Monday, April 28, 2014

52 Ancestors - Thomas Jefferson Belknap

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  Each week focus on one ancestor and post something about him or her.

Me-My Mom-Ruby Alberta Belknap-Donald Belknap-Thomas Jefferson Belknap

Thomas Jefferson Belknap or T.J. Belknap as he's found in some records, is an intriguing  fellow to follow. Born in New York, U.S.A. and dying in Hazelton, British Columbia,Canada, he has records scattered  in numerous states in the U.S.A. and a couple of provinces in Canada. These are some of my finds for his last residence in northern British Columbia, Cananda. 

Thomas Belknap Death
My 2nd great grandfather's death registration is a wealth of information. Thomas was a resident of Moricetown, B.C. when he died June 17, 1942 at the Wrinch Memorial Hospital in Hazelton, British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Donald Murphy attended him from August 8, 1941 till his death. He died from arterio-sclerosis due to cerebral hemorrhage. The record states he lived in the Hazelton District for 23 years and in Canada 33 years. That would put his immigration year as 1909. But according to the 1916 and 1921 Canadian census, his immigration year is 1899. Which would be shortly after the death of his wife, Mary Elizabeth in 1898. Thomas is stated as being a widower, his wife is listed as Mary S(E) Fiddler, and a Canadian of English origin. Thomas was born in Port Linden (Port Leyden), New York on November 3, 1850. His parents were Martin H(S) Belknap and Betsy Bristle(Bristol) both born in U.S.A.. Thomas worked at his occupation of stone mason for 50 years till 1925. The informant is Thomas's daughter Mrs. W.H. VanHorn (Birdie) from Hazelton. She's probably the one providing the information about her father. That would make most of the information she gave as secondary. 

Thomas Petition for Naturalization
The naturalization records for Thomas are an interesting read. Thomas was granted naturalization on August 17, 1904, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. But he had to write to Ottawa in 1927 to obtain a copy and ended up filling out more paperwork for a new section under the Naturalization Act . His reason for requesting another copy was that his originals were destroyed by a fire at his ranch in Telkwa in May 1922. Included in his naturalization records are letters from The Old Age Pension Department, which was probably his goal for asking for the records.  The Petition for Naturalization verifies some of his information from his death registration. His birth date is stated as November 3, 1950 in Leyden, New York, U.S.A.  Thomas declares he came to Canada from Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A. and arrived at the port of Portal on the 14th day of November, 1899 by the 500 Railway. So it seems the dates match the census records. Very exciting to see my 2nd great grandfather's signature on some of the pages. Most times he signed as Thomas Jefferson Belknap and one time as T.J. Belknap.

In Skeena, British Columbia, Canada,Thomas shows up in the 1921 census. He's living with his daughter Birdie, her 3rd husband (William VanHorn) and William's three sons from a previous marriage. Thomas is listed as a 70 year old widower from the U.S.A.. He states his occupation is manager of a Sawmill owned by his son-in-law, William VanHorn. 

Thomas and his wife Mary had three children: Martin Henry Belknap, Birdie Eldora Leona Belknap and Donald Francis Belknap. Martin ended up in Los Angleles, California, Unitied States, Birdie in Washington, United States after her husband and father die, and Donald in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 
More posts about Thomas's family:

Thomas Belknap, death certificate 1942-09-609993 (1943), British Columbia Division of Vital Statistics, Surrey Public Library, Cloverdale, Surrey, British Columbia.

Thomas Jefferson Belknap, File 6869, Citzenship and Immigration Canada; Naturalization Records 1927; Access to Information and Privacy Division, Ottawa, Ontario, Cananda.
1921 Census of Canada, Telkwa, Skeena, British Columbia, population schedule, subdistrict No. 12, Township 6289, enumeration district (ED) Skeena, p. 27, dwelling 392, family 393, Thomas Jefferson Belknap; digital images, ( : accessed 28 April 2014); Library and Archives Canada. Sixth Census of Canada, 1921. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2013. Series RG31. Statistics Canada Fonds.

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