avenue in Niagara Falls, Ontario, having immigrated in 1910.5

William found employment with Niagara Hydro soon after arriving in Canada, and he held a position with the company until he was pensioned in 1938 due to failing health.6

William at work at Niagara Hydro
William Christopher Chappell, at work in Power Station #1 (below the falls) for Niagara Hydro in 1937.

  1. William Chappell, Official Royal Navy service record, service number 137471, discharged 1909; National Archives, London, England, reference ADM/188/189, image reference 453; digital image, National Archives, ( : accessed 23 May 2014). 

  2. Rosemary Walsh, “William Christopher Chappell”, unpublished work detailing stories of her father’s Royal Navy career. Copy held by C.Coleman. 

  3. “Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935”, the Virginian, Liverpool, England to Quebec, Canada, arriving 3 Jun 1910, ticket 81977, family of William Chappell; digital image, Ancestry, ( : accessed 11 Mar 2014); citing LAC microfilm “Passenger Lists, 1865-1935”, RG76-C, roll T-4767. 

  4. “Equimalt”, Wikepedia: the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2 Nov 2014; website, Wikipedia, ( : accessed 17 Nov 2014) 

  5. “1921 Census of Canada”, Welland, Ontario, Niagara Falls (city), district 138, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 38, p22 (penned), dwelling 212, family 236, household of William Chappell; digital image, Ancestry, ( : accessed 11 Mar 2014); citing LAC microfilm “Sixth Census of Canada, 1921”, RG31, Folder 96. 

  6. Elizabeth Chappell and Rosemary Walsh, “Chappell and Walsh Family Log”, unpublished journal, 1923-1940 [vol. 1], p.88. Diary held by Deb [name withheld for privacy, address for private use], Muskoka, Ontario, digital copy transmitted to Chriss Coleman, 11 Mar 2014. 

Herbert Lawrence Walsh, WWI Veteran

11 November 2014, Chriss Coleman

Poppy art by daliscar

This Remembrance Day, we pay tribute to the 100th anniversary year of beginning of the First World War. As such, I wanted to take the time to honour a member of our family, one of many, who served in the conflicts of the Great War.

Herbert L. Walsh, a young electrician from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, attested on the 28th of July 1916 at the nearby town of St Catharines to be part of the Overseas Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was a small lad, just shy of 5’5” tall with blue eyes and a fair complexion.1 He wanted to serve his country.

He was assigned to the 71st Battery, but was later transferred to the 11th Battery in the 3rd Brigade. On the 21st of October 1916, his unit left Petawawa, Ontario on a train for Nova Scotia, where he set sail for Liverpool, England arriving on the 5th of November.2

The weeks that followed saw parades, inspections, drills, and day marches varying from 15 to 25 miles. Herbert learned a variety of new skills whilst training in England, from musketry and gunnery classes, to peeling a “dixie of potatoes”.3

Herbert Walsh WWI soldier
Herbert L Walsh, Christmas greetings with photo from England.

He awoke at 2 a.m. on the 19th of January 1917 to go to France, leaving camp at 3:30am for Southampton, where they sailed for Lowe, France. He would be part of a battle that would become a defining moment in Canadian History. Four divisions of the Canadian Corp were brought together in an attempt to take Vimy Ridge. The Vimy Ridge was a 7km fortified section of landscape situated in Northern France. Previous British and French attacks on the site ended with hundreds of thousands of casualties and little gain.4

There were extensive preparations made before the attack, and the Canadians went through rigorous training. The weeks that preceded the battle saw the men out on working parties, preparing for the fight that was to come.

Herbert Walsh War Diary
Excerpt from Herbert’s War diary describing his duties in the days prior to the Battle of Vimy Ridge.5

In the early morning of Easter Monday, the 9th of April, 1917, Herbert was part of the Canadian Corps that fought the German Sixth Army at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The battle lasted four days until the Germans retreated to the Oppy-Mericourt line. 100,000 Canadians fought the battle, and of them there were over 10,000 casualties, nearly 3,600 of them fatal.6

The fighting was brutal, and stretcher-bearers worked feverishly in an attempt to remove the wounded solders from the battle fields. Herbert and his friend Brown were knocked out by a gas shell at 9:30am. They were picked up and carried to the light railway, and from there to Mourville to the clearing stations where their wounds were dressed. Herbert recounts sleeping on a stretcher with one shoe on and one shoe off. The results of the gas shell left him with a fractured left leg, the middle finger of his left hand shattered, and shrapnel in both arms and left eye.7

Herbert Walsh in hospital
Herbert Walsh in hospital after Vimy Ridge, attended to by Sister Branagan.

He was sent back to England to recover from his wounds. His injuries resulted in him losing his eye, and he would have stiffness in his hand and leg. A little over a year later, he was discharged at Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on the 28th of April, 1918.

We are thankful he returned home. So many young men and women made the ultimate sacrifice. Please take a moment to remember those who have served in all the various conflicts and the sacrifices they made.

Herbert Lawrence Walsh is my husband’s great-grandfather. Our ancestral line:

  • 4. Herbert Lawrence Walsh (1895-1969)
  • 3. James Francis Walsh (1931-2001)
  • 2. My husband’s mother (living)
  • 1. My husband (living)

Credit: Never Forget photo art – entitled “Rememberance Day - Poppy Day” by daliscar website link

  1. “Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918”, Herbert Laurence Walsh, 341962; digital image,, ( : accessed 12 Mar 2014); citing LAC “Soldiers of the First World War (1914-1918)”, RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166. 

  2. Herbert L. Walsh, “Diary of the European War”, 4 Aug 1916 to 9 Apr 1917, an unpublished war diary, p.1 

  3. Walsh, “Diary of the European War”, p.3 

  4. Veterans Affairs Canada, “The Battle of Vimy Ridge”; website, ( : accessed 10 Nov 2014), rev. 23 Oct 2014. 

  5. Walsh, “Diary of the European War”, p.14 

  6. Wikipedia, “Battle of Vimy Ridge”; website, ( : accessed 10 Nov 2014). 

  7. Walsh, “Diary of the European War”, p.14 

Marriage of William Chappell and Elizabeth Farthing

28 October 2014, Chriss Coleman

When I went rummaging through for genealogical documents whilst visiting family this autumn, it was suggested that I start with a small writing desk. The desk was the one that William Christopher Chappell used whilst he served in the Royal Navy and it now contained many wonderful items of family history.

One of the most prized pieces I found was William Chappell and Elizabeth Farthing’s copy of their marriage registry from 1898. As much as I could easily order a new copy of this certificate, it was something special to hold the certificate they received on the day of their wedding.

I excitedly looked over the document and continued scanning my way through the pile. It wasn’t until I properly filed the document within my genealogy program that I noticed it contained a transcription error. It goes to show you that mistakes are made on transcriptions, even when the people in question are present.

Register of Marriage
William and Elizabeth’s original copy of their Registry of Marriage, dated 18 Jun 1898.1

The original document says:

Page 61, Certificate of Registry of Marriage 1898, Marriage solemnized at The Roman Catholic Chapel Bonham in the District of Mere in the county of Wilts.
No. 122, Married 18 Jun 1898.

Groom’s details:
Name and Surname: William Christopher Chappell
Age: 28 years
Condition: Bachelor
Rank or Profession: Petty Officer in Royal Navy
Residence at time of Marriage: 16 Primrose Hill, Bath
Father’s name and surname: Edwin Chappell
Father’s rank or occupation: Bath Chairman

Bride’s details:
Name and Surname: Elizabeth Emma Chapel
Age: 27 years
Condition: Spinster
Rank or Profession: [blank]
Residence at time of Marriage: Whitecross, Zeals
Father’s name and surname: Isaih Farthing
Father’s rank or occupation: Engineer at Iron Foundry

This Marriage was Solemnized between us, William Christopher Chappell and Elizabeth Emma Farthing, in the presence of Helen Chappell and Albert Chappell. Thos H Woodford, Registrar.

I hereby certify the above to be a True Copy of Entry No. 122 in the Marriage Register No. 3 for the said Sub-District of Mere, the said Register being legally in my custody. Witness my Hand this 18th day of June 1898.

You can see the transcription error in this detail:

Detail of Register of Marriage

The bride’s surname should have read “Farthing”, not “Chapel”. In the undersigned portion (not their actual signatures since this was a transcribed copy), it lists her name as Elizabeth Emma Farthing, which is what leads me to believe the earlier surname was indeed an error in transcription. I wonder how long it took before William and (Elizabeth) Emma realised this error.

There are two other minor errors. The first of which is also visible in that detail. Emma recorded her age as 27, a year younger than William. However, Emma was actually born in the year prior to William’s birth… in fact, she was nearly 1 year and 10 months older than William. This, however, I’m not surprised at. Emma consistently fibbed about her age throughout her life. The only documents that show her correct age were generated when she was a child or much later in life.

The final error is a minor detail. From all the research I’ve done I’ve been able to conclude that her father’s name was likely spelled “Isaiah”, but I’ve seen quite a few variations of his name so he, like many of his contemporaries, was likely less than worried about how his name was spelled. This could also possibly be a transcription error, but without seeing the original registry it would be hard to confirm. Their original church record for their marriage was written in Latin.

The last thing that has always struck me about their wedding were the people who signed as their witness, Albert Chappell and his wife Helen. Albert, William’s brother, and Helen, Emma’s sister, were the reason that William and Emma met. It seems wonderfully fitting that they were the two who signed as witnesses.

  1. Certificate of Registry of Marriage for William Christopher Chappell and Elizabeth Emma Farthing, 18 Jun 1898, registration district of Mere, Wiltshire, vol 3, page 61. [GRO index: Q2 1898, Mere, Wilshire, vol 5a, page 473] 

William Christopher Chappell and Elizabeth Emma Farthing

22 October 2014, Chriss Coleman

I deliberated for a while as to which relative(s) I should start with on this blog, until it suddenly it occurred to me that I couldn’t start with anyone other than William and Elizabeth Chappell. They were the two that got me asking questions, interrogating family, and inevitably got me started in genealogy as I searched to find the truth behind the family stories (and annoy the relations). They are my husband’s 2xgreat-grandparents.

William Christopher Chappell and family
William Christopher Chappell with wife Elizabeth Emma Farthing and daughter Rosemary, circa 1900 to 1901, taken in Ford, Devon, England.

William C. Chappell was born on 29 Nov 1869, in Bath, Somerset, England. He was the son of Edwin Chappell and Harriet Oaten, and was one of 10 children to this couple.1 He lived in Bath until he joined the Royal Navy.

William Christopher Chappell birth
William Christopher Chappell’s entry in the Chappell family record

Elizabeth Emma Farthing, who often went by her middle name Emma, was born on 3 February 1868, at the family home on Castle Street in Mere, Wiltshire, and was the daughter of Isaiah Farthing and Sarah Hester Hart.2 Emma Farthing grew up in Mere, but as a young woman she travelled to continental Europe to teach English.

It wasn’t until Emma returned to England for her sister Helen’s wedding in 1898 that she met her future husband. Helen married Albert Chappell, William Christopher Chappell’s brother. A few months later William Chappell and Elizabeth Farthing were wed at the bride’s church in Gasper, Stourton, on the Wiltshire-Somerset border near Mere.

After their wedding, William and Emma removed themselves to Devon. On 27 July 1900, their daughter Rosemary Cecelia Chappell was born at their home in Ford, Devon.3 They were still living at the same residence when they were enumerated on the 1901 England Census.

William Christopher Chappell on 1901 England Census
William Christopher Chappell with his family living in Devonport, Devon in the 1901 England Census. Image courtesy of 4

William is enumerated as the head of household, 31, and occupied as a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy, alongside his wife Emma, and daughter Rosemary in Ford, Devonshire, England.

This was the first chapter of their lives together.

  1. Chappell Family Record, undated handwritten document, original in the collection of Joan [Name withheld for privacy; address for Private Use], Simcoe county, Ontario, digital copy held by author. [From the appearance this document it seems most likely to be a copy of the family bible, copied after 1897.  

  2. Certified copy of an Entry of Birth for Elizabeth Emma Farthing; citing General Register Office, index, Q1 1868, Mere, Wiltshire, Vol 5a, Page 220; 

  3. Certified copy of an Entry of Birth for Rosemary Chappell; citing General Register Office, index, Q3 1900, Devonport, Devon, Vol 5b, Page 295. 

  4. “1901 England Census”, Devon, Devonport, Ford, St Marks parish, Enumeration district (ED) 10, Folio 121, p. 29 (stamped), Family 177, household of Wm Chapple; digital image, ( : accessed 11 Mar 2014); citing The National Archives, Kew, “Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901”, Class RG13, Piece 2110. 

Goals for the rest of the year

20 October 2014, Chriss Coleman

I’ve been thinking a lot of my genealogy research as a whole and I’m currently in need of sitting down and just getting a few things sorted. That means I need goals. I love goals.

How not to file your papers

There is some housework needed in my genealogy database. I need to go back and transcribe a bunch of records from my early days and get them up to speed with the rest of my database. I would also like improve my source citations, which will make things easier when it comes to sharing, including on this blog. I also have lots of scans that were recently done that need sorting, cropping, transcribing, filing, and all the other wonderful things that are required after you’ve torn a relative’s house upside-down looking for genealogical information.

In short, I need to tidy things up so that my database is actually useful, streamlined, coherent, and ultimately usable by someone other than myself. You know, so it can be passed on.

My main goal for the rest of the year is to clean up my database as follows:

  1. Rewrite my source citations. I’m starting at the beginning with source 1, and working my way through.
  2. Transcribe my early sources and documents. I’ve found this infinitely useful. I’m also hoping by looking at some of these earlier items with more experienced eyes will lead me to be able to follow clues I hadn’t noticed before.
  3. Start working my way through the digital pile of scans waiting to be catalogued.

Goal three is going to be ongoing, but I’d really like to complete the first two goals by the end of 2014. I’m not enjoying the nagging feeling of things not being in order. I have big plans for how I want to do my research in 2015, and I’d really love to start with a fresh slate so I continue to more forward unburdened. Working these three goals will also feed the blog, and hopefully the desire to blog will feed the need to get it sorted.

Photo: ©Chriss Coleman, taken in the old outhouse at Den Gamle By (“The Old Town”) open air museum, Århus, Denmark. A reminder of how I don’t want my genealogical info to meet its end.

Welcome to Curating Kin

19 October 2014, Chriss Coleman

For years I’ve been interested in stories and photos, and it was this love that got me into genealogy. Through this journey I have found more stories, photos, and people than I originally thought possible.

This blog will be the outlet for those photos, stories, and documents about our families that came before us. It will allow me to share my knowledge, discoveries, and obstacles about our families of the past with our families of the present. And it might just mean that my husband isn’t quite so inundated with all the genealogy talk that often results in comments like “you know more about my family than I do” and the “you should write that down”.

My research area falls mainly within Canada, England, and Ireland. Particular interests include the Niagara Penisula, Simcoe County, and Norfolk County in Canada, as well as Somerset, Suffolk, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire in England. We are still working out where my husband’s Irish ancestors came from.

Our main families on my husband’s side of the tree include Berrigan, Bishop, Cameron, Chappell, Farthing, Kelly, O’Hara, and Walsh. My side of the tree includes Cox, Finch, Fort, Hart, Mantle, Montross, Skelcher, and Taylor. Of course, with all families the names are far more plentiful than can be quickly listed.

Over the coming posts I plan to share my research as well as my journey in the process of overcoming obstacles such as adoptions and house fires, tracing immigrants, United Empire Loyalists, and the journeys of labourers and lawyers alike. It is all about curating the lives of our kin.

If you believe you are related to our families in any way, I would love to get in contact with you. Please email me at the address provided at the bottom of each page.

• Tagged: Admin