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Women at Work

I overheard Mum tell Gram that she really would like to have a new hat as hers had seen better days.  She went on to say there just wasn’t enough money for such a luxury.

Gram thought for a moment and then asked for the canister of oatmeal, a soft brush, a piece of wide navy ribbon and a brooch. She rubbed the oatmeal into the felt to clean it. Then brushed it out. She wrapped a ribbon around the crown of the hat and fastened the brooch through the fancy bow she tied. When she held it up, it looked as good as one that could be seen in Storey’s Hat Shop window.

In years gone by, many a girl married young, spent the rest of her life with her hands in the dough on the breadboard, prepared meals, washed clothes on the washboard, sewed and knitted all the necessary garments, darned and mended socks and clothing, cared for children, nursed the family during illnesses, scrubbed softwood floors, made soap, assumed responsibility for many chores outside the house, was expected to keep the house clean and depended on the husband for money. But even in the earliest of times of this province, some women chose or it was necessary for them to work outside the home. Gradually change took place as more and more women entered the work force.

The on-line exhibit of photos on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website titled, “Women at Work” looks at the changing and expanding horizons for New Brunswick women from the late 1800's to the late 1900's and the evident successes as they stepped out of their traditional roles of unpaid domestic labour.

To name a few pictures:

1) Doing laundry outdoors. Link

2) Working at the spinning wheel. Link

3) Aboriginal woman weaving a basket. Link

4) Office worker at McAvity's in Saint John. Link

5) Dining saloon and staff on the steamer, "Majestic".  Link

6) Ada M. Schleyer operated a florist shop with nurseries at 326 Charlotte Street, Fredericton at least as early as 1903. Link

7) Provincial Normal School, Class of 1900-1901.  Link

8) Mary Louise Landry of Dalhousie was known as the "Medicine Woman". Link

9) Dining Room, Provincial Hospital, Saint John, 1911.  Link

10) Saint John Vocational School cooking class, 1927. Link

11) Emily Allain, early Boiestown telephone operator, at the switchboard in her home.  Link

12) Composing room of Kings County Record, Sussex.  Link

13) Fredericton's first pediatrician, Dr. Barbara Robinson was born in Marysville. Link

14) Rev. Geraldine Reid, of Sussex, the first female United Church minister from New Brunswick. Link

15) Antonine Maillet author and creator of the classic Acadian character, "La Sagouine". Her writing has earned her many prizes including France's most coveted literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, which was given to her for "Pélagie la Charrette" in 1979. Link

Women at Work” at documents the variety of types of work performed, the changes made due to not only the improved educational opportunities but also the choices women could make regarding their own lives.

Each of the successes of the women who had not "gone quietly" before, made the road smoother for those who followed.

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The Saint John Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society will meet Wednesday, March 29, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lion's Den, Loch Lomond Villa. The program will feature “Women in History” and will  look at the lives of women who made a significant contribution to life in early Saint John. Those attending are asked to bring a story to share of the most memorable female in their family tree.

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Query 1460
Hagerty: Looking for information on the Hagerty family who arrived on the ship Blanche from Ireland in July 1849. The ship's Captain left a note to the effect that the Hagerty woman had a baby with her. I have reason to believe that the child could be my great-grandfather, Francis Hagerty, a son of John and Margaret Hagerty.
1300 South A1A,  Apt. 613
Jupiter, FL
USA, 33477

Query 1461
Shackleton - Durber - Jones: James Shackleton, born 1845, in England married on 3 April 1872 in Saint John to Annie Durber, who was born in 1850 in England. Annie Durber, and James Shakelton are listed in the house of William Jones in the Index of the1871 Census of Simonds Parish. I am interested in finding information on the parents of Shackleton  and Durber as well as any other family details.
1065 St. Helena Way
Sebastopol, CA
USA, 95472

Query 1462
Brown - Bishop: Nelson Wentworth Brown was born in Southampton Parish, York County in 1861 and married Martha Bishop of Albert County in 1895. They had at least four children including Marion, Mavis, Edith, and Waldo. Looking for current descendants.
190 Vincent Rd.
Quispamsis, NB
Canada, E2E 1P5
Telephone 506-849-4727

Query 1463
Thomas - Smith: Who were the parents of John Thomas, born 21 Sep. 1834, in Saint John, New Brunswick? He went to Australia in the 1850's. Married Elizabeth Smith in Rushworth, Victoria, Australia and died there on 5 Sep. 1885.
Box 351, Breton
Alberta, Canada
T0C 0P0

Query 1464
McKenzie - Hinds: Circa 1839, Captain Hugh McKenzie born 1766 Invergordon, Scotland became a Seaforth Highlander, a planter in New Brunswick. At Portland [Saint John], he built the Brig ‘The Brothers’ and was to sail to New Zealand  but was ill. He stopped at Albany, Western Australia, Dec. 1840, and died there three months later. Accompanying him, were children Edward , Kenneth, Joan and Hugh who was born in 1800, probably Saint John, New Brunswick and was possibly married to Emily Hinds born circa 1805 in Saint John, the daughter of  Thomas Hinds. Their son John McKenzie, my great-grandfather was born 15 Apr. 1840 in Saint John and died 1914 in Albany, Australia. The Brig ‘The Brothers’ had a New Brunswick Registration of J840006. It was unregistered in 1841 in Hobart, Tasmania. I seek information on the wife of Captain Hugh McKenzie
70 Bronzewing Street
Huntingdale 6110 
Western  Australia
New and Used Genealogical and Historical books of
New Brunswick for sale.

Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:  Include your name and mailing address for the benefit of the readers of the newspaper who do not have access to E-mail but could have information to share with you. Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query. For more information on submitting queries, visit
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