Well, it seems that any skill that I have at genealogy is limited to material that has been digitized and put online. Ha! (Not at all surprising if you know me). One of my most conspicuous dead ends in our family tree was the first wife of Samuel Hird, Catherine Jane Gardner. The genealogist who had done the Hird tree in the 1970s (Lawrence Burness) had clearly found Catherine’s records as he had her birthday and the marriage date for Catherine and Sam. However, as Lawrence once explained to me, the women didn’t matter if they weren’t Hirds. (To be fair to Lawrence, he was from a different generation and he was doing the genealogy work for legal reasons). In any case, Lawrence therefore never entered any information about Catherine’s family onto our tree.
Well, lucky us, all of the Quebec records were just indexed and digitized and in less than 24 hours, the Gardner family has emerged. The Gardners were a well-established Montreal manufacturing family. Robert Gardner, Catherine’s father, owned “Robert Gardner & Son”, a foundry which specialized in making biscuit-making equipment. Robert and his wife Helen McGregor were emigrants from Paisley, Scotland. They arrived in Canada in 1842 aboard the brig Favourite. Robert was a trained pattern-maker and worked in foundries in Montreal and New York before starting his own business in 1851. Robert and Helen had nine children (at least these are the ones I could find!):
Daniel Campbell (1846-1852)
William Smith (1849-)
Catherine Jane (1854-1914)
John David (1855-1857)
Helen Janet (1857-1923)
Mary Ann (1859-1923)
Harriet Abigail (1865-1929)
I found a nice biography of Robert Sr, which you can look at here.
Robert Jr. took over the business when his father died in 1890. (Robert Jr. was quite distinguished in his own right. He was a colonel of the Sixth Fusiliers and took part in the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870. See his biography here.)
You may also be interested in Edgar Samuel Hird’s baptismal record and Edgar Maxwell Hird’s baptismal record in which he is mistakenly called a daughter. I have also created an album with records for Samuel Hird & fam and EM Hird and fam.
Here is a slideshow of the Gardner family documents and photos to date: