Tag Archives: Beaton

In Search of Willie Beaton

Beaton Family
Beaton Family (Willie; small boy)

Today I  continue with what I call the “Beaton/Batten” Mystery. So as I told you; when I was in Victoria, British Columbia I had a chance to go to several of the local archives. On Friday before going to the B.C. Archives I made my way a few kilometres from our motel and found the  (CFB) Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum and Archives. The Archives is small and is run by Joseph, who was very helpful.

So as a back story; William (Willie) Beaton had a son; William Theodore Beaton Jr. who also had a son; Leonard K. Beaton.  William Beaton Jr. got divorced from his Leonard’s mom; Eleanor. Eleanor and Leonard, I was told,  left Alberta and went to British Columbia; Victoria to be exact. I was told that Leonard was a Dr. for the Navy.

Joseph quickly looked up Leonard’s name and wasn’t able to find him. So now we knew that Leonard wasn’t a Dr. Often family stories are just that…. stories. But I usually find that always have a grain of truth. I was sure Leonard was in the Navy, but Joseph said that if he didn’t have a rank then he wouldn’t be in the records. I’d been able to find Leonard in the Electoral Roll in 1962 living with his mom. I was trying to figure out if he ever got married and had any children.  Finally Joseph said he had a book that I should check. It was called; Operation Sick Bay and it was written by Lieut. Commander S.T. Richards. Sure enough; Leonard was in there.. So he was in the Navy, but he wasn’t a Dr. he was a Medical Assistant. Joseph showed me the building where he would have worked.

Joseph suggested that my next stop should be the Esquimalt Archives.  Located a short taxi ride away it was situated just below the MacDonald’s.  The curator; Greg was very helpful as well. I told him that the last known address for Leonard and his mom; Eleanor was 883 Admirals. He was able to provide me with some details on the house they lived in.

He suggested that my next stop should be the Victoria Genealogical Society.  So off I went in my Yellow Taxi. After paying my $5.00 to use the library I started looking at the Victoria City Directories.. They didn’t have a complete set but I was able to figure out that Leonard’s middle initial stood for Kenneth. (funny I’d dreamed that the night before).

Then it was off to the B.C. Archives across from the beautiful Empress Hotel.  Besides being able to listen to my uncle’s audio recording that I spoke about before.. I was able to look at all of the Victoria City Directories as the B. C. Archives had a complete set.  In 1968 I found out that Leonard had married Ann. That was all I found.. in just one of the directories .. but it ended up being such powerful information.

Armed with the new information I made a list of all the Ann Beaton’s and Leonard or L. Beaton’s on Vancouver Island and in Vancouver. On Saturday in the late afternoon; I made my first cold call to Ann Beaton. It went like this;

Hi my name is Ellen and I’m looking for Ann Beaton who was married to Leonard Beaton. Are you she?  I could no believe my luck when she said she was. I then said; is Leonard Beaton still alive and she replied; “Shouldn’t he be”…  I was dumb struck… I was so tongue-tied I didn’t know what to say. After I told her what I was trying to do she explained that Leonard had some memory issues and I explained that I understood. I asked a few more questions and then decided that I would call back the next day with a list and I hoped a bit of composure.

I ended up calling on the Monday evening when we were in Valemount, British Colombia on the way home. Armed with my list I asked the questions that I’d thought of.. Now was the time for the big explanation and the big question.

Leonard is the last of the Beaton line and I wondered if he would do a DNA kit for me. I had broached the subject during the last conversation and it didn’t seem hopeful. So I went on to say again that he was the last of the line and that I was trying to solve the mystery of his grandfather’s parents and who they really were. I told her that I would pay for the kit and all the postage and paperwork that would be required. I explained that it was only for genealogical purposes and the information would be for my use.  Lets be honest…. I begged.. and then I waited for the answer. The answer was no.

We spoke a bit more and I asked for her address; which she gave to me and I gave her my information and told her that her two daughters were welcome to call me and I would provide any information that they’d like.

I have to tell you that I sobbed that evening. It seemed silly that someone who I didn’t even think was alive a few days before had suddenly become so important. But there I was sobbing in the hotel swimming pool.

Later in the evening I got myself a glass of wine and thought of how I would try to win the family over and get Leonard to do a DNA kit.  After all he’d been estranged from the family for 65 years so why should he care about these people? So I have to talk to Ann and her family and tell them stories and show them photos.. and maybe just maybe …


DNA Gedcom

Biotechnology dna science

By now you have come to realize I’m a DNA junky and I may have to start a group. Oh wait a minute, I did… well a friend of mine and I did, for our genealogy society. We are not experts and we tell everyone that, but we are very interested in the topic and so we want to help everyone else that has the same interest, so that way we can all learn it together.

So to continue with the hunt to figure out the Beaton/Batten mystery the next step is to go to DNAgedcom.com. I learned about it from a blog post on Sue Griffith’s blog called Genealogy Junkie.  Take a look around her blog; there is a lot of info.

Once you’ve set up your account  on DNAgedcom.com you’re ready to go. You can do this several way; you can upload an Ancestry file, 23andMe file, Family Tree DNA file or a gedmatch file. I have my DNA kits (I’m the keeper of both my parents DNA and a few other family members) on Family Tree DNA but I also have my personal DNA and my husband’s on Ancestry.  I decided to opt for the gedmatch upload and I choose my mom’s kit as she is a part of the Beaton/Batten mystery.

If you choose the same path that I did, then I can tell you that on the gedmatch upload page (beta) there is a link to an instruction booklet that is written very well and was easy to follow along with.

Once you’ve completed all the steps you can download a report that looks like this.


Mom's matchesSorry my screen shot is a bit blurry.. But you get the idea.. or perhaps you will once I show you chromosome 22.

mom's matches chrom 22Here you can see that I have a couple of overlaps on this portion of the chromosome.  If your hover your mouse over the coloured segment it tells you all the people who match on that segment. Now you have a list of people who you can contact. On the green line there is my cousin Rick, my mom’s second cousin; Margaret and another person (whom I’ve contacted before). On the Brown line its the same three people. But on the purple segment there are seven people who I can contact.

Maybe I won’t find the answer to my Beaton/Batten mystery…but I’ll keep looking and convincing other people to do their DNA and work with the tools we have available and maybe someday the mystery won’t be a mystery any longer.









As I told you yesterday; this hound is on the hunt for DNA.  So a few years back, after getting my results from Family Tree DNA  I decided to put my information on Gedmatch. Gedmatch is a third-party site where you can upload your raw data from Family Tree DNA, Ancestry or 23andMe. Each of the sites provides information as to how you can download from their site.

Once you have the raw data it’s relatively easy to upload to Gedmatch. There is a waiting period after uploading the raw data before you can run the “one to many” report but in the meantime there are still quite a few reports you can run.  Like the “one to one” and even a few fun reports.. well at least I think they are fun.. “are your parents related” and “eye colour predictor”.

I also need to tell you that Gedmatch is a free site but there is a lot of work involved in making something like this work so donations are accepted. Also, if your going to do what I want to do with my information; namely transfer that info over to DNA Gedcom, then you have to donate to become Tier One.  But I’d still do it just because it helps me and I couldn’t possibly do something like this without making my brain hurt a lot.

So  the waiting period for your data to be tonkenized is a few days but once completed you can now run the “one to many” report which matches you to others who match your DNA. If your from Family Tree DNA your kit number now has an “f” at the beginning and if your from Ancestry you have an “a” and if your from 23andMe the you have a “m”. Of course it’s only those people who’ve taken the time to upload their raw data,  but hopefully your cousins are as enthusiastic as you are about DNA.


While The Cat’s Away This Hound Will Play


For the next couple of days;  my husband has gone on a fishing trip with my brother’s and my father. So while they are hoping to catch fish I’m hoping that I’ll bag a brick wall.  I’m going to do that by going through all my bits and pieces of Beaton papers and I’m going to work on my DNA kits till all hours of the day and night.

Over the past few years I’ve had various people related to the Beaton family do a DNA kit.  Before my mom pasted away, she did a kit, I’ve done one on myself, my cousin Rick, my two uncle’s; Ken and Dick , Margaret who is a descendant of my great-grandfather; William (Willie) Beaton’s sister;  Annie and Mary who is a descendant of the Beaton family.

If you’ve heard the Beaton/Batten story then you can leave for a moment and grab a beverage.  But for those of you who don’t know the story then you need to know that my great-grandfather; William Beaton was adopted by his father  but the lady who raised him wasn’t his mother. Or so the family story goes. Another version from one of my aunt’s is that Willie’s mom abandoned him and then his father abandoned him as well. So I’m not sure if the family, I found Willie in, in the 1881 census,  really is his family. I’ve  spent many hours and four weeks in Kingston trying to find orphan records or something that would explain the story.

Willie’s sister; Annie was adopted by the Batten family. She lived with that family just down the way from the Beaton’s.  I know, similar name…. but I can’t find a connection between the two families other than they adopted my family.

So are they orphans, are they home children…. who’s children are they?

Ok for those of you who left to get a drink, we continue.

So I tested Mary; who is a descendant of the Beaton family (that Willie was raised by)  and she wasn’t a match to my mom as a second cousin. I know that doesn’t prove without a doubt that we aren’t from the family but I haven’t been able to get another descendant to test yet.

I tested Margaret; a descendant of Annie Batten and she was a second cousin match to my mom.

I’ve put all these kits onto Gedmatch which is a third-party site that provides additional reports on your DNA.  This is great, because you can see anyone who’s loaded their kits from Family Tree DNA, Ancestry and 23andMe. I’ve paid a donation, so I’m a 1st Tier member. 1st Tier gives you additional reports.

Now for the fun… I found a new site called DNA Gedcom and I’m loading my info so I can see what I can triangulate. Triangulation is described by the ISOGG as,  the technique used in autosomal DNA testing to compare matching DNA segments to determine which ancestor donated which particular segment.

So I’m doing that today and I hope I will have something major to tell you about in the next few days.. crossing fingers.


Queries – Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Question Mark Puzzle Shows Asking Questions And Inquiring


Queries can be a useful tool for doing family history. They can be posted on genealogy society webpages or to genealogy boards.

When creating your query be sure to give it a title that tells the reader at a glance what you’re looking for. If you post something like;  “Family History” most people will just scroll by it. But if you post; “William BEATON, Pittsburgh Township, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario” then if they have a connection to that name at least they will stop and read. After all, isn’t that why you’re creating the post? To have someone look”.

Many years ago I posted on the Edmonton Branch of the Alberta Genealogy Societies query page; I wrote that at the time of my great-aunt;  Jesse Lett’s death that she was survived by the following people etc. This led to my meeting my second cousin (on-line) about a month later. She wasn’t even aware that she had any other family on that side of the family.

Also be sure to stop and search those old queries.. perhaps someone is searching for your family.




(The first photo I took)                                                   (The second, read below you’ll understand)

Very early in doing  family history I heard the word;  serendipity. Wikipedia tells us that serendipity  means a “fortunate happen stance” or “pleasant surprise”.

It’s the time that I was going to visit my parents at their cottage but had this uncontrollable urge that I had to look at a website I’d heard about for Lancashire. So I checked just as I was about to leave only to find a  third  cousin who had posted the family names she was searching for.

Or the time just last year when I was doing research in Kingston, Ontario. I’d been to the Cataraqui Cemetery before and was looking for the same plot for the Batten family.  I went to one location and had this extreme feeling that the family had to be there I could feel it. I search and search but couldn’t find them. So I decided I would go to the cemetery office and ask for a map. When I went in the lady said there were two plots for the Batten’s. One had several graves and the other had only one  for George Batten . I told her that I was looking for the one with several but could she mark the one with only one grave on the map as well, as George Batten was the father to the other in the other plot and I’d not know that it existed. She told me that there was no marker but I could find the spot by finding the Huston marker. I told her I knew exactly where it was as I’d been looking there earlier and had in fact taken a photo for some reason (the first). As it turned out the plot I had been looking for was quite a distance away from where I’d been looking.  But I’d found George by listening to my feelings. (the second)

I don’t know if I call it serendipity  or rather that sometimes your ancestors just need to be found and sometimes they have to give you a nudge in the right direction.

Where did I put that?

Organize Definition Magnifier Showing Managing Or Arranging Into Structure

When your start doing family history it’s also a good idea to try, and try is the optimum word, to stay organized.. I know at one point when I was starting out I became overwhelmed with the amount of information and papers that I was finding at lightening speed.  Oh for those days now.. lol   The tough thing about staying organized is that you don’t know what you don’t know. So how can you possibly stay organized if you don’t know the best approach.

Although I’m all about technology and most of my family history information is on my computer there are always papers that you end up with that need to be filed. Like birth certificates you might have purchased. Once you scan them, digitally file them, post them to your genealogy program and transcribe them you then need to put them somewhere. I also keep all my family mementos in the binder as well.


I started with one binder and then as it great to an unmanageable size I split it into two; one for my mom’s side and the other my dad’s.  Each binder has tabs in it with marriage unions on the tab. So for instance; Middlebrough/Beaton, for my grandpa Middlebrough and Beaton for my grandmother’s maiden name. Then the next is Middlebrough/Aindow,  for my grandfather’s parents  and so it goes. It’s probably not the best system and you may be able to find better ones by doing a Google search on organizing your family tree; but so far it’s worked for me.  I’m a member of the Organized Genealogist Facebook page and they often have wonderful ideas for doing just that; organizing.


Whatever your organizational plan is, be sure to stick with it and refine it as you go along. Believe me you don’t want to let those papers get out of control. I remember when I first started doing genealogy someone told me that you could tell you were a genealogist by the stacks of paper on the floor and sometimes it’s true but you don’t want people to think you are a future participant in one of those hoarder television shows.

Don’t Let My Tree Fool You

largemouth-bass-jumping-with-dragonfly_zklgzDUO (1)

There are probably people who would look at my tree and say…. that’s wrong, they don’t match the people I have… and you would  probably be right and I’m not even going to say that my tree is the correct one. There are times that I enter information that was correct at the time and still may be correct but I haven’t been able to prove it one way or another.

Like my Beaton family tree. When I originally entered it,  it was what my true belief  was at the time. Or my genealogy tree vs my genetic tree.  You see the family story was always that my great-grandfather; William Beaton was adopted by his father but the lady that raised him was not his mother. So I’ve worked a lot on my Beaton family tree and I feel like I know them all, well,  kinda like family. Heck I’ve been to Kingston, Ontario on many occasions and spent three weeks last summer trying to figure out the family dynamics.

Then last summer I convinced one of the Beaton descendants to do an autosomal DNA kit and found that she and my mom were not a match and they should have been second cousins.  I do know that doesn’t mean I’m not a Beaton  descendant but I know it means that someone isn’t. So until I can have another descendant take a DNA test I’ll have to wait.

So what do you do? Do you take down your tree? Or do you leave it, sort of like bait on your fish-hook hoping for a bite to see if you can figure out the mystery?  I’m going for the bait. That’s why I never look at other people trees and use the information in my tree.  I always like to prove things for myself. Not that I’m saying they are bad researchers but perhaps they too are just throwing out that bit of bait  to see who bites.