Monday, July 1, 2013

Mystery Monday (July 1, 2013) -- A Mystery From Canada

Minnie (Brown Jeffs), George Douglas Jeffs, Howard Brown Jeffs, and Dr. William Henry Maines Jeffs 

The above photograph is of my wife's Canadian great grandparents with their two sons (circa 1895): George (known as "Douglas" who is my wife's maternal grandfather) is on the left with his mother; and Howard is on the right with his father, Dr. William Henry Maines Jeffs.  Both Douglas and Howard grew up to become physicians themselves.

William Henry Maines Jeffs was one of the eight children of James Jeffs and his wife Sarah Jane Jeffs nee Maines.  [William is pictured with his parents and siblings in the James and Sarah Jeffs family portrait posted here at The Prism on June 12, 2013.]

Until about two years ago, the Minnie and William Jeffs family photograph shown above was understood to be the entire family -- that is until it was discovered that Minnie and William also later adopted a daughter around 1906 that no one in generations subsequent to those in the photograph had ever heard about (including my mother-in-law, the daughter of Douglas Jeffs pictured above beside his mother).

The 1911 Census of Canada for North Toronto, York South, Ontario, p. 47 shows Family No. 302 headed by William H. Jeffs, age 46, Doctor.  There are five other members of the household listed as follows: Minnie Jeffs, wife, age 48; Howard, son, age 19; Douglas, son, age 17; Jeanette, adopted daughter, age 7; and Mary H. Connor, age 37, listed as a "Patient."

The only other information about Jeanette is that she was born in July 1903 in the "U.S.A." and that she immigrated to Canada in 1906.  Whereas all the other members of the household have their "Racial or tribal origin" listed as Irish or English, Jeanette's origins are stated to be either North American or perhaps Native American -- it is hard to make out the handwriting in the next to last column to the right of her name.  Nothing more is known of Jeanette.  There are no photographs of her or mention in any family records that have been found.  It is unknown if she died young or perhaps married young and moved away.  Jeanette Jeffs is a complete mystery at this point.    

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Photograph in the collection of the author as provided by my mother-in-law.  
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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  1. Hi John. Nice post! Isn't the census indicating that she's a Naturalized citizen, with English ancestry? Although it's hard to know what had been crossed out. I am suspecting an early death. I had a similar case and that's what it turned out to be. In our case, the child ended up being the child of one of the parents, despite the "adopted" designation ... I bet this is an interesting story; being a doctor, he may have known about this orphan through his work ...
    Isn't the Canadian 1921 census about to be released? I haven't been following the news on this very closely, but of course that may help you. Keep us posted!

  2. I took a look at the census image, Jeff. The "Na" you see in column 13 means that Jeanette was naturalized. She immigrated in 1906 (col. 12), her country of birth is USA (col. 11), and her racial origin is (what appears to me) American (col. 14).