Visit this blog for regular posts about records at the Archives of Manitoba that date from the time of the First World War. Visit the Archives of Manitoba to see the records in person.

September 2015 Posts:

28 September 2015

Private Letters in Corporate Records

This letter, written by an Anglican military chaplain, is a message of sympathy on the death of Frank C. Ingrams’s son, Frank R. Ingrams, killed in action in 1916. The elder Ingrams served as secretary to the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Governor and Committee in London from 1911 to 1923.

typed letter from Rev. G.D.B. Poole to F.C.  Ingrams, 7 September 1916

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typed obituary notice, Second Lieutenant F.R. Ingrams,  M.C.

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Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba,
private letters to F.C. Ingrams, Secretary of the Governor and Committee,
letter from Rev. G.D.B. Poole to F.C. Ingrams, 7 September 1916,
and obituary notice, Second Lieutenant F.R. Ingrams, M.C., HBCA A.10/189b.

The puzzling thing about this letter is not its content, but rather the place in which it is found within the records of the HBC. The letter is typewritten and copied, and resides in a file of Ingrams’s private letters along with a copy of an obituary notice for his son. The content of every other letter in the file deals with some aspect of company business.

So why, then, was this very personal letter placed with these other letters which make up the corporate records of the Hudson’s Bay Company? It must have been done with purpose, given that it was not only typed but also copied. The answer is unknown and we can only guess at the reason. In any case, it offers a rare glimpse into a very personal moment for a member of the company’s London office.

Search Tip: Visit the Archives of Manitoba Research Room to read the file. To locate the file in Keystone, enter “private letters to F.C. Ingrams, Secretary of the Governor and Committee” in the keyword field.

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21 September 2015

New First World War Records at the Archives of Manitoba

The Archives has received several offers of records relating to the First World War since launching this blog in May 2014. Manitobans and people with connections to Manitoba have offered to donate their records to us, in hopes of adding to the growing legacy of documentation regarding the First World War. Several of these offers have resulted in donations to the Archives – some added to existing collections and some new collections. These include the following:

  • Battershill family fonds – additional correspondence and photographs were added to this collection in 2014. See our post from October 20, 2014 for more information. The collection consists primarily of letters written to family from brothers Charles and George Battershill, as well some from their brother-in-law Harry Elliott, during the time that the three were serving in the First World War.
    photo of open box with stack of letters inside

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    Collection of Battershill family records recently donated to the Archives of Manitoba.

  • Rooney Halldorson Linekar fonds – 2 albums containing 546 postcards and 20 photographs. Many of the postcards date from the time of the First World War and were sent by Linekar’s brothers, friends and future husband while in training for war and while serving overseas. See our post from July 20, 2015.

    Postcards from the Rooney Halldorson Linekar fonds (P7474/1, nos. 285, 296 and 308)

  • Stanley Bowen fonds – Stanley Bowen (1894-1959) served in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles for much of the First World War. The collection consists primarily of letters written by Bowen to his future wife, Mary McNair, during his military service. The collection also includes photographs, postcards, training manuals and a notebook, personnel documents and some souvenirs collected while at the front.

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    Some letters from the Stanley Bowen fonds.

The Archives is interested in acquiring original records related to the history of Manitoba, including records related to the experiences of Manitobans during the time of the First World War. Read more about the process for donating records.

Search Tip: Search Keystone using the collection titles above for more information.

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14 September 2015

Counting Down to the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage: Sigurvon, the Gimli Suffrage Association

Women and men across the province of Manitoba campaigned for the vote to be extended to women. One group that was particularly active was the Icelandic immigrants who had settled in Manitoba from the 1870s. In 1890, the Icelandic settlers were already calling for the vote for women and by 1908 a suffrage association called Sigurvon meaning “Hope of Victory” was at work for women’s suffrage in Gimli, Manitoba.

In February 1910, members of Sigurvon collected over 1100 signatures in support of a woman having “the full franchise extended to her on the same basis as that of man.” The collected petitions were given to the MLA for Gimli, Sigtryggur Jonasson, and were read in the Manitoba Legislature in March 1910. These petitions are part of the Sessional Papers held at the Archives of Manitoba which document the business of the Legislative Assembly and include reports tabled in the House, Ministers’ statements, committee reports and petitions, among other records.

The Sigurvon suffrage petitions – one of which is reproduced below – provide information on who supported the vote for women in Icelandic communities in 1910. They also give additional information such as people’s occupations or marital status (for women who did not work outside the home). These petitions provide a glimpse of the people who lived in Icelandic communities in Manitoba, including Gimli (reproduced below), Hnausa, Vidir, Ardal (now Arborg), Icelandic River, Arnes, Nes, Husavik, Winnipeg Beach, Hecla, Otto, Markland, Hove, Geysir, Mary Hill and Lundar.

Manitoba women got the vote in January 1916 in large part because of the support of women and men like those who signed their names to these Sigurvon petitions.

Cover page of Petition

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page of petition, with signatures

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Archives of Manitoba, LA 0009 Sessional Papers, GR0174,
Petition praying for the passing of an Act to enfranchise all women,
whether married, widowed or spinster on the same terms as man, 1910, G 8181.

See previous posts about “Counting Down to the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage” from 26 January 2015, 23 February 2015, 19 May 2015, and 22 June 2015.

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8 September 2015

Vessels of War

The following pages are samples taken from copies of block sketches, found amongst HBC records relating to its wartime business in Europe. The sketches were likely distributed on behalf of insurance specialist Lloyd’s of London to vessels which comprised HBC’s fleet of merchant ships.

illustrations of different types of submarines

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illustrations of different types of war vessels

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illustrations of different types of funnels and mast ships

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Excerpted pages from Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba,
Miscellaneous records from Hudson’s Bay Company’s wartime business with European governments,
“Block Sketches of War and Merchant Vessels”, May 1913 – Oct. 1914 (HBCA RG22/29/17).

Contained within the booklet are profiles of seafaring war vessels, intended to assist captains in identifying war vessels spotted at sea. Included in the booklet are silhouettes of submarines, torpedo boats, destroyers and merchant ships from Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Sweden, Greece, Spain, Romania, Argentina, Brazil, Japan and the United States.

Booklets of “C.O.” forms were sent along with the copies of block sketches. Below is a page from one such booklet showing the form captains could use to report sightings of vessels.

C.O. Form with empty ledger to enter information about foreign vessels

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Excerpted pages from Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba,
Miscellaneous records from Hudson’s Bay Company’s wartime business with European governments,
“Forms C.O.”, 1914 (HBCA RG22/29/19).

Search Tip: To find descriptions of these and other related records, search Keystone with the keywords “Miscellaneous records from Hudson’s Bay Company’s wartime business with European governments.”

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