Monday, 30 April 2018

Separated at Birth?

In our previous post, I asked if you recognized anyone in a group photo from around 1905. Unfortunately, there were no new revelations. However....

Separated at birth? 

Mystery man (left) circa 1905 and Ian Culbert (right), 2015


These photos were taken about 110 years apart yet they look like the same man!

Here's the original photo, once more. You'll see our mystery man in the top right hand corner...

Group Culbert photo circa 1905. (Click photo to enlarge)

Phil Culbert (Ian's brother) and Wendy Reid (Ian's niece) both exclaimed how much the mystery man looks like Ian Culbert. Don't you agree?

We don't know the identity of the man in the upper right hand corner of the group photo but based on his resemblance to Ian, he's definitely a Culbert. 

As usual, your comments are welcome.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Party Like it's 1899

The weekend's here and the Culberts are partying like it's 1899!

Well, it's more like the early 1900s but I couldn't resist the reference to a Prince song [1]

Click image to enlarge.
Photo from the collection of Hulda May (Culbert) Carscallen courtesy of her granddaughter, Wendy (Gowland) Boole.

This photo was taken on the Culbert homestead (Poplar Farm) around 1905, give or take a few years.  

I don't know what occasion they were celebrating but they look like they're having a good time. Especially this guy in the party hat...

Waiting for the invention of selfies

I have no idea what occasion they're celebrating. Since cars hadn't become common or affordable yet, most of the attendees probably lived close by in the Lucan-Biddulph area. I'm assuming most of them are family members, friends, and maybe a few neighbours.

I don't recognize most of these people but here's my opinion:

This is definitely Myron Culbert who would later take over the farm from his father, Richard...

Myron Culbert (born 1884)

Myron Culbert's future bride, Effie Taylor (left) and her sister, Mary Taylor (right)...

Effie Taylor (left) and her sister Mary

The man on the left looks like Effie's brother, Hector Taylor. The woman two over from him looks like the woman he married, Ina Kent...


Probably Hector Taylor (left) and his future bride, Ina Kent on the far right. Ina's mother was Mary Ann Culbert, daughter of John Culbert & Mary Ward.

This looks like the head of the household at that time, Myron's father, Richard Culbert...


Probably Richard Culbert (born 1853). Youngest son of John Culbert & Mary Ward. Richard took over the farm from his father, John.

And this might be Richard's wife, Jane (Fairhall) Culbert, holding a baby...


The babies just kept on coming on the Culbert homestead.

These might be two of Myron Culbert's sisters...

Hey, you behind that young lady! Keep your hands where we can see them!

I'm not sure of the identities of the other people. If you have any idea, leave a comment or send an email to me. 

In the meantime, party on! 


[1] 1999 composed by Prince Rogers Nelson

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

DNA Day Discounts!

To celebrate DNA Day on Wednesday, April 25th, why not take the Ancestry DNA test?

My cousin, Phil Culbert and I have taken the test through Ancestry.ca and our DNA is being processed in a lab, at this moment.

Ancestry.ca (for Canadians) is offering major discounts on DNA kits from now until April 30th. So now is a great time to purchase your kit. Ancestry.com (for Americans) is also having a sale.

U.S.A. residents, check Ancestry.com for different price and dates.







Why should you take the Ancestry DNA test?

1. Wondering where your ancestors came from? The test provides an “ethnicity estimate” which breaks down your ethnic mix into percentages by each world region. 

While discovering your ethnicity estimate is fun, in my opinion there's a more important reason to take the test...

2. You'll be matched to other relatives from all over the world (who you didn't even know you have) who've also taken the test and share your DNA. These people are your genetic "matches." It's possible they can help us trace our lineage.

Reason #2 is especially important for we, the descendants of John Culbert and Mary Ward. We've reached a "brick wall" in trying to trace our ancestors back further than John & Mary.

My hope is that by taking the test, Phil and I will be able to find "matches" who know more about our Irish roots than we do. Even if they don't know more than we do, by examining shared information with our matches, we may be able to make progress in tracing our lineage. We still don't know exactly where our Irish ancestors lived or their names. It's possible DNA testing can help break down that wall.


Why haven't I found our ancestors yet?

Many documents were destroyed in a fire at the Public Records Office in Dublin. While it's not impossible to find records of our family history, Irish genealogy is very challenging. By taking the Ancestry DNA test, you may further our chances of tracing our Irish ancestors.

How do you take the test?

It's easy! Click on these instructions to see how simple it is to take the DNA test. 

The only hard part is waiting the 6-8 weeks for your results!



Please consider taking the Ancestry DNA test. If you have questions, call Ancestry's toll-free number:
1 (800) 958-9073



Sunday, 22 April 2018

E.J. Cossey & the Culbert Brothers

Back in the 1950s, brothers Milward Taylor "Mel" Culbert and Ivan Hector Culbert operated side-by-side shops on the Main Street of Lucan, Ontario.

The photo below shows what the building looks like in modern times...

In the 1950s, these stores were owned by two Culbert brothers. Culbert's Dry Goods (right) was owned and operated by Mel Culbert and Culbert's Bakery & Grocery (left) was owned and operated by Ivan Culbert.

Mel's "Culbert's Dry Goods" was on the right and also took up half of the left hand side. In the remaining space on the left, Ivan operated "Culbert's Bakery & Grocery". Mel and his family lived above the right hand side of the building, and Ivan and his family lived above the left side.

Dry goods stores were like small department stores, selling everything from clothing to toys, candy and housewares.

Mel and Ivan didn't just wander into the retail business on a whim. They'd received excellent training from a seasoned professional in the dry goods business: E.J. Cossey.


Edward John "E.J." Cossey. Photo courtesy of his grandson, Jay Cossey.

Edward John Cossey (1884-1966) operated Cossey's Dry Goods at 225-227 Dundas Street in London, Ontario, with another store in St. Thomas. Cossey's was a Dundas Street fixture from 1929-1955.


Cossey's Dry Goods store. 225-227 Dundas Street (just east of Clarence Street) London, Ontario, circa 1941. Photo courtesy of Jay Cossey. (Click photo to enlarge)


E.J. Cossey employed the two young Culbert brothers for five years. Mel and Ivan received excellent hands-on training as clerks in this popular store in the heart of downtown London. 


Cossey's employee Mel Culbert sweeping the sidewalk in front of the store. Photo courtesy of Jay Cossey. (Click photo to enlarge)
Zooming in on Mel Culbert

Love blossomed at Cossey's when a winsome young woman named Mary Elizabeth Patrick crossed the doorstep one day while she was out shopping with her mother. Mel was instantly smitten by this city gal and decided right there and then that this was the woman he was going to marry. So if it wasn't for Cossey's, my brother and sister and I probably wouldn't be here today!


A pencil like the one above would have been tucked behind the ears of both Mel and Ivan. Long before the invention of smartphones, pencils were handy for making notes, tallying prices, or jotting down the phone numbers of young ladies.

Mel Culbert (left) with E.J. Cossey. Photo courtesy of Vicky (Culbert) Schloendorf.

In closing, I'd like to thank my cousin, Phil Culbert for alerting me to Jay Cossey's photos of Cossey's Dry Goods store on this Facebook page. 

A huge thank you to Jay Cossey for permitting me to post his photographs. Jay, the grandson of E.J. Cossey, is too young to remember the store but he has treasured memories and keepsakes from his grandfather. Jay is a professional nature photographer in London, Ontario. His website, Jay Cossey's Photographs from Nature is well worth a visit. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Ivan Hector Culbert: A Memoir by Phil Culbert


Culbert Family History presents a memoir of Ivan Hector Culbert (3 August 1918 - 21 October 1979) written by his son, Phillip Myron "Phil" Culbert. 

Ivan Culbert, age about 5 months. Photo courtesy of Phil Culbert.
Birth announcement published in the Exeter Advocate on 15 Aug 1918.

Ivan, the third son of Myron and Effie, was born and raised in Lucan, Ontario on Poplar Farm, the Culbert family homestead, built by hand for only $900.00 in 1899 by his grandfather Richard Culbert.   

Ivan Culbert, 1929, age 11.

He, along with his 5 brothers, worked very hard with their father and mother on the family farm and after completing grade school in Lucan he attended H.B. Beal Secondary School in London. 


He left high school after completing his Grade 10 to start work in Cossey’s Dry Goods store on Dundas Street in London moving in with his older brother Kenneth in an apartment above a store just down the street from where he worked.  

One day in late December 1939 during his lunch hour from where he was working and at the young age of 21, he enlisted in the R.C.R. ( Royal Canadian Regiment ).  Thirteen days later he boarded a train with 39 other new recruits for Montreal and then on to Halifax where he set sail for England on Jan 28, 1940.  

Ivan Culbert (far right) bids farewell to his parents, Myron & Effie Culbert before heading off to war. His brother, Mel Culbert is in the background. This photo was taken in January, 1940. Ivan's family wouldn't see him again until 1946, when he returned from overseas with his war bride, six years later.



Five months after joining the army in June 1940 and with only a few months of training, his troop was dispatched to the front lines in France where he was to see his first action in the war.  One could only imagine what must have been going through this young inexperienced mind at that time.  The Germans were marching towards Paris and his troop’s job was to get there first and help the Allies defend the invasion. While marching toward Paris they got word that the Germans had taken the city and they were to retreat back to England but not before they all used their firepower to dispatch a German plane that was flying over their camp on the second night which they brought down in a farmer’s field.  



He saw further action throughout the war in France including Normandy and the fierce fighting he encountered in the Italian Campaign where he was wounded by shrapnel and was sent back to England to recover in hospital. During the war he submitted many articulate articles and pictures to the London Free Press that were published of his action during the war in Italy, France and England. 

It was back in England where he met my mother, Elvira Hutchings, daughter of Elizabeth Hutchings of Ystalevera, Wales, U.K., where she was serving in the Royal Navy in the W.R.E.N.S.  They would marry near the end of the war on Sept. 8th 1945 in Chichester, England.   

Ivan Culbert & Elvira Hutchings on their wedding day, 8 Sep 1945, in Chichester, England, just days after the end of WWII. Photo courtesy of Vicky (Culbert) Schloendorf.

After the war, in early 1946, he returned to Canada with his new bride where they settled in his home town of Lucan where he would open a bakery, grocery and dry goods store and raise their first 3 children Vicky, Ian and Phillip. 

Ivan & Elvira Culbert's first three children c1951. Left to right: Vicky, Ian, Phil.

He operated his store in Lucan along with my mother until 1955 when he sold it and moved the family to Owen Sound, Ontario where he managed the Singer Sewing Machine store for 2 years and where his youngest daughter and my sister Christine was born.  He had actually started working for Singer Sewing Machine in their London store the year prior to his selling his Lucan store.  He left Singer Sewing Machine Company in 1957 and moved the family to London where he secured a job as a guard and later Corrections Officer at the Middlesex County Jail where he would work until a severe stroke that caused permanent speech impairment sidelined him from working there in 1969 at the age of only 51.

Middlesex County Courthouse, London, Ontario. Ivan worked as Commissionaire of the courthouse, following a position as guard and Corrections Officer in the jail at the back of the building.
During most his years working at the County Jail he also took up house painting part time which he would do after his shifts at the County Jail and on weekends to earn extra money.

As his wages at the County Jail were average at best for the day, the extra income from painting certainly helped him manage household finances as well as supporting a family of 6.  Every summer growing up we would go on holidays for a week or so to a cottage in Lakeside that he would rent and we had such a great time as a family during that time. Before we moved to Owen Sound in 1955 Mom and Dad had owned a cottage in Lakeside which we went to as often as we could so it was nice to continue that tradition when we moved to London a few years later.

Fun at the cottage, 1954. Left to right: Ivan's niece, Dana Culbert; daughter Vicky; Ivan; sons Ian and Phil.


As teenagers my brother Ian and I would go with him on jobs and help him paint which provided extra spending money for Ian and myself.  My Dad worked very hard at those two jobs and never once did any of us hear him complain despite the many hours and many days that he worked continuously without any time off for himself or family.  Dad also had a part time job on Friday nights delivering baked goods for Bell Noll Bakery in London to their 7 stores.  He would start that shift around midnight and get home several hours later.  Once in awhile my brother Ian or myself would accompany him to help him out. 

After a long recovery from his first stroke which also left him unable to ever drive again he was eventually given a job as a Commissionaire at the Middlesex County Courthouse.

However, another devastating stroke took his life in 1979 at the young age 61.

He never knew what retirement was, having died so young; however, he did leave a lasting impression on all of us kids what a strong work ethic meant which is a tradition that I certainly continued for my entire business career as well as my siblings.

About a year before he died he flew out to Kamloops, B.C. where I was living with my family and I took him on a long 10 day road trip with me to visit my territory and see all the sites in this beautiful Province. We travelled from Kamloops to Prince Rupert and back a total distance of 2600 kilometers.  He would just sit in the car looking out the window at all the amazing sites along the way including all the majestic mountain ranges in North-West B.C. commenting how beautiful everything was. 
 
He also visited every Legion wherever we stopped along the way as I went and did my sales calls and he would sit in the Legion chatting with fellow vets while they each enjoyed a pint! He absolutely loved it!

Dad flew home after our trip with many great memories of our time together as did I and it is something I will never forget having spent that time with him.  That was the last time I saw him as it was only a few months later that he passed away. God bless him!

Dad is buried in St. James Cemetery, Clandeboye, near Lucan beside his wife and my mother Elvira who predeceased him by two years. 

St. James Cemetery, Clandeboye, near Lucan, Ontario. Ivan & Elvira's final resting place.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Atkinson's School: The Class of 1895

Thanks to my cousin, Vicky (Culbert) Schloendorf for sending this newspaper clipping of the Class of 1895.

S.S. No. 2 Biddulph, also known as Atkinson's School, class of 1895.


Generations of Culbert descendants attended S.S. No. 2 Biddulph, also known as Atkinson's School, near Lucan, Ontario. The article that accompanies the photo was written around 1963 when the new Biddulph Central School opened, and Atkinson's School closed. 

Below this image, I've typed the legend that identifies the people in the photo. It's followed by a transcription of the article.

Click on this image of the Class of 1895 to enlarge it. Four grandchildren of John Culbert & Mary Ward are in this photo: siblings Arthur, Myron, Mary, and Ethel Culbert. At that time, schoolhouses contained only one room so children of all ages were educated by the same teacher, in the same classroom.


CLASS OF 1895 – Pupils of the now-closed SS No.2, Biddulph, posed for this group photograph in 1895 with their teacher Russell Hodgins. All but one could be identified by former pupils living in Lucan. About half the group still survive.(Note from blog author: This was written around 1963 therefore no members of the group still survive.)

Top row (from left): Willie Dobbs, Minor Dobbs, Wilbert Neil, Labanna Hodgins, Francis Neil, Tom Flynn, Leon Abbott, Dan Rivington, Percy Abbott, Eli Davis, ARTHUR CULBERT, Dufferin Hodgins.

Second row: Charlotte McCann, Rennie Revington, Annie Atkinson, Ella Herbert, Fannie Flynn, Willa Hodgins, Annie Dobbs, Annie Atkinson, Mary Ann Flynn, Edith Levette, Louisa Armitage, Lily Neil, Bert Abbott, Eli Thompson, Will Dickens.

Third row: MYRON CULBERT, George Dobbs, Percy Armitage, Edith Fraser, Ada McCann, MARY CULBERT, Flossie Hodgins, Birdie Monkton, Pearl Hodgins, (unidentified), Alfred Dickens, Reginald Hodgins.

Fourth row: Laura Neil, Lucy Herbert, Pearl Herbert, Bella Herbert, Lina Abbott, Etta Dobs, Minnie Neil, ETHEL CULBERT, Louisa Hodgins, Hannah McCann, Florence Armitage, Clara Monkton, Mabel Hodgins.

Fifth row: Lloyd Fraser, Malcolm Hodgins, Bob Flynn, Ernie Neil, Art Dobbs, Alex Hodgins, Wesley Neil.


When ‘Sablewrackers’ Battled ‘Drylanders’: Closing of Biddulph School Brings Flood of Memories

By Lina E. Abbott

Article published in the Exeter Times Advocate (c1963)

S.S. No. 2, Biddulph, was one of the Biddulph schools which closed its doors this year with the opening of the new Central School.

The now deserted brick school, which replaced a log school, is situated on the Atkinson sideroad, half way between concession 3 and 4 Biddulph, about 4 miles north of Lucan.

East of the school, ran the Ausauble River, which proved a big asset to the children, living on Concession 4, for it enabled the older pupils to skate part way to school, during the winter, drawing their smaller brothers and sisters behind them, either on a sled or by their coat-tails, and in summer many a cooling dip was enjoyed, on the way home from school.

Children living east of the school were nicknamed ‘Sablewrackers’ and those west, ‘Dry-Landers’. Many a combat took place between the two rival groups.

Back in the nineties (1890s), the school was surrounded by woods, on three sides, which afforded endless amusement for the children, who were not confined to the schoolyard. A number of swings hung from the tall nearby trees. In summer the girls gathered arm-loads of spring flowers and in the autumn make houses of leaves.

In winter, lunches were devoured, in record time, and old and young ran to the river for a skate or slide. The ringing of the school bell, warned all of the time to return for the afternoon studies.

Races, tag, baseball, football, prisoners’ base, had their place on the school ground. Another favourite game was throwing a ball over the school porch. If anyone caught it, his team chased the opposing team around the school. Anyone tagged became a member of that team. The game was to get everyone on one side but the school bell invariably prevented this.

Rows of partitioned shelves inside the porch held the lunch pails, and boxes. Often the teacher had to play detective to try and discover the culprit, when sandwiches, cookies and apples mysteriously disappeared.

A large wood stove parboiled the children sitting near it and helped to keep, those at a distance, from freezing. The long line of stove pipes from the stove to the chimney periodically – probably with some big boys’ assistance – collapsed, and to the joy of all the pupils a part holiday was declared until the trustees could make the necessary repairs.

What became of the pupils of 1895, shown in the accompanying photograph? The majority of the boys became well-to-do Biddulph farmers and the girls became farmer’s wives. A number of the pupils chose the teaching profession and one boy became a dentist. The bright lights of Toronto lured a few, many heard the call of the West and a few decided to live and die in the United States.

What the fate of the old school will be, only time can tell.