Zion Evangelical Church Members List 1915 – Part 2

Yesterday, I posted the first four pages of the 1915 members list for Zion Evangelical Church in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario.

The mainly typed members list was compiled in July 1915 and contains more than 800 church members names, many also with home addresses listed.

Here are the remaining four pages of the eight-page list.

BERLIN Ont ZION EVANG Church members list 1915 p5

Zion Evangelical Church, Berlin, Ontario, members list, 1915, page 5

BERLIN Ont ZION EVANG Church members list 1915 p6

Zion Evangelical Church, Berlin, Ontario, members list, 1915, page 6

BERLIN Ont ZION EVANG Church members list 1915 p7

Zion Evangelical Church, Berlin, Ontario, members list, 1915, page 7

BERLIN Ont ZION EVANG Church members list 1915 p8

Zion Evangelical Church, Berlin, Ontario, members list, 1915, page 8

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Zion Evangelical Church Members List 1915, Part 1

Zion Evangelical Church was established in Berlin, Upper Canada, now known as Kitchener, Ontario, during the 1830’s. The first pastor to serve the church was assigned in 1839, the church previously being served by ‘itinerant’ preachers primarily from New York state.

Unfortunately in 2015, the church closed it’s doors, no longer viable due to high operating costs and a dwindling membership. During one of my trips through the area, I had a chance to visit and tour the church while it was was being decommissioned. Graciously, I was provided with a copy of the 1915 church membership list, which stands as an excellent source of genealogical information for those with ancestors who lived in that area.

The membership list was completed in July 1915 and contains more than 800 names of church members, many with their home addresses included. The list is comprised of eight pages, most of which is typed but also including some hand-written notations and additions to the list.

BERLIN Ont ZION EVANG Church members list 1915 p1

Zion Evangelical Church, Berlin, Ontario, members list, 1915, page 1

BERLIN Ont ZION EVANG Church members list 1915 p4

Zion Evangelical Church, Berlin, Ontario, members list, 1915, page 2

BERLIN Ont ZION EVANG Church members list 1915 p2

Zion Evangelical Church, Berlin, Ontario, members list, 1915, page 3

BERLIN Ont ZION EVANG Church members list 1915 p4

Zion Evangelical Church, Berlin, Ontario, members list, 1915, page 4

The final four pages of the church members list will be published here tomorrow.

Given Names (or A Mini-Case Study Of Where I Got My ‘Ian Gerald’)

Given names, or if you prefer, first names. We all have them.

You know, the names that our parents ‘gave’ to us either at birth or some time shortly afterwards. These ‘given’ names appear on our birth records and are attached to us for life.

If you are like me, we want to know just how our parents chose our names. Were our names chosen by means of a heritage-based naming convention or as the result of a family tradition? Were we named after a celebrity or, as it might be today, were we named after compass directions?

My ‘given’ names are Ian Gerald.

My mother provided me many years ago with the explanation of how she and my father chose my names.

Ian was an easy choice. My father, a first generation Canadian, is incredibly proud of his Scottish ancestry so a Scottish name was preferred. Second, my father wanted a name that could not, in his estimation, be shortened or altered in the way for example James becomes Jim or Donald becomes Don. The name ‘Ian’ met his criteria. That is, until he noticed that my friends had shortened my name and began to call me “E.” Eventually, my father conceded to the shortened first name and joined my friends and other family members in calling me ‘E.’

My ‘middle’ or second name of Gerald was easily explained, but as you will see difficult to verify.

The easy part is that I was given the name Gerald in honour of my mother’s favourite uncle Gerald Foley, a brother of my mother’s mother Gertrude Ellen Foley. My mother thought the world of her Uncle Gerald and so naming her first child after him was an obvious decision. Just as easy as asking a favourite cousin, one of Uncle Gerald’s daughters, Mary Foley to be my godmother.

In the early days of researching my genealogy, locating the birth registrations of my maternal grandmother and her siblings, including Uncle Gerald, was one of my first goals.

Gertrude Ellen Foley was born on 16 April 1898 in Toronto, York County, Ontario, Canada according to her birth and baptismal records. Less than a year after her birth, on 9 April, 1899, her mother Mary Jane Fitzgerald died in Toronto leaving my great grandfather John Foley with an infant daughter and two young sons, known to me through often repeated family stories as Uncle Gerald and Uncle Clarence.

A search for the birth registrations of Gerald and Clarence provided a nil result. There was no Gerald Foley and no Clarence Foley born in Ontario in the 1890’s, nor the 1880’s for that matter.

I decided to search for all children born to Mary Jane Fitzgerald in Ontario in the 1890’s. As it turns out, there were in fact two sons born to Mary Jane Fitzgerald and her husband John Foley. Their birth registrations record that Lewis Fitzgerald Foley was born 17 February 1895; and, William Dorsey Foley was born 28 September 1896. A very puzzled expression on my face was the best I could muster.

FOLEY Gerald birth 1895

Birth registration for Lewis Fitzgerald ‘Gerald’ Foley, 1895

FOLEY William Dorsey  birth registration 1896

Birth registration for William Dorsey ‘Clarence’ Foley, 1896

The family story that I had heard was that my great grandfather John Foley was a brilliant, successful businessman. And the multitude of records about his life that I have found verify this to be true. However, John Foley was also illiterate, at least according to family story. He was a man who had been taught how to sign his name for business reasons but who was unable to read the documents he signed. Perhaps the baptismal records for these two boys would clear up the name dilemma. After all, their baptisms were events at which John’s wife, and the boy’s mother, Mary Jane Fitzgerald was present at and, there is no indication that Mary was unable to read and write.

Both of the boys were baptized at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Toronto. The records show that Lewis (spelled as Louis in the church register) Fitzgerald Foley was baptized on 3 March 1895. William Clarence Foley was baptized on 4 Oct 1896.

FOLEY Louis Fitzgerald baptismal record 1895

Lewis Fitzgerald ‘Gerald’ Foley, baptismal registration, St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Toronto, 1895

It was becoming clear that the family commonly referred to the boys by their ‘middle’ names. Lewis was called or referred to as Gerald and William was referred to as Clarence.

In the 1901 Census of Canada, Gerald was recorded as “Jerald,” the 5-year old son of a widowed John Foley. Clarence was recorded as “William C.” The 1911 Census of Canada records them as Gerald and Clarence. The 1921 Census of Canada makes things a bit interesting again by recording, in an apparent error, Gerald as Clarence in the John Foley household. Clarence by the time of the 1921 census was married and was living with his wife Elizabeth (Blunt) Foley and 3-year old daughter Margaret in another house on the same street.

When Uncle Gerald enlisted for service in World War I, he did so as Gerald Foley, giving his date of birth as 16 February 1895. He was described as a five foot, five-inch tall teamster with dark brown hair and blue eyes.

On 12 November 1917, Gerald Foley of 96 Pickering Street in Toronto served as best man to his brother Clarence when the latter married Elizabeth Blunt.

When he passed away on 6 February 1968, his obituary in the Toronto Star newspaper listed his name as Gerald Lewis Foley. Similarly, the burial record card from Mount Hope Cemetery in Toronto, the final resting place for most members of the Foley family, recorded his name as Gerald Lewis.

So, in the end, I am named after a man who was known as Gerald but whom, ironically, had the same first name as my father, Lewis. Uncle Gerald as it turns out was named after his maternal grandfather Lewis Fitzgerald.

I could have been named Ian Lewis Hadden or perhaps Ian Fitzgerald Hadden. But no, I proudly can say I was named after Uncle Gerald, and the records provide me with a slightly twisted tale to tell about the name.

Zion Evangelical Church Follow-up And Church Records I Didn’t Expect To Find

In my last post, I recounted my wife Ellen’s family connection to Zion Evangelical Church, now Zion United Church, located in Kitchener, Ontario. Ellen’s paternal great grandfather, Rev. Louis Henry Wagner, and paternal great-great grandfather, Rev. Jacob Wagner, were both pastors of the church.

At the time of our visit to the church in late October, the church was closed and we learned that the church building had been sold to a Kitchener developer, the sale to be finalized in June 2015. One month later, we returned to Kitchener and visiting the church was on our priority list of things to do. Really, what we wanted was just a chance to take a photo of the church sanctuary and pulpit used by Ellen’s great grandfather. We were seeking a family keepsake; what we got was so much more!

Ellen (Wagner) Hadden standing in front of the sanctuary and pulpit where her great grandfather, Rev. Louis Henry Wagner, held Sunday services and preached at Zion Evangelical Church (now Zion United Church) in Kitchener, Ontario


We were greeted by the current church Pastor, secretary, and treasurer. After a warm welcome, we explained our interest in their church and they immediately pointed us to a collage they maintain of all the pastors in the church’s more than 170-year history. The collage (seen below) is located in a display case and includes photos of both of Ellen’s ancestors.

Collage of Ministers who have served Zion Evangelical/United Church in Kitchener, Ontario. Rev. Jacob Wagner is top row, fourth from the left, and Rev. Louis Wagner third row, fourth from the left (my apologies for the glare from a fluorescent ceiling fixture that partly obscures the top row of photos).


Unexpectedly, we were provided by the church treasurer with a private tour of every part of the church building, including an accounting of some of the church’s history.

As an added bonus, when our tour was wrapping up, we were shown a display of some church artifacts that had been found as the church begins it’s decommissioning. The church will be sending it’s records and artifacts to the United Church of Canada Archives and so what we were shown were some of the duplicate copies of church records from 1914-1915. 

Copies of the church’s annual reports listed all members of the congregation and the amounts of their financial contributions to the church and it’s missionary endeavours. The church congregation list, complete with the addresses of all the church’s members. Special church service programs such as that used in September 1954 to mark the centennial of Kitchener, complete with a church history and photos compiled by Ellen’s first cousin, three times removed Albert Liborius Breithaupt.

The cover of the Zion Evangelical Church service program celebrating 
the Centennial of the City of Kitchener in 1954


When we think of church records there is a tendency to restrict ourselves to baptisms, marriages, and funerals or burials. The records I saw, a couple of which I now possess, thanks to the good folks at Zion United Church, show the opportunity to have a different view into the church life experienced by our ancestors. What great finds!

Sadly, the final church service at Zion United Church will take place on June 7, 2015. We intend to be there.

52 Ancestors Sunday: John Foley (1863-1927)

Amy Johnson Crow of the Nor Story Too Small genealogy blog suggested a weekly blog theme of ’52 Ancestors’ in her blog post “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.” I decided to take up the challenge of the 52 Ancestors blog theme as a means to prompt me into regularly sharing the stories of my ancestors. So over the course of 2014 I will highlight an ancestor, on a weekly basis and usually one of my direct ancestors, sharing what I know about the person and perhaps more importantly, what I don’t know.

I am going to start with my favourite ancestor, one of my maternal great grandfathers, John Foley.

One of the catalysts to my family research research was the death of my maternal grandfather. He was unfortunately for me the last possible link to someone who knew John Foley and might have been able to tell me about him. As a result, all I know about John Foley comes from family stories and the many records I have found that document his life and death.



According to his gravestone, John Foley was born February 16, 1864 and died January 13, 1927. He died before my mother or any of her siblings were born. His gravestone also records that he was the husband of Annie McElroy (born May 5, 1864; died March 5, 1950). The gravestone is located in Mount Hope Cemetery in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

My mother told me that John Foley was a wealthy and successful businessman – a teamster and developer who built homes. According to the family story, John Foley was from Barrie, Ontario and that he had been orphaned at a young age. According to the family story, John died suddenly in Florida having gone there to sell some land he owned. The family story also holds that John could neither read nor write but that he had learned to sign his name, a necessity for business purposes.

John Foley’s birth pre-dates civil registration in the Province of Ontario, Canada (civil registration commenced in 1869). As a result, it took some time and a fair amount of tedious digging to find his baptism registration. The family story was correct in that John Foley was from the Barrie, Ontario area. According to his baptism registration, he was born on February 16, 1863 (note that this is one year earlier than the date on his gravestone) and he was baptized at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman Catholic Church in Barrie on February 21, 1863. In the church baptismal register his surname is misspelled as ‘Froley.’ (Source: Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman Catholic Church (Barrie, Simcoe, Ontario, Canada), Ontario Roman Catholic Church Records, Page 71, No. 706, Birth and Baptismal Record for John Foley (misspelled as ‘Froley’ in register); digital image, Family Search (www.familysearch.org : digital image 21 January 2012).

In the 1871 Census of Canada, John can be found living with his parents and siblings in Barrie, Ontario. However, in the 1881 Census of Canada, John is found living in Vespra, near Barrie, with three of his siblings. His parents cannot be found in the census records lending credence to the story of John having been orphaned at a ‘young’ age. Further research found that John’s father, William Foley had died in 1880. I have been unable to find John Foley in the 1891 Census of Canada.

By 1894, things were going much better for John. The banns were read so that on April 25, 1894 John married Mary Jane Fitzgerald at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Toronto. The marriage was recorded both in the church’s marriage register and with the province. The local newspaper, the Toronto Evening Star (as it was then called, now the Toronto Daily Star) even contained a small story in the next day’s edition about the wedding stating, “Mr. John Foley and Miss Fitzgerald were quietly married yesterday evening in St. Joseph’s church, Leslie street, by Father Fagan [it was actually Father William Bergin who officiated at the marriage]. After the ceremony an adjournment was made to the residence of the bride’s parents, Brooklin avenue, where supper was served and the happy couple received the congratulations of their friends.”

By 1899, things were going well for John and Mary. They had a home at 25 Blong Avenue where they were raising their three children, two boys and a girl. However, that all came crashing to a halt when on April 9, 1899, following a three week illness, Mary Jane died at the age of only 31 of septic poisoning. John’s youngest child, my grandmother Gertrude, had turned one year of age only a couple of weeks earlier.

Eventually John Foley was able to once again bounce back from his tragic loss and on October 14, 1903, John married Annie Teresa McElroy, a native of Thornhill, Ontario. John became a father for the fourth time in 1905 when his third son, and only child with his wife Annie, John Joseph ‘Jack’ Foley was born.

John and Annie settled with the four children into the biggest house on their street in Toronto’s east end and remained there until John was in his 60’s. John retired and he and Annie then did what we would call ‘downsize’ when they moved to 249 Queensdale Avenue in Toronto. It was at this residence that a ‘bon voyage’ party, complete with a small orchestra, was held prior to the start of John and Annie’s 1927 trip that commenced on January 4th. 

John Foley died on January 13, 1927 in Los Angeles, California. His remains were returned to Toronto where his funeral mass and internment took place on January 18, 1927.

John Foley left an estate valued, at current values, of more than $1 million.

I have no photos of John but would love to receive one. I have an image in my mind of my great grandfather and I am certain that there were likely many photos taken of John and his family members. I just don’t know where they might be and those family members I have asked, don’t seem to know either.



The Fitzgerald Kids

In my last post I promised to share the information I found in the Ontario Roman Catholic Church Records, posted on FamilySearch, for the children of my maternal second great grandparents, Lewis and Ellen (nee Daley) Fitzgerald.


Canadian census records had provided me with the names of their nine children as they entered the family unit and eventually left the family, to strike out on their own or perhaps, through an early death. I have found no evidence of the deaths of these children with the exception of my great grandmother, Mary Jane Foley (nee Fitzgerald).

As previously posted, Lewis Fitzgerald married Ellen Daley at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Basilica in Toronto on 11 September 1856. Their marriage was recorded in the church’s register by Father J. FitzHenry. Searching the subsequent Canadian decennial census records, starting in 1861, produces a list of nine children however with the exception of the 1901 census, the records for 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891 only provide an age and place of birth, not an exact date of birth.

In 1861, the Lewis and Ellen Fitzgerald household included three children. In 1871, the household included six children however the eldest child, Mary Rebecca, listed in 1861 was no longer present. The census records for 1881 provide the most complete family picture as eight children are present in the household with again the eldest, Rebecca as she was known, the only child missing. By 1891, the there were only five children living at home in the household and by 1901, only Alice, the youngest of the Fitzgerald children was part of the household.

This is where the church records came an important role, especially as civil registration had not yet been instituted. These records helped provide exact birth dates and verification that there were no other children who may have been born after a census was taken and died before the following census.

The baptismal records of St. Paul’s Basilica provide the following names and dates for the Fitzgerald ‘kids’:

1. Mary Rebecca Fitzgerald, born 14 November 1857
2. Margaret Fitzgerald, born 25 April 1859
3. Anne Fitzgerald. born 23 December 1860
4. Ellen Fitzgerald, born 20 May 1862
5. Mary Jane Fitzgerald, born 22 May 1864
6. Elizabeth Fitzgerald, born 11 February 1866
7. Catherine Fitzgerald, born 28 September 1868
8. Lewis Albert Fitzgerald, born 16 August 1872
9. Alice Caroline Fitzgerald, born 29 December 1874

At least five of the Fitzgerald daughters married. In addition to Mary Rebecca whom I suspect died at an early age, I have found no record that suggests Margaret or Elizabeth married. Similarly, I have found no record indicating that Lewis Albert married.

Mary Jane Fitzgerald married John Foley on 25 April 1894 in St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, the marriage event entered into the church register by Father William Bergen. Although I don’t yet have many of the details, I have been contacted by a local Toronto historian who has informed me that Lewis Fitzgerald was one of the founding members and contributors to St. Joseph’s Church which is located in what is now the east end of the city of Toronto, in an area known as Leslieville.

Digging in Church Records

I have had a difficult time tracing my maternal Irish ancestry back more than about 150 years and feeling confident that I was closely approaching having all of the information that would help propel me further. Census records provided snapshots of the family unit at points in time but my information was too vague for my liking.


My great great grandfather, Lewis Fitzgerald and his family are a good case in point. The following AHNENTAFEL list shows my ancestral connection to Lewis and his wife Ellen Daley.

1. Ian Gerald Hadden

2. Lewis John Hadden
3. Anne Margaret O’Neill

6. John Graham O’Neill
7. Gertrude Ellen Foley

14. John Foley
15. Mary Jane Fitzgerald

30. Lewis Fitzgerald
31. Ellen Daley

I was aware that Lewis and Ellen Fitzgerald had nine children, including my great grandmother Mary Jane Fitzgerald, but most of the children were born “about” a given year in my database. This is where the “Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records” on FamilySearch.org have been of great assistance.

These records are not indexed but are available in image form. Fortunately, the record group is divided by city or town in Ontario and then by church name. Beyond that help, I needed to examine each page of each church register looking for the members of the Fitzgerald family. It was tedious and, it was time-consuming but it was worth the effort. Register pages containing records involving my Fitzgerald ancestors were saved easily as JPEG files on my computer with a simple single mouse click using the helpful ‘Save’ feature.
Above is the register entry for the marriage of Lewis (spelled Luis in the registry) Fitzgerald and Ellen Daley (spelled Daly in the registry). The marriage took place on September 11, 1856 at St. Paul’s Basilica which is located on Power Street in Toronto, Ontario. The priest who officiated at the marriage and signed the register was Father J. FitzHenry and the witnesses to the marriage were William McDonald and Briget (spelling is as it appears in the registry) Sexton. I don’t know who these witnesses were but assuming that they were close friends of my great grandparents, I now have a clue for further research. Most interesting to me was the appearance in any record about Ellen Daley that I have found of a location in Ireland for further research. Typically, census records would list her birthplace as Ireland but this church record states that she was from County Clare. Wishful thinking has me wanting to believe that there was only one Daley family in County Clare but how likely is that to be true?

In my next post, the Fitzgerald ‘kids.’