The National Archives of England blog has a post called “Hack off, Hack on.” It’s not what you might think so go and read the post to find out more. I wish I could be in Kew next month.
Create Your Life Story blog has a post called “Episode 67: Audio Snapshots of Your Life Story.” They look at recording your own life story in small segments which may make it easier to handle. They look at the different ways there are to record, save and share your story.
Irish Genealogy News had a post called “WDYTYA? No place for Smoothies!” Claire was one of the lucky ones who were able to attend the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show in London last weekend. Here she shares some Irish genealogy news from the event.
What were your favourite blog posts this past week?
The website firstworldwar.com bills itself as “a multimedia history of World War One.” There is a wealth of information to be found on this site. The page titles under the heading details are: how it began, battlefield tours, battles, an encyclopedia, source documents, special features, a timeline, war in the air, weaponry and a who’s who. Then you have other headings like multimedia, narratives and site information.
Under the multimedia heading you can find images of battlefields today, maps, propaganda posters, vintage audio and video and vintage photographs. The narratives heading provides links to examples of memoirs and diaries and prose and poetry.
You can read a collection of telegrams between Kaiser Wilhelm II and Tsar Nicholas II sent in the four days before the start of the war.
The story of Lady Diana Taylour is a wonderful adventure. Click here to read part one.
Now that an address was known the London city directories were searched. A few of these directories are available at the Toronto Reference Library. The family listed at that address was Stone. The 1901 England census had been released but no references could be found.
The Toronto Reference Library has the online searchable databases for the Toronto Daily Star and the Globe and Mail newspapers. A blanket search for Diana Taylour was done to see if anything came up. It did.
References were found for Lady Diana and Jean Riddell opening a gas station at Post Corners north of Oakville. My research to date has provided no documentation on this event other than the newspaper article. She was a honourary president at the London Ontario Coronation Unit for Ex British Servicewomen. The most interesting item found in the newspapers was an advertisement for a shop she had on Yonge Street. This led me to the Toronto city directories found at the Toronto Reference Library.
Diana showed up once in the directories under her business and a home address. A cross reference for Taylor was done for the home address in the directories. Benjamin who was a superintendent at London Life Insurance and Frank who worked with the Toronto Real Estate Board were found living in the same house as Diana. Who were they?
The next things happened almost at the same time. I had ordered a copy of Diana’s 1940 National Registration Questionnaire but was waiting for it as it takes about two months to receive the information. While waiting for the questionnaire an entry was found in the 1891 England census with Benjamin Taylor living in Norfolk with a daughter Kate who was 10 months old. A birth certificate was ordered. It stated she was born Kate May Taylor in 1890 in Weybourne and her parents were Benjamin Taylor and Kate Bishop.
The 1891 England census had already given me her mother’s maiden name because her grandmother Ann F. Bishop was living with the family. Also in the household were Diana’s brother Edward B. Taylor and a servant Emma Buttle.
A marriage certificate for Benjamin and Kate confirmed Kate’s maiden name was Bishop. Kate’s father was John and Benjamin’s father was William.
The 1940 National Registration Questionnaire gave me even more information. Diana still gave her year of birth as 1896 but she gave the right birth date of 28 May. It states that she and her parents were born in Norfolk. Diana added something new to her name; she was now Katherine Diana May Harwood Taylour.
The new gem was that she arrived in Canada in 1926. Diana said that she could speak French; ran a private rest home and guest home, was a good cook, qualified mechanic and could drive a fire engine. She could also handle horses, drive – automobiles, trucks and a tractor, and was an organizer of girls. She gave her occupation as U.R.C.W. Hon Pres Coronation Unit 2 London Ontario 1 year duration and nursing home matron 8 years duration.
Diana gave more information on her First World War military career. It said in the last war she drove a private ambulance for four and half years and was a column leader of ambulances after the war for eighteen months.
She wanted to help in the Second World War by being trained and serving on the home front. Diana said she would like to run training for women and work overseas or home defense.
Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.
On the Mocavo Genealogy Blog Michael Leclerc wrote a post called “Getting the Most from Scholarly Journals” where he reminds us what we are missing if we don’t read the genealogical journals that come across our doorstep.
Claire Santry of the Irish Genealogy News blog had a post called “Some snippets of interest” where she tells us about a discount that is available for GenesReunited. This ends on February 26th.
Yesterday was Family Day in Ontario but Manitoba recognized it as Louis Riel Day. The Library and Archives Canada blog had a post called “Louis Riel Images Now On Flickr” so you can go in and view images relating to Louis Riel and the Northwest Rebellion.
Fiona Fitzsimons wrote a post for the findmypast blog called “Search Tip – Class Systems” which reminds us to look at the society in which our ancestors lived and not the society in which we currently live. Fiona refers to it as “The “Downton Abbey” effect.”
It started off as a simple search to find some information on Lady Diana’s military history but it turned into a ten year search for the truth behind the myth of Lady Diana Taylour.
In 1999 I was asked by a friend to find out more information about a grave stone found in the Old Oakville/St. Mary’s cemetery. He felt that because of the inscription on the grave stone that she deserved a flag on Remembrance Day and the town would not do this without proof of her military service. The local paper only provided a basic death notice with no information on her military career. I said I would see what I could find and so started a journey that would take ten years to solve and provided twists and turns that were both frustrating and exhilarating.
A trip to the Toronto Reference Library provided the information needed to put a flag on her grave but it also raised more questions that needed answers.
A reference was found for Lady Diana Taylour in the Biographies of Canadian Women Index at the Toronto Reference Library. This is an index that can have a lot or a little information. In this case it was a reference to an obituary in the Toronto Telegram newspaper. A search of the Biographies of Canadian Women microfilm provided a copy of this obituary.
The obituary stated a connection to the Marquess of Headfort’s family so a search was done in “Burke’s Peerage and Gentry” and “Debrett’s Peerage & Baronetage.” She was not mentioned. A relation of the Marquess did live in British Columbia but research provided no link between the family and Diana Taylour.
In Ontario when applying for a death certificate you can only get a short form death certificate unless you are related to the deceased. The short form provides: name, date of death, place of death, age and gender. The name on the certificate was slightly different it was Katherine Diana May Taylour. 
Land records for her property in Oakville were searched. Diana bought the property in December 1936 with a friend Jean Riddell. Diana was listed as a nurse and Jean a dietitian. They went through foreclosure in 1954 but continued to live there until 1957 when a move was planned to Grimsby. Diana died just before they were to move. Jean went through with the move to Grimsby.
Since no place of birth was known the birth indexes were searched for Ontario, England, Ireland and Scotland from 1891-1901. There were no Diana Taylour’s and too many Katherine, Kate and May Taylor’s to distinguish which could be the right one.
The Oakville Historical Society was approached for information on Diana. Someone had donated a more extensive obituary that was found in the Hamilton Spectator newspaper.
The obituary provided new information. Early in 1914 Diana was in Paris at finishing school. She was engaged to a young man who was killed in the first few months of the war. She outfitted and ran a private ambulance herself. When the possibility of eviction from the house on Dundas Street was very real she stated “I will never leave this house.”
I was able to speak to a few people in the community who knew her. They said she walked at the head of the Remembrance Day parade with a chest full of medals. Ran a home for invalid men and if they could not pay she did not care. Diana provided nursing care to people in the community. She drank like a fish and swore like a banshee. She had dogs and a myna bird and was a good conversationalist.
Mary Ingham is a researcher who specializes in women, nurses, First World War and suffragettes. She found a war medal index card in the women’s index and sent me a digital copy. The card showed Diana applied for a General Service Medal on 30 June 1919. The address provided was on Kirkstall Road in Streatham. The other research proved inconclusive.
The Men’s War Medal Index cards were online so a search was done under Taylour to see if anything could be found on her brothers. Imagine my surprise when a card for Diana showed up! She had not only been in the women’s index but the men’s as well. The card on the men’s index gave me a more detailed look at her war efforts. K.D.N Taylour applied for the British War Medal on 30 June 1919. Theatre of war was home. The Corps listed were Canterbury Private Amb[ulance] Work and Canadian Forestry. The address was Kirkstall Road in Streatham. Since the cards make no reference to her receiving her medals I was told that she probably had not received them.