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Friday, March 6, 2009

Looking for an Ancestor who disappeared after 1911 Canada Census

Diane's Question:
I am looking for my great uncle: Miles Colson Rowe. He was born to Thomas and Jane Ann (Conn) Rowe August 14, 1887 in Prescott Ontario Canada. He married Clara McNaughton December 5, 1907. I have found Miles and Clara in the 1911 Saskatchewan Census records. In 1916 they had a daughter Grace.

I have been told that Miles moved to the states leaving Clara and Grace in Saskatchewan. I was told he moved to California but have not been able to find any record of that. I was also told he died in 1939 possibly in Pennsylvania which I have not been able to verify either.

Would you have any suggestions where I should try looking. I have looked in the US Census records on Ancestry but have not hand any success.

Ask Olive Tree Answer: Diane, It sounds like you used verified facts for your hunt for your ancestor up to 1906 and after that you're forced to try to verify family lore. That's a tough challenge because often family lore is completely in error or mixed up. Sometimes lore about one ancestor will turn out to be true for someone in another branch.

If you've searched for Miles in the census records using wildcards and various spellings of the name, and come up empty-handed it may be time to turn to another research tactic.

Have you tried to find Clara or Grace after 1906? Look for their deaths, their obituaries, anything that might reference a lost father or husband. From my own personal research I was able to find a trace of a missing great grandfather (who went missing after 1901) by following all of his children. One son was found in the Border Crossing Records Canada to USA 1895-1956 in 1911 and he stated that he was coming from his father's house in Canada! So at least I now know that his father was alive in 1911 and living somewhere in Canada.

I had a quick look around online and found this reference to your family in Knight's Cemetery, Inkerman:
G. Bernard Mulloy 1917-1979
his wife Grace Rowe 1916-1999
mother Clara MacNaughton Rowe 1887-1971
[Editor's note: obit - Clara Wilhelmina MacNaughton died 6 Feb 1971 in 83rd yr, widow of Miles "Colson" Rowe. Leaves 1 girl Grace Mulloy.George Bernard "Bud" born 27 Augt 1917 to James Thomas Mulloy & Frances Bernadette Daniels died 5 Mch 1979. Leaves wife Helen Rowe]

This little death record provides some nice clues. Miles apparently used his middle name of Colson (that is why it is quotes in the Editor's Note) so you should be looking not only for Miles Rowe but also Colson Rowe. Use wildcards when you search. Be creative in spelling - Miles=Myles. Rowe=Row. Colson=Coulson etc. With death dates for Grace and Clara you may be able to find obituaries. It appears the "Editor" had access to an obituary for Clara but there may be more. I'd also get in touch with this "Editor" to see if he/she has more information or knows where you can find more.

Have you checked the 1916 Canada Census that just went online recently? Perhaps Miles/Colson will be found there. The 1916 Census for Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan is available at


  1. Hello Diane,
    Miles was my 1st cousin 3 times removed.
    Bob Rowe
    St. Paul, MN

  2. I your relative went to the U.S. there shoould be emmigration records and border crossing records at the U.S. borders.