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Update on John Cutler biography

I was googling topics related to members of my family tree when I came upon a website for the Ordnance at the Tower of London. I am unsure as to why I hadn’t stumbled upon this site before, but that is the nature of research. Serendipity is an important component.
The website [] deals with the Ordnance office’s role, and includes a lot of historical content. A goldmine really. The best part was a list of the clerks of the Ordnance from 1815-1855. And of course, there listed was John Cutler, who worked there according to the site, from 1815 to 1826. So the question of when he left is answered.
Also interesting to note from this source is the presence of addresses for the clerks. Now some clerks lived in the Tower of London, and their entries indicate what number house they were assigned. Others, like John, lived offsite. John’s address is not listed, but I know he lived in Kennington/Camberwell. Surprisingly a number of his co-workers also lived in that area. Looking at a map of London, the Tower is a fair distance away from Camberwell, and though there appears to be a main road leading to the bridge, Camberwell does not look to be all that convenient. So why did a number of the clerks live there?

More research is definitely required.

Call for Presentation Proposals – BIFHSGO Conference 2016


BIFHSGO’s 22nd Annual Family History Conference is tentatively scheduled for September 9 – 11, 2016, to be held at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa. Possible alternate dates of September 30 – October 2 will be confirmed by January 4, 2016.

The Conference committee is seeking presentation proposals for the conference which will focus on two main topics:

• Ireland — family history

• DNA in genealogy

Proposals on other topics relevant to British family history are also welcome. For more information about submitting proposals, please read the submission details. Deadline is January 31, 2016.

100 Years ago – Married, Taunton, England

Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser, 18 June 1913, page 8

100 years ago – Taunton – Married

On Monday last at St Mary Magdalen, Mrs Jane Mattock, Widow, aged 74 to Mr Moses Where, sawyer, aged 75, both of this town.  This grotesque couple have created an unconscionable share of attention.  It appears that about 20 years since, the amiable Mrs Mattock was left a widow in the bloom and loveliness of 54.  In this susceptible state chance introduced her to the notice of the “gay deceiver” Mr Moses Where, who impelled by the heedless impulses of 55, exerted his sentimental eloquence with such force and success that the languishing fair one became inspired with all the enthusiasm of an Heloise and exclaimed:-

“Not Caesar’s Empress would I deign to prove,

No-make me mistress to the man I love.”

Twenty years however, having now elapsed since this enamoured pair began to act upon their unhallowed feelings, and the “hey-dey” of the blood” as Shakespeare terms it, being (we presume) over, Mr Moses Where began to feel some twitches of conscience for his unsanctified intercourse with the imprudent widow, and determined, therefore to make her an “honest woman” by marrying her. On Monday morning, accordingly the happy couple proceeded to the Church, attended by an immense multitude of spectators.  The bride and bridegroom were seated in a donkey cart, and escorted by divers persons decorated with ribbons and bearing wands surmounted with feudal wreaths. Mrs Where looked “charming” and her “happy man” bowed and smiled very graciously and significantly to the applauding assembly.

On their return from the church a band of music and waving flags preceded the carriage which moved slowly through the town amidst a merry and uproarious concourse, amounting to nearly 2000 persons.

Several of the inhabitants contributed their wedding presents, and a grand dinner was provided at the Three Tuns Inn on the occasion.  This evening (Wednesday) they will honour the Theatre with their presence, at which they will occupy the principal box.  Where and how the honeymoon is to be spent we are not yet accurately informed.  Bath and London have, of course been mentioned, but this is more rumour, and we do not choose to risk our credit by unfounded speculations on a matter of such consequence.

  • Taunton Courier, June 10th, 1813.

Mystery Photographs – Solving the question of who these images could be using High School Biology – 2015

There are two framed oval photographs hanging in my bedroom.  Each contains the image of a lady, well dressed, big hair and rather unhappy looking, framed in ornamented Victorian gold and plaster, and coloured. By their dress and hair styles I can date the pictures from the 1880s-90s. I inherited these pictures from my father after his death.  Growing up they hung on our living room wall.  When asked,Dad would say that they were Corley ladies, but he was never sure who.  They were joined on the wall with the framed oil painting of a red-headed man, who Dad identified as a Corley man.

I finally decided to look at the back of the images, behind the paper.  The painting was not a Corley, but in fact my great-great Grandfather, John Patrick Cuddy.  His name was written on the back of the canvas backing board.  The peeling back of the paper on the photos however was not as informative.  There was nothing to indicate who the two ladies were.

So how does one go about finding the identity of the sitters?  Since Dad’s naming of the other image was off, it is entirely possible that he was wrong for these ladies too.  But I can narrow it down to his side of the family, since he inherited them from his parents.    But then what.

I looked carefully at the ladies to see if there were any traits or characteristics that could tie them specifically to one part of Dad’s tree. By this I mean, distinctive nose, shape of their heads, hair colour, build….  Unfortunately, both sides of Dad’s family really have similar characteristics, so there is nothing in their faces that scream maternal or paternal line.  So I had to do some creative thinking.  This is when I got the idea of eye colour. Both ladies had brown eyes.

Of course this does not necessarily seem unusual, but in my family brown eyes are unusual.  I come from a long line of blue eyed people (well blue and hazel).  From my high school biology course I knew that to have blue eyes, a person had to have two blue recessive genes, and Brown was a dominant trait.  So there was a way to trace where the Brown eyes come into play, and then isolate where the person was on the family line.  I have since found out that this is a bit more complicated.  Blue eyes can be two blue recessive genes (b) or a blue and a light recessive gene (g).  Hazel eyes come from the green recessive gene (G) which when combined with a light recessive gene (g).  A blue (b) and a green (G) will also give you blue eyes.

So this is the basic premise.  I then went and charted my eye colour and worked back.  This could be tricky because after a while since I didn’t have passports or military records for all to determine their eye colour.  Sometimes I went by photographs, which before about 1960 were black and white, so this was a bit of a hope/guess thing. If their eyes were light, I assumed they were blue.

Since my mother had hazel eyes and dad had blue eyes I can assume that my brother and I, who both have blue eyes are either bG or bg.  Dad had blue eyes, and both his parents had blue eyes so he was bb. His mother had blue eyes, and her parents both had blue eyes.  The Corleys are therefore eliminated.  The ladies cannot be Corleys.  So now I turn to the Leitches.  My grandfather Leitch had blue eyes – so I am assuming bb, but his brother and sister both had brown eyes (for them Bb).  His mother had brown eyes (Bb) and his father had blue eyes (and his father had blue/light coloured eyes – bb). So great-grandmother Leitch was the source of the brown eyes.  Her maiden name was Cashion.  These ladies are Cashions.  So then it is a matter of placing them on Mary Jane Cashion Leitch’s tree.  By the age of one, it is likely her mother Jane Burton, and the other is a sister, so either Margaret or Rachael.

And there you have it.

Cutting back on local television – Content vs the Bottom Line, Nov 2015

tv It was announced Wednesday that Ottawa’s local CTV station (CJOH) was firing some of its on-air talent in a bid to boost profits.  Gone are long-time newscaster Carol Anne Meehan and sports reporter Carolyn Waldo, and CTV Morning Live’s Lois Lee.  I won’t comment on the fact that most of the on-air talent cut was female, leaving a remarkably white middle-aged male look to the evening newscast.  That is evident.  But these cuts, made not only to Ottawa’s local station, are signs of something deeper in Canadian broadcasting – that is the loss of local content.


Bell has over the last several years drastically reduced its capacity to report and represent the local and regional voice with cuts at its local stations.  The bottom line is often quoted as the reason, and the changing nature of viewing content with the new types of social media, the justification.  In this instance Bell is saying this will increase their profits, not address any problems in debt. They don’t need to cut, they want to cut. This type of cutting however fails to address the real problem that the CTV and the CBC have, and that is content.  There is some type of vision involved here that believes that by centralizing their operations, reducing their presence in the regions that they are somehow able to provide a better product at a cheaper price, when they are in fact just making a cheaper product.


Content doesn’t just magically appear, and in the main requires long-term investment.  The presence of a diverse and interested company in the regions allows for the creation of diverse and interesting content for their various media portals – television and web.  And just because material is regional in nature does not preclude the fact that it will appeal to a wider audience.


Canada is a very large country, and has many distinct regions. There was a time when there were more local television stations, which produced a fair number of television programs for their specific market, as well as airing nationally produced network shows, and the usual selection of American programming. Now of course the only local programming appears to be the news, and for some of the markets there are no local stations at all. With such drastic cuts to the on-air talent at stations like CJOH, it makes you wonder at their ability to cover a fairly large viewing area with only a handful of reporters. How will the local voice be heard?

It all comes back to the question of content. This brave new world of internet, streaming, satellite, etc has given the viewing audience a plethora of options. They turn from the traditional television broadcasts in search of content – to see something different, something that they can relate to. This comes at a time when the traditional broadcasters are cutting back on their productions. And while I understand that networks cannot be all things to all people, it does not mean that they should abandon their ability to provide much needed content. Short term profit gains made by these cuts for Bell Media are just that short term. In the long term they are cutting away at their ability to make continued profits, and adapt to the changing market.



Call for Presentations – OGS Conference 2017

Call for Presentations – OGS Conference 2017


The annual Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2017 will be held in Ottawa on June 16-18, 2017 at Algonquin College. The theme of the conference is Our Canada – Your Family: Building a Nation. As 2017 will be the 150th anniversary of the birth of Canada, Ottawa Branch OGS will host the annual OGS conference and give the Conference a national flair, bringing together genealogists and family historians from all over Canada. We are looking for speakers and talks of interest to genealogists from all provinces.

In keeping with this theme, we invite proposals for presentations on: family history from every region and territory of Canada (e.g. Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and British Columbia); migration to and from Canada and also within Canada and how this helped to not only build our families, but also Canada; pre- and post-1867 research in Upper Canada; religious associations; military connections; the latest updates on computer, social media and genealogy database technology; the ever growing use of DNA testing for genealogy; and skill-building for family historians (e.g. use of the genealogy proof standard, getting more out of online resources).  Speakers from other related disciplines are welcome! Statisticians, demographers, archaeologists, researchers, archivists, librarians, geographers, cartographers, scientists, theologians, doctors, PhD candidates, software gurus, internet intellectuals, social media mavens, and historians of all kinds have information of interest to family historians and we would like to hear from you!

Most sessions will be one hour long. Sessions may be streamed in or out of the Conference venue. Topics for interactive, hands-on workshops are also welcome (typically half-day sessions). Speakers will receive an honorarium, plus appropriate expenses and complimentary Conference registration. In early 2017, speakers will submit content for inclusion in a syllabus.

Please submit your proposals by e-mail. Include your full name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, website address (if applicable) and biographical information including recent speaking credits. For each proposal, please provide a unique title, a summary of your presentation (250 words maximum), the intended audience (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and your A/V requirements. Multiple proposals are encouraged.




To submit proposals or ask questions, please contact the Conference 2017 Program Committee at: For more information about OGS or Ottawa Branch respectively, please visit: or


Grand Annual Gathering of the Caledonian Society, Montreal, 1857

Montreal Gazette, 6 September 1857, page 3

The Grand Annual Gathering of the Caledonian Society came off with great success yesterday. The ground of Guilbault’s Gardens at as early hour became crowded. Over 4000 tickets were taken at the gate.  We have never seen anything go off with so much spirit or create more real amusement in this city.  We were glad to meet a number of Glengarry men, who had come down, and with them their member of Parliament, the Hon JS MacDonald, who, we were pleased to notice looked well and seemed to enjoy himself exceedingly.  The day was fine, and this added much to the pleasure. The various games were contested with much animation, and much generous rivalry was displayed. The following is the prize list.  The Glengarry men took all before them in throwing Weights and Quoits:-

1st prize, H Brown –

Throwing Heavy Hammer, 21 lb – Christopher McRae (Finlay Glengarry) 86 feet, Alex McPherson (Neil Glengarry), 2nd 66 feet.

Light Hammer, 14 lb – 9 entries.  Alexander McPherson 91 feet, Macrae 2nd 85 feet.

Vaulting – height 7 feet 2 inches – Mr Armstrong, 7 competitors

Short race – 11 entries.  Won by an Indian of Caughnawaga, hard pushed by an Artillery man.

Tossing the Caber – Mr Alexander, 27 feet

Running High Leap – 11 entries.  1st Patrick Gethings; 4 feet 11 inches.  This game was hard contended by Mr Bell.

Standing High Leap – James McCabe, 3 feet 11 inches, 8 entries.

Putting heavy stone – 21 lb – 1st Macrae  29 feet 11 inches being 2 feet less than thrown in Scotland. But Macrae is in ill-health.  Mr Macdonald will back him against all Scotland.

Putting light stone – 16 lbs, McPherson, 30 feet, Macrae 2nd 34 feet. [as written?]

Running long leap – T Brown 17 ½ feet; Dechamp 2nd 16 feet 9 inch.

Standing leap – Lariviere 10 feet

Standing hop and leap – T Brown 27 feet 1 inch.

Sack Race – caused much fun, and was cleverly won by Mr Bell.

Barrow race – was of all the games the most amusing, Mr Carson taking the lead and holding it by a few feet.

We offer to the victors our heartiest congratulations for the honours they have won; and we are very happy to see these manly games practised among us.  No nation can too highly prize the physical strength of its sons. It is a guarantee against national decay; and these games have given good proof that those who took part in them have manifested no sign of degeneracy.

Let us add the Committee deserve much credit for their excellent arrangements, which did much to make this whole proceedings go off so pleasantly; and we believe the Glengarry men feel thankful to the GTR Company for their courtesy.

Dictionary of Family Biography – Patrick Corley

Biography – Patrick Corley

Patrick Corley (1815 – 26 November 1875) was the son of Michael Corley of Swinford, Ireland.  His father was the owner of the Corley Hotel, was situated on the town’s main street, Market Street.  The hotel also included a pub which had a Sunday license, which permitted it to open after Sunday services.  The Corleys appear to have been relatively prosperous.

Patrick married Mary Groarke on the 31st of January 1845, in Swinford (Kilconduff Parish).  They had twelve children: Anne (1846-1866), Bridget (1850), Mary (1852), Catherine (1854), Timothy (1856), Anthony (1858), Thomas (1859), Mary (1861), Patrick (1862), Patrick Joseph (18650, John (1866) and Michael John.

Apart from this information about his life, little is know about his life.  When Patrick died in 1875, his business was left to his son Timothy.  The family then went through a commemorative phase erecting monuments to Patrick’s life.  His granite grave marker towers above all the others in Kilconduff cemetery, perched on the roof of the Brabazon crypt.  The high altar at Swinford Church was installed in his honour as well.


Kilconduff Parish Registers

Swinford Parish Church

Kilconduff Cemetery, Swinford

24 Sussex Dr – an opportunity?

When it was announced that Justin Trudeau would not be moving into 24 Sussex in order to facilitate a desperately needed renovation to the home, a lot of discussion about the Prime Minister’s official residence ensued. And it has been fascinating. What should be done – renovate, demolish, sell?  What value has the building as a historic site?

What a marvellous opportunity this offers Canadians to discuss our built heritage! While 24 Sussex was built in 1868, it only took on national significance in 1949-50 when it became the Prime Minister’s OFFICIAL residence.  Before then the Prime Minister was responsible for his own housing.  Since 1950 the address has become synonymous with the job of Prime Minister.

The newspapers, social media and television news outlets have discussed the issue of planned renovations to the house, bringing diverse voices into the conversation from Maureen McTeer (who thinks it should be torn down) to Mike Holmes (who would like to be a part of the renovation). Because of the high price tag, estimated in 2006 at $10 million, there is a lot of talk about the value of such a plan.  There is also a lot of talk about the bravery of the new Prime Minister in taking on such a project, when many of his predecessors have shied away from committing such vast sums because of the optics of such expenditure.  Of course the longer the renovations are put off the worse it gets.

I think what I find the most fascinating and the most refreshing is the talk about how the renovations could be used to the best interests of Canadians. First off is the idea that the renovations can be used as an example of Canadian talent – renovate it to be green, energy efficient, use it as a demonstration of how good Canadian craftsmanship and technology is.  After all this home is a symbol, work it to its best advantage.  Of course some are not as keen, stating that some of the technologies suggested might not be workable in a very old building.  And that may be true – but I really believe that the idea of using it as an example of the best and most ecologically viable is a great idea.

The most interesting part of the discussions on the renovations have centred on the idea that the home should be a part of a reality/home improvement program for television. I know it sounds kind of kooky, but actually many of those who have suggested it become the subject of some kind of tv-show have some interesting reasons for thinking that this would be welcome.  Bryan Baeumler was one of more interesting interviews on the matter – he pointed out that transparency was a good idea – after all to be somehow documented would allow Canadians to see where their money was going and a way to ensure that the money was well spent.  He didn’t envision his television show being the one to feature it, after all he said he could not see the Prime Minister being brought in to help tile.

And then there was that issue of investment in the heritage aspect of all of this. If Canadians can see their heritage, understand its importance, and understand the importance of its preservation – wouldn’t that be wonderful.  Why shouldn’t we have a television show about our built history?  Other countries have specials on their historic homes and buildings; some even have shows dedicated to the renovation of their heritage buildings (Restoration Home for example).  Many Canadians will not visit Ottawa to see these important historic places, and even if they did – well usually 24 Sussex has a family living in it, this is a way to be a part of the history of the country.  24 Sussex can be the beginning of a better understanding of Canadians as to what we have here, and to celebrate their built heritage.

Dictionary of Family Biography – John Cutler

Dictionary of Family Biography – John Cutler

John Cutler (27 Nov 1794 – 16 Mar 1843) was born in Sherborne, Dorset, the son of the Reverend John Cutler and his wife Sarah Elizabeth Guise. He was their fifth child, of 10, 8 sons and two daughters.  His father was headmaster of Sherborne Grammar School, and it is assumed that he received his education there.  Two of his brothers Richard and George appear in the school registers as students, but it can be assumed that the other boys also received a similar education, one of the perks of being the son of the headmaster.

By 1811 John appears on the list of clerks under the Clerk of the Ordnance – as an assistant clerk. A note in the document which lists him states that he is not paid as a clerk, being an officer in Tower Hamlets Militia, with leave.  John’s job was at the Tower of London, and the Clerk of the Ordnance was responsible for the purchasing of supplies for the military.  It is not clear whether or not this was an apprenticed position, but it seems likely.  By 1824, at the time of his marriage he was a clerk in the Ordnance Office (although not THE Clerk of the Ordnance), and was styling himself as a gentleman.

A number of records state that John Cutler was from Eton, which was somewhat confusing while researching his life. At first when it was confirmed that he was the son of the Reverend John Cutler, it was that that this was a mere affectation, connecting him to a rather posh town, where his father was born.  But save for a short spell in the early 1840s he did not actually appear to live there.  It seems though that he came to own a fair amount of property there as heir to his uncle William Henry Cutler, who himself had inherited the Windsor Waterworks from his father Roger Cutler. This inherited wealth no doubt contributed to his advancement as a ‘gentleman’, although he appears to have continued to work for the Ordnance office.  He first appears on Eton’s electoral rolls in 1831.

In 1824 he married Louisa Freak, the daughter of Thomas Freak, Esq. and Elizabeth Walters. Freak was a very successful shipbreaker in Greenwich. In it unclear as to how the couple met, as their homes and social circles seem vastly disparate.

They moved to Camberwell, south of London. The area, at the time, was considered an up and coming neighbourhood with the construction of some new town homes on the New Road.  The area otherwise seems to have been slightly rural, but connected by road and bridge to London.  The couple had five children: Elizabeth (1828-1915), Fanny (1834), Louisa (1831), William Henry (1835-1895) and Mary (1836-1921).

It is not clear why, but the marriage appears to have broken down in about 1839. John appears to have moved to Eton, but without his wife or his younger daughter Mary, and is listed there in the 1841 census.  Louisa has not been located at all for the 1841 census.

John had returned to Camberwell by 1843, where he died after a long illness in 1843. From his last will and testament it is clear that he and Louise no longer lived together, and that he was quite angry with her.  In the will he leaves his daughters Louisa and Elizabeth a fair amount of money and household goods, and his son William Henry the control of the Windsor Waterworks on the condition that they don’t live with or near their mother.  He also gives guardianship of these children to his sister Elizabeth Bennison.  To his wife he leaves the house in Notting Hill, the household goods, control of the money she inherited from her parents, and guardianship of Mary.  He leaves Mary some money, but not nearly the same as her sisters.


JC Sainty, “Ordnance Clerk 1544-1855: A Provisional List Compiled by JC Sainty, May 2002”

Reports from Commissioners, Session 1 November – 24 July 1810-1811, Vol IV.

Hampshire Advertiser, 25 March 1843

Salisbury and Winchester Journal, 25 March 1843

London Standard, 17 March 1843 & 8 Feb 1837.

UK Census 1841

UK Poll Books & Registers, 1831

The Gentleman’s Magazine & Historical Chronicle from Jan to June 1825, Vol xcv

Royal Kalendar & Court and City Register for England, Scotland, Ireland and the Colonies – the Present Peerage of the UK London, William Stockdale, Picadilly, 1825

Norwood Cemetery Transcript of Burials, 1843.

Dorset England Baptisms

Faculty Office Marriage Licence Allegations, 1701-1850

Will of John Cutler of Eton, Buckinghamshire, Prerogative Court of Canterbury & related Probate Jurisdictions, British National Archives, I/13/03057953D

Lease of workshop, orchard and buildings in Eton by John Cutler (Kennington) Property left to Cutler by his uncle William Henry Cutler (Eton) died 1829 – dated 1831.

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