Tag Archives: Canadian Pacific Railway

Grandfather Robert Boardman learns his trade in Winnipeg!

My grandfather Robert Boardman was born in Shediac, Westmorland, New Brunswick, according to his death certificate and other sources.  I have not been able to find a birth record.  The  New Brunswick Provincial Archives were very kind but they could not find any record and I was told it would be difficult.  I have tried seaching some of  the Family History Library records but so far no luck.

Robert Boardman

Photo:  This is a cropped photo of another larger photo taken around 1915.  I do not have any earlier photos of my grandfather Robert Boardman.  Gazing upon his face I see someone very close to me who is still living.  The resemblance is amazing even the scowl!  He looks very dapper in this photo.

As I have written before, the Boardman family came to Winnipeg after 1881 and by 1883.  Robert was born 8 September 1881 so he was a baby when they made this move and his memories were probably of Winnipeg only.  His older brother Edmund James was 5 years old and he might have had memories of the trip although it is a very young age.

I return to the Winnipeg city directories and in 1897 Robert is listed as an apprentice but it does not give the business name.

Several years later, we  find him working as a clerk for the W. L. MacKenzie & Co. manufacture agents from 1902 to 1903.  The Manitoba Historical Society series of  “Historic sites of Winnipeg” shows the former building where this business was conducted.


He was a steam fitter for the Canadian Pacific Railroad in Winnipeg living at 573 Logan Avenue in 1904-1905. http://www.cpr.ca/en/

Robert and Ethel had married in St. Paul, Minnesota on 28 August 1905.  I featured this marriage in the post dated April 5, 2010 “Two Families Merge – A Marriage.”  Why they went to St. Paul to get married I do not know.  There are alot of Boardman’s living in that city.  I ponder that there was a really good story that will never be told.

Ethel and Robert were living with her father Richard Brown in 1906 according to the Canadian census.  See the posted dated: August 5, 2011 “Richard Brown After Emma.”

From 1907 to 1908 Robert is Manager of the NW Brass and Copper Works in Winnipeg.  He would be about 26 years old.   Several events took place about this time:  a child was born in May of 1908 and his father Edmund passed away a year later in October of 1908.

I cannot find anything online for this NW Brass company.  Businesses are usually very hard to research.  Sometimes their papers are left with the nearby college or university, historical society or local library.  City Directories might have their advertisements.

By the year 1909, the city directories have Robert back working with the Canadian Pacific Railroad as a coppersmith.   This was his father Edmund’s profession.

Unfortunately, the CPR does not allow access to employee records per their website.  I actually called them several years ago and was told to call back.  Maybe it is time to try again?

We see from the city directories that grandfather Robert Boardman was on the path of a tradesman like his father Edmund Boardman.  This path would take him to Vancouver, British Columbia and eventually to the U.S. permanently.


Richard Brown After Emma!

Richard Brown continued to live and work in Winnipeg after the death of his wife Emma in 1905.  He resided at the 175 Magnus address and engaged in the occupation of carpentry.

The city directories list him from 1911 to 1919 as a carpenter for the Canadian Pacific Railway and specifically from 1917 to 1918 he worked as a laborer.   He is in his 70’s at that time!!

In 1906 according to the Canadian Census Richard is living with Arthur, Ethel and his son-in-law Robert Boardman. I was very happy to find this census for it gives information about my grandparents Ethel and Robert.  They had married in 1905 and tracking them has been fun. 

Richard Brown Family, 1906 Canadian Census, North Winnipeg, Manitoba, Page 28, SubDistrict 6a, June 28, 1906, enumerated by W. A. Rough.#28, 197 Brown Richard, Head, Male, widow, 59, 175 Magnus, Brown Arthur, son, male, single, 22, Boardman, Ethel, daughter, female, married, 25, Boardman, Robert, son male, married, 25 born NB. Morton, Rebecca age 26, born Ireland came in 1902

In 1911 he is sharing the house with his youngest son Arthur.  Ethel and Robert Boardman are no longer living Richard. By this time my parents have migrated to Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Richard Brown Family, 1911 Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada pg. 35, ED 73, J.E. Baine line 37 [    ] Brown Arthur W. 175 Magnus male, son Single born Nov. 1875 age 36, born Man, Canadian, Presby, Traveller, yes, clerk [   ] yes yes English. Brown, Richard, 175 Magnus, male, Head, Wd, born March 1846 age 65, born Ontario, Canadian, religion [   ], carpenter, yes, yes English.

by 1916 things get a little confused:

Richard Brown Family, 1916 Canadian Census, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada pg. 5, District #14N, City of Winnipeg. line 24, 48, 52, Brown Richard, 175 Magnus, Head, M, Married, age 31, Canadian, Anglican, yes, yes, Proprietor, wholesale paper. Brown Terese, wife, female, married age 31, Holland, Methodist, 1908, nat., father Canadian, mother Dutch, yes, no. English, yes, yes. Brown Richard Anthony, son, m, singled 15 mos. Canadian, Manitoba, Methodist, Canadian, English yes, no, English, Brown Richard, Boarder, male, widowed, age 68 born Canada Ont., Anglican, Canadian, English, yes, no, English, Carpenter, CPR, Goodman, Sarah, female, single, age 16, born Iceland, Lutheran, 1912 al., Canadian, English, yes, no. English, servant.

Somehow the census enumerator mixed things up Arthur ends up with the name Richard? One thing is for certain Arthur has married.  

The Brown and Boardman Families Arrive in Winnipeg!

I think it is so amazing how lives can be intertwined and in the case of the Boardmans and the Browns this is true.  They came from far distances in Canada to Winnipeg.  Several of the Brown family of George and Esther Brown migrated from Ontario and headed for Manitoba and beyond. Update 9/3/2016:  The Boardmans came London, Ontario and went to Shediac, New Brunswick and finally to Winnipeg to live and work.

One reason was the railroad which came in 1881.  They all worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway and even their children.  A little history of this Railway:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Pacific_Railway

Updated: Check out CPR website at:  http://www.cpr.ca/en  They change their website a lot so you might have to do a Google search.  Under About CP is a section titled history and down at the bottom they discuss their archives and leave an email.

BROWNs Arrive!

George and Esther’s son Richard left Michigan and Ontario about 1881.  He and his wife Emma (Ward) Brown and their son Charles migrated to and were in Winnipeg by about 1881.

Using city directories helps to pin down ancestors between census.  There is a delay in a city directory of about 1 year or so for a name to appear and then disappear or change.  Here are some interesting early highlights for Richard and his family:

These are from the Henderson Directories at the Manitoba Genealogical Society:

1.  1882

  • Brown, R. carpenter Pt Douglas bet Main & River
  • Brown, Richard butcher City Meat

2. 1883

  • Brown, Richard, wood dealer, brds 194 Ross Ave.

3. 1884 – 1890

  • Brown, Richard, carpenter, Magnus Ave east of Main St.


Edmund and Charlotte Boardman were living in Charlottetown, PEI in 1881.  They returned to New Brunswick for a while before heading to Winnipeg.

1.  1884-1890 Edmund Boardman appears in the City Directory working in the C.P.R. blacksmith shop and residing at Common W.

2.  1885 Boardman, E. again in the C.P.R. Blacksmith Shop

3. 1887 No mention of Boardman

Both families appear in the 1891 Canadian census which I will discuss in the next post.  I will also reveal more city directory listings for these families in future posts.   The city directory work was done by a Rick McLellan who you can find at the Manitoba Genealogical Society.   Rick put most of his efforts into the Boardman names because the Browns were so numerous and I did not have enough information at that time regarding Richard Brown’s family.  It would be very interesting to review the city directories for Winnipeg again and seek out more sibling names for the Browns.   So we put that on the To Do list for future research.