This brings me to something that happened several years ago, some may remember. There was a show called Ancestors in the Attic back in 2006 and my cousin in the States wanted me to ask them something we had heard about our great grandfather, John McEwan and his connection to Birks Jewellers.
John was a Scot born in Ireland who immigrated to Canada in the mid-1840’s. He and his family settled in Toronto. John was a jeweller and watchmaker. These were all facts that we had about John.
John did at one point work for a company that was bought out by Birks but after much research on the part of the program it was proven that he never actually trained with Birks. To read more about John McEwan and his career click on the links from my last years blog "P. W. Ellis “A Sterling Torontonian” .
That was a great example of a fact that could be proven to not be the case. Often family legend has a way of growing into more than it was originally. While the tale may not have been true it did lead to other paths that helped us track John’s life in Toronto.
I now have a new challenge to be answered and I shall do my best to find the answer.
Benjamin was good at his trade and worked for a top furrier in one of Canada's largest cities, and the Royals do like their fur.
If I find out it to be true which could prove difficult, that is great, but if not, it still makes a good story. Isn’t that what it is all about? All we need to do is state that family legend says.
More can be found about Toronto's fur industry at the turn of the 20th century in When Fur was Fashion: R. Reilly and Company