My grandmother is from Millidgeville, a small neighbourhood on the north edge of Saint John, New Brunswick that took its name from a prominent shipbuilder. She grew up in the 1930s and ’40s at a time when fewer than 100 families lived in the community year round.
Her father was George Miles “Ted” Barr (1905-1973). He worked for T.S. Simms Ltd. in Saint John, New Brunswick for over 55 years. Starting at age 13 as a handyman, he eventually became a plant superintendent and finally an engineer with the company. Barr had a number of inventions to his name, including three patented machines.
George Barr was the son of William Alfred Barr (abt. 1884-1933) and Elizabeth “Bessie” Myrtle Neal (1885-1950).
In looking to find out more about the Barrs, I first looked to the 1921 census of Canada. It has the Barrs living in the North End of Saint John with their children: William Barr: 40, Bessie Barr: 35, Harry Barr: 17, George Barr: 16, and Mildred Barr: 4.
Reference Number: RG 31; Folder Number: 36; Census Place: Saint John (City) – Lansdowne Ward, St John and Albert, New Brunswick; Page Number: 24
His occupation is recorded as Teamster with an income of 900 dollars. The family’s religion is Baptist. This document lists him as being born in New Brunswick while both of his parents were born in England.
William Barr’s death certificate tells another story. Barr passed away on October 17th, 1933 due to infection following a hernia surgery. His eldest son, William Henry Barr, was the informant. The record notes his birthplace as Bristol, England and his father’s name as Henry Barr. No mother’s name is given.
Vital Statistics from Government Records (RS141C5)
This is more in line with my grandmother’s recollection of family history–that William A. Barr was British and was said to have come to Canada with a brother.
The 1911 census of Canada further supports his British origins and notes his arrival in Canada as having taken place in 1893 when he was quite young. This is supported by the death record that notes the length of his residence in New Brunswick as about 37 years.
I have yet to find any passenger lists or vital statistics that support the story of his arrival with his brother, or any further information related to his British parents. Rather than being dissuaded, I’m taking this as great impetus to research more. In the coming months I hope to find out more about William Barr’s journey to Canada and the family he left behind.