On Wednesday I was a bit excited to receive a nice thick package from the Royal BC Museum or British Columbia Archives. It was the will and probate for Edward Forfar. From when I placed the order online to receiving it in the post, it took about 2 weeks - how good is that?
There was no less than 37 pages to sift through. In an ideal world I would have been able to go the Museum myself and look at what was in the file and pick and choose what I wanted copied. But the Museum is in Canada and I am in Australia. I am very grateful to the Museum staff for their quick and speedy attention to my request.
The third page of the package contained a really interesting phrase which I hadn't seen in any family history documents before. The document was a sworn oath made by a solicitor basically saying that he was the solicitor for the executor of the estate and that he knew Edward Forfar. The last part of his oath reads as follows:
"That I well knew the said Edward Forfar, Deceased, during his lifetime, he being the person in respect to whose estate application for probate is now being made, and he was not a National of the German Reich."Edward Forfar (previously known as Ernest Albert Forfar) died on 22 January 1940 at Fort St James, BC as per this post.
There is a lot of me that thinks the phrase about the German Reich relates to what was going on at the time - namely World War 2. During times of war, governments have been known to commandeer private enterprise for the manufacture of armaments et al, so I suppose it is feasible that they would also look for assets to support the war effort anywhere they could e.g. through the court system and people's personal assets. This is purely supposition on my part and bears further investigation of course.
The other treat that turned up this week for me in the form of an inter-library loan was....
This is a joy to browse through. It is larger format than usual (28cm x 22cm). It kind of reminds me of the size of a school textbook, if that makes sense. It is clearly laid out in digestible chapters, of which there are 26. Authors Sherry Irvine and Dave Obee are familiar names to me as they have both spoken in Australia and are highly regarded worldwide in the gene - community. Sherry teaches through Pharos Teaching and Tutoring. Dave runs CanGenealogy and came out to talk at the In Time and Place conference last year here in Brisbane.
In the Introduction to the book, the authors recommend reading the first twelve chapters and then dipping into the other chapters according to which area your research is based. Chapters 13 onwards relate to special groups, provinces or territories.
I read the chapter on Probate and didn't find any mention of the German Reich phrase but what I did read supported my thesis that the particular era might affect regulations regarding probate. On page 56, the authors recommended looking at an almanac or provincial year books through Library and Archives Canada or the Family History Library, if I wanted to know more.
At the end of every chapter there is a list of websites and bibliography. Yay!
I love getting books on inter-library loan because it helps me decide whether I want to buy them or not. I think this one is definitely one to put in the shopping basket. I will have a look via booko where is the best place to buy it in terms of price etc.
A google search of the phrase "probate law in Canada during World War 2" produced this interesting blog post, among other results, adding grist to my theory - at least in Ontario - that governments were concerned about managing the flow of capital during times of war.
So, what else did I learn? I learned that Edward made his will on 12 October 1921. Remember that Edward married Mary Kinniburgh on 10 October 1921 in Winnipeg, so making a will after getting married is probably a fairly normal course of events.
He appointed the Royal Trust Company of Edmonton, Alberta as the executor of his will.
Edward's address at the time of writing the will was the Post Office Hudson's Hope. I confess I am a bit confused about whether the will was signed in Manitoba or Alberta. I guess I'll have to search both provinces. Of course a copy of the will was provided in the probate package. It's not very long or fulsome. Basically it says he bequeaths his estate to Mary Brown Forfar his wife.
The estate in large part was Real Estate which I imagine was the hotel. It is described as follows:
Lot A of Lot 1, Block 3, Subdivision of Lot 110 and 111, Range 5, Coast District, Map 1400 as shown outlined red on Reference Plan 1451, BC and buildings thereon
It was valued at $5350.00.
I can't be sure but I think this may be the hotel here.
I was able to find a plan of Lots 110 and 11 here. So it was I imagine right on the shore of Stuart Lake. I don't think the original hotel exists.
Edward had some cash and a life insurance policy. His funeral cost $50 and he owed some money to Prince George grocer Karl Anderson and Fort St James gasoline supplier, L.R. Dickesson.
If you have any comments or observations or leads for me to follow, I would be most grateful for your advice.