Tag Archives: Hill

12 Months, 12 Ancestors – Ada Elizabeth Woolgar (Hill)

Note: this is the fourth installment in my own version of #52ancestors where geneabloggers have been asked to write about a different ancestor every week for a year. To understand the concept, read my blog entry from January 19, 2014.

My April Ancestor as part of my 12 Months, 12 Ancestors project is Ada Elizabeth Woolgar.

Great-Uncle Ed shares a chat with my great Grandmother Ada Elizabeth Woolgar
Great-Uncle Ed shares a chat with my great Grandmother Ada Elizabeth Woolgar

Woolgar.

What kind of bad ass name is that?

My great grandmother Ada Elizabeth Woolgar came from England. In England, the name goes back to the Doomsday Books, or so it says here:

WOOLGAR, or rather the original spellings of Wulfgar, Wlgar and Vlgar, is a Saxon name meaning ‘wolf-spear’. According to “A Dictionary of English Surnames” by P. H. Reaney & R. M. Wilson (Pub Routledge 1991 ISBN 041505737X), the earliest references to WOOLGAR are:

  • Domesday 1086 in Sussex and Hampshire
  • Wlfgarus de Cokesale 1252 in Colchester, Essex (Cartularium Monasterii S. Joh. Bapt. de Colecestria)
  • Brixi Wulgar 1188 (Pipe Rolls, Norfolk)
  • Teobald Wolgar 1250 Cambridge (Cartularium Monasterii Rameseia)

How amazingly awesome is that?

From tales I have been told, my great grandmother Ada was a strong woman. She was tall, well at least taller than her husband Charles. She was born in April 6, 1884 in the hamlet of Hersham, in Chertsey County, Surrey, England. She was the youngest child to Richard Woolgar and Esther Cannon and by the age of 8 had received a bible from her uncle. She kept this bible for her entire life and used it to record major milestones in her life from her marriage, to coming to Canada and the birth of all 13 of her children and even some of her grandchildren.

According to her bible, Ada Woolgar married Charles Edmond Hill on September 1st, 1900 in Pyrford, village also in Surrey. She was 16 years old at the time of their marriage. Young for our time, but not back then. By 1901, Ada and Charles were living in Long Ditton, Surrey, England in little place called “Moon’s Cottage.” Something about this place draws me in every time. I want to go there and find Moon’s Cottage. I want to see where it was Charles and Ada lived when first married, and where they started their family.

Kate, Ada and Amy, Taken July 1954
Kate, Ada and Amy, Taken in Ontario July 1954

In 1908, with Kate, Albert, little Charlie and baby Lily in tow, Charles and Ada packed it in and made their way to Canada. On the ships manifest she is listed as “wife” and no other occupation has been listed for her in any of the census records I’ve been able to uncover. However, family lore has indicated she was a midwife. I have been told they were allowed to come to Canada despite my great-grandfather having a hump on his back because of her much needed skill. However, I haven’t been able to substantiate this. As British citizens, they should have been able to travel anywhere in the dominion without any issue.

My great-grandparents Charles and Ada Hill with my great-uncle Ed
My great-grandparents Charles and Ada Hill with my great-uncle Ed

The Hill family settled in the Eramosa township area of Wellington County, Ontario, Canada. They rented a farm and had horses and chickens and grew their own food. From what I have been told, Ada was the backbone of the family and worked as hard or harder than anyone else . She doted on her children, in particular her youngest “Eddie” whom became one of my favourite great-uncles even though he lived in Manitoba and we would only see him once a year.

Ada died in 1962 and was buried in Johnston Cemetery, Eramosa Township, Wellington, County, Ontario, Canada. With incredible luck, I found her funeral card while visiting my Great-Aunt Margaret. The font is pure 60’s and the card was in fantastic shape. Here is a breakdown of the details:

In Memory of Mrs. Charles E. Hill
Passed Away
At the Palmerston Hospital on Wednesday October 17, 1962
Ada Elizabeth Woolgar
Widow of the late Charles Edmund Hill in her 81st year.
The Funeral
Resting at the Hardy Funeral Home, Harriston, on Thursday, then to McIntyre and Wilkie Funeral Home, Guelph on Friday where funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 20, at 2:00 pm. Internment in the Johnston Cemetery, Eramosa

The funeral card for Ada Elizabeth Woolgar, wife of the late Charles Edmund Hill
The funeral card for Ada Elizabeth Woolgar, wife of the late Charles Edmund Hill

Ada Elizabeth Woogar Hill is to me someone who I would like to have gotten to know. She could be tough when needed, but also had a good sense of humour and supported her own. I’ve been told my sister Heather resembles her in height, looks and attitude. I think this is a fantastic compliment.

I am Canadian

No really. I am Canadian.

My entire life I have been incredibly proud to call myself a Canadian but it wasn’t until I really started to research my family tree that I started to see why.

MY FAMILY CHOSE TO COME TO CANADA

My great-grandfather was born in England but chose to move to Canada in 1908. He could’ve stayed where he was living in Moon’s Cottage in Long Ditton, Surrey to raise his children. Instead he packed it all in and chose to come to Canada. He decided to change his stars. My grandfather Albert came with him and their pride in being Canadian was passed down to my father, one of the first born members of his line to be born in this country. An incredibly proud accomplishment. No one is happier to wave the red and white flag or to explore this country as my father. He’s been to at least 6 provinces and has seen or touched nearly all of the great lakes.

MY FAMILY FOUGHT FOR CANADA

I’ve already talked about how my great-grandfather fought in World War 1 and I may have mentioned that my uncle fought in World War 2. But what I may have neglected to mention was that the other side of my family fought in the War of 1812. Over 200 years ago my ancestors stood together against an American invasion and fought to keep the true north strong and free. At that time, we were part of the dominion and were not our own little country, but that war, and many wars after that, helped shape our country into what it is today.

MY FAMILY HELPED SHAPE CANADA

With a history in this country spanning more than 200 years, we had a chance to really make our mark. Some of my Scottish ancestors came to take over land in that had never been worked and they helped clear the land to make way for farms and villages. Many of my ancestors were farmers who tilled the land and helped grow what we could.

We also had a big part in making some beautiful things as well. One of my Dryden ancestors was the carpenter that did the wood work in Knox Presbyterian Church in downtown Galt (now Cambridge.)

Some other of my ancestors made their way cross country and helped develop the railway and some cities in the west. Other ancestors stayed closer to Waterloo Region. My grandpa Hyde and a few of my great-uncles on the Lovejoy side helped build several of the war-time houses in Galt.

MY FAMILY WANTS TO BE CANADIAN

I can’t read their minds, but I can tell by the way I was raised and the people around me, that we really like to be in Canada. We are safe here. We have opportunity here. We can help build community and we can belong. Sure life isn’t always easy for all of us, but it wouldn’t be easy no matter where we lived.

I am proud to be Canadian. I am proud to be from a long and short line of people who are proud to be in Canada. I am Canadian.

Canada Relief Map
My father, Howard Hill, checks out this relief map of Canada in Brandon, Manitoba