What I had before finding her obituary was not extensive and primarily came from the Manitoba marriage registration document for her marriage to John Alvin McMullen:
- She is born in Aryshire, Scotland about 1896
- Her father is John Ewart
- Her mother is Margaret Kelly
|Manitoba Vital Statistics, Marriages, 1914-130051, John Alvin McMullen-Mary Ewart; Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, Winnipeg.|
On Ancestry, as a hint, I came across the tree of another person also researching Jack McMullen and Mary Ewart. Even better, that tree had a specific date for the birth and death of Mary. Now the hint was a bit confusing since it had Mary's son, William John (1919-1961), listed under three spouses with two of the spouses being Jack McMullen. Yet I've seen this before when trees or people are combined so it wasn't too much of a concern especially since I am not merging this tree with my own on Ancestry.
|Ancestry Family Tree hint for Mary Ewart, retrieved 18 Oct 2018|
A check of the "Microform Holdings: Geographical List" at Library and Archives Canada for Saskatchewan seems to indicate that LAC had a microfilm copy of the Prince Albert Daily Herald for the year I was interested in so I was in luck.
|Screen capture from Library and Archives Canada web site search for Prince Albert Daily Herald Newspaper, retrieved 18 Oct 2018|
|"Deaths - Henry," (Prince Albert) Prince Albert Daily Herald, 27 Sep 1984, p. 13, col. 5.|
Even though Mary isn't blood she did marry into my extended McMullen family and I like to make sure that the details I do have recorded are as accurate as possible. So off I went to ScotlandsPeople to see if I could find Mary's birth registration. It should be a straight forward process since I've found that the civil records held in Scotland have been easy to search.
Only one problem. There was no Mary Ewart born in 1896 in the County of Ayr. There was one born in 1890 and another born in 1899. But none in 1896 or a year or two on either side of that date. I even tried using the possible variations that ScotlandsPeople can use for searching names but still nothing really matched. I opened up the possible matches by searching in Irvine for the period between 1895 and 1897 for females with the forename of Mary. A total of 96 names were displayed in the index but no Ewart or Kelly or variations got my attention.
Another tree on Ancestry had Mary Ewart listed with her being born in Dundonald, Ayrshire about 1896. Just how many females with the forename of Mary were born between 1895 and 1897 in the Dundonald registration district? Only seven popped up and there was a Mary Gray Kelly born in 1896.
Before getting too excited and paying the credits to see the record I wanted to check to see just how far Dundonald is from Irvine. A quick check with Google Maps showed that those two places were only about 4.6 miles apart. So it was very possible that this is the Mary I am looking for.
|Google Maps walking route between Irvine, UK and Dundonald, UK, retrieved 18 Oct 2018|
After paying my 6 credits to view the image it really does seem that this is the Mary I am looking for. Her birth date matches that from the obituary, the 12th of January, 1896. What it more interesting is that Mary is listed as illegitimate and her mother, Maggie Kelly, is a farm servant, and no father is recorded.
So how did John Ewart come into the picture?
Another search of ScotlandsPeople, this time for marriages between 1890 and 1899 for John Ewart and a spouse with the last name of Kelly, returns only one entry. That of John Ewart, son of John and Margaret (Brown), a ploughman, and Maggie Kelly, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Gray), a domestic servant, married on 2 Jun 1899 in Dundonald.
So with three hours of research and writing I was able to solve one mystery and get a blog entry done. Not a bad morning. Of course, I still have to go through the rest of the results from my Library and Archives Canada visit.
So don't completely discount those trees on Ancestry. There may be interesting errors and goofs but often there are clues to be found and followed up on.