I’ve known from an early age that I had strong English roots on my mother’s side. Her mother’s father was from Kent, England and her mother’s grandmother was an orphan that came from England as a British Home Child. And up until 2 years ago, I assumed that Mason, my mother’s father’s name, was English too. I’ve always identified with my English heritage. I chose to go on a study-semester to London, England during my 3rd year in university to immerse myself in the world my ancestors walked. Although it was incredible and I could feel the energy of my forefathers amongst me, it was a weekend trip to Scotland that caught my attention. I felt connected to the people, the landscapes, the atmosphere. I was drawn to Scotland.
Turns out, the Mason’s that my family’s ancestry comes from, is from Scotland. I was a bit surprised but pleased. Perhaps this could explain the strong connection I felt when visiting there. From what I have uncovered through Ancestry.com, my 3 X great-grandfather, John Mason, came from Dunbar, Scotland. There were several John Mason’s as one can imagine so I hope that I have the correct one. The one that I have been following is listed in the 1841 Scottish census as having an address of Little Pinkerton, Dunbar, Scotland. I’ve looked it up and it seems to be a small settlement close to the East Coast of Scotland and East of Edinburgh. Records show that he married Mary Hislop in 1846 in Ancrum, Scotland and they had 4 children beginning in 1847 when John was 22. Their first son was Charles, second Walter, a girl Christina and the youngest, William born in February, 1856. It looks as though they began their trek to Canada only weeks after William was born. The family shows up on the passenger list for the ship, Ontario, that departed from Liverpool and arrived in New York on May 21, 1856. Sadly, William is indicated as having died during the journey.
John and his family settled in Perth County, Ontario in the Township of Elma. He was a farmer. Many of my ancestors were farmers. He is buried in Donegal cemetery in Perth county having lived a short life of 40 years. I wonder why his life was cut short? I have travelled through Donegal in the past completely oblivious to the fact that I am a direct descendant of someone who used to breathe the air there. I have got to get there to do some research and just be present. I’d also like to be able to get further back into the lifeline of John Mason from Dunbar, Scotland because the Mason name has some rich history and I have a feeling there is more to learn.