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Monday, November 30, 2015

Celebrating Lucy Maud Montgomery

Today Google celebrates the birthday of Lucy Maud Montgomery (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942). She is the author of Anne of Green Gables and other books.

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Prince Edward Island (Canada) and after getting her teaching certificate from Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown (P.E.I.) she attended Dalhousie University in Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) before taking up a teaching position in P.E.I. That's when she wrote Anne of Green Gables (1908).

In 1911 she married a Presbyterian minister, Ewen Macdonald, and moved to Uxbridge, Ontario (northeast of Toronto). In 1926, she and her husband moved to Norval, Ontario, a small village due north of where I live in Mississauga, Ontario. We've passed her house many times. She lived there until 1935 when she moved to Swansea, Ontario, now a part of western Toronto between the Humber River and High Park. She died there in 1942 and was buried in P.E.I.

Lucy Maud Montgomery is a distant cousin of mine. I descend from the Coles. The genealogy is confusing but at some point in time a Mr. Cole and his wife Mary (maiden name unknown) came to North America, probably New York. Their son, Benjamin Cole, is my great4-grandfather. Mr. Cole died sometime around 1765 and Mary married George Penman. The history is confusing, they may have lived in New England and moved to P.E.I. just before or after the American Revolution. They self-identify as United Empire Loyalists.

Mary is my great5 grandmother and she had several children with George Penman. Two of them were Nancy (b. 1768) and Elizabeth ("Betsy") (b. 1769). Nancy married Donald Montgomery of the "New Moon" farm in Malpeque, P.E.I. (Emily of New Moon). Her sister married David Murray.

Donald Montgomery, the son of Nancy & Donald, married his first cousin Ann Murray, daughter of Elizabeth & David. Their son, Hugh John Montgomery, was Lucy Maud Montgomery's father.

Thus, Lucy Maud Montgomery's great grandmother is my great-great-great-great-great grandmother.


Petrushka said...

I wonder how long before can enter any two names and get a DNA derived cousinship chart.

My bet is that (if it isn't already available), within five years.

Within 20 years the grain will be pretty fine, and include many famous and infamous people.

Ted Herrlich said...

Six degrees of Kevin Bacon :-)

Christopher Taylor said...

I don't suppose you can explain the bit with the cake? I think I did read Anne of Green Gables years ago when my sister had a copy, but I don't recall any of the events from it.

Piotr Gąsiorowski said...

The minister and his wife were invited to tea. Ann made a cake for the occasion and accidentally used Anodyne Liniment instead of vanilla. It made the minister's wife turn green, though she kept eating out of politeness.

Here's the relevant passage.

Joe Felsenstein said...

My parents, and especially my aunt and uncle, knew Kevin Bacon's parents.

Piotr Gąsiorowski said...

And I've been to Sandwalk and met a man whose parents knew Kevin Bacon's parents :)

Gary Gaulin said...

I very much like the theme:
Animated Anne Theme Song

Aceofspades said...

You can do that already with 23andme. I took the test the other day and it has suggested hundreds of people that may be fourth to fifth cousins.

Of course if I had first cousins or siblings that had taken the test it would also pick those up immediately.

Aceofspades said...

Genealogy software that links well known trees to your own is amazing. I discovered recently one of the ways that I am related to Charles Robert Darwin. He is my 13th cousin five times removed.

My 17th great grandparents were also his12th great grandparents.

Aceofspades said...

Just looked up this family tree on (

It appears that Mary's maiden name was Edgar

Larry Moran said...

That's not very reliable.

Aceofspades said...

Well there does appear to be quite a lot of consensus within other people's personal trees.

There are 34 matches for Nancy Montgomery and most of them list here mothers maiden name as Edgar.

Larry Moran said...

Copying an error doesn't make it any less of an error. Her maiden name was likely "Low" but the evidence is not conclusive. Lot's of sites have Mary Edgar as Penman's second wife and the widow Cole as his third wife. This is almost certainly wrong.

Samphire said...

I think it's "Bletchley" rather than "Bletchly". I write as an old Bletchley Line boy from the middle of the last century when the trains pulled us to school by steam engines.

SRM said...

Copying an error doesn't make it any less of an error.

I am reminded of the annotation of genomes.

AllanMiller said...

Bletchley Park, of course, gaining some fame as the location of the WWll code-breaking effort of Turing et al.

Larry Moran said...

Thanks. I fixed the typo.

Larry Moran said...

I once spent a summer at Los Alamos working with Genbank on how to deal with errors in the database and how to prevent them from being propagated. There was no easy solution just as there's no easy way to prevent errors like this in public genealogy databases. tried to deal with the problem in the past by creating "Millennium Files" that were supposed to be accurate but that didn't work. The problem is getting severe. There are tons of errors being propagated in genealogical databases and no way to fix the problem.

Larry Moran said...

Speaking of errors ... why the hell can't Blogger allow better commenting options and let me fix my spelling mistakes?

Samphire said...

Some years ago I produced an on-line family tree. It was accurate back to about 1830 but before that I was not confident of the earlier relationships but could check no further. I was horrified to discover some time later that what I thought was my own private tree had been accessed by some other person who had used my error-filled tree to complete his own.

Perhaps others have also borrowed his tree in turn to produce there own and so on ad finitum. I doubt there is any way to remedy the situation and I now regret that I didn't have the forethought to slip Queen Victoria, George Washington and Sir Walter Scott into my tree somewhere just for fun.

Mary Cudmore said...

Mary Margaret Edgar is NOT the wife of George Penman of PEI. There is a record on of a George & David Penman arriving in Boston in 1762, the year Benjamin Cole was born. So, George must have met and married Benjamin's mother, the widow, Mary Cole sometime after that.

Mary Cudmore said...

There is no proof that Mary Margaret Edgar was a spouse to George Penman of PEI. There is an record showing a George and David Penman arriving in Boston in 1762. Later on David Penman is living in Tryon, Lot 28, PEI and George Penman is living in Lot 13, Tyne Valley, PEI. They are both in the 1798 PEI Census. There is also a land purchase in Cumberland, Nova Scotia between George Penman and Jonathan Eddy, who had Cole family connections. Both David & George Penman named two of their daughters, Jane and Elizabeth so that could be a clue to their mother's family name. Montgomery family lore recounts that George Penman was a paymaster under Lord Rollo and was supposed to be a United Empire Loyalist but to date no proof of this has yet to be found. However, in George Penman's Estate effects in 1804 at Penman's Point in Lot 13, the list contained red military uniforms and three family bibles. Another researcher found a reference to George Penman as being a Major. As to who Mary Cole Penman was before her marriage, that is only speculation for now. We always suspected she was married to a James Cole as her son, Benjamin (born in 1762) named his oldest son, James. There is another unknown Mary Cole, who married a Neil Ramsay from Lot 13. He was a brother to John Justice Ramsay, who married Margaret Penman, another daughter of George and possibly his wife, the widow, Mary Cole. Maybe this Mary Cole was a sister to Benjamin, as she named one of her sons, Benjamin Ramsay. Any prior posts mentioning Mary Low or Margaret Edgar as being spouses of George Penman should just be ignored. The Penman genealogy is listed at under the lineage section. However, it needs updating.

Unknown said...

There was in Edinburgh a Mary Margaret Edgar married to a George Penman, a shoemaker. Her dates, from the entries in the Scotland's People database, make it highly unlikely that she was ever married to the PEI George Penman, described as being a man of abut 60 in 1793, although in the 1798 census there was no man over 60 in his household. His widow's name was indeed Mary, but without marriage or birth records it is impossible to say if his widow was the mother of any of the Penman girls in Lot 13. There is probably some truth in the story Lucy Maud told about her ancestor - she grew up around older people, with a strong story-telling culture. But like all family stories I have checked out, there are some true bits and some embroidered bits. Always do your own research in genealogy.

Mary Cudmore said...

Benjamin Cole
In England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
This record was saved to Benjamin Cole in Barry Web Site
Benjamin Cole
This record was saved to Benjamin Cole in Barry Web Site

Name Benjamin Cole
Gender Male
Christening Aug 22 1762
Bletchley, Buckingham, England
Father James Cole
Mother Elizabeth
Indexing Project (Batch) Number P00834-1
System Origin England-ODM
GS Film number 88488